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Posts Tagged: Nutrition Policy Institute

Nutrition Policy Institute launches Research to Action news brief

The Nutrition Policy Institute has launched a news brief called Research to Action. The publication will provide information on research, policy, news, announcements, events, articles and action items focused on nutrition and healthy communities. 

The first issue looks at the work of the National Drinking Water Alliance (NDWA). NPI is the “hub” for NDWA, which engages in and coordinates evidence-based efforts going on all over the country to improve tap water safety and access, especially for children, and to provide drinking water education and promotion. The NDWA website is a “go-to” resource for information on drinking water. 
Future editions of Research to Action will be sent several times per year. Please sign up for the Research to Action mailing list, and please share Research to Action with colleagues who would be interested in receiving it.

UC students assist ANR’s Global Food Initiative efforts

Gemma DiMatteo
For the 2016-17 year, ANR has selected five UC students as Global Food Initiative fellows: UC Berkeley graduate students Gemma DiMatteo, Reid Johnsen, Alana Siegner and Laura Ward and UC Davis graduate student Mingxuan (Elaine) Liu. The GFI fellows will work with ANR academics and staff to address the issue of how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025.

DiMatteo, a UC Berkeley graduate student in the School of Public Health, is working closely with Lorrene Ritchie, Nutrition Policy Institute director. DiMatteo will help analyze data on the foods provided to young children in early care and education settings to help inform policies related to healthful eating in this age group. She will also work on the evaluation of newly developed nutrition standards being piloted in family child care homes.

Elaine Liu
Liu, a UC Davis graduate student in communications, is working with ANR's Strategic Communications unit to produce materials for nutrition outreach. For one project, she will work with Marisa Neelon, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, to develop a series of “Money Talks” nutrition-education fact sheets for teachers.

Reid Johnsen
UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidates Johnsen and Ward and UC Berkeley graduate student Siegner, are participating in the Graduate Students in Extension pilot program, sponsored by UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources and ANR. For students interested in careers in Cooperative Extension, they will organize seminars, workshops and training opportunities to improve graduate student preparedness for extension, outreach and applied research. The fellows will conduct an assessment to document best practices and lessons learned from the GSE program, which is in the last year of its three-year pilot. To share the outcomes and accomplishments of the GSE program, they will also develop a publication, policy recommendations and coordinate a complementary seminar.

Alana Siegner
The class – the third since UC President Janet Napolitano launched the Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program – has participants from all 10 UC campuses plus Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and ANR.

Laura Ward
In addition to their individual projects, the students are invited to participate in systemwide activities designed to enhance their leadership skills and enrich their understanding of the food system in California. In January, UCOP will provide leadership training for the GFI fellows. In April, the group will take a field trip to the Central Valley to learn about UC Cooperative Extension projects.

For more information about the UC Global Food Initiative student fellows, read the article at

UC World Food Day Video Challenge

To raise awareness of the depth and breadth of food-related research and outreach being performed across the UC system, the Nutrition Policy Institute partnered with the World Food Institute at UC Davis to sponsor the UC World Food Day Video Challenge. Students from all UC campuses were invited to submit videos up to three minutes long that featured UC research. UC Davis students Carlos Orozco-Gonzalez and Umayr Sufi won with a video about advancing the science behind drying and storing food to improve food safety in developing countries.

“We are wasting a lot of food, regardless of where we are in the world,” said Irwin Donis-Gonzalez, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, who is featured in the video. “With Carlos and Umayr, we are combining biological and engineering sensing concepts that can be applied to solving world issues.”

The winning team received $1,000 and a trip to attend the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines.

To view the top five videos, visit

Umayr Sufi, Irwin Donis-Gonzalez and Carlos Orozco-Gonzalez. Photo by Karin Higgins/UC Davis

Higher education collaborates to fight student food insecurity

Representatives of the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems met in Fresno on Sept. 6 to discuss food access and basic needs security for students.

