Posts Tagged: Lorrene Ritchie
NPI work underpins historic White House conference on hunger, nutrition, health
At the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health convened since 1969, President Biden announced on Sept. 28 a national strategy “to end hunger in America and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases.” Much of the foundational research undergirding the strategy has been informed in part by the Nutrition Policy Institute, a program of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“Science is the work of many – and no one study answers all the questions – but we have a tremendous body of work that has contributed to this conference, building from all the programs and changes that were made from the last conference,” said NPI director Lorrene Ritchie.
The original Nixon-era conference produced about 1,800 recommendations – and 1,600 were eventually implemented in the subsequent years, according to Stacy Dean, U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.
A litany of far-reaching programs grew from or were propelled by the 1969 conference: the School Breakfast Program, WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)-Ed and CalFresh Healthy Living UC, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and more.
This history illustrates the potential for sweeping change from this 2022 conference – which gathered about 500 experts and advocates (with 1,000 more participating online) – and from the national strategy that represents the Biden-Harris administration's “playbook.”
“Does that document have everything in it that we would like? No – but, oh my goodness, if we could accomplish all the things that they've laid out, what a transformational impact it would have,” said Ritchie, adding that she was thrilled that the highest levels of government are prioritizing hunger and nutrition-related chronic disease.
Including beverages in the conversation
“NPI's recommendations were built on lots of work by many water researchers and advocates over the years; they're based on many years of thinking by many people,” Hecht said.
Christina and Ken Hecht, NPI policy director, also submitted recommendations as part of the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Reduction Workgroup, which brings together experts from national, state and local organizations. Several of their key proposals, such as targeting the marketing of sugary drinks and clarifying front-of-package nutrition labels, appear as recommended steps in the national strategy document.
Other nutrition policy changes compiled by Christina Hecht – like updating the Federal Food Service Guidelines used on federal properties and in federal programs – are also reflected in the national strategy, albeit without specifically mentioning sugary drinks. Nonetheless, Hecht believes doors have been opened for future discussions that could incorporate and promote healthy beverages.
“What those doors require are continuing to develop the evidence base, continuing to translate and share the evidence base, and continuing the advocacy to bring that evidence base to the attention of decision makers,” she said.
University of California setting an example
Suzanna Martinez, an NPI-affiliated researcher who attended the White House conference, said she hopes the convening generates momentum for two bills before Congress that would help alleviate food insecurity in higher education: one that provides funding for campuses to address students' basic needs, and another that reduces barriers to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps). The national strategy document explicitly acknowledges that “SNAP's college student eligibility restrictions are out of date given the current population who seek higher education credentials.”
Martinez, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at University of California San Francisco, was invited to the conference because she's part of a group driving the UC's effort to halve the number of students facing food insecurity across the system by 2030. That commitment, and UC Berkeley's work on basic needs, were highlighted by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff during the closing plenary session.
“The work that we're doing here in California tends to set the stage for what happens in other states,” said Martinez, who also cited California's pioneering effort to provide meals for all public school students.
NPI's ongoing work evaluating universal school meals in California and other states is just one example of how its academics and staff are refining innovative programs so they can be adopted more effectively and broadly (perhaps nationally). In fact, the White House identified “healthy school meals for all” as the top strategy for improving food access and affordability, and Ritchie applauds the administration's consistent emphasis on early interventions for healthier outcomes.
“The earlier you can create healthy habits – meaning in utero all the way through childhood – the more likely you are going to have adults who don't end up with nutrition-related chronic diseases,” she explained. “The last thing you want to do is to wait until people are really sick before they start to change their habits.”
Another overarching theme that excites Ritchie is the national strategy's “whole of government” approach to addressing a host of nutrition and hunger issues. One example is how the strategy calls for agencies not traditionally associated with food to contribute to reducing waste, such as the Department of the Treasury clarifying tax benefits for businesses that donate food.
“Throughout the document, over and over again, there are countless examples of creating synergies across government agencies and with local and state governments that can help move the needle,” Ritchie said. “It's just this kind of bold call to action that we really need.”/h3>/h3>
Names in the News
Chen named vineyard advisor in Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties
Christopher Chen joined UC Cooperative Extension Jan.10 as an integrated vineyard systems advisor for Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties.
