Tag Archives: EFNEP


As a special feature of DC Food Justice for Women’s History Month and National Nutrition Month, community leaders in the food justice movement will be showcased. This month’s focus is on the role of women in advocating for their communities to improve quality of life through food and nutrition.


by Tambra Stevenson


WASHINGTON, DCIn saluting women making a difference in the food justice movement, this week’s food fighter is Evelyn Crayton, EdD, RD, LD, a pioneer in opening doors for women in the field of nutrition. I met her during the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program National Conference  hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC in February.

Standing in the middle of the room, Dr. Crayton made an announcement that Auburn University in conjunction with Dominican University were offering Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways, a new program through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her goal is to increase the number of Extension Agents and people of color in becoming Registered Dietitians given the changing landscape in nutrition to have the credentials.

With only 3 percent of African-American Registered Dietitians in the United States, creating more opportunities like the ISSP are critically important to combat the diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension in the most impacted communities, mostly of color.

One door was opened for Charmaine Jones, a student at the University of the District of Columbia, working for the public policy office of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  After not being selected  for a dietetic internship through the DICAS system, Charmaine applied and was accepted into the ISPP because of Dr. Crayton. As an alternate route to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam, ISSPs are more affordable, flexible, and still provide the preceptor-led experiences giving students up to three years to complete.

Presently there are more students pursuing the field of dietetics than there are slots available for dietetic internships. For instance in 2009, 4799 applicants applied for 2503 openings leaving a 50% match rate, which is the lowest in computer matching history for dietetics and not getting lower each year. That contrasts the 73% match rate in 2003. Once accepted many programs want tuition paid up front and don’t accept federal loans, or offer financial assistance leaving students, particularly of color, in a pinch.

Sharing her impact by our food fighter, Charmaine states: “Dr. Evelyn Crayton is not only a mentor, but an angel from heaven who whispered, “Never to give up on your dreams no matter how tough the road seems ahead.”

A Louisiana native, Dr. Crayton serves as the assistant director for family and community programs for Alabama Cooperative Extension Services based at Auburn University. In bringing her on to the new post, Dr. Sam Fowler, Extension associate director, rural and traditional programs stated: “She is internationally recognized for her work in both nutrition and health. We feel that Dr. Crayton will be able to provide very effective leadership for both family and community programs and that both of these important areas will continue to be part of our core programs in Extension.”

Graduating in the 1960s at Grambling State University, the proud mom of three and wife of 40-plus years received her dietetics license and later earned her master’s degree in dietetics in 1972 from St. Louis University. Afterwards she gained 5 years of clinical nutrition experience working St. Louis-based hospitals.  In the ‘90s, she earned her doctorate in vocational and adult education from Auburn University in 1991.


Tambra Stevenson is the President of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia where she was selected a recent Verizon Scholar.  She can be reached via Twitter @tambra.


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The Tracks Stop in Africa: Advocating for a Diverse Food Tracker for All

USDA launches tool to track nutrition and activity

by Tambra Stevenson

WASHINGTON, DC—“Where are the African, Caribbean and even Kosher foods on this list?” Tambra Stevenson, a nutrition educator, inquires to Constance Schneider, Ph.D., R.D., lead for the Food Substitution Project. In the colorful handouts on the table, Chinese and Hispanic foods are on the list of ethnic foods. Schneider of University of California-Davis shares the food tracker with the room of nutrition program coordinators and state leaders. The food tracker is handy tool for people to assess their nutrient intake of their daily meals.

However if you eat African or Caribbean foods, you may not find those foods. With educating the nutrition community, that can change. During the committee update on Thursday at the National Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Conference in Washington, DC, the project lead states ‘African American’ foods are on the list. However Stevenson, a conference participant, emphasizes: ‘African foods. There is a difference.’ After the round table, one west African participant thanks Stevenson for raising the issue.

In an email to Schneider, Stevenson states, “Given the growing and prominent population size of foreign-born Africans and Caribbean [population] particularly on the East Coast, having readily available user-friendly nutrition information is key in addressing the public’s health. Furthermore many people in the area who are not African or Caribbean descent consume these foods. Therefore I find it relevant and pertinent that these foods are included within the Food Tracker and ethnic food database.”

She goes on to state: “To assist in this effort, an ethnic crop specialist focused on West African foods at the University of the District of Columbia can provide a list of ethnic produce. Also as there are international food databases through the UN which capture this data as well.”

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion within the United States Department of Agriculture is the lead agency to craft the Super Tracker. The newly created site empowers people to build a healthier diet based on personal preferences that also meet nutrient needs and stay within their Calorie allowance.  The online interactive tool pulls nutrient information from the USDA national nutrient database.

How do I add a new food to the Foods Database?

The new foods database in CRS5 comes from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion’s (CNPP) MyPyramid Foods Database. CNPP will be continually updating the food list and associated databases in the MyPyramid Tracker and welcomes your contributions of new foods. If you are unable to find a food in the MyPyramid Tracker and are interested in adding the food to the food and nutrient databases please compile the following information:

  • Food descriptor
  • Nutrients (visit the USDA National Nutrient Database for the required format and the current food listing)
  • Recipe
  • Moisture loss or gain due to cooking or preparation Pyramid serving equivalent

Once you have complete information for each of the items above, send a message to the NEERS5 Help Desk and request instructions for submission. 

Currently if someone can’t find certain foods in the Tracker, then a person can compile the nutrient information to send to USDA. That course of action isn’e t feasible for many with the time constraints and learning curve. And that’s why one EFNEP conference participant chose to become a USDA visiting scholar for two weeks to travel to USDA labs in Beltsville, MD to work on ethnic food databases. With the enormity of the project, that mission was not accomplished.

Tambra Raye Stevenson, MS is the President of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia. You can reach her on twitter.com/tambra or at tambra.stevenson@alumni.tufts.edu.

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