Sharon Akabas, MS Program Director, Retirement Announcement

April 30, 2021

To the IHN Community:

I write to you today to share the news that Sharon Akabas, PhD, has announced her retirement from CU and IHN, effective July 1, 2021.

Sharon has acted as Director of the IHN’s Master of Science in Human Nutrition program for more than 14 years. During her tenure, she greatly expanded the program’s scope and education through her vision and her unique ability to recruit and organize a cadre of superb educators and researchers at Columbia University to teach and support the IHN Master’s students. During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharon’s leadership skills enabled the program to move quickly and efficiently online, providing incredible support to all IHN MS students in the nation and around the world.

Sharon’s commitment to education has been evident not only from the success of the IHN MS program, but also through the creation and/or expansion of other initiatives, including the CU-Weill Cornell Obesity course, the weight bias project with the School of Nursing, the Physical Therapy Program, and in her roles as liaison and lecturer with the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), a summer enrichment and residential program for first- and second-year underrepresented college students interested in the health professions.

Her educational talent has been widely recognized by Columbia University. Most recently, she was nominated as Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholar, a program that aims to develop an annual cohort of senior faculty who will have the opportunity to create a vision and plan for supporting, changing and innovating the culture of teaching and learning across campus.

Most importantly, Sharon has been a mentor and role model for our MS students, who have remained connected with her after graduating from the MS Program, a testimonial of her caring and loving nature for all her students.

In retirement, she looks forward to remaining connected with all students, alumni and faculty.

As Sharon announces her retirement, Dr. Kim Hekimian and Dr. Moneek Madra have agreed to step in as the new Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the IHN MS Program. We are grateful to Sharon for her willingness to help them during this transition.

Please join me in thanking Sharon for her many contributions over the past 14 years and all that she has done for our students and the IHN mission in education, and in welcoming Kim and Moneek in their new roles at IHN.


Sabrina Diano, PhD

Director, Institute of Human Nutrition