Chen earned a B.S. in agronomy, a B.A. in economics, an M.S. in agronomy with specialization in viticulture and a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy with specialization in viticulture, all at UC Davis.
While in the master's program at UC Davis, Chen researched the efficacy of shade nets as heat-damage reduction tools for wine grapes at the UC Oakville Research Station in Napa Valley. He also assisted in field projects across California ranging from Delano and Paso Robles to Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. During his doctoral studies, Chen tested the salinity tolerance of wild and cultivated grapevine rootstocks stored at the UC Davis germplasm collection.
In his personal time, Chen enjoys playing guitar and venturing across California with his partner and Australian Shepherd.
Chen is headquartered at Hopland Research and Extension Center and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @GrapeProblems.
Smith joins Human Resources
Ian Smith has joined Human Resources as manager of employee and labor relations. He succeeds MaryVlandis, who retired in June. He will oversee the staff human relations and employee and labor relations functions.
Smith comes to UC ANR from the UC Systemwide Human Resources/Labor Relations Division of the Office of the President, where he has worked extensively in the collective bargaining process for the last eight years.
Prior to his work with UCOP, Smith worked in human resources in nonprofit human services as well as public utilities, and he has a wide range of HR experience in both the private and public sector on both the management and union sides.
He holds a Master in Public Administration degree and an undergraduate degree in music.
Smith is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Dillard, Harris, Uhrich, Almeida, D'Odorico elected AAAS Fellows
Five scientists affiliated with UC ANR are among 564 newly elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced Jan. 26.
AAAS fellows are scientists, engineers and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.
Helene Dillard, dean of UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was selected “For exemplary contributions to cross-disciplinary academic administration and global public outreach; for research in plant biology, ecology and management of fungal diseases; for agricultural production; and for mentoring and teaching.”
Linda J. Harris, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, was selected “For distinguished contributions to the field of food safety microbiology especially related to control of Salmonella and other pathogens in low-moisture foods and fresh produce.”
Kathryn Uhrich, dean of UC Riverside's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and a participating faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was selected for her contributions to the field of biodegradable polymers “that serve a critical need in therapeutics/drug delivery and service to the chemistry community.”
Rodrigo P. P. Almeida, UC Berkeley professor of emerging infectious disease ecology and the Hildebrand-Laumeister Chair in Plant Pathology, was selected for distinguished contributions to the field of ecology, particularly for experimental and modeling work on the ecology, evolution and management of insect-transmitted plant pathogens.
Paolo D'Odorico, UC Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management, was selected for major scientific advances in ecohydrology and food-water-energy systems.
An induction ceremony for the new fellows will take place during the AAAS annual meeting, to be held online this year Feb. 17-20.
Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science and other journals. Its mission is to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.
Sidhu honored as one of 40 Under 40
Jaspreet Sidhu, UCCE vegetable crops advisor in Kern County, has been named one of the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 by fruit and vegetable industry members across the country.
This honor is reserved exclusively for outstanding young industry professionals who are demonstrating exceptional commitment to making their mark in the industry through innovation and leadership.
Sidhu's applied research and extension program is directed towards developing, evaluating, and implementing pest management practices in commercial vegetable cropping systems. The overall goal of her program is to enhance the profitability and sustainability of vegetable production in Kern County and across California. Sidhu earned her B.S. and M.S. from Punjab Agricultural University in India and her Ph.D. in entomology from Louisiana State University.
The Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 was honored during a reception at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO on Dec. 7. Gary Pullano, editor of Fruit Growers News, and Stephen Kloosterman, associate editor of Fruit Growers News, presented the honorees with a certificate and gift bag.
Read more about the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 at https://vegetablegrowersnews.com/40under40.
CAWG names Oberholster 2022 Leader of the Year
Anita Oberholster, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, was selected by the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) as the 2022 Leader of the Year.
CAWG President John Aguirre said, “Dr. Oberholster is an esteemed researcher and leading voice as an educator and expert on the complicated issues surrounding wildfire smoke and winegrapes. Her relentless drive to help by sharing her expertise and frequent communication have been incredibly beneficial to growers and vintners, and CAWG appreciates all that she has done for California's winegrowers.”
The Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual whose record of exceptional leadership has benefitted California's wine industry and is an inspiration to others. The recipient has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to issues of significant importance to winegrape growers and has achieved lasting changes to promote and protect the interests of California winegrape growers.
