Lauren Futrell Dunaway, PhD, MPH, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Public Health Researcher with over ten years of public health research and evaluation experience. She worked for both the Tulane Prevention Research Center and the Tulane Mary Amelia Women’s Center managing various projects related to food access in New Orleans, childhood obesity, breastfeeding, racial disparities in birth outcomes, and early childhood health and education to name a few. Most recently she was the Director of a program called Healthy Beginnings, which aimed to connect parents of young children to health and community resources by facilitating a partnership between an early childhood education center and a health services provider.
Dr. Dunaway’s coursework in the SoPA Kinesiology program includes Exercise and Nutrition in Health and Disease, Health Equity and Determinants, and Nutrition and Behavior. She also teaches Introduction to Nutrition in the Undergraduate Public Health Program in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is passionate about not only teaching her students the course subject matter but equipping them with skills to become more critical thinkers and mentoring them to achieve their career goals.
She has a degree in Dietetics from the University of Georgia, completed her Dietetic Internship at Vanderbilt University Medical center, and has a Master of Public Health and Ph.D. in Public Health from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Dr. Dunaway is a Georgia native but has called New Orleans home for fifteen years. She lives Uptown with her husband and three daughters and loves trying new restaurants, cooking, enjoying New Orleans’ parks, working out at Barre3, and sharing her love of nutrition and wellness.
What is your favorite thing about SoPA?
The experiences the students bring to the classroom! I enjoy learning from my students as they bring their personal knowledge and experiences into the context of what I'm teaching.
What advice would you give to someone who's considering finishing their degree, or starting for the first time as an adult?
Keep your why in mind! There will be many times that circumstances will get in the way, or it will seem difficult to balance school with work and life; keeping your reason for getting your degree at the front of your mind will make it easier to keep going when it feels difficult!
Who has influenced you most in life?
My grandmother had a huge impact on my life. She worked a night to pay her way through college during WWII, she completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in the 1950s and was the only woman in her program, and she was a nutrition professor who traveled to more than 30 countries for her work and for mission trips. I admire her not only professionally, but she lived her life as an example of how you can change someone's life by loving them deeply, and I hope to live my life the same way!