Nutrition Education for All Students: Building Support for Your Meal Program with Free, Accessible and Science-Based Resources

Live Webinar

Join us for a panel discussion to learn what nutrition education resources you can access for free and how nutrition education builds support for your programs.

  • Release Date: April 23, 2021
DPG Member Price
Member Price
Nonmember Price

Date: April 23, 2021
Time: noon - 1 p.m. (Central time)

Nutrition education goals are a requirement of your school wellness policy mandated by the USDA but is it really happening in schools? Join us for a panel discussion to learn what nutrition education resources you can access for free, how nutrition education builds support for your meal program and hear about the innovative ways school foodservice is bringing nutrition education to their students, teachers, parents and staff. This will be a panel discussion where you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panelist to personalize how this information can help you.

CPEU: 1.0
CPE Level: 2
Learning Need Codes: 4080, 4150, 6040

Learning Objectives

  1. The participant will be able to identify ways to access free nutrition curriculum and resources for use in classrooms and cafeterias, including Team Nutrition and Let's Eat Healthy.
  2. The participant will be able to describe the FoodMASTER curriculum and be able to apply the curriculum in the classroom with a connection to the cafeteria.
  3. The participant will identify new opportunities to facilitate nutrition education efforts for their school community in collaboration with partners all while building support for their meal program.


Holly Thaw, MS, RDN, LD, Farm to School Specialist, Georgia DOE

Holly Thaw is the Farm to School Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education. Prior to this position, Holly worked in school nutrition for both Fulton County Schools and Savannah Chatham County Public School System in Georgia. During this time, she led procurement and supplier relationships, managed USDA commodities, and developed district-wide wellness and farm to school initiatives. Her experience outside of school nutrition includes serving as a Public Service Faculty member through University of Georgia Extension, as a Child Wellness Program Coordinator at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and as a clinical dietitian at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Holly received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, her master's degree from Georgia State University, and serves on Georgia's Dietetic Licensure and Foundation boards. Holly is passionate about the relationship of School Nutrition Programs to the overall academic day.

Anne Gaffney, RDN, SNS, Nutrition Specialist, EGUSD

Anne Gaffney has been the nutrition specialist for the Elk Grove Unified School District, Food and Nutrition Services for 27 years. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a certified School Nutrition Specialist. Ms. Gaffney has built the district's nutrition education program to reach more than 840 classrooms. She is a district leader for EGUSD's School Wellness Policy and the Coordinated School Health committee and recipient of the California School Nutrition Association's Moscone Commitment to Child Nutrition in 2011.

Tracy Mendez, RDN, Program Director, Nutrition Education

Tracy Mendez spent the last 15 years advancing nutrition education strategies with positive impact throughout CA communities and nationally. She's committed to cultivating others' strengths, experiences, and voices as means to build healthy eating patterns and achieve mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. As a mother, she is especially driven to help children and families have equitable access to nutrition education and nutritious foods.

As a Program Director for Nutrition Education at the Dairy Council of California, Tracy has contributed on review panels for state and national nutrition interventions including the SNAP-Ed Toolkit and CA Department of Education’s Nutrition Education Resource Guide. Her experience includes program management; education resource development; strategic planning; collaboration; school wellness strategy; marketing; trends and data analysis.

As a member of the Academy and local district, Tracy enjoys mentoring future leaders as preceptor to dozens of dietetic interns and undergraduate students over more than a decade. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and a minor in Spanish from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and completed her dietetic internship at Fresno State University.

Melani Duffrin, PhD, RDN creator and Director of the FoodMASTER Initiative

Melani Duffrin is a Professor and Registered Dietitian. Her position is in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions with a joint appointment in Nutrition and Dietetics at Northern Illinois University. She received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Ohio University and her MS and BS from Western Illinois University.

Dr. Duffrin is also the creator and Director of the FoodMASTER Initiative. Dr. Duffrin has received 3.8 million in federal fund from the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award for this program. Dr. Duffrin has created five FoodMASTER curricular manuals and has 19 FoodMASTER related peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Duffrin continues to disseminate information and expand the FoodMASTER initiative approach through providing free access to all curricular material, collaborating with established science education learning environments, and mentoring a network of nutrition and health professionals in creating similar models. She is delighted to share current research and resources along with information about her 20 years of experience with the FoodMASTER initiative approach.

  • Release Date: April 23, 2021