As a UCCE specialist, Oberholster focuses on continuing education for the grape and wine industry, while her research program concentrates on current issues in the grape and wine industry. Her core research program focuses on the influence of viticultural practices and environmental factors on grape ripening and composition, and related wine quality and investigations to determine the influence of different vinification practices on wine composition and quality.
Since 2017, smoke exposure in winegrapes has become one of her primary research subjects. She is investigating the absorption of volatile phenols on to grapes and the subsequent impact on wine composition and quality. Oberholster has been instrumental in the research and dissemination of information regarding smoke exposed fruit. She has been an active member of the West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force and a presenter for CAWG-supported webinars and meetings.
Oberholster received the award on Jan. 25 during the 2022 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento.
Light wins Conservation Education Award
Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor for Sutter, Yuba, and Colusa counties, won the Conservation Education Award from the Soil and water Conservation Society's California/Nevada chapter. Light and Liz Harper, executive director of Colusa Resource Conservation District, share the award for Soil Health Connection, a series of videos they produced. The award was presented Jan. 7 during a webinar.
The Soil Health Connection connects farmers with experts in the fields of soil health and agronomy. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, soil health consists of five principles: soil armor, minimal soil disturbance, plant diversity, continual live plants/roots, and livestock integration.
Light and Harper interviewed farmers, scientists, policy advocates, and farm advisors who are involved in improving soil health in the Sacramento Valley. The 35 videos range from a two-minute video demonstrating a soil nitrate quick test to longer interviews about soil health, grazing, cultivation practices and policy.
See the Soil Health Connection on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRI4lXL4f_ro_Flnp4lu6IA.
Ritchie earns JNEB Platinum Author recognition
The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) has designated Lorrene Ritchie as a Platinum Author.
Over the past 10 years, Ritchie has been author or co-author of more than 10 papers published in JNEB, according to Editor-in-Chief Karen Chapman-Novakofski.
“We recognize that authors have many choices when selecting the right place to publish and are pleased that you have chosen JNEB, the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior's peer-reviewed journal, so often as an outlet for your research,” Chapman-Novakofski wrote. “We hope you will consider JNEB for your papers in the future to continue advancing research, practice and policy. We truly appreciate the excellent manuscripts you send.”
Final position proposals due Sept. 15 for 2018 Call for Cooperative Extension positions
On Aug. 1, phase 2 of the Cooperative Extension Positions Call process ended and phase 3 began. During phase 2, the Program Teams reviewed the 40 phase 1 proposals and submitted six additional proposals. All submitted proposals are posted on the 2018 Call for Position web page: http://ucanr.edu/2018callforpositions.
- The statewide programs and institutes are now reviewing all 46 proposed positions to determine if there are any positions they feel are of higher priority.
- If so, they can propose up to two additional CE advisor positions and two additional CE specialist positions by Sept. 15 – keeping in mind that the more proposals there are at the end, the lower the probability of being approved for recruitment.
- The proposals that did not make the phase 1 final 40 can be picked up during these subsequent phases. They can be found on the proposal ideas web page. New proposals are not limited to these ideas.
After Sept. 15, Program Council will review all the feedback and make recommendations to the vice president.
“We thank the ANR network for actively engaging in this participatory process to strengthen and rebuild CE positions statewide,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president.
ANR to join UCPath next spring
UCPath is a systemwide initiative launched by the University of California to modernize its current payroll system, which is nearly 40 years old. Using new technology, UCPath will unify and standardize payroll, benefits and human resource systems for all UC employees.
Employees at Office of the President, UC Merced and UC Riverside have already made the transition. UCLA and UC Santa Barbara are scheduled to join UCPath this fall. UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UC ANR are scheduled to join in April 2019.
This initiative involves a single payroll and HR technology system, a shared services center in Riverside, and the formation of UC ANR as a distinct business unit within UC. The formation of UC ANR as a stand-alone business unit, rather than as part of UCOP or a campus, is one of the strategic initiatives supported by President Napolitano, and provides an opportunity to improve efficiency and strengthen compliance and accountability.
“UC Path will transform the way we do business,” said Fox. “Our fiscal silos will be unified, hugely improving the accuracy of our fiscal data and the speed with which we can access it. It will also give all of us better access to information and improved tools for hiring and transaction approvals.”
