Candace Gabrielle Tunac
Nutrition and Psychology Double Major, Biology Minor
Candace will graduate in May 2024. She has worked as a nursing assistant at Parkside Villa, helping to feed patients and as a research assistant on a nutrition related project in the FPB School of Nursing. She describes this as her most meaningful nutrition experience and says " Working on our manuscript "The Impact of Food Insecurity and Low Food Access Areas on Adults with HIV in the United States" as an undergraduate research assistant has emphasized the importance of food and nutrition in the symptom experience of immunocompromising diseases. Food insecurity is defined as an inconsistent access to food for each person in a household to live a healthy life. From this research, we observed that being classified as food insecure is associated with higher rates of neuropathy, headaches, memory loss and weight loss for people living with HIV. Because this patient population already experiences distressing symptoms, the effects of inadequate eating makes their symptom experience worse. Just by making nutritional food more accessible, people living with HIV could potentially endure less severe detrimental symptoms. This study analyzed the symptoms and food security status of people living with HIV in and around the Cleveland metropolitan area. These study participants are our neighbors, friends, and coworkers. It quickly becomes personal when you assess your own environment. Working on this manuscript was very powerful by demonstrating how much eating habits affect daily life and physiological health. It also highlights how low socio-economic factors negatively impact well-being. This research further emphasizes the importance of food equity and that more work needs to be done to improve food accessibility in underserved communities."
Nutritional Biochemistry & Metabolism Major
Peter has devoted significant time and effort to supporting two causes: Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice (EYEJ) and the Centers Uptown Free Clinic.
Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice (EYEJ) is a social justice non-profit dedicated to addressing social issues faced by youth in Cleveland. One of Peter's primary focuses in the group has been addressing the issue of food deserts in Cleveland. To address this problem, Peter has helped to host and moderate debates and town halls with Cleveland's mayoral candidates and helped to lead a dialogue program called Youth Discussing Justice (YDJ). YDJ works with local middle and high school students to discuss issues affecting their communities, such as food deserts. Over the last few years, YDJ has involved almost 1,000 students and helped to give them the tools to be changemakers in their communities. Peter has served on the collective board of the nonprofit, as well as chaired the Millennial Task Force, leading a group of several dozen like-minded young adults. Peter is also setting up a follow-up town hall with Nina Turner, state senator and candidate for Ohio's 11th Congressional District around April 24th on-campus, so keep your eyes open for more information!
The Centers Uptown Free Clinic is a Federally Qualified Health Center, dedicated towards improving community health in Cleveland. Under Peter's scope of practice as an EMT as well as his nutrition experience, he helped to perform initial assessments and interviews for patients. In particular, Peter helped to compile nutrition resources in the surrounding area (food banks, etc), that he would be able to refer to patients. Unfortunately many clients are low-income and thus live in areas that are likely to be food deserts. Therefore, providing initial nutrition consults with resources has been an important first step for many of the Centers' patients, going hand in hand with the healthcare services provided at the Free Clinic.
If you're interested in getting involved, additional information can be found on the EYEJ and The Centers websites.
Fiona Fragomen has devoted significant time to Food Strong and during her time at case participated in CWRU Food Recovery Network as a member of exec.
Food Strong's mission is to strengthen and empower communities through fresh, local foods. They promote the cultivation, purchase and consumption of fresh, local foods while simultaneously providing linkage to the other vital services and resources.
Food is the tool they use to convene community members, bring in vital resources and foster overall community wellness. Food strong is always excepting volunteers for garden cleanups and Care-a-Van events where culinary demonstrations focus on nutrition information provided to local community members of East Cleveland at the Coit Market.
The Food Recovery Network is a student-run organization at CWRU (affiliated with the national FRN organization) whose primary goal is to fight food waste on campus while also addressing food insecurity in the surrounding Cleveland community. They recover unserved food from dining halls and retail food locations (such as Leutner, Tink, and Tomlinson), and then donate the food to community partners (including nearby churches and homeless shelters). They rely on a network of volunteers to recover and donate this food, so that is where YOU come in! In addition to food recoveries, the FRN also work to promote food waste prevention and sustainability initiatives on campus.
Additionally, Fiona has taken her nutrition knowledge to the next level during the summer by seeking opportunities to learn about farming and food systems through a program called WWOOF to learn the importance of where you source your food.
Last semester, Fiona attended a program at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona called integrative healthy cooking which melds nutrition and gastronomy to combat the myth that health food tastes bad and to better educate her future patients as a physician on how to apply the nutrition information she has learned at Case that can influence one’s health.
Fabiana Gabriela Irigoyen Jimenez
BS in Nutrition/MS in Nutrition
Fabiana Irigoyen has devoted significant time and effort to supporting three causes: the CWRU Student Dietetic Association (SDA), the CWRU Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), and the Cleveland Food Bank.
SDA is a group for students interested in nutrition and dietetics, including non-nutrition majors. They hold numerous professional development and networking events focusing on current issues in nutrition, as well as career opportunities for those earning a degree in nutrition or nutritional biochemistry.
SDA also participates in food and nutrition-related community service events and strives to educate the campus community about healthy living, usually in collaboration with other campus organizations and Bon Appetit. The group meets twice a month for general body meetings, and holds events throughout the semester. If you would like to be part of the SDA, please join us on CampusGroups or email our current executive board for more information.
The DPP works to address prediabetes and type 2 diabetes within the CWRU community via a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, a research-based program focusing on healthy eating and physical activity which showed that people with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old).
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio having served more than 343,000 people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties in FY2021. They do this through both food distribution and SNAP outreach efforts. The Food Bank operates a community food distribution center, providing food and other critical grocery products annually to more than 1,000 local food pantries, hot meal programs, shelters, mobile pantries, programs for the elderly and other nonprofit agencies. If you would like to volunteer with The Greater Cleveland Food Bank, please check out their website for the latest news and opportunities!
BS in Nutrition/MS in Nutrition
Maria Prokos has devoted significant time and effort to her work as a Milk Room Technician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. Opened in 2009, the Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a Level IV NICU, and staffed and equipped to care for critically ill and low birth weight infants. Maria's duties have included preparing enteral calculations and feeds for infants in the NICU and NICU step-down unit, as well as working within an interdisciplinary team of NICU nurses, dietitians, and food service managers, to help ensure these vulnerable populations receive optimal nutrition.
BS in Nutrition/MS in Nutrition
Josie Shiff has devoted significant time and effort to supporting the CWRU Food Recovery Network.
The Food Recovery Network is a student-run organization at CWRU (affiliated with the national FRN organization) whose primary goal is to fight food waste on campus while also addressing food insecurity in the surrounding Cleveland community. They recover unserved food from dining halls and retail food locations (such as Leutner, Tink, and Tomlinson), and then donate the food to community partners (including nearby churches and homeless shelters). They rely on a network of volunteers to recover and donate this food, so that is where YOU come in! In addition to food recoveries, the FRN also works to promote food waste prevention and sustainability initiatives on campus.
Interested students can get involved by joining the FRN CampusGroups page so they will receive our newsletter which includes shift sign-up, and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.