Friday, February 26, 2016

Update from the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health

March Nutrition Fair in celebration of National Nutrition Month

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the CAUSES Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health is conducting a Nutrition Fair on March 16, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Heritage Hall of the new UDC Student Center. The fair will include cooking demonstrations on healthy eating, using herbs and spices to reduce salt intake, and a variety of other stations and workshops centered on healthy nutrition and ageing. The Fair will be hosted in collaboration with the Institute of Gerontology. Senior DC residents will have the opportunity to sign-up for workshops, certification programs and other activities. 

Additional collaborators include Giant Foods, Inc., whose In-store Nutritionist will be on hand and Chef Nadine of Nutrition Synergies. The fair will include hands-on learning, games and fun. And don't miss the key presentation on SMART Nutrition by Tia Jeffery, PhD, RDN, CHES, Project Specialist, Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health.

For additional information, contact Dr. Lillie Monroe-Lord at or Dr. Tia Jeffery at For more information on the Institute of Gerontology, contact Ms. Claudia John, project specialist, at

CAUSES Alums on Let's Talk Live!

CAUSES alums, LaShell Staples and Helen Naylor were featured on WJLA's Let's Talk Live. The two conducted a short segment on a Taste of African Heritage, using history and nutrition to connect people to the African heritage. Watch their segment here!

Both LaShell and Helen are recent graduates of our Nutrition and Dietetics program (which was recently re-accredited). While Helen Naylor is still part of CAUSES, now serving as a community educator in the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, LaShell is now with Maryland WIC. Great job, ladies! 

2016 Water Resources Symposium

The 2016 National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium: Rethinking the Value of Water: Innovations in Research, Technology, Policy, and Management, will bring together experts from governmental agencies, academia, the private sector, and non-profits to present and discuss innovations in water research, technology, policy, and management to respect and reflect the true value of water. The April 8, 2016, event will include a keynote address, invited panelists, and breakout sessions featuring submitted oral and poster presentations. 

The keynote speaker will be Tracy Mehan, III, Director of Government Affairs for the American Water Works Association. Held in conjunction with the World Green Energy Symposium on April 7, 2016, the one-day water symposium will also feature the following experts:  


Here's what's been happening around CAUSES!

  1. Justine Cromer joins CAUSES
  2. Belarusian Farmers Visit
  3. Accolades for Ethnic Crop Program 
Continue reading to learn more!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

UDC's Nutrition and Dietetics Program Receives Full Accreditation

The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia is pleased to announce the continuing accreditation of the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) was visited by ACEND team in September 2014 for program review in determination for the continuing accreditation. 

The ACEND Board voted to continue full accreditation of the DPD program for a term of seven years, ending December 31, 2022. Accreditation was announced Feb. 12, 2016.

“Achieving the prestigious ACEND re-accreditation is a reflection of the quality of our DPD program; as well as our amazing CAUSES leadership, the strategic planning process both at the university and college level, and our dedicated faculty and landgrant staff,” said Dr. Prema Ganganna, Chair, Department of Health, Nursing and Nutrition, CAUSES.

2016 World Green Energy Symposium


The 2016 World Green Energy Symposium
April 7, 2016

Sponsored by The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences of the University of the District of Columbia
4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

 The WGES Forum features top echelon of keynote expert presenters discussing actual case studies and upcoming projects in this $7 trillion dollar space. With a theme of water and energy, this year's WGES will be held April 7 in conjunction with the American Water Resources Association's Water Symposium on April 8; both events are in support of Earth Day on April 22, 2016.  WGES focuses on topics that serve as an economic implicator, job creator, and as a vantage point for a healthier planet:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

CAUSES-TV :USDA and Agricultural Research

Agriculture is the science behind our entire food system, examining questions like: How do we grow food? How can we grow more of it to feed a growing world population? How can we grow it in ways that are sustainable, ensuring safe water, and maintaining healthy soils? How can we grow food in cities? 

