Feeding the Need Developing Solutions Award Recipients

Nicole Chenard

Nicole Chenard, MS, RD, LDN
Owner, Major League Nutrition

Lack of reliable access to sufficient healthy food affects health outcomes and increases health costs. Food is Medicine refers to a myriad of services and interventions that respond to the strong link between nutrition and health. Nicole Chenard has been collaborating with the Food is Medicine in Massachusetts Provider Nutrition Education Coalition, representing the dietitians of Massachusetts to help educate physicians, dentists, pharmacists, healthcare lawmakers and higher education professionals build a health care system that recognizes the critical relationship between food and health and ensures access to the nutrition services Massachusetts residents need to prevent, manage, and treat diet-related illness. 

Nicole Chenard

Dara Dirhan EdD, MPH, RD, LDN
West Chester University

As Career Guidance Coordinator on the board of the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dara created a video series project called "What Dietitians Do."  The intent of this project is to recruit and retain diverse individuals in the nutrition and dietetics profession by introducing them to the many and varied opportunities in this growing field. The video series is a repository of sixteen videos recorded by dietitians in different areas of specialty, encouraging high school students to consider a career in dietetics. The video series is set to be distributed to high school guidance counselors at 732 of the most diverse high schools in the state of Pennsylvania. The video series will be used by the guidance counselors during one-on-one career counseling sessions with high school students, at career fairs, and career days.

Nicole Chenard

Catherine Rogers McManus, PhD, RDN, LD
Case Western Reserve University

While Type I Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) accounts for only 5% of the diabetic population in the U.S., the prevalence of this lifelong, taxing autoimmune disease has been steadily rising over the past two decades. Due to its multi-faceted and arduous nature, T1DM often takes a physical, emotional & psychological toll not only on the diagnosed child, but their family as well. Furthermore, due to the complex nutritional nature of the disease and the direct link between food consumption and blood glucose levels, consuming a well-balanced diet is vital for the short- and long-term health outcomes of individuals with TIDM. The prevalence of feeding issues and poor dietary quality are exceptionally high among youth with T1DM, which can lead to detrimental consequences with disease management, as well as growth and development. Culinary medicine shows great potential to improve dietary quality and disease management among youth with T1DM due to its success in improving diet/eating behaviors in youth in general and management of type 2 diabetes in adults but is not readily available.

Therefore, DICE (Diabetes Inspired Culinary Education) was designed as an innovative family- and community-based culinary medicine intervention aiming to improve diet quality and diabetes management among 6-14 year old youth with T1DM. The DICE program includes 10, 90-minute lessons delivered weekly over the dinner hour in a community teaching kitchen. Each of the 10 educational lessons focuses on a specific nutrition or diabetes management topic and includes: hands-on culinary education; interactive, experiential and tailored diabetes education; a group family meal prepared by participating families; behavioral goal-setting; and take-home food, recipes and kitchen resources. The DICE curriculum content and delivery is evidence-based and aligns with current dietary and diabetes management recommendations provided by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Diabetes Association, respectively.

Nicole Chenard

Eli Wenger & Patrick Walsh    
Martha's Choice Marketplace

Martha’s Choice Marketplace, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is the largest, most visited food pantry in Montgomery County, serving more than 1000 families and 3500 individuals each month. As Director of Programs, Patrick Walsh, along with a core group of committed team members, worked on facilitating the acquisition of Martha’s Community Farm, and fostering multiple community partnerships, so that Martha’s Choice Marketplace can now offer expanded services such as access to home grown fresh fruits and vegetables, gardening plots and education programs to marginalized communities in Norristown. The goal is to create a sustainable strategy for empowering individuals and families to participate in growing and harvesting their own fresh produce. 

Nicole Chenard

Olivia Weinstein, MS, RD
Boston Medical Center

Through her work in dietetics, Olivia Weinstein observed a disconnect between what individuals learn in nutrition education programs and what they do at home. Upon further investigation, the underlying problem became clear that most people have difficulty navigating through complicated dietary guidance. While Medically Tailored Meal (MTM) programs make this easier, they are expensive and do not promote sustainable behavioral change. To address this need, Olivia inspired a mobile application that helps people manage and prevent chronic disease by building healthy cooking habits at home using a science-based learning model which collects data about how individuals learn and compares it with health outcomes. The app allows users to tailor ingredients to meet patient needs using foods the individual already has on hand. The app is currently being tested for use in a variety of clinical and community scenarios.



Villanova University
Driscoll Hall
800 E. Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, Pa 19085

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