Alumna honored by National Kidney Foundation
Laura Byham-Gray


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8:58 a.m., April 22, 2010----Laura Byham-Gray, who earned a master's degree in food science and human nutrition at the University of Delaware in 1990, has received the Joel D. Kopple Research Award from the National Kidney Foundation's Council on Renal Nutrition (NKF-CRN).

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The annual award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of renal nutrition in the areas of legislation, clinical practice, education, or research.

Byham-Gray is an associate professor in the Graduate Programs in Clinical Nutrition at the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey. A registered dietitian, she holds a doctorate in nutrition from New York University.

As a graduate student at UD, Byham-Gray received the Amy Rextrew Graduate Student Award in recognition of her outstanding qualities of scholarship, leadership, and character.

“Laura applied for graduate work at the University of Delaware while she was employed as a renal dietitian, and she was assigned to my course for her teaching assistantship,” says Nancy Cotugna, professor in UD's Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition. “I turned over much of the responsibility for that course -- complete with clinical supervision -- to Laura.

“She brought changes to the assignments that were adopted as permanent parts of the program. Because of her extensive clinical background, she served as a fantastic role model for the students who, to this day, fondly remember their experiences with her. She set a standard of clinical instruction that no one else has met. Laura is now a wonderful mentor and role model for graduate students as she was for our undergraduate students when she was at UD. She also graciously comes back to campus to present seminars for our current grad students at no charge to us, so she is a very involved alumna.”

Byham-Gray is co-editor of A Clinical Guide to Nutrition Care in Kidney Disease and Nutrition in Kidney Disease, and she is on the committee that developed the Standards of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance for Registered Dietitians in Nephrology Care. Byham-Gray has also written articles for the lay community and participated as a faculty volunteer for the past five years at the Special Olympics in New Jersey.

She received the Outstanding Service Award by the American Dietetic Association Renal Practice Group in 2007 and the Susan B. Knapp Excellence in Education Award by NKF-CRN in 2009.

Byham-Gray is a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, the Renal Dietitians' Practice Group, and the Council for Renal Nutrition of the National Kidney Foundation.

Her research interests include evidence-based practice, outcomes research, and renal disease.

Article by Diane Kukich