CHC Spring 2016 Newsletter

The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) is housed under the College of Natural Sciences

Naomi Stamper: One-Time Intern Joins CHC Professional Staff

naomi

People sometimes find just the right job—and land in the right place otherwise—as a direct result of pursuing their primary interests.

So it is for Naomi Stamper, newly hired at the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) as research analyst and fiscal manager. She is the CHC’s 19th benefited staff member.

Stamper had just completed her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara when she first heard of the nutrition science graduate program at California State University, Chico. The program’s emphasis on science was a major draw, Stamper says now of her Chico State choice. But after graduation, she stayed on for a year to work in the microbiology lab on the Santa Barbara campus, where the beach and the Pacific Ocean were right outside the front door.

Giving up her ocean-view workplace was possible in the end only because Stamper had someplace better to go—her grandparents’ two-acre homestead in Paradise, located conveniently close to Chico and her preferred grad school program.

As a graduate student at Chico State, Stamper started to hear a great deal about the CHC and its 27 community health and nutrition programs. And what she heard, she liked very much, especially because she had long wanted to put her skills to use in the field of community nutrition.

Stamper started at the CHC as an intern in January 2013, working on research and evaluation related to the CHC’s school lunch plate waste study. She was soon a CHC student employee, taking on increasing levels of responsibility with three separate food safety training research projects funded by the CSU’s statewide Agricultural Research Institute (ARI).

“As I settled in, I realized this kind of work is close to what I wanted to be doing,” she says.

As CHC’s research analyst, Stamper works hands-on with all ARI program-related activities. She also helps track and manage in-house program evaluations as needed, and works on grant proposals and other administrative tasks. As fiscal manager, she develops and tracks budgets and assists with overarching fiscal projects throughout the CHC.

There are two “best things” about her job, she says. The first is that she’s never bored.

“Every day is totally different,” Stamper says, smiling. “It’s always exciting, because I never know what I will be getting done on any given day.”

The second? Being able to work with “such lovely people. Working with people here is so wonderful.”

There’s not much room in Naomi Stamper’s work schedule for new projects, at least not at the moment. But the one thing she dreams of doing “in all my free time” is tearing into the CHC’s admin share drive—shaped over the years by many hands and many projects—to reorganize it from top to bottom.

Only a dyed-in-the-wool analyst would confess to such a goal, or look forward to tackling it.

CHC Commended for Civic Engagement

students tabling

The CHC student internship and employment program has long been hailed as a model of civic engagement and service learning, most recently by the California Department of Public Health’s Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch. In May, the Office of Civic Engagement at CSU, Chico also publicly recognized the CHC’s success.

Bolstered by its well-trained student staff, the CHC has developed a number of successful programs that support community health, health education, and related research.

Best known are student-powered farm-to-school experiences such as Edible Schoolyard and Harvest of the Month, which offer tastings of locally grown fruits and vegetables to 20,000 children monthly. Students have also powered the popular K–12 Kids Farmers Markets in Butte and Tehama counties as well as LEAP summer cooking and physical activity camps offered collaboratively with CARD. 

Less well known is the CHC’s student engagement with older adults, both through the Senior Meals program—which regularly serves public group and in-home lunches in Chico, Oroville, and Paradise—and its newly funded North State Benefits Enrollment Center (NSBEC).

Enthusiastic students also attend community farmers’ markets and other community events for CalFresh Outreach activities, assist with hospital and other community education events, and engage with legislators concerning health policy.

Los Molinos Students “Go Greenie”  

 molinos high school students

Students at Los Molinos High School (LMHS) were the focus of a CHC youth engagement project funded by the Tehama County Health Services Agency, Public Health Division.  CSU, Chico student staff met with teacher Katie Tenneson (front row, left) and her students every week for nutrition and gardening education. In March, LMHS students attended the annual sustainability conference at Chico State to compete for a Greenie Award to support their new greenhouse project—and came away with first place and $200 to help cover the cost of materials.

lunchStudents Serve Fresh, Tasty Senior Meals

The Center for Health Communities has partnered with Passages at CSU, Chico to provide freshly prepared meals for older adults throughout Butte County.  Most funding for senior meals comes from the California State Department on Aging.

Given the extra time, effort, and cost it takes to shop for, prepare, and serve fresh, healthy, meals, this service simply wouldn’t happen without the CHC’s student interns and employees.

Every weekday, students and staff prepare fresh, healthy meals from scratch, using local produce whenever possible. Senior Meals provides a noontime meal in a group setting in several different communities—Chico, Oroville, and Paradise—on a set weekday schedule. In addition to the delicious meal, the program offers seniors the chance to meet new people and socialize. Home-delivered meals are offered to older adults who are too ill or disabled to get to a group meal site.

Anyone who is 60 years of age or older is invited to the table. There are no income requirements, and no fee is required, though older adults are asked to donate $2.50 per meal if they can afford it. Some who participate cannot make any donation; others contribute much more. Individuals under 60 may also enjoy senior meals, though they’re asked to pay a $5 fee. Advance reservations are always required; call 898-4224 at least 24 hours in advance.

Each meal consists of a main dish, vegetable or salad, fruit or dessert; beverages are also served. The monthly menu plan is approved by a certified dietitian to assure the center serves only nutritious and well-balanced meals.

For more information, including lunch locations and current monthly menus, visit the CHC Senior Meals page.

Fresh Pick Now Offers 10 Meals polenta pot pie

The CHC’s popular Fresh Pick program keeps getting better. It now offers a total of 10 different meal choices as part of its seasonally changing meal rotation. The newest picks from Fresh Pick include butter lettuce wraps, polenta pot pie (shown above), smoky South American wrap, and traditional lasagna.

cindy celebrationCareer Kudos for Cindy Wolff 

CHC Executive Director Cindy Wolff, well known Northern California social entrepreneur, was recently honored with the 2016 Career Achievement Award from the University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. The CHC’s creativity, scholarship, and applied research in nutrition, health, and obesity prevention have been widely recognized statewide, nationally, and internationally.

Alyson Wylie Honored by Staff Council  

This spring, the CHC’s own Alyson Wylie was recognized by the CSU, Chico Staff Council for her academic pursuits. Wylie, recipient of the council’s spring Staff Academic Award, is working toward her master’s degree in education. As a student, she particularly appreciated the $500 check that accompanied the award.

CHC Celebrates 15 Years  

celebrating

It all began in 2001 with one health promotion program. Now there are 27! During the past 15 years, the CHC has addressed many health-related community needs and boosted both CSU, Chico and regional economies with $35 million in grant funding. The CHC now includes many faculty (from a variety of disciplines), 20 professional staff, 15 non-student employees, 35 paid student staff, and 120 interns each year. The CHC provides food security, healthy eating, and physical activity services for more than 100,000 youth and adults in 19 rural California counties. Events and activities celebrating the CHC’s 15 years of community service are planned for the coming year.

CHC Receives NCOA Outreach Grant

The CHC has been awarded $100,000 from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to help low-income seniors and eligible adults with disabilities improve their standards of living. As the new North State Benefits Enrollment Center (NSBEC), the CHC will reach out to eligible seniors in Butte, Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, and Yuba counties. The goal is to make sure residents are aware of and able to apply for programs and services that could assist them, including Medicare Part D Extra Help (also known as Low-Income Subsidy or LIS); Medicare Savings Programs (MSP); Medicaid; CalFresh (known nationally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP); and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The CHC is the only such benefit center in California north of Los Angeles, and one of just 49 nationwide.