American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

History of ASPEN

The development of parenteral (intravenous) nutrition in 1968, an innovative therapy to nourish individuals during illness and starvation, provided an option to healthcare clinicians concerned with their patients’ nutritional status. This newly developed therapy gave birth to an organization, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) when in 1975, 35 dedicated healthcare professionals met in Chicago to create an interdisciplinary association. ASPEN was founded for the purpose of providing optimal nutrition to all people under all conditions at all times. The pioneers of ASPEN recognized the importance of research, clinical practice, advocacy, education, and an interdisciplinary approach to nutrition support therapy. 

The first ASPEN president was Dr. Stanley Dudrick, one of the primary clinical researchers who defined and demonstrated the effectiveness of total parenteral nutrition. One of the most important leaders of the Society was Dr. Jonathan E. Rhoads, known as a surgical nutritionist, who provided the Society with research and programmatic guidance. He mentored many physicians and other healthcare professionals and served as a senior scientist in the development of parenteral nutrition.

The Society began publishing a scientific journal in 1977, the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and a clinical practice journal in 1986, Nutrition in Clinical Practice, both of which are indexed by the National Library of Medicine. The  ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation was developed in 1992 to honor Dr. Rhoads and continues to fund basic and clinical nutrition research.

ASPEN today has 6,000 plus members and continues its proud tradition of championing the best evidence-based nutrition support for our patients.