As part of UC's Global Food Initiative, the Nutrition Policy Institute recently published a report based on a survey of food security among UC students at all 10 campuses. The “Student Food Access and Security Study” includes the survey results and UC's plans for addressing food security issues. CSU is currently conducting a systemwide survey of its student population and CCC is planning to conduct a survey of its students. UC was represented by Ruben Canedo of UC Berkeley, Tim Galarneu of UC Santa Cruz, and NPI's Ritchie and Suzanna Martinez.

After CSU and CCC complete their surveys, the group will meet again in December to discuss best practices to ensure food security in California public higher education.

ANR cohosts food drive

In recognition of World Food Day, National Food Dayand the UC Global Food Initiative, ANR, UCOP Staff Assembly and UCOP Professional Community have partnered with the Alameda County Community Food Bank to help feed the hungry. From Oct. 17 to 31, we are collecting food items in bins located near the elevators on each floor of UCOP's Franklin building, and on UCOP floors at the Kaiser, Broadway and 20th St. buildings in Oakland.

There are two ways you can participate:

  • Donate non-perishable food items to the bin located near the elevators on the 10th floor of the Franklin building
  • Donate online via the ACCFB Virtual Food Drive website set up for UCOP at
    www.vfd-accfb.orgSelect “UCOP” in the dropdown menu on the right side of the page and choose "10th floor Franklin building.

Donations will be collected and counted at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31. The floor that collects the most donations will win a $100 gift basket from the Oakland Farmers Market.

For more information, contact Suzanna Martinez, Nutrition Policy Institute, at

Posted on Monday, October 24, 2016 at 3:25 PM

Video contest to feature UC food research

UC students are invited to create videos highlighting current UC research or outreach addressing hunger.
In celebration of World Food Day, UC students are invited to create videos highlighting current UC research and/or programs using the research for sustainable solutions to end global hunger.

The World Food Day Video Challenge is being sponsored by the UC Davis World Food Center, UCANR's Nutrition Policy Institute and the UC Global Food Initiative to raise awareness of the depth and breadth of food-related research across the UC system to reduce hunger and improve health.

The contest is open to all current undergraduate and graduate students in the UC system.

In three minutes or less, the videos should show how UC research relates to:

  • food security
  • food sustainability
  • food science
  • nutrition
  • agriculture

...or other targets within the UN's Sustainable Development Goal #2

 UC academics are encouraged to invite UC students to turn the cameras on their research and outreach. If you're on Twitter, please tweet: Calling @UofCalifornia students! Produce a video on #UCFood research  

First place prize is $1,000 and a trip for up to three team members to attend the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, which is held in conjunction with the award ceremony for the World Food Prize, in Des Moines, Iowa, in October.

The deadline for submitting videos is 11:59 p.m. PT, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. See contest details at

If you have questions, contact: Amy Beaudreault, World Food Center director of nutrition and health, at or (530) 752-7319.


Posted on Monday, August 1, 2016 at 8:47 AM

ANR food drive nets $3,808 for food bank

Ruchi Kashyap shows some of the fruits and vegetables in the $100 farmers market basket.
To celebrate National Food Day, University of California Office of the President employees in Oakland donated a total of $3,808 and 283 cans and packages of food to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. The food drive was sponsored by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UCOP Staff Assembly. 

The cash donations translated into  nearly $23,000 worth of fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy food items for the 49,000 local families the food bank serves each week, said Suzanna Martinez, Nutrition Policy Institute analyst, who organized the food drive.

During the week of Oct. 19, bins for food collection were placed at all UCOP locations in Oakland. As an incentive for employees to participate, UC ANR offered $100 worth of fresh produce from the Oakland Farmers Market for the floor with the most points.

Cheryl Hyland and Ray Williams help themselves to fresh produce.
At the end of the week, Martinez tallied the donations and awarded points – one point per food item and one point per dollar donated online. The floor with the most points at the end of the week won the fresh produce.

