Leslie Wada Appointed as USHBC and NABC’s First-Ever Senior Director of Nutrition and Health Research


FOLSOM, Calif., October 5, 2021—The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and North American Blueberry Council (NABC) have appointed Leslie Wada, Ph.D., RD, a longtime research consultant for the council, as senior director of nutrition and health research. In this newly created role, Wada will represent USHBC and NABC as an official spokesperson for both organizations, as well as the blueberry industry at large. 

Wada will continue to manage USHBC’s multi-million dollar pipeline of health research projects as she has done for the past 12 years. In her expanded role, Wada will have increased ownership and responsibility in leading the health and nutrition pillar of the USHBC’s 2021-2025 strategic plan, integrating the research projects and results with the council’s overall strategy in marketing and promotions. 

“Leslie’s tremendous contributions over the years have helped blueberries earn the strong health halo that most of our target audiences recognize today,” said Kasey Cronquist, president of USHBC and NABC. “As a scientist and seasoned communications professional, Leslie is uniquely qualified to lead an important pillar of our strategic plan, leveraging health research and nutrition to further elevate blueberries as a beloved fruit among consumers, health professionals and more.”

A registered dietitian with an undergraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of California, Davis, Wada earned a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. She worked as a research scientist on nutrition studies and taught classes in dietetics at UC Berkeley before leaving academia to work with companies that developed functional foods and ingredients. For the past 20+ years, she has worked as an independent consultant for companies in the food and agriculture industry.

“I’m excited to build upon the strong health research program that we have started and be a part of ushering in a new and exciting evolution of the NABC/USHBC research program,” said Wada. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with an all-star team and advancing our scientific pipeline with high-quality research that increases knowledge and awareness of the importance of blueberries in a healthy diet.”


Kasey Cronquist

USHBC President

[email protected]


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About the North American Blueberry Council

Since 1965, the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) has been the voice of the blueberry industry in the U.S. and Canada. NABC’s members represent approximately 70% of the North American highbush blueberry crop. NABC was instrumental in the establishment of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHABC), a federal agriculture research and promotion program with independent oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Learn more at nabc.blueberry.org.

About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Established in 2000, The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a federal agriculture research and promotion program with independent oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USHBC represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. USHBC was established by blueberry growers and currently has 2,500 growers, packers and importers. USHBC is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at ushbc.org.