Conference at SJC places focus on nutrition

Noel Lyn Smith

FARMINGTON — A two-day conference focused on bringing together health educators and health professions to talk about nutrition will start Wednesday at San Juan College.

Participants in the 2014 One Voice Nutrition Educators Conference engage in exercise activities during the event in Gallup. This year's conference will start on Wednesday at San Juan College in Farmington.

The One Voice Nutrition Educators Conference is a free conference for health care providers, health care professionals, fitness and exercise specialists, nutrition educators, and nutritionists who work to educate residents on and near the Navajo Nation.

The event starts each day at 8 a.m. and concludes at 5 p.m. Thursday. It will offer presentations that center on topics such as ancestral diet, sports nutrition, providing care to aging diabetics and more.

Roberta Duncan, a public health nutritionist at the Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Ariz., said the topics covered at the conference will address nutrition from birth to advanced age.

"Nutrition is at the heart of everything. Food is medