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May 27, 2004

Arlene Caggiula

Arlene Caggiula, a Pitt nutritional epidemiologist who was a pioneer in recognizing the importance of diet in preventing and controlling disease, died on May 22, 2004, of injuries from a fall at her Shadyside home. She was 62, and had retired from the University two years ago.
Caggiula joined the faculty of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health in 1973. She received numerous research grants from the National Institutes of Health and authored more than 70 research papers.
“She was a national trendsetter in getting the medical community to understand the importance of nutrition in preventing and treating hypertension, renal disease and high cholesterol,” said Caggiula’s colleague, Pitt epidemiology professor Sheryl F. Kelsey. “She was always very generous with her time in working with young nutritionists and researchers.”
Caggiula was involved in a number of major multi-center clinical trials and directed the Nutrition Coordinating Center for the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease. In the 1970s, Caggiula was active in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial, an early study aimed at reducing hypertension and high cholesterol. At the time of her retirement, she was an active researcher in the national Women’s Health Initiative.
A “fabulous” cook, Caggiula would produce nutritious yet delicious recipes and meals for friends and patients alike, said Kelsey. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in a Norwegian neighborhood to Norwegian parents, Caggiula had recently begun working on a Norwegian cookbook.
Caggiula earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Montclair State College in 1963, a master’s degree in food and nutrition in 1965 from the University of Deleware and a Ph.D. from Pitt’s education school in 1979. Before coming to Pitt, she directed the internship program at Shadyside Hospital.
Caggiula is survived by her husband, Anthony R. Caggiula, professor and chair of Pitt’s psychology department, and by her brother, Eric Wroldsen, of Tucker, Ga.
Memorial donations may be made to Pitt’s Department of Epidemiology, A516 Crabtree Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15260.

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