(Posted November 21, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A Juniata College nutrition class is sponsoring a symposium featuring a keynote address by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Calvin Johnson, speaking on "Food and Nutrition: Responding to Challenges in Huntingdon County and Beyond," at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

Dr. Johnson's speech and the entire symposium is free and open to the public.

"During fall semester we teach a biology course that focuses on the basics of nutrition," says Debra Kirchhof-Glazier, professor of biology at Juniata College. "As that course comes to an end, we thought a symposium that focuses attention on this issue would be of great interest to the area." Kirchhof-Glazier team-teaches the nutrition course with Ruth Reed, professor of chemistry.

The symposium will feature Juniata student poster presentations from 7 to 10 p.m. In addition, nutritional action groups from the local area and across the state will staff information stations in the lobby of the von Liebig science center from 7 to 10 p.m.

The 10 student posters will cover a variety of nutrition-related subjects, including "Good Nutrition for Low-Income Families," "Getting the Most Out of Your Food Stamps," "The Politics of Food Stamps," "Successes and Challenges of the WIC Program" and "Strategies for Empowering Low-income Families."

Among the action groups and nutrition-related agencies who will staff information tables are: Pennsylvania Hunger Action, Penn State's Nutrition Education Network, Information and Referral for South-central Counties, (a regional referral agency for nutrition issues), the Discount Food Program and J.C. Blair Hospital.

After Johnson's talk, audience members are encouraged to participate in an information session at 9 p.m. in Neff Lecture Hall to discuss how to meet the needs of individuals in Huntingdon County who have poor nutrition. "We will provide materials and handouts for two nutrition projects Juniata is currently involved in," says Kirchhof-Glazier.

One project Kirchhof Glazier says the college is currently working on involves the Huntingdon Area School District and other partners. The group plans to organize a summer food program that would provide free lunches and other meals for low-income families. Another project centers on a team of Juniata students who are collaborating with culinary instructors from the Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center to start a program to teach low-income individuals to get the most nutritional and budgetary value from the use of food stamps.

For more information or to volunteer for any of Juniata's collaborative programs, please call Debra Kirchhof-Glazier at (814) 641-3574.

Calvin Johnson was appointed secretary of health in 2003 by Gov. Ed Rendell and serves as the state's primary public health advocate and spokesman. Before accepting his nomination as health secretary, Johnson worked as an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Temple University School of Medicine. He also worked as a practicing pediatrician on staff at the Temple University Children's Medical Center and as medical director for Philadelphia Safe & Sound, an organization focused on the health of children.

Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and went on to earn a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He also earned a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. After completing his residency, Johnson joined the New York City Department of Health as the clinical adviser to the Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Family Health Services.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.