Announcement by Laura J. Lawson, Interim Executive Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and Interim Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
Dear NJAES and SEBS community,
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Elnakib, Department of Family and Community Health Sciences educator and department head, Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Passaic County, as the new chair of FCHS, effective June 1, 2022.
She succeeds Luanne Hughes, Family & Community Health Sciences Educator I, and Daryl Minch, Family & Community Health Sciences Educator II, who have served as interim co-chairs of FCHS for the past 10 months.
A unit of RCE, FCHS promotes health and wellness throughout New Jersey, via education, research and collaborative outreach in the areas of food, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles.
Sara Elnakib’s primary areas of research include food security and food systems evaluation, and pursuing policy and environmental change for increased access to healthy foods. In addition, she focuses on food waste, and diversity and cultural competence training for nutrition and health care professionals.
Elnakib has been a member of the Passaic County Food Policy Council for over eight years, as a Strategy Lead for the Healthy Corner Store working group she focused on policy and environmental changes to support nutrition security in Passaic County. More recently, she has brought strong RCE leadership to the New Jersey Food Democracy Collaborative, a statewide policy network consisting of food access and agricultural leaders, citizens and organizations, which released two companion reports on the future of New Jersey’s food system. She served as a primary author on the seminal report, NJ Roadmap for Food System Resilience, that highlights the potential for more equitable food access and an enhanced agricultural sector in New Jersey by considering the voices of more than 300 food system stakeholders and leaders between 2020 and 2021.
Elnakib has served as principal investigator on several high-profile projects, including the $298,290 USDA-NIFA project, “People, Plants, and The Planet: A Multi-Method Study to Develop, Implement & Evaluate a Food & Climate Change Intervention to Empower Adolescents to Make Healthy & Sustainable Plant-Based Food Choices.” and the $335,263 NJ Department of Environmental Protection-funded “NJ Leaves No Bite Behind” project.
A registered dietitian, Elnakib received the “Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award” in 2016 from the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. In 2021, she was recognized with the Emerging Dietetic Leader Award from the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the Stuart D. Cook Excellence in Research Award from Rutgers School of Public Health.
Before coming to Rutgers in 2017, Elnakib was an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and served as the Health and Nutrition manager for the Head Start Program in Montclair.
Elnakib earned a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science, dietetics option from Cook College in 2007, a master’s degree in Public Health in Education and Behavioral Science from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2013, and a doctoral degree from Rutgers School of Public Health, part of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, in 2021.
Please join me in thanking Luanne Hughes and Daryl Minch for their joint efforts in leading FCHS during this transition, and in welcoming Sara Elnakib to her new role as FCHS chair.