On this episode of CAUSES TV, Dean Sabine O'Hara interviews Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young,  Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency, the Agricultural Research Service. As Administrator, she oversees all research activities. Joining her is Dr. Gene Lester, who serves as a National Program Leader for product quality and biofuels.

See more CAUSES TV on our YouTube channel!

New PSM concentrations in urban agriculture and sustainability announced

After the overwhelming success and interest in our Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program and citywide initiatives driven by the Center for Sustainable Development, we are pleased to announce our Professional Science Master's program has expanded to offer concentrations in urban sustainability and urban agriculture. The two new concentrations join the four year old water resources management program, preparing you to tackle the challenges of building the sustainable urban communities of the future through a strong focus on food security, food and water safety, resource management, energy efficiency. 

The professional science master's degree gives you the necessary skills and experience to pursue a diverse range of careers relating to urban environmental issues. Sustainability is not any one academic or practical field. It cuts across virtually every academic and practical field from the natural resources to urban planning, to the construction sector, the healthcare field, food and hospitality to recreation and the law. Whether you seek employment at a government agency, work in in the non-profit sector or in private industry, or start your own consulting firm, our program will prepare you well for today’s job market and for the jobs of tomorrow.

Our interdisciplinary program, provides not only deep knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological sciences applicable to urban systems management, assessment, and monitoring, it will also build your skills in environmental policy, communication, business management, project management, ethics and leadership. PSM students in water resources management, urban sustainability and urban agriculture will:
  1. Demonstrate effective critical and problem solving skills by applying both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
  2. Apply advanced statistical and geospatial analytical tools to make informed decisions.
  3. Demonstrate professionalism with good oral and written communication skills.
  4. Apply both basic and state-of-the art analytical technologies in determining the quality and sustainability of natural or built environments.
  5. Apply project management and sustainability concept to plan, execute, monitor and control a project.
  6. Monitor and assess the impact of urban development on ecosystem health and services.

Registration open for ISEE 2016!

Registration for the 2016 Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) is now openTransforming the Economy: Sustaining Food, Water, Energy and Justice. As the Science of Sustainability, Ecological Economics must advance the transformation of the economy to support rather than debilitate the processes that sustain our living planet. Most fundamental to such an economy is its support of basic live support systems like food, water and energy, and its support of social justice and a quality life for all. Register now!

Held June 26-29, 2016, ISEE will focus on these critical themes, and will facilitate dialogue between practitioners and researchers to advance such an economic transformation. The transformation agenda must include tangible solutions that support an economy that is in sync with the biological and physical systems of our planet, and that builds capacity for human well-being and justice.  Particular attention will be given to urban communities that are home to almost 60 percent of the world’s population and that are characterized by cultural diversity and social disparity. Keynote speakers for the conference: Frances Moore LappĂ©, founder of the Small Planet Institute Dr. Renato Maluf, associate professor of Agriculture, Development and Society (CPDA) at Brazil's Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Minister Jairam Ramesh, Indian economist and politician, and Mokgadi Monamati, senior natural resource officer of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Industry, Botswana. Additional biographical information for the keynoters can be found below.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tom Kakovitch receives Founders' Day Award

Former CAUSES professor of Environmental Sciences, Tom Kakovitch, was honored for his 43-year service to the University of the District of Columbia, at the 2016 Annual Founders' Day  Celebration, receiving the Dr. Cleveland L. Dennard Distinguished Service Award. Although Prof. Kakovitch retired from  the University in 2015, he remains a friend of  CAUSES. His miniaturized Flo-Vex aerator is key to our aquaponics system and therefore an integral part of our Urban Food Hubs Solution to Food Insecurity. In response to the honor, Prof. Kakovitch would like to share the following heartfelt message:

Thank you very much the honor of being selected for the 2016 Distinguished Service Award. This award is especially meaningful to me because I had the honor of working with President Dennard when I first joined Washington Technical Institute in 1972 as one of the founding faculty members of the Environmental Sciences program.

