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Metroplex Building

Contact Us

Nutrition and Physical Activity Program

3530 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Email: NutritionProgram@ph.lacounty.gov

For any student interview requests for the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program team, please email DPH Media at media@ph.lacounty.gov. 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

PROGRAM STAFF

Dipa Shah-Patel, MPH, RDN

Director

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.

Email: dshah@ph.lacounty.gov
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).

Email: lsklyar@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7820

Fatinah Ms. 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).

Email: fdarwish@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7864

Cara Elio, MPH, MSEDE, RDN

Senior Program Manager

Ms. Cara Elio provides guidance and oversight for the CalFresh Healthy Living Program implementation and evaluation, including program design and request for proposals solicitation processes. Ms. Elio interfaces with internal and external partners to further program goals. Over the course of Ms. Elio's 18 year career prior to DPH, she worked as a registered dietitian in acute clinical, long-term care, rehabilitation, adult and pediatric primary care, and skilled nursing facilities. Ms. Elio also has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector in positions ranging from Project Coordinator to Co-Executive Director. Her work spanned exploring models for enhancing primary care by integrating services from registered dietitians and building wellness programs for foster youth facilities in rural North Carolina to supporting Los Angeles obesity and chronic disease prevention efforts through programs that guide healthy retail corner store transformations, bolstering sales and consumer nutrition education for California producers, and the CalFresh Healthy Living Program. Ms. Elio received a Bachelors in Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Saint Louis University, completed her dietetic internship at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, received her Masters of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a Masters in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship from the University of Houston-Victoria.

Email: CElio@ph.lacounty.gov

Jennifer Clark, MS, RDN

Program Manager

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.

Email: JClark@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 427-4442

Jennifer Florez, MPH

Communications Manager

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.

Email: JFlorez@ph.lacounty.gov
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.

Email: jcaldwell@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 427-4409

Katie Rawson, MPH, RDN

Program Manager

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.

Email: KRawson@ph.lacounty.gov

Keisha Macon, MPH

Research Analyst III

Ms. Keisha Macon provides support in the research and evaluation team for CalFresh Healthy Living and the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). Prior to joining the Nutrition and Physical Activity program, Ms. Macon worked as a Research Analyst with LA County’s Division of HIV and STD Programs HIV Surveillance Unit. While there, she monitored HIV case reporting throughout LA County and worked to improve data quality by ensuring the accuracy and completion of key HIV reportable variables. Ms. Macon received her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and her Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from California State University, Fullerton.

Kelli M. Vos, MSPH

Communications Manager

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.

Email: kvos@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7822

Kelly Warner, MPH, RDN

Program Manager

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.

Email: kwarner@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7865

Natalie Banda

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.

Email: NBanda@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7866

Rita Mozian, MPH, MCHES

Program Manager

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.

Email: rmozian@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7803

Tania Marquez, MPH

Program Manager

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).

Email: tmarquez@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7833

Tiffany Casarez, MPH

Program Specialist

Ms. Tiffany Casarez is a Program Specialist that provides program monitoring and data support for CalFresh Healthy Living and the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), Produce Prescription Project. Ms. Casarez manages and oversees program datasets to assist in program improvement. Prior to working at the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program, Ms. Casarez worked at the Center for Health Equity. She oversaw operations and systems related to finance, contracting, data collection, and program operations within the Equity Fund Program. She worked closely with community-based organizations to provide outreach, engagement, and education along with system navigation services. Ms. Casarez also worked with the Language Justice Unit, providing support in creating the Hub for Interpretation and Translation System, and creating the Unit's highly functional invoice tracker. Ms, Casarez received a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz and obtained her Master of Public Health from California State University, Los Angeles.

Email: tcasarez@ph.lacounty.gov

Vanessa Hoos, MPH, REHS

Program Manager

Ms. Vanessa Hoos provides programmatic oversight to CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners that distribute produce to underserved communities. Prior to her role as a Program Manager, Ms. Hoos worked as an Environmental Health Specialist with DPH’s Environmental Health Division. In her role, she has inspected food facilities for compliance with public health laws, conducted foodborne illness outbreak investigations, and has extensive knowledge of food safety practices and policies surrounding the donation of surplus food. As a CDPH-certified Lead Inspector/Assessor in the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, she conducted environmental investigations at the homes of lead poisoned children and provided education to the public and contractors on lead-safe work practices to prevent childhood lead poisoning. Ms. Hoos received her Bachelor of Health Science from California State University, Long Beach and completed her Master of Public Health at Los Angeles Pacific University.

Email: vhoos@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7851

Victoria Ayala, MPH, RDN

Research Specialist

Ms. Victoria Ayala is a researcher that provides support in the research and evaluation needs of the CalFresh Healthy Living and the produce prescription Fresco y Saludable/ Fresh and Healthy programs. 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). 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.

Email: vayala@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7821

Xochitl Valdivia, MS, RDN

Program Manager

Ms. Xochitl Valdivia provides programmatic oversight to CalFresh Healthy Living funded partners that provide nutrition education and promote physical activity to underserved communities. 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.

Email: xvaldivia@ph.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 351-7860

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