WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of Dr. Rajen Anand as Executive Director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The mission of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at USDA is to improve the nutritional status of all Americans by linking research to the dietary needs of the consumer. The Center is best known for the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid food guidance system.

"President Obama and I are firmly committed to improving the health and nutrition of the American people, and I am pleased to welcome Dr. Anand back to USDA because he has a deep and broad understanding of dietary guidance, nutrition and how public policy is made," said Vilsack. "As a former professor and civil servant, Dr. Anand will be a huge asset to our management team."

Anand will lead a staff comprised of nutritionists, economists, mathematicians, and food and social scientists as well as a new Evidence Analysis Library. The library will evaluate and rank the latest nutrition science for use by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that is currently charged with reviewing and revising the Dietary Guidelines which will be published in 2010.

Prior to this appointment, Anand joined the Center in 1995 as its Deputy Director and was promoted to Executive Director in 1997. Prior to his work at USDA and in the interim, he served as professor of physiology for 30 years - including 6 years as department chair at California State University, Long Beach. During his tenure at the university, he was honored with the Outstanding Professor Award and twice with Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Awards.

A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Anand holds a doctorate in human physiology, nutrition and biochemistry and a second doctorate in veterinary medicine. He has published over 40 scientific articles in national and international journals and made presentations at numerous professional meetings worldwide.