A Tribute to a Nutrition Titan: Remembering Dr. Noel W. Solomons

By Saskia Osendarp, Executive Director, Micronutrient Forum

Today, I write with a heavy heart as the global nutrition community mourns the loss of Dr. Noel W. Solomons, a stalwart figure in the field of micronutrients. With a career spanning over four decades, Dr. Solomons dedicated his life to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations worldwide. He leaves a void that will be deeply felt by all who knew him and were touched by his remarkable work.

Born and educated in the United States, Dr. Solomons’s journey brought him to Guatemala, where he co-founded the Center for Studies of Sensory Impairment, Aging, and Metabolism (CeSSIAM) in 1985. Prior to this, his tenure at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) helped lay the foundation for research and initiatives across Latin American and the Caribbean.

Dr. Solomons’s contributions to the scientific and academic community are significant, with over 300 indexed publications, numerous edited books, more than 100 non-indexed articles and over 50 book chapters to his name. His expansive work covered topics from clinical nutrition, to human growth and body composition, food fortification, complementary feeding, and the intricate dynamics of malnutrition and infection.

Among his many accolades, Dr. Solomons was honored with the International Nutrition Prize of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences and the Kellogg Prize of the Society for International Nutrition Research. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Nutrition and held academic affiliations with prominent nutrition universities, including Boston University and Tufts University.

But to me, and to many others, Noel was more than just a dedicated research scientist—he was a passionate mentor and teacher who inspired countless young nutritionists from the Americas, and beyond. His razor-sharp intellect, insightful questions, and warm sense of humor enlivened every meeting and conference he attended. He challenged us to think outside the box and left an unforgettable impression on everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.

As Dr. Lynnette Neufeld, Director, Food and Nutrition Division of FAO, said, “Noel’s unwavering commitment to nutrition and to capacity development has had a lasting impact on many of us in the field.  His constant presence and challenging questions will be sorely missed.”

Shawn Baker, Chair, Micronutrient Forum Board of Directors and Chief Program Officer at Helen Keller Intl said, “Dr. Solomons was an exemplar of leading with both heart and mind. He consistently grounded discussions in the realities of the communities we serve, and he used his intellectual prowess to push the boundaries of our understanding of nutrition.”  

As we bid farewell to a beloved colleague, mentor, and friend, we, at the Micronutrient Forum pay tribute to Dr. Noel W. Solomons. His memory lives on in his legacy of compassion, passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to a healthier, more equitable world where all people have optimal micronutrient status for health and well-being.

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