Bonny Specker, the Ethel Austin Martin endowed chair of human nutrition and director of the EAM Program since 1997, has retired after 24 years of service to South Dakota State University. Her last day was Thursday.
“Dr. Specker’s work in nutritional epidemiology is known nationally and internationally,” said Daniel Scholl, vice president of research and economic development. “In addition to serving on various national committees with the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Specker has been an invited speaker to about 50 national and international meetings since 1997 and has reviewed grants and programs for international organizations including the United Kingdom Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust in London, the Medical Council of Scotland and the World Health Organization. We wish her the best as she enters the next chapter of her life.”
Specker, who has written various editorials on public health and provided information to the Brookings’ city council and administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been the principal investigator on federal and state grants of close to $18 million. She also has been co-investigator on an additional $2.4 million in grants.
She has worked closely with the Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center and the South Dakota Department of Health on maternal child health epidemiology. Specker also participated in a CDC Epi-Aid Project on substance use during pregnancy with Great Plains Tribal Chairman Health Board and Tribal Epidemiology Center and was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality for the state of South Dakota.
During her time as endowed chair, the Ethel Austin Martin program has conducted several NIH-funded studies, including the South Dakota Children’s Bone Health Study, the South Dakota Rural Bone Health Study and the National Children’s Study.
“What I will remember the most about SDSU is all the fantastic people I had the opportunity to work with and all the memories we have—it’s been a great 24 years,” Specker said.
A national search will be conducted for a new endowed chair holder and director. Tianna Beare, EAM program manager, will serve as interim director until a new chair is installed. Lacey McCormack has taken over as project director for EAM-funded research.