Nikki Ford is the first nutrition director for the Hass Avocado Board.
Nikki Ford is the first nutrition director for the Hass Avocado Board.

As the first nutrition director for the Hass Avocado Board, Nikki Ford plans to spearhead research into how avocado consumption can help people with weight management and weight loss.

The Irvine, Calif.-based board added the nutrition director position to its staff to help execute its long-term commitment to help generate scientific substantiation of the nutritional benefits of avocados to help increase consumption, executive director Emiliano Escobedo said in a news release.

Ford has worked as a researcher for more than a decade. Most recently she worked for the Dell Pediatric Research Institute in Austin, Texas. She has a doctorate in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in animal bioscience from Pennsylvania State University.

The board has ongoing research in the areas of cardiovascular health, weight management, diabetes and healthy living, Escobedo said in the release. Ford said in the release she plans to review the board’s research efforts to determine which has the greatest potential for early studies and what types of barriers must be overcome before more intricate studies can be done.