Posted: 3/10/23

TAMIU and USDA to Co-Host Listening Session for Community Input on Nutrition



Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) will co-host a special community listening session, called “Building a Healthy Community Together,” with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Texas A&M AgriLife’s Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture (IHA) on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in the Student Center Ballroom from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Invited residents and leaders will gather to hear community input to help ensure that USDA’s science-based solutions on the topics of nutrition and diet-related chronic diseases are impactful and relevant to the communities they serve. 

“At USDA we are passionate to learn more about communities’ lived experiences and to support their need to access healthy, safe and affordable food,” said USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, “Engaging with diverse communities is integral to our efforts as we work together with partners like Texas A&M International University and the Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture to retool the way our society approaches healthy eating.” 

Also attending will be The Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz.

Chancellor Sharp noted the A&M System’s legacy of health advocacy.

“The Texas A&M System has long been involved in improving health results in South Texas, first in our Healthy South Texas program and now, working with the USDA, our Institute for Advancing Health through Agriculture,” Sharp noted.

“The health of my constituents is my number one priority – and good health begins with good nutrition,” said Congressman Cuellar, “Our community’s input will help the federal government ensure guaranteed access to healthy and affordable food that will lead to improved overall health for South Texas families. I want to thank the USDA, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, TAMIU President Dr. Pablo Arenaz, and the rest of the Texas A&M University System for taking the initiative to finding viable solutions to diet-related health disparities in our community.”

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the University is excited to partner with USDA and IHA to present the event.

“We are keenly aware of the diet-related health disparities in our community and how certain food choices can, unfortunately, lead to health outcomes including diet-related chronic diseases and cancer.  This initiative offers a positive opportunity to gain and share knowledge and impact solutions,” Dr. Arenaz said.

The event is the second in a series of such listening sessions hosted by USDA as part of its Agricultural Science Center of Excellence for Nutrition and Diet (ASCEND) for Better Health. The first event was held in partnership with Southern University Ag Center in Baton Rouge, LA, in January.

In addition to discussion opportunities, the event will include a luncheon and “Share Fair” providing information on nutrition programs, healthy eating advice, and community programs. 

ASCEND for Better Health is a virtual science center that aims to accelerate research on diet-related chronic diseases and translate that research into impactful solutions that improve public health.

This initiative supports President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot effort and advances the goals outlined in the Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

For additional information on ASCEND for Better Health please visit http://bit.ly/usda-ascend.

For more information about the ASCEND event, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu or phone 956.326.2180.