06 October 2012

The Wonderful Patrice Engle

There are some people you meet in life whose influence on you far outweighs the time spent in their company.  For me, Pat Engle was one of those people.  Pat passed away on September 22.  

She was a goddess in the Early Child Development field and her influence travelled as far as nutrition, and even, economics.   

She was a Professor of Psychology and Child Development at Cal Poly University in California.  For the nutrition readers, Pat's work was the link between food and health--she was a leader in "care".

Care is the provision in the household and the community of time, attention, and support to meet the physical, mental, and social needs ofthe growing child and other household members. 

Pat spend 6 months as a visitor at IFPRI when I was there and we worked with Purnima Menon, a nutrition epidemiologist, on a paper that tried to introduce the concepts to those in the wider field (the linked paper was published in World Development) and for those in the field, tried to develop some approaches to assessing care. 

Working with her sensitised me to the fact that relationships really mattered in development, and not everything of value could or should be measured. Her work carries on in a new field of well-being.  

The things I loved about Pat?  Her keen wit, her ability to reach across disciplines (child development was her interest--whoever could help was welcomed) and her complete lack of "guru ego".  She was just a lovely person.  She will be missed. 

For details of her life and memorial services in New York and California and her Fund for Dissertation Fellowships for students in low and middle income countries, see here.   

Listen to Pat speaking on the importance of ECD at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYj9BaFRfcw


Lynn Brown said...

This is such a sad loss.......I couldn't agree with you more. I too remember the time Pat was with us at IFPRI. Like you she had a profound influence on me....she truly was an amazing person. It is up to us to make sure her profound legacy lives on......

Richard Longhurst said...

I too was very saddened to hear that Pat has died. She was just the greatest. I first worked with her during the International Conference on Nutrition in 1991 when she and UNICEF were proposing the importance of care to nutrtion. It was a difficult environment for those groudbreaking views but she won people over with her professionalism and humanity.

bluekayal said...

I had no idea till today that Pat had passed on. I am so sorry. We were together at meetings in Durban and she was so loving. I will miss her. Pat, I am so sorry i never made it to Cal Poly.