Gail Woodward-Lopez retires after 23 years of leadership in advancing nutrition

Jul 20, 2023

Young people across California and the U.S. enjoy healthier, more nutritious food options at school, thanks to the contributions of Gail Woodward-Lopez, who retired on July 1 as the associate director of research at the Nutrition Policy Institute, a part of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Woodward-Lopez officially joined UCANR in 2015, when she and other researchers at the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley merged with NPI. But her association with UCANR goes back much further, as her work at CWH was always directed by UC Cooperative Extension academics – including the research that paved the way for California's "junk food ban" in schools. At NPI, the focus of Woodward-Lopez's work has been refining the evaluation and delivery of SNAP-Ed, the educational component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly referred to as "food stamps"). Known in California as CalFresh Healthy Living, SNAP-Ed represents the largest single source of ongoing funding for nutrition and physical activity promotion in the state – outside of the WIC program which serves women, infants and young children. "CalFresh Healthy Living can really impact millions of people," Woodward-Lopez said. "For county health departments, this is one of their main sources of funding and provides the backbone for everything else they do in nutrition and physical activity." Read more about Woodward-Lopez's numerous contributions to NPI and the field of public health nutrition. People interested in supporting Woodward-Lopez's legacy and the ongoing work in health and nutrition can donate to NPI's Student Fellowship, which provides students from underrepresented groups the opportunity to work on NPI research and be mentored by NPI researchers.

By Mike Hsu
Author - Senior Public Information Representative
By Danielle Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement