2009 HEN Award Winners

HEN Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Leadership Award Winners
By Elizabeth Campbell, MA, RD and Shelly Scott RD, LDN

The HEN Nominations Committee is proud to present the Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Awards to Allison Brewton-LaClaire, MS, RD, LDN and Ashley Colpaart, RD, LD and the Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Leadership Award to Helen Costello, MS, RD, LD.

Allison, Ashley, and Helen have put forth their time, expertise, and creativity to advance the field of hunger and environmental nutrition. Collectively, the efforts of these women have contributed to the development of innovative approaches to address food security, education regarding sustainable food systems, and advocacy on behalf of hunger and environmental issues.

The HEN DPG is privileged to honor their work.

Allison Brewton-LaClaire, MS, RD, LDN

In one of her many roles as a dedicated advocate of HEN, she recently was the chair of the HEN Water Task Force where she demonstrated her diligence and resourcefulness as a leader. She brought new ideas and identified resources that greatly facilitated the group’s work and kept efforts focused and moving. Beyond the deliverables she helped generate out of the task force, she continues to be a resource on water-related information for HEN members, contributing to HEN listserv discussions and answering members’ and non-members’ questions on water and water resource issues. Allison’s vision, intelligence and great sense of humor are just a few of the attributes that make her an outstanding HEN member.

“I have known Allison for many years, and I have always been impressed with her dedication and enthusiasm for positive change and for her dedication to the issues of importance to the HEN DPG.” --Barbara Scott, RD, MPH.

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Ashley Colpaart, RD, LD

Ashley’s work and commitment to the field of hunger and environmental nutrition is broad and diverse. She serves as the Nutrition Services Coordinator for the Meals for Kids Intervention where she brought healthful meals to low-income, at-risk populations in East and South Austin (Texas). As the Legislation & Public Policy Chair for the HEN dietetic practice group, she has worked tirelessly to educate HEN members on a variety of important public policy issues, such as: farm and food policy, the food system’s connection with nutritional health, Child Nutrition Reauthorization, the effect of industrial farming on the environment and food safety, conflicts on interest, country of origin labeling (COOL), and genetically engineered (GE) foods and crops.

To disseminate her message to a wide audience, Ashley has used a variety of venues including the HEN-listserv, the HEN DPG newsletter, her personal blog, and joint blog with professor Dr. Parke Wilde at Tufts University.

“I’ve no doubt that the contributions that Ashley has already made in academia and in the field will gain her notoriety in the world of dietetics. I’m equally certain that down the road, Ashley will be leaving her mark on the future – one that will be a whole lot brighter for us all, because of her effort and devotion.”-- Loretta Jaus, an Organic Valley Family of Farms dairy farmer

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Helen E. Costello, MS, RD, LD

Helen has been an active member of HEN for over seven years and has participated in the advancement of the HEN DPG through many different roles. She served as the HEN Domestic Hunger Chair in 2002, started a two-year term as HEN Secretary in 2003, and was elected as HEN Chair-elect in 2005 with her term ending as HEN Past-Chair in 2008.

During Helen’s leadership positions within the HEN DPG, she spearheaded growth and leadership development activities of one of the most dynamic and fast-growing dietetic practice groups within ADA. It was her leadership and devotion to hunger and environmental nutrition issues that led a small dietetic practice group to increase membership by 400% in eight years. During her term as chair, the HEN DPG won the ADA DPG Member challenge in the small DPG category. This unprecedented growth is a direct result of Helen’s vision, dedication, and being a catalyst in transitioning a dietetic practice group from good to great.

As Chair, Helen led the HEN DPG leadership in achieving significant milestones and building the HEN DPG as one of the most active DPGs within the American Dietetic Association. Her accomplishments included:

  • Establishing the HEN DPG International Hunger Scholarship.
  • Establishing the HEN DPG Student Committee.
  • Reducing HEN DPG membership fees for students and interns.
  • Updating all HEN DPG marketing and promotion materials with the revised HEN mission, vision, goals and graphics.
  • Adding a corporate category to the Friend of HEN membership program.
  • Initiating a HEN DPG member survey.

Arranging a meeting with the Association’s Positions Committee to address the concerns about the ADA position paper on agriculture and food biotechnology which led to an addendum that was added to the paper’s webpage.

Initiating and revising the HEN DPG Organic Talking Points as an educational resource for all ADA membership.

Currently, Helen is the Program Manager for the Recipe for Success Program at the New Hampshire Food Bank. This position has enabled Helen to implement her passions for increasing access to healthy foods through sustainable food systems. She oversees the Culinary Job Training Program, which enables students to learn basic commercial cooking and food safety skills; and the Production Garden, a two-acre vegetable garden that incorporates organic farming practices while making fresh, locally grown food available to low-income individuals in New Hampshire. The Recipe for Success Program is being duplicated in other food banks and pantries across the country. A recent highlight was a series of catered food events for the Governor of New Hampshire provided by the Culinary Job Training Program.

“Helen embodies and blends food security and environmental nutrition issues into her current practice. She has shown exemplary leadership skills in contributing to and advancing the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and is very deserving of this recognition.” –Angie Tagtow, MS, RD, LD

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