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Nutrition and Physical Activity Program
3530 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90010
For any student interview requests for the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program team, please email DPH Media at email@example.com. Please submit your request at least three weeks in advance, as it can take up to 2-3 weeks for requests to be assigned to the appropriate staff.
Please include the following:
- Your full name and school Deadline for the interview (not the deadline for the project)
- Syllabus from the class requiring the interview
- Questions or topic (at minimum) that you would like to cover
Dipa Shah-Patel, MPH, RDN
Ms. Dipa Shah-Patel directs the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program, and has over twenty years of experience implementing federally funded and state administered nutrition programs to improve the health of low-income, vulnerable communities, especially communities of color. Ms. Shah-Patel is a seasoned public health administrator and manages a program budget of $25 million annually. Under her leadership, the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program has shifted its focus to addressing upstream factors that impact diet-related diseases, including food insecurity and poverty. She has served on numerous task forces and presented to a variety of audiences on food insecurity and its relationship to diet-related chronic diseases including obesity and type 2 diabetes. Ms. Shah-Patel was instrumental in the development of several Board motions adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors focused on screening for food insecurity in County clinics, reducing food waste and food insecurity and healthy food access for diabetes and prediabetes prevention. Ms. Shah-Patel has been recognized for her leadership in establishing healthy school environments, excellence in public health programs, exceptional media & communications and advancing health equity. She received both her B.A. in History and M.P.H. in Community Health Sciences from UCLA. She is also a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
Phone: (213) 351-7875
Lana Sklyar, MPH
Senior Program Manager
Ms. Lana Sklyar oversees the Program Evaluation and Reporting System (PEARS) for the CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners and provides technical assistance on data entry, data management, and analysis. Ms. Sklyar also ensures that all sites where SNAP-Ed services take place are qualified and manages the Site List for Los Angeles County, as well as coordinates with California Department of Social Services and California Department of Public Health to complete reporting and schedule biannual site visits. Prior to working with the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program, Ms. Sklyar worked for the Community and Field Services Division under Service Planning Areas 3 (San Gabriel Valley) and 4 (Metro Los Angeles), where she assisted with workforce development, completed Quality Improvement projects to increase completion rates for patients staring treatment for Tuberculosis Infection, and worked on strategically planning and coordinating programmatic responses to Public Health outbreaks (e.g., Zika Virus, Meningitis). Ms. Sklyar received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Phone: (213) 351-7820
Bernadet Garcia-Silva, MPH
Ms. Bernadet Garcia-Silva provides programmatic oversight to CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners that conduct produce drop-offs and distributions in areas of high need. Ms. Garcia-Silva has extensive knowledge and experience with food waste prevention and reduction initiatives as well as surplus food donation policies. Most recently, she was the Project Manager for the LA County Food Redistribution Initiative (LACFRI) within DPH’s Environmental Health Division and oversaw the LACFRI Steering Committee and Working Group, as well as trained the County’s Environmental Health Specialists (“health inspectors”) on food donation policies, outreach, and best practices. Prior to that, she was the Project Manager for the Waste Not OC Coalition through the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Environmental Health Division. Ms. Garcia-Silva completed her Master of Public Health practicum internship at the Illumination Foundation’s Recuperative Care site for unhoused patients in Los Angeles, where she learned firsthand the complex needs of unhoused individuals. She earned both her Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Policy and her Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis on Sociocultural Diversity and Health from the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Phone: (213) 351-7851
Fatinah Darwish-Elsherbiny, MPH, RDN
Senior Program Manager
Ms. Darwish-Elsherbiny provides programmatic oversight to healthcare partners and coordinates activities in the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), Produce Prescription Program (PPR). She co-facilitates the LA Food Rx Collaborative, a group of partners from Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Health Services (DHS) who are screening patients for food insecurity, referring positive screened patients to food resources, and distributing free produce at clinic sites. She also provides guidance and coordination of services to CalFresh Healthy Living partners to ensure alignment with the program's goals. Prior to DPH, Ms. Darwish worked four years as a clinical registered dietitian at PIH Health Hospital – Downey and Kindred Healthcare. She conducted individualized nutrition assessments and interventions to patients with cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diet-related chronic diseases. Ms. Darwish received a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology from the Ohio State University and completed her dietetic internship at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. She obtained a Master of Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Phone: (213) 351-7864
Jennifer Clark, MS, RDN
Ms. Jennifer Clark provides programmatic oversight to CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners in the food bank/food pantry and early childhood education sector. Previously, Ms. Clark worked at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a Project Assistant for the food and nutrition services department where she developed and implemented several in-services and protocols for food and nutrition employees. She received a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University and completed both her Masters of Science in Nutrition and her dietetic internship through the California State University, Los Angeles Coordinated Dietetic Program.
Phone: (213) 427-4442
Jennifer Florez, MPH
Ms. Jennifer Florez oversees the communications component, including media campaigns and public relations, of the CalFresh Healthy Living program. She works on marketing strategies to further awareness of program efforts and brand throughout LA County. Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and obtained a Master of Public Health from University of Southern California (USC) with an emphasis in Health Communications.
Phone: (213) 351-7866
Julia Caldwell, MPH, PhD
Chief Research Analyst
Dr. Julia Caldwell is a research analyst that evaluates CalFresh Healthy Living program deliverables and other services. Julia received a Masters in Public Health and PhD in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago.
