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Dr. Sarah M. Wilder, Academy Trailblazer

Statement from the Academy and OAND

Sara Wilder

It is with sadness that OAND shares the news of the passing of Sarah M. Wilder, PhD, RD on January 17, 2021.  Dr. Wilder was a trail blazing and highly respected leader in the Academy and the profession. She was the founding member of the Academy’s National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition (NOBIDAN) Member Interest Group and served as its Executive Director for 24 years Dr. Wilder was also one of the organizers and charter members of the Dietetic Technicians in Practice DPG. She also served as a member of the Academy’s Nominating Committee from 1998-2000 and held the position of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition DPG Research Chair from 1994-1996. Dr. Wilder was President of the Greater Cleveland district from 1972-1973, having served in various leadership positions as early as 1964. She received the Medallion Award in 1988 for her leadership and devotion to serving others in nutrition and dietetics.  

Dr. Wilder earned her undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University, her master’s degree in Public Health Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, and PhD in Community Systems Planning and Development: Health Planning Administration, from The Pennsylvania State University. She was the founder of the Cuyahoga Community College’s Dietetic Technology Program and served as a mentor to many dietetic students. She owned two nutrition consultant companies, developed a two-year degree program in Community Nutrition for Barbados Community College and consulted with the World Health Organization and Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute in Barbados and Trinidad, West Indies. In addition, she served as Nutrition Consultant for Cleveland Board of Education, the East Cleveland Board of Education, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dr. Wilder’s husband of 64 years Nathaniel passed away on December 19, 2020. They have three sons and several grandchildren. Many will recall that Nathaniel was a regular attendee at FNCE, often seen walking arm in arm with Sarah and attending the Foundation Gala. Nathaniel was instrumental in establishing a scholarship fund at the Academy Foundation in Sarah’s name to encourage career mobility by community college educated nutrition and dietetic technicians registered. To donate to Dr. Wilder’s Scholarship in her memory, please visit:

Currently there are no plans for a funeral; a memorial for Sarah and her husband will be held later this year.

-  Tribute written by Grace Burney, DTR, with minor edits and additions from OAND
-  Photography courtesy of NOBIDAN website

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