University Marshal: Christine C. Tangney, PhD, FACN, CNS

Christine C. Tangney, PhD, FACN, CNS

The designation of University marshal, the first academic official to enter the commencement hall, is among the highest honors bestowed upon a faculty member at Rush University. The marshal leads and attends to the procession ritual of the University faculty, the graduating students and the president’s party.

The marshal, bearing the University’s mace, symbolizes the authority and leadership that faculty exercise over the educational process to ensure the preparation of competent and responsible graduates. In representing the faculty, the marshal is a member held in highest esteem for significant accomplishments in teaching, research and patient care. Selection of the University marshal typically has rotated among the four colleges, and the selection process is determined by the college.

The 2017 Rush University marshal is Christine C. Tangney, PhD, FACN, CNS, a professor and associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences. Her expertise is in assessment of dietary behaviors of individuals, and population samples in relation to cardiovascular and cognitive health.

Tangney has mentored more than 100 graduate students in clinical nutrition, as well as doctoral candidates in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University and the School of Health and Human Sciences at the University of North Carolina, and served on more than 70 thesis or dissertation committees for graduate students in the Colleges of Health Sciences and College of Nursing at Rush. She has been privileged to hood more than 10 graduating classes in the College of Health Sciences’ Clinical Nutrition master’s program.

Her early research focused on pulmonary disease and nutrition assessment at the bench, but evolved to include population approaches in nutritional epidemiology. Much of her recent efforts focus on the development of short dietary screeners to monitor changes in dietary behaviors and key biomarkers of young prehypertensive African-American women, women who are middle-age or older with cardiovascular risk, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, as well as breast cancer survivors.

Understanding what constitutes meaningful dietary changes — and conversely, dietary stability — is a critical component of her research. Her earlier research centered on the influence of dietary antioxidants, particularly vitamin E in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and heart diseases.

She has authored or co-authored more than 125 papers and five book chapters. In addition, Tangney has presented or lectured at more than 150 conferences, addressing the use and refinement of dietary pattern indices — the Healthy Eating Index, or HEI, Mediterranean Diet Pattern, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH — clinical/functional outcomes and biomarkers of healthy women and men and those with chronic diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular diseases.