Phone: (213) 427-4409
Katie Rawson, MPH, RDN
Ms. Katie Rawson provides programmatic support and technical assistance to the CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners that provide nutrition education and promote physical activity to under-resourced communities. She is also liaison between park sites and our funded partners for all produce distributions and nutrition education activities conducted at qualifying parks throughout the County. Prior to her work at DPH, Ms. Rawson worked at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) as a Clinic Supervisor and Nutritionist. Katie also worked as a Project Leader at the Marilyn Magaram Center at California State University Northridge (CSUN), where she oversaw both the community educator and health assessment internship programs. Ms. Rawson received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Women's Studies from the University of Maine. She completed a Master of Public Health and a Dietetic Internship at CSUN.
Kelli M. Vos, MSPH
Public Relations Associate
Ms. Kelli Vos provides communications and public relations support for the CalFresh Healthy Living program. She received a Master of Science in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with an emphasis on health education and health communication.
Phone: (213) 351-7822
Kelly Warner, MPH, RDN
Ms. Kelly Warner is Co-Chair of the coalition Nutrition Access LA, a network of multisector partners across Los Angeles County working to increase healthy food access. Ms. Warner provides programmatic oversight to the American Rescue Plan funded Los Angeles County Market Match and Grocery Voucher programs. She also oversees all dietetic and public health interns and serves as chair of the policy committee for the California Conference of Local Health Department Nutritionists. Prior to her work at DPH, Ms. Warner worked as clinical dietitian at a community hospital in downtown Los Angeles serving a diverse population with high prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases. Ms. Warner received her Master’s in Public Health from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and completed her dietetic internship at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. She is also a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
Phone: (213) 351-7865
Community Health Worker
Ms. Natalie Banda helps facilitate nutrition education classes in the community to promote healthy eating and active living. She assists with nutrition outreach efforts such as health fairs, community events and the Promotores Program in Los Angeles County. Ms. Banda has been certified as a Nursing Assistant and has previous experience assisting families to apply for social services such as CalFresh and Medi-Cal.
Phone: (213) 351-7866
Rita Mozian, MPH, MCHES
Ms. Rita Mozian provides programmatic oversight to CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners within the school districts. Prior to her role as a Project Manager, Ms. Mozian has worked as a Health Educator with DPH’s Community and Field Services Division for Antelope Valley, San Fernando Valley, and Santa Clarita Valley. In her role, she has worked on a variety of projects involving planning, implementing, evaluating health promotion and disease prevention programs. She has collaborated with several community agencies and on a variety of Public Health topics. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration and Master’s Degree in Public Health from California State University, Northridge.
Phone: (213) 351-7803
Suzette Aguirre, MPH, RDN
Public Health Nutritionist
Ms. Suzette Aguirre is a public health nutritionist assisting with nutrition education and physical activity promotion efforts for the Promotores Program as well as the Nutrition and Physical Activity Education Learning Collaborative. Ms. Aguirre became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in 2019 after completing her dietetic internship with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Since becoming an RDN, Suzette has focused on community nutrition by implementing strategies addressing food insecurity, weight stigma and trauma-informed care. Her education background proudly includes LAUSD public schools, community colleges (Santa Monica College & Long Beach City College), culinary arts training from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and Food Administration from CSU Long Beach, and a Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Sciences from UCLA.
Tania Marquez, MPH
Ms. Tania Marquez provides programmatic support to CalFresh Healthy Living funded partner in the healthcare sector. Ms. Marquez began her career with the County in 2012 as an Outreach Worker for the Latino Campaign under the Network for a Healthy California. She conducted nutrition education classes and food demonstrations with community members and participated in large community-wide events focused on nutrition education and physical activity promotion. Ms. Marquez received her Bachelor of Nutritional Science from California State University, Los Angeles and completed her Master of Public Health at the University of Southern California (USC).
Phone: (213) 351-7833
Victoria Ayala, MPH
Ms. Victoria Ayala provides support in the research and evaluation needs of the CalFresh Healthy Living program as well as the data management of the Program Evaluation and Reporting System (PEARS) for the CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners. Prior to working with the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program, Ms. Ayala worked as Clinic Supervisor for Northeast Valley Health Corporation Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), where she was responsible for the overall direction of the WIC clinic including supervision and evaluation of clinic staff as well as, providing care for high-risk patients such as pregnant persons with gestational diabetes and infants on therapeutic formulas. Ms. Ayala received a Bachelor of Science in Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics with a minor in Environmental Sustainability from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She completed her dietetic internship at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
Xochitl Valdivia, MS, RDN
Ms. Xochitl Valdivia provides programmatic oversight to CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners that provide nutrition education and promote physical activity to underserved communities. Ms. Valdivia provides training and technical assistance to funded partners through the Nutrition and Physical Activity Education Learning Collaborative, a quarterly collaborative where health educators share best practices, offer peer-to-peer support and learn innovative strategies to implement nutrition education. She also oversees the Promotores Training Program which trains community residents and established promotores to deliver nutrition and physical activity education in their own communities. Ms. Valdivia received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science, completed her Dietetic Internship and obtained her Master’s degree in Nutrition from California State University Northridge. After completing her dietetic internship, she realized that her passion for helping people while combating health disparities has driven her to work in areas such as the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Phone: (213) 351-7860