Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $856,250 in federal funding for Cornell University. Cornell is one of five universities awarded the grant, which designates it as a Regional Center of Excellence for Research and Nutrition Education. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and will be supported through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). This funding will be used to implement programs at Cornell University that bolster nutrition research and combat obesity.
Senator Gillibrand has long advocated for the SNAP-Ed program and has fought to reverse cuts to the program in 2011. Since then, the Senator has continuously fought for robust funding for the program in the farm bills. New York State received $12.5 million for SNAP-Ed in 2013 and this funding reached more than 15,000 adults and 5,700 children, just last year alone. The SNAP-Ed program’s goal is to support nutrition education for those eligible or receiving food assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Combating obesity and promoting healthy nutrition is a top priority,” said Senator Gillibrand, member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “Everyone deserves access to healthy nutritious food. Our children need a healthy start and we can’t afford to let them grow up in a culture of obesity. I am pleased Cornell University has received this designation that will promote enhanced research to help improve New Yorker’s nutrition and fight crippling obesity in the state.”
“This USDA grant allows us to greatly enhance existing efforts by Cornell University to build evidence for the effectiveness of nutrition education programs such as EFNEP and SNAP-Ed that are delivered through Cornell Cooperative Extension—programs that reached more than 175,000 underserved families across New York State last year,” said Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology at Cornell. “Building on pilot studies at Cornell, through this grant we will also embark on innovative research to better understand how nutrition education programs delivered along with simple changes in such environments as schools, worksites, and communities may work in combination to encourage healthier lifestyles. We look forward to working with our research and extension colleagues in the Northeast region to advance the work of this Center.”
This program will run through a joint partnership between the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). As a Regional Center of Excellence for Research and Nutrition Education, Cornell will administer at least one research project and will have an opportunity to award sub-grants for projects in the region.