I was supposed to be on loan from the Environmental Protection Agency where I worked at the time as a founding scientist on the air pollution. As most of you know, the load lasted 43 year until May 2015.

What has always guided me during all these years is my passion for solving environmental problems, and for improving our natural environment. I had been as convinced back then as I am now, that there is no better way to learn how to do this than to study nature itself.  This is why I always impressed on my students the importance of studying physics and mathematics, which is the universal language of nature.

When we first became the University of the District of Columbia, we were approximately 12,000 students. A long way from where we are today. We had an extremely successful school of agriculture, a veterinary program, and close to 500 students in Environmental Sciences alone.

Yet, despite the challenges, there are some things that are going in the right direction and that I think will get us back on track in terms of the University’s enrollment. It took the formation of CAUSES and the closer collaboration with our landgrant programs for me to discover a whole variety of new applications for my ideas and inventions.  My water aeration technology, for example, was invented to improve energy efficiency in power plants. Now we are using it for fish farming and hydroponics.

There is a lesson here: solutions always come from collaboration across different fields; solutions always come from a desire to solve real world problems; solutions always come from just doing things. Unless you try you will never find a solution.

This is what Urban Sustainability is all about, and believe me, it is the most important global issue of today; 80% of the global population lives in cities, which comprise less than 2% of the global land area; we must pay attention to that and find solutions that make this kind of imbalance sustainable.

So here’s to my colleagues – those who spent as much time here as I have, and those who joined the University much more recently:  work together, look for practical solutions; and just do it.  I for one intend to use my so-called retirement to continue to do just that.

Thank you for this honor. 

Continue reading for Prof. Kakovitch's biography, as it appeared in the 2016 Founders' Day program.

Student Spotlight: Gheude Hare

Gheude (Jude) Hare is an Architecture and Community Planning major in the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences. Jude, who will graduate in 2017, shares more about his experience at the University of the District of Columbia:

What is your major?
My major is Architecture and Urban Planning.

When and why did you select Architecture?
I selected this major because I wanted to study a subject that would let me be free to be creative and broaden my view.

How has the Architecture program been beneficial to your life?
Studying Architecture has benefited me in a sense that it has changed my way of thinking into a more holistic view. I now look at everything in life as having interconnected parts that come together for one beautiful result. I believe that I will take a lot of the knowledge that I have learned in my courses at UDC and apply them throughout the rest of my life.

What Architecture instructor has been particularly impactful?
All of the Architecture instructors are very passionate about Architecture and try to do everything in their power to see that we students receive the best education.

What have you gained during your matriculation at UDC?
During my matriculation at UDC I have gained new hobbies, friends, mentors, but most importantly a new found perspective on my education and studies.

What would you like to do with your degree?
I’d like to become either an architect or go down a path of sustainable development.

You were one of the student managers for the 2015 UDC Farmers Market. What was the experience like?
Working at the Farmers Market was a great experience. I got to learn a lot about not just the community engagement aspect of it, but also about how important it is for people to make healthier choices in what they choose to eat.

Bessie Stockard inducted into the UDC Athletic Hall of Fame

Bessie Stockard, professor of Health Education, CAUSES, was inducted into the University of the District of Columbia Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 19. Prof. Stockard has been part of UDC since before it's inception (read more on UDC's history). 