Business officers and administrative staff will be key to the success of UCPath for ANR.
“They are the people who know how to get things done in ANR today,” Fox said. “We want to support them in becoming UCPath experts to help ANR employees navigate the new systems and processes.”
Business officers and administrative staff who missed the UCPath Network kick-off Zoom meeting with Fox can view a recording of the Aug 24 session at https://ucdavis.app.box.com/v/ucpathnetwork. The next monthly session will be on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 11 a.m. to noon.
Highlights of UCPath when it goes live in spring 2019:
- User-friendly, mobile-enabled portal to view and update personal data and manage benefits
- The UCPath Center in Riverside will help with benefits, payroll and personnel services
- Direct deposit in up to three accounts
- New recruitment tools and enhanced candidate experience
- Manager self-service access to reports and employee data
- Improved security for payroll and personnel data
- Automated routing for approval of personnel and certain pay transactions
- Improved online employee appraisal system
- Standard set of reports provided to all UC business units
Academics who are affiliated with a campus should refer to their respective campus UCPath websites. More information is on UC ANR's UCPath website at http://ucanr.edu/UCPath and it will continue to be updated as we approach the launch.
An email account has been set up to receive questions and comments about UCPath: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Names in the News
Delk joins Development Services
Emily Delk joined the Development Services team in August as the director of Annual Giving and Donor Stewardship Programs.
She brings fundraising and event planning experience from a broad background of nonprofit organizations including the Crocker Art Museum, Sutter Health, and Fairytale Town. Earlier this year, Delk was selected as one of 10 development professionals to compete for cash and in-kind support through a public-speaking program called Fast Pitch, where she earned high praise and won top prizes.
She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in communications from Chapman University in Orange.
Delk is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1346 and email@example.com.
Eskalen moves to UC Davis
Akif Eskalen, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist whose research focuses on plant pathology at UC Riverside, has accepted a new position at UC Davis. He will be filling the position of his late mentor, Doug Gubler. From now on, he will work on grapes, strawberries, caneberries, blueberries and other tree fruits.
“Akif has been instrumental in bringing new light to the understanding of such basic disease problems as citrus twig and shoot dieback, citrus botryosphaeria branch canker, citrus dry root rot and ‘Fukumoto' foamy bark (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/citrusdiseases.html),” wrote Ben Faber, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, in the Topics for Subtropics blog. “He has cleared up the mysteries surrounding avocado black streak, dothiorella branch canker and avocado stem and leaf blight. His studies have also covered oak diseases that are exacerbated by invasive pests (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/handouts/oakwoodlandsdiseasesmanagement.pdf).”
Eskalen and John Kabashima, UCCE advisor emeritus, recently received the Award of Arboricultural Research from the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, recognizing their research on the polyphagous shot hole borer, a beetle that is causing severe fusarium dieback damage to avocado and landscape trees in Southern California (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/pshb.html).
Eskalen can be reached at 267 Hutchison Hall at UC Davis and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoddle and Stouthamer elected ESA fellows
Mark Hoddle and Richard Stouthamer have been elected 2018 fellows of the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines.
Hoddle and Stouthamer are among 10 new fellows elected by the Governing Board of the ESA, an honor that acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration or the military.
Hoddle, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of UC Riverside's Center for Invasive Species Research, is known for his work on the biological control of invasive arthropods that adversely affect agricultural, urban and wilderness areas.
Stouthamer, a UC Riverside professor of entomology, is known for his research on wolbachia, invasive species and insect-transmitted plant pathogens.
The fellows will be recognized during Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia, Nov. 11-14, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Merenlender elected California Academy of Sciences fellow
Adina Merenlender has been elected a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. She will be formally inducted on Oct. 9 during the Fellows Annual Meeting and Gathering in San Francisco. The Fellows of the California Academy of Sciences are a group of distinguished scientists, nominated and appointed in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the natural sciences. Fellows help extend the academy's positive impact on research, public engagement and education through individual and collaborative efforts with academy researchers and staff.
In a nominating letter, UC Berkeley biology professor Claire Kremen called Merenlender “an accomplished and impactful conservation biologist.”
