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Martha Jones, Ph.D., was an unusual woman for her time. She insisted upon receiving her education in a decade where women were expected to get married and have children-not receive college educations. In 1915, Martha Jones attained both her B.A. and her M.A. from Vanderbilt University. Her expectation for her education was that she would advance the study and field of nutrition in order that others might not experience the ill health of her childhood. Upon graduation she took a year off school to work and save money. Her work led her to dealing with politics and nutrition, including the food served in prisons. Once Martha Jones brought to public light the corruptive influence upon diet in the prison system, widespread reform was instituted. Prison officials threatened her well-being, but her work resulted in change, including the turnover of prison personnel.
One year later (1917) Martha Jones had saved enough money to attend Yale University and in 1920 received her doctorate in physiological chemistry. After completing her studies, she held various teaching and chair positions, and while doing so, performed experiments that eventually proved the relationship between nutrition and tooth decay.
In 1928 she received an invitation to work at Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu, which she accepted. During her time there she successfully formed a health clinic that treated babies suffering from maladies, including tooth decay, with nutritional therapies.
Dr. Jones established a nutrition department at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1961. Her vision was one in which the message of nutrition and prevention of tooth decay was spread by missionaries throughout the world. That year the Martha R. Jones Foundation for Health Education was established in Wilmore, KY, at the site of Asbury Theological Seminary. Martha Jones passed away at the age of 89 on January 21, 1974, in Morehead, KY.