The winners of the $100 farmers market basket were the employees of the 10th floor of the Franklin Street building, who donated $888. Coincidentally UC ANR's headquarters is on the 10th floor. Runners-up in the competition were the 20th Street building, which raised $673, and Franklin 5th floor, which donated $570.

Food bank barrels were placed at all UCOP locations in Oakland.
Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 8:54 AM

Experts combine research with policy to reduce childhood obesity

From left, Tom Harkin, Kevin Concannon and Ken Hecht discuss federal nutrition assistance programs.
More than 1,700 nutritionists and other experts on children's health gathered in San Diego June 29 – July 2 to share lessons learned about efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. Collective Impact: Developing a Shared Vision to Achieve Greater Success was the theme of the 8th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference held at the Town and Country Hotel and Conference Center.

The conference was hosted by UC ANR's Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), California Department of Public Health, California Department of Education, the California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente.

NPI hosted a preconference workshop on June 29 to bridge the gap between research and policy regarding the federal nutrition assistance programs and the Dietary Guidelines, which reach more Americans than any other nutrition policy.

Chelsea Clinton was the opening plenary speaker.
“The Nutrition Policy Institute's preconference session at the Childhood Obesity Conference provided a rare, if not a first, opportunity for policymakers and administrators, nutrition researchers, advocates and funders to sit together to identify today's key policy issues and developments and then to propose evidence-based research to inform those potential policy debates and developments,” said Kenneth Hecht, NPI director of policy, who spearheaded the session. “The session participants also focused on another extremely important question: How to improve communications in both directions between researchers and policymakers.”

At the opening plenary, Chelsea Clinton, vice president of The Clinton Foundation, talked about projects her family's foundation is involved in to improve children's health and literacy.

Lorrene Ritchie discussed the importance of policies and standards for healthy alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages for children in childcare.
During a workshop session, Lorrene Ritchie, NPI director, and other panelists discussed the importance of policies and standards for healthy alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages for children in childcare settings. Patricia Crawford, NPI senior director of research at NPI and other panelists presented data on childhood obesity trends and racial/ethnic disparities in California and discussed the health and financial consequences. They also discussed the cost-effectiveness of national and state excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and labels to inform consumers of the health risks of consuming sugary drinks.

Hecht moderated a conversation on policy between former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon. The two influential figures discussed the growth of the federal nutrition assistance programs over 40 years and reflected on obstacles overcome and successes achieved.

Hecht also moderated a panel discussion on local and national initiatives that are linking farm-fresh produce to food bank recipients. NPI researcher Elizabeth Campbell, who participated in the discussion with a local farmer, a food bank employee and a public health anti-hunger advocate, said food banks should have policies to guide the nutritional quality of their inventory.

During the closing plenary, First Lady Michelle Obama sent video greetings to the Childhood Obesity Conference attendees to praise them for their work and encourage them to continue to fight to protect and improve child health.

Public research universities have a critical role in addressing the complex challenge of child obesity, said Janet Napolitano.
Also at the closing session, UC President Janet Napolitano spoke about UC's Global Food Initiative (GFI) “to put the world on a pathway to feed itself in ways that are nutritious and sustainable.”

“It is public research universities like the University of California that can and will help lead the way as our nation grapples with this complex challenge of pediatric obesity,” Napolitano said. She then gave a few examples of UC projects that target social and environmental factors that contribute to overweight and obesity.

“Janet Napolitano is the first UC president to speak at the Childhood Obesity Conference,” said Ritchie. “I think it demonstrates her commitment to the Global Food Initiative and the work we do at UC ANR.”

Since the biennial conference's inception, Crawford and members of the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley, and more recently members of NPI, have been involved in its planning. Crawford announced she is “passing the baton” to Ritchie to guide the conference moving forward.

PowerPoint presentations from the conference are online at Photos and postconference information can be seen on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #COC15.


Posted on Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 10:11 AM

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