Merenlender's work spans an array of topics, from genes to ecosystems and single species management to regional land use planning. Currently she is involved in three main research efforts:
- Land use planning to support biodiversity conservation and climate resilience in California oak woodlands
- Watershed restoration and sustainable watershed management in Mediterranean ecosystems
- Development of effective citizen science and amateur naturalist and steward training programs with lasting benefits for biodiversity conservation
According to the academy, the scientists elected as fellows have shown strong evidence of world-class impact, measured through publications, discoveries and awards. Merelender has published more than 80 papers in conservation biology, including co-writing the book “Corridor Ecology: the science and practice of linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation.” In 2016, Merenlender was recognized for her extension and outreach when she won the UC ANR Distinguished Service Award.
In its selection criteria for fellows, the academy notes that potential candidates are engaged in science communication efforts.
Merenlender is founder and director of the UC California Naturalist program. The program launched in 2012 with five partner institutions and has grown into a network of more than 37 partners. They have collectively offered more than 100 certification courses, training 1,864 naturalists who have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours, reaching 53,000 people.
Building on the success of the California Naturalist program, Merenlender is designing a Climate Stewards program to provide outreach, training and engagement with diverse audiences on climate change science and policy. The Climate Stewards advisory team has set the goal of launching the program in 2019.
“As an extension scientist, (Merenlender) is strongly attuned to the importance of conducting research with direct relevance to contemporary environmental challenges and to connecting research with conservation on the ground,” wrote UC Berkeley professor David Ackerly in a letter seconding Merenlender's nomination to be a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. – Jeannette Warnert
UC communicators bring home gold, silver and bronze
Six communicators affiliated with UC Davis and UC ANR received a total of 10 awards for excellence from the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).
They brought home five gold or first-place awards: three silver or second-place awards; and two bronze or third-place awards. “That was quite a haul!” commented an ACE member on Facebook.
Diane Nelson, communication specialist with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won two golds. One was for promotional writing, “Weighing Pig Personality,” (https://bit.ly/2KDdYmQ), featuring animal science professor Kristina Horback's pioneering research examining the role personality plays in the welfare and sustainable production of pigs. The second gold was for web writing, “The Last Stop: When There's Nowhere Colder to Go,” (https://bit.ly/2M6iOOR), spotlighting research by animal science professor Anne Todgham, who studies how climate change affects polar species. Both of Nelson's submissions drew perfect scores from the judges.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communication specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won gold for best newswriting, “Why These Youngsters Want to Become Entomologists” (https://bit.ly/2sYwhye), about children of California migratory workers touring the Bohart Museum of Entomology and then staging a press conference to interview director Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology. Judges awarded the news story a perfect score. Garvey also received a silver in the writing-for-the-web category for her Bug Squad blog post, “Once Upon a Monarch” (https://bit.ly/2BrePU5). She writes the blog, launched in 2008, every night, Monday through Friday, on the UC ANR website.
http://calag.ucanr.edu). California Agriculture is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news on California's agricultural, natural and human resources. First published in December 1946, it is one of the country's oldest, continuously published, land-grant university research publications.
David Slipher, director of marketing and communications for the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, won gold for best picture story for his piece on “Pigeon Parenting” (https://bit.ly/2KCfCoN), focusing on research from the Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez lab. Calisi Rodríguez is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior.
Steve Elliot, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, won two silvers and a bronze: a silver for his photo essay, “America's Arctic Agriculture: Growing Crops, Managing Pests and Monitoring Invasives in Alaska” (https://bit.ly/2OS2Vtc); silver for the diversity awards video category, “Gold Spotted Oak Borer: A Threat to California's Oaks” (https://youtu.be/In2e5atd3ZY); and a bronze for the Western IPM Center's monthly newsletter, “The Western Front” (https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s). The center, a USDA-funded program, aims to promote smart, safe and sustainable pest management to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West, encompassing 17 western states and territories.
Gregory Watry, science writer for the College of Biological Sciences, won a bronze award in the “Writing for Diverse Audiences” (https://bit.ly/2M4Nq3o) in a diversity awards category. The story described undergraduate research opportunities in Calisi Rodriguez's lab.
ACE is a worldwide association of communicators, educators and information technologists, offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences. The awards were presented Aug. 7 at the 2018 Ag Media Summit held in Scottsdale, Ariz., where ACE members joined forces with U.S. crop and livestock news media professionals. – Kathy Keatley Garvey