Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
University of California
Nutrition Policy Institute

Past NPI Brown Bags

The UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute Brown Bag seminar series allows the current NPI staff and affiliated colleagues to hear from guest researchers, policymakers, and program leaders – to learn, to inspire, and to stretch our thinking about public health.

Below is a list of past NPI Brown Bags speakers.


Date Topic and Speakers
January 16, 2020

Mandela Partners: Building an Equitable Food System with Food Access Programming

Ciara Segura, Mandela Partners & Gail Woodward-Lopez

Ciara introduced Mandela Partners, a non-profit organization that has run innovative and community-centered programming to address ensuring fair pricing for small farmers who grow sustainably while simultaneously keeping the cost of produce affordable enough for low-income residents. Their food access programs were created to secure residents’ right to access fresh, affordable, and healthy food in convenient and familiar spaces in their neighborhoods. 

Gail shared Key findings and highlights from NPI's work conducting an evaluation of the Mandela Partners’ healthy retail activities from 2014-2017 as part of a CDC REACH grant.

[Presentation and slide decks coming soon]


November 21, 2019

Building on low-income consumer perspectives and practices to inform healthy retail interventions

Sridharshi Hewawitharana, UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute

Sridharshi Hewawitharana, data analyst with the Nutrition Policy Institute, presented findings from three projects funded by the California Department of Public Health, Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOP) projects: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participant Voices; Communities of Excellence in Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention (CX3); and a healthy retail literature review. She outlined the barriers low-income consumers face to healthful eating, the strategies they use to address those barriers, and the evidence regarding healthy retail interventions. 

[Presentation Recording] [Slides]


October 3, 2019

Nutrition research in a hard-to-reach population

Susana Matias, Cooperative Extension Specialist  from UC Berkeley Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology

Latino farmworkers represent a vulnerable and understudied population, with high rates of chronic disease and limited access to health care. Susana Matias, Cooperative Extension Specialist  from UC Berkeley Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology presented findings from a cohort study of Latino farmworker families in Central California and a randomized trial conducted in Salinas and Oxnard. Her results elucidated their health risks, as well as promising intervention strategies in this medically underserved population.


September 5, 2019

Advancing equitable food systems through evidence-based policy 

Sabrina Adler and Nessia Berner Wong of ChangeLab Solutions

As an organization focused on using law and policy to advance health equity ChangeLab Solutions must balance the evidence-base research for action and the values and expertise of the communities we work with. Sabrina Adler, JD and Nessia Berner Wong, MPH from ChangeLab Solutions joined NPI to share examples of this approach in practice at the national, state, and local level; as well as how food system values influence this work. For more information please listen to the brown bag recording.

[Presentation Recording]

August 29, 2019

Community-based participatory approach to developing affordable, healthy menus 

Karen Jetter PhD, researcher with the UC Agricultural Issues Center 

Described the development of a community-based participatory research project with the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria in California in 2010 to develop two weeks of menu that are both affordable and meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Using market basket research techniques, Jetter worked with tribal community members to determine the cost of the menu to be as low as $25 per day for a family of four, or $750 for a 30-day month. At the time, maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for a low-income family of four was $668. In 2015, after adjusting for inflation and increase in food prices, the menu cost $27.95 a day or $838 a month, much higher than the maximum SNAP benefits in 2015 which decreased to $639 a month. This 4.3% decline in SNAP benefits while food prices were increasing makes it hard for the most economically vulnerable to afford a healthy diet. For more information, please see Jetter's presentation slide deck and the Brown Bag recording.

July 11, 2019

The digital frontiers of junk food marketing that targets kids of color

Lori Dorfman DrPH, director of Berkeley Media Studies Group, a program of the Public Health Institute,

Lori Dorfman described how the era of Big Data and mobile marketing has transformed the food marketing landscape that ensnares children and youth today. All children deserve the opportunity to be healthy and thrive, but an all-too-common marketing practice in which food and beverage companies target kids of color with ads for junk food and soda is compromising the health of young African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. In her presentation, Dr. Dorfman outlined the current landscape of junk food and sugary drink targeted marketing, and shared concrete actions that kids, parents, advocates, researchers, and policymakers can take to help hold industry accountable. A PowerPoint slide deck, developed by Berkeley Media Studies Group with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is available for free download on their website, and Dr. Dorfman encourages advocates and others to adapt and use the presentation to help raise the visibility of targeted marketing as a health equity issue. For more information, please see the following publications: Health equity & junk food marketing: Talking about targeting kids of color and Big Data and the transformation of food and beverage marketing: undermining efforts to reduce obesity?

June 25, 2019

Rethinking School Lunch Oakland

Mahasin Mujahid and Moira O'Neill

Since 2009 more than 70 percent of Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) students have qualified for free or reduced-price lunch—well above the national average. Recognizing that persistent risk of hunger and poor health outcomes impact educational outcomes, OUSD with the Center for Ecoliteracy, launched Rethinking School Lunch Oakland (RSLO). RSLO is comprehensive systems change approach to school meal reform that requires, among other things, infrastructure and equipment investment to improve the quality of school food. Mahasin Mujahid, Associate Professor and Chancellor's Professor of Public Health at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and Moira O'Neill, Associate Research Scientist in the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment at UC Berkeley, lead a discussion on RSLO, its implementation and its impact on student eating, particularly in schools where food insecurity appears prevalent.


May 9, 2019

Pesticides in Food: Residues, risks and reality

Dr. Carl Winter, Cooperative Extension food toxicologist and vice chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis

Pesticide residues in foods represent an issue of considerable public concern. How much residue is in our foods and are these amounts risky? Dr. Carl Winter, Cooperative Extension food toxicologist and vice chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, addressed these issues and provided answers to several popular consumer questions about food safety. Dr. Winter is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists and the 2012 recipient of the Borlaug Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Communication Award. View the presentation, read the slides and hear Dr. Winter sing about food safety.

[Slides] [Presentation video] [food safety song

March 26, 2019

Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act

Ken Hecht, Nutrition Policy Insititute Policy Director

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act authorizes all of the federal school meal and child nutrition programs that provide funding to ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods. The child nutrition programs touch millions of children each day and improve educational achievement, economic security, nutrition and health. Ken Hecht lead a discussion on the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act and potential changes to improve the current policy.





















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