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Meet the team
Dr Sarah Burkhart
Sarah is a Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics in the School of Health and Behavioural Sciences, and the Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research at USC. Currently based in Australia, Sarah has traveled extensively across the Pacific Islands region and recently collaborated with FAO to assess the current state and capacity for school nutrition education, and school food programmes across 14 P.I countries.
Sarah's research uses a food systems lens to explore food security and food choice in the Pacific Islands. Working with Pacific partners, academics and stakeholders, Sarah is interested in understanding determinants of food security across Pacific Island food systems, with a focus on food environments and consumer behaviour/food choice. She is particularly interested in nutrition education and food provision in Pacific Island school settings and how school food environments can be improved to support students and the wider school community to adopt healthy, sustainable dietary patterns and boost local livelihoods.
Associate Professor Pragya Singh
Dr Pragya Singh completed her post graduate and Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India in 2006. After this she worked as Assistant Professor with various organizations with the government of India. She worked as Assistant Professor, School of Human Nutrition, Food Science and Technology, Hawassa University, Ethiopia. After which she joined as Associate Professor, School of Public Health & Primary Health Care, College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Fiji National University, Fiji.
She is involved in teaching nutrition courses to undergraduate and post graduate students, research related to food based strategies for combating malnutrition especially through nutrition education and value added food product formulation. Her research interests include maternal and child nutrition, nutritional interventions, impact of diet on NCD's, nutritional assessment and value added food product formulation. She has published many research papers and successfully completed two international projects to date.
Dr Danny Hunter
Research working group lead
Danny is a Senior Scientist with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. He has over 25 years’ international development experience in more than 30 countries, including 12 years living and working in the Maldives, Samoa and Fiji.
His interests include promoting underutilized, culturally-appropriate nutrient-rich foods, improving food environments and consumer behaviour and delivering healthy diets from sustainable food systems especially in the context of schools. He has collaborated over many years with FAO, WHO, WFP, PCD, GCNF and others on initiatives related to nutrition and health, public food procurement, school feeding, school gardens and nutrition education. He has extensive project design and management experience as team leader of a number of global projects, most recently as the Global Coordinator of the multi-country Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition (BFN) Project.
Danny is passionate about school food environments because ensuring our children have access to healthy, safe and diverse food and understand how their food is produced and the impacts of their food choices on their health and the planet is something we should all fight for.
Ms Jessica Raneri
Partnerships and Communications lead
Jessica is a Senior Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Advisor to both the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Agricultural Development and Food Security Section of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has over 14 years of international research and policy experience working within food systems and nutrition. In this time, Jessica has focused on contextualising strategies for most effectively addressing the triple burden of malnutrition through agriculture and food system approaches. Jessica is passionate about participatory action research, whole-of-diet approaches, dietary intake assessments and metrics, evidence-based policy and effective communication as key components of improved global public health and development.
In a world where diets are rapidly degrading to be less diverse, healthy and nutritious, and youth are less engaged in agriculture - working with teachers, children and their families provides an opportunity to actively engage and nudge dietary choices, preferences and behaviours towards being more healthy and sustainable, whilst also supporting local rural livelihoods.
Jessica is currently completing a PhD in Bioscience Engineering (Food Science and Nutrition) and holds a Masters Degree in Human Development and Food Security, a Bachelor in Health Science (complementary medicine) and Advance Diplomas in nutrition, herbal medicine and naturopathy.
Mrs Clarissa Mackay
Advocacy and policy working group lead
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