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Fernando José Eugenio Viteri
In Memoriam

Fernando José Eugenio Viteri

Professor of Nutrition, Emeritus

UC Berkeley

Fernando Viteri was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on June 28, 1930. He passed away in Walnut Creek, California, on July 11, 2016, and is survived by Adelina, his wife of over 60 years, and his two sons (Fernando, Jr. and Ricardo) and two daughters (Adelina and Marta).

Fernando’s father was a lawyer and his mother an accomplished house designer who opened a shelter with her husband for street children, many of whom went on to become professionals with university degrees. This instilled in Fernando a commitment to service at an early age. He obtained his M.D. from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala in 1955 and studied at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the University of Cincinnati where he earned a Sc.D. in 1965.

He worked from 1962 to 1980 at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) and the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, collaborating in the development of Incaparina, the aim of which was to provide a simple and affordable high-quality protein vegetable food  to treat hunger and malnutrition especially in children. In recognition of his work, he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences of Guatemala in 1977. The Institute of Pediatric Development and Research (IDIP) named the Children’s Hospital in La Plata, Argentina after him in 2008 (The Professor, Dr. Fernando E. Viteri Institute).

After leaving Guatemala for political reasons, Viteri worked at the Pan American Health Organization (World Health Association) in Washington, D.C. before joining the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986 where he established an emphasis in international nutrition. His major teaching effort in the department was the Human Food Practices (NST104) course. He was also a member of the International Nutrition Program in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis.

His major research efforts for most of his career involved protein and micronutrient malnutrition and population-based fortification programs aimed at reducing or eliminating micronutrient deficiencies. He is best known for his work on iron deficiency anemia, which is the most prevalent worldwide deficiency disease. His research, which extended from animal-based mechanistic studies to national and international population-based intervention programs, led his field and received much international recognition. Among his many awards were the first Kellogg Prize for Latin American Research in Human Nutrition in 1997, the Kellogg International Nutrition Research Award from the American Society of Nutritional Sciences in 2000, and the Medal of the Order de Pedro de San Jose de Bethancourt, the highest honor for public service given by the Minister of Health of Guatemala, in 2007.  He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Nutritional Sciences in 2003. After becoming emeritus at Berkeley in 2004, he continued his research at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). He continued to study iron, folic acid, and anemia as a CHORI scientist and as a UCB emeritus professor until his death in 2016. He published more than 300 scientific articles in both English and Spanish.

Fernando was instrumental in the founding of schools for boys and girls as well as ICEF (The Institute for the Education of the Family) and was the first president of AED (Association for Educational Development). He and his wife Adelina were ardent devotees of music, from the classical to the tango, and founded the Associations for Chamber Music and the Musical Society of Antigua in Guatemala.

Barry Shane
Janet King