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The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy cultivates research about connections between a just, sustainable food system and healthy eating and translates it into recommendations and resources for educators, policy makers, and community advocates. The Center focuses on schools as critical levers for learning and social change.


We are excited to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of our quarterly newsletter. With the second half of the fall semester and the holiday season upon us, there is much to be grateful for. Faculty director Isobel Contento just published the third edition of her Nutrition Education textbook. Congratulations! We also recently celebrated Food Day with fun food-focused activities prepared by the dietetic interns at Teachers College.

As you prepare for your own holiday meals and gatherings, stop by your local farmers’ market and pick up some local eats, and involve your children, family members and friends in the process.

Sincerely, Pam Koch

Executive Director

Dietetic interns with Tisch Food Center (TFC) Executive Director Pam Koch, celebrating Food Day with a taste test of vegetarian food samples.

Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets for the better to improve our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food, and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.

Research Spotlight

New TFC study contributes statistical benchmarks for determining sample size for obesity intervention trials

Our new study, published in Health Education & Behavior, takes baseline data from our Food, Health & Choices project, with 5th graders in 20 New York City public schools, and determined that obesity rates, eating behaviors and theory-based psychosocial determinants were more similar within schools than across different schools, even for schools in similar neighborhoods.

There was a large "clustering" of the outcomes in schools indicated by the intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), especially snack food including sweetened beverages and processed packaged snacks, and fast food outcomes. Food availability near schools and/or wellness policies within schools might contribute to this "clustering."

The results of this study can be used to determine the sample size to detect intervention effects in future obesity prevention and behavioral-change studies in NYC schools and other similar populations. The study concludes that larger sample sizes than previously thought might be needed.

Policy Corner

Why Nutrition Education Matters in the 2015 Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Congress is still working on a Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). The 2010 Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act technically expired in September, although most programs continue unchanged. In the meantime, we are still working with local and national advocates to push for a strong CNR.


Allison Hard, Claire Uno and Pam Koch wrote an eye catching brief on the 2015 CNR, making the case for maximizing federal investment in child nutrition programs by supporting more nutrition education. Read the full brief here.

On October 6, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a letter to Congress, advocating for a strong CNR. It mentions the efforts of the New York City Alliance for Child Nutrition Reauthorization (NYC4CNR), co-convened by the TFC and City Harvest.

Despite what Big Food and Congress want, sustainability belongs in the DGA

While the food industry has ensured sustainability will not be included in the next Dietary Guidelines for Americans, its efforts may backfire. New York University's Hans Taparia and TFC's Pam Koch explain why Big Food's efforts to shut down sustainability guidelines may cost it the trust of consumers in the Huffington Post

Featured Resource 

The Food Day School Curriculum is applicable all year round!

The Food Day School Curriculum, written by the TFC’s Pam Koch and Isobel Contento, offers 5 lessons to teach upper elementary and middle school students the importance of eating real, fresh food, cutting back on processed foods and advocating for a healthier community. We encourage you to teach these lessons this fall (or any time of year) in celebration of Food Day.

Fall cooking tip: Reduce food waste and save the seeds from the fall pumpkin carvings and winter squash. Clean, dry and toast seeds in a 400 degree oven with a dash of salt or spice and some oil. Bake for 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Nutritious and delicious!


Recent News


The third edition of Dr. Isobel Contento's Nutrition Education: Linking Research, Theory & Practice textbook released

The Third Edition provides new and improved resources on designing, implementing and evaluating theory-based nutrition education.


On October 14, 2015, Claire Uno moderated a talk, Advanced Urban Farming Techniques, at the Urban Garden Symposium at the American Museum of Natural History, presented by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

Claire Uno also recently became a member of the Steering and Envisioning Committee (SEC) of the New York City Nutrition Education Network (NYCNEN)

On October 26, Pam Koch spoke on a panel at Common Threads in New York City’s Getting Kids Cooking for Life event. The discussion focused on the importance of nutrition education programs.

Pam Koch is now a Dietary Guidelines Alliance representative for the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB). The Dietary Guidelines Alliance is a 15-member collaborative effort through the International Food Information Council Foundation that's mission is to provide positive and simple messages to help American consumers achieve healthy, active lifestyles, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

TFC's new social media assistant, Gena Hamshaw, began her Master’s in Nutrition Education this fall at TC. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Recent graduate, Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, is TFC’s new communications assistant and will be working on the Tisch Dish quarterly newsletter, website updates and community outreach.


Upcoming Events

The next NYCNEN meeting, Making Real Change: Nutrition Educators as Advocates, will be held at the New School on Friday, November 13 at 8:30am. The meeting will kick off with keynote speaker Marion Nestle followed by a panel on advocacy in practice moderated by TFC’s Claire Uno, and a skill-builder on defining your advocacy message.

TFC is hosting a book talk with Indira Naidoo on December 16 for her latest book, The Edible City. Join us in the Teachers College Milbank Chapel from 9am-11am. This event will be free. 

PBS is broadcasting the In Defense of Food film, based on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book, with a New York City premiere at NYU on November 30th and a national PBS broadcast on December 30th at 9pm. Additionally, TFC is creating an In Defense of Food Curriculum with 10 lessons that feature clips from the film targeted at middle school students. Stay tuned for updates in the winter issue of the Tisch Disch.

Save the Date! The annual Just Food Conference will be held on March 13 at Teachers College.


Student Spotlights

Doctoral student Cristina Alvarez will be developing a package of theory-based nutrition education lessons for the Hartford Mobile Fruit and Vegetable Market to be delivered by nutrition educators from the Hispanic Health Council and under the supervision of Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health at Yale University.

Doctoral student Matthew Graziose attended the 2nd International Conference on Global Food Security as part of the Junior Researcher Task Force - a team of 22 competitively selected young researchers and professionals responsible for capturing and distributing via social media the conference highlights. 

Master’s student Gena Hamshaw’s latest cookbook, Food52 Vegan, was published in September 2015. The book is an essential collection of hassle-free, vibrant vegan recipes, based her popular column, The New Veganism, on Food52. 

Master’s student Alison Hard is interning with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this semester, working on food and nutrition policy, among other issues. 

Congratulations to former TFC communications assistant, Morgan Bookheimer, on starting her dietetic internship at Teachers College this fall.

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