Eric Zedalis of UDC Athletics shares more on Prof. Stockard:

She started the women's basketball program at Federal City College in 1969. A Tuskegee Hall of Famer, she pushed the women's basketball program to new heights, reaching the AIAW National Championships in 1975. Coach Stockard's Federal City program was one of only four teams across the nation selected to play the touring Chinese National Team in 1975 at the University of Maryland. In addition to coaching women's volleyball at the University of the District of Columbia, Coach Stockard continues to serve as faculty in Health Education.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Shana Donahue on Food Justice and Her Journey from UDC to FoodCorps

My name is Mark Bowen and I am a recruiter with FoodCorps. FoodCorps is in the midst of its open application period, when people have the opportunity to apply to become a service member. March 31st is the deadline to apply for FoodCorps. But, in the meantime FoodCorps has some deliberate goals in mind during our recruitment season. Namely, increasing the diversity in our pool of applicants. So, I decided to interview one of our current service members of color and learn what drew her to FoodCorps.
Today, I am with FoodCorps service member Shana Donahue. She serves with FRESHFARM Markets to educate students at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School in Northeast Washington, D.C. Shana conducts food education classes in classrooms and gardens during and after school hours. She has a cool demeanor and is always smiling, but it is obvious she takes her work with her students seriously – making sure students are engaged in healthy and safe practices every step of the way.

There are six fifth grade students* in her afterschool class today. Jakaya explains, “We are making carrot salad. We are adding our own seasonings and condiments, which will be our dressing. At the end, we will taste each of the salads we made, and then whoever has the most votes in the end will win.” As Jakaya explains the activity, there are whisks twirling in bowls, carrots being grated, sweet and sour smells in the air, and a lot of excitement.
I ask the young ladies what else they have made in the class. Amaya explains, “We have made potato salad, cornbread, pizza, and apple-beet salad.” Each student votes on their favorite dish they have prepared so far: two for cornbread, one for apple-beet salad, and one for butternut squash soup. Many of the ingredients used in their meals are grown in the garden at Ludlow-Taylor.
In the end, there were no definitive winners of whose carrot salad was the best. All the participants agreed that each salad had such a unique taste that they were all winners.
I interviewed Shana Donahue about her FoodCorps experience, and here’s what she had to say:
“I always want to put the best things in me so I can be the best. And I want children, and people in general, to have the information to know what to put in them so they can be their best.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pier Broadnax named DC Area's Black Nurse of the Year

Congratulations, Dr. Broadnax!
Pier Broadnax, Ph.D., RN, has been named Black Nurse of the Year by the Black Nurses Association of the Greater Washington, DC Area. She is the 36th recipient of the award and will be honored at the 2016 Annual Salute to the Black Nurse of the Year and Scholarship Awards Luncheon, Sat., March 5. Dr. Broadnax is the program director of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (RN to BSN) for the University of the District of Columbia.

UDC's BSN program is housed within the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences which offers research-based academic and community outreach programs that improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for people and communities in the District of Columbia, the nation, and the world. The mission of the BSN program is to produce well-educated, autonomous, competent, and resourceful graduates to practice nursing in the multiethnic, global and technological society of the 21st century. 

Dean O'Hara featured on Diane Rehm Show

CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara appeared on the Feb. 3 edition of the Diane Rehm Show, a nationally syndicated radio program that airs live with listener call-ins. Dean O'Hara and the other guests discussed trends in urban agriculture, and the rise of indoor farming in non-traditional farming landscapes. Listen here!

Panelists discussed the pros and cons of indoor urban farming. Other guests included: 
  • Stan Cox senior scientist, The Land Institute
  • Dickson Despommier professor emeritus of public health and microbiology, Columbia University; author of "The Vertical Farm: Feeding Ourselves and The World in the 21st Century"
  • Matt Matros CEO, FarmedHere, a 90,000-square foot indoor farm in Bedford Park, Illinois
  • Will Allen founder and CEO, Growing Power Inc., a non-profit organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Monday, February 1, 2016

UDC NOMA hosts Minority Architect Awards Feb. 25

The DC NOMA 8th Annual Lankford Giles Vaughn Minority Architect Awards will be held Thursday, February 25th, 2016, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m, in the new UDC Student Center. Phil Freelon, FAIA, will be the keynote speaker. This event is hosted by the UDC NOMA Chapter.For more information, visit: