Courtney PinardToday we are featuring a member of the LWOK Steering Committee – Courtney A. Pinard, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. Dr. Pinard has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of the coalition’s neighborhood pilot work group. She has dedicated time to creating a facilitation guide and facilitated focus groups with agency leaders in 68107 and 68111. We are thankful for her dedication to collaborating with others to prevent childhood obesity!

What inspired you to become a researcher?
I was inspired to work in public health and behavioral science to help mitigate health issues at a population level. Being a researcher is a balance of creativity and the scientific process, which allows me to remain engaged and passionate about my work.

Tell us about your current role at Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition.
I am a Senior Research Scientist at GSCN, this means I oversee projects and work with our project teams to carry out the necessary steps for evaluations and research projects. At any given time, we typically are working on several evaluation projects, partnered with organizations and programs from across the country. In addition, I write research grant proposals to various funding agencies. Our work spans across childhood obesity prevention, food insecurity, and local food systems and health.

Why are you involved in the LWOK coalition? How does collaboration around child healthy weight benefit our community?
I am involved with LWOK because the mission closely aligns with our work at the center. I value the partnership with LWOK and the other members on the steering committee since we can accomplish more together. Being connected with various organizations and sectors across Omaha, all with efforts related to child healthy weight, helps us to not duplicate efforts but rather have complementary efforts. The collaboration through LWOK to attain healthy weights for kids in Omaha benefits the community and families through connecting to services and programs and having aligned goals.

When you’re not working, what kind of activities do you participate in to stay active and feeling energized?
I like to keep active as this helps me not only maintain physical health, but is a good outlet for stress and mental health. In addition, travel is a passion in our family, seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, and eating/drinking our way through places.