Nutrition Team

Amy Saxe-Custack, PhD, MPH, RDN, Assistant Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at MSU, currently serves as the Nutrition Director for the Pediatric Public Health Initiative. A long-time resident of Genesee County, Dr. Saxe-Custack is dedicated to the evaluation and expansion of nutrition programs that target children and families living in Flint, with a particular focus on improving access to fresh foods. Much of this work has been initiated in partnership with the Flint Farmers’ Market (FFM) and Hurley Children’s Center (HCC) to examine the impact of an innovative fruit and vegetable prescription program for pediatric patients. Through a recent grant award, Dr. Saxe-Custack will work with partners to expand both the fruit and vegetable prescription program and Flint Kids Cook.

Bree Bode, MPH, CHES is a PhD candidate in the Community Health program at Wayne State University. Bree advances health equity by conducting research activities to find community-based solutions to public health problems related to the food insecurity-obesity paradox. She has a special interest in variables that influence food choices. Bree's recent activities include presenting at Society for Public Health Education in 2021 as well as teaching university student health education, health promotion, and evaluation. She continues to learn from Flint families through the Best Food Forward project and is a part of the American Public Health Association Food and Nutrition Fellowship 2020-2021. Bree is also a member of the Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research Evaluation Network Wiki Scientist 2021 cohort. She volunteers as a member of the Kent County Food Policy Council, the Health Equity Initiative, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Food Insecurity working group, and the Sugar Smart Coalition. Bree enjoys action-oriented collaborative approaches to public and community health work.
Chantel Dawson, MHS, currently serves as a Research Assistant for the Pediatric Public Health Initiative. Ms. Dawson is passionate about enhancing the quality of life and promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst the Flint community. Ms. Dawson has worked in various settings as a health educator throughout the country and internationally. Her focus is on health promotion and educating communities in the skills needed to maintain personal health and increase health awareness. Ms. Dawson currently works on the dietary data collection of the fruit and vegetable prescription program to help improve access to and affordability of fresh foods.

Sarah Egan, MPH, RD, currently serves as the Project Coordinator for the Pediatric Public Health Initiative cooking and nutrition programs. Ms. Egan has experience teaching nutrition education to individuals of all ages in various settings including schools, community centers, and food pantries. She is passionate about increasing health outcomes through nutrition education, community engagement, and food system modifications that support healthy eating. Her work specifically focuses on the management and expansion of Flint Kids Cook.

Katie Hacker, RD, currently serves as a Research Assistant for the Pediatric Public Health Initiative and is a registered dietitian for Hurley Children’s Clinic. Ms. Hacker has experience educating and providing nutrition information to children and adults of all ages. She aims to provide education to children and their parents to allow not only essential growth and development for children but also to promote a positive relationship with food and their bodies. Ms. Hacker currently works on data collection for the fruit and vegetable prescription program study to improve community health outcomes.

Bridget Farmer currently serves as a Research Assistant for the Pediatric Public Health Initiative. Ms. Farmer works on dietary data collection to help learn the impact of a fruit and vegetable prescription program on diet and weight, food security, and access to fresh foods. As a Flint resident, she is passionate about improving nutrition programs available to children and families in the Flint community.

The PPHI Nutrition Team's Projects Include:

  • Increasing community-wide breastfeeding initiatives
  • Flint Kids Cook
  • WIC co-location with Hurley Children's Center
  • Nutrition education (classes/RD)
  • Fruit and vegetable prescription program  
  • Double Up Food Bucks expansion
  • Mobile food access
  • Healthy Food for Healthy Families voucher program