UTK Former Trainee Spotlight: Alexandra Alford

Alex Alford

Alexandra Alford is a registered and licensed dietitian in Atlanta, GA. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology with a concentration in Dietetics at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Princess Anne, MD. Alexandra then attended the University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville, TN to earn her Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition and her Master of Public Health in Community Health Education. In addition, she completed her dietetic internship at UT. While at UT, Alexandra was also a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nutrition Leadership Trainee, where she developed several leadership and planning skills that have helped her career blossom.

After graduating from UT, Alexandra worked at the UT Extension office in Wilson County, TN. While at UT Extension, Alexandra focused on the Farmers’ Market Fresh program in Wilson County, TN. This program was delivered at farmers’ markets that accepted payment from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and it was intended to help those with limited resources eat more local fruits and vegetables through education and access. Alexandra marketed the program to residents in the county, and led the implementation at a local farmers’ market in Lebanon, TN.

After her position with UT Extension, she worked full time for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Washington, DC. During Alexandra’s time with the USDA, she primarily supported the leadership of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). EFNEP is a national nutrition education program in the United States that targets low-income populations aiming to reduce nutrition insecurity of low-income families and youth. Alexandra worked with stakeholders across the nation and its territories to help improve the lives of those in the MCH population from a national perspective. There, she helped create and update policies that impacted the growth and reach of EFNEP. Alexandra also played an important role in reviewing and approving the planning and progress of EFNEP, ensuring each individual program was following federal guidelines and policies.

She then moved to Atlanta to work for Open Hand Atlanta, which is a non-profit organization that aims to cook, deliver, teach, and care. Alexandra currently provides nutrition education and counseling to a wide variety of individuals. At Open Hand, she provides monthly nutrition education in group settings and medical nutrition therapy to those living with HIV/AIDS and other health conditions.  She continues to help those with limited resources by linking her clients in need to the medically tailored meals that are created and delivered by Open Hand.

Since graduating and completing her time as an MCH Nutrition Leadership Trainee, Alexandra has remained working with the MCH population, helping those that need it most. She plans to continue these efforts throughout her career, forever thankful for the training and leadership provided by UMES, UT, and especially, the UT MCH Nutrition Leadership, Education, and Training Program.

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