Schedule of Speakers

Spring 2016: Food and Politics

The Spring 2016 Speaker Series will be held in the WVU Health Sciences Center, North, Room 1905. Lunch is available at Noon, Speakers begin at 12:15 pm.
*Unless otherwise noted

To register for any of the SPH Dialogues, please e-mail All presentations are free and open to the public.


January 22, 2016

Healthy Food in West Virginia: The Farm to Table Movement

Panel Discussion

Cheryl Brown is an Associate Professor in the Agricultural and Resource Economics program at West Virginia University. Cheryl’s research focuses on multiple aspects of agricultural sustainability, including organic and direct marketing, small farm viability, local and regional food system development, community food security, and impacts of the food system on health.

Daniel Eades is an Extension specialist in rural economics for West Virginia University Extension’s Community, Economic, and Workforce Development (CEWD) unit. Daniel’s technical expertise in community data analysis and economic impact analysis provides communities and local leaders with information necessary to make informed economic development decisions.

Elizabeth Spellman is the Executive director of the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition. Elizabeth has experience furthering local and regional food systems from a legal, organizing, and on the ground perspective. She grew up in Virginia, where her passion for food and agriculture developed via work on farms and starting the UVA Community Garden.


To attend the presentation online, please register for Public Health Dialogue Series before Jan 22, 2016 12:00 PM EST at: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


February 12, 2016

Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health Sponsored Speaker

Transgender veterans and the suicide risk in the Veterans Health Administration

John R. Blosnich, PhD. MPH
Research Health Scientist, Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dr. Blosnich will discuss reasons for the high prevalence of transgender Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration and describe suicidal risk and suicide mortality among transgender VHA veterans.

Please register for Public Health Dialogue Series before Feb 12, 2016 12:00 PM EST at: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


February 17, 2016

* 10 am - noon in the Fukushima Auditorium, reception to follow

Food Access: A Dialogue Between Research Groups

This event will feature different groups and researchers working on food access in West Virginia. The audience is invited to participate in the discussion.

WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program

The WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program provides evidence-based nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions to limited income adults and youth in 40 counties in West Virginia with the support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

WV Food and Farm Coalition – Food Access Work Group

It is the mission of the food access working group to provide opportunities for increased availability, affordability and accessibility of local foods so that West Virginia can meet the goal of consuming healthy, local food at the household level in order to improve the overall health of West Virginia citizens.


WV FOODLINK works with West Virginia's emergency food networks to develop resources that connect anti-hunger organizations and spurs conversations with the wider public about food access issues in the state. WV FOODLINK is a project of the Food Justice Laboratory housed in the Dept of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University. The project is driven by a vision that all people must have access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in sufficient quantity and quality to sustain a healthy life with human dignity.

SPH Research Project on Food Access

Lauri Andress currently serves as Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management & Leadership in the WVU School of Public Health. Her research uses nontraditional policy evidence tools to explore the social determinants of health and related policy solutions for chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Dr. Andress has examined infrastructure in rural communities including barriers to food access for WIC clients and seniors in West Virginia and the policy process for built environment initiatives at the local level.


March 4, 2016

* Doors open at 11:40 am, Speaker begins at 11:45 am in the Okey Patteson Auditorium

How Agricultural Policies Affect Nutrition

John Courtney, Executive Officer of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

During his tenure as the Chief Executive, Courtney has developed innovative programs in education & professional development, launched new nutrition publications and expanded activities and services to 72 countries around the world. During this unprecedented level of growth for the society, ASN revenue has more than doubled, membership has increased by over 90%, and ASN has become a central resource where policymakers, government funders and thought leaders go to get the latest information on nutrition research and practice. ASN publishes the number one and number two ranked journals in the field, holds the largest nutrition science annual meeting in world, and is a leader in nutrition public policy and advocacy.

Click Link Below To Join Webcast:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


April 8, 2016

*Doors open at 11:15 am, Speaker begins at 11:30 am. Book signing to follow.

Labor, economics, and politics: How the Working Poor Eats

Tracie McMillan, an award-winning journalist whose work centers on food and class, is a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. She is the author of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table.



The Public Health Dialogues Speaker Series is sponsored by the Office of Public Health Practice and Workforce Development within the WVU School of Public Health. We are proud to be West Virginia's Local Performance Site for the Health Resources and Services Administration Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center.


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB6HP27882 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Public Health Training Centers for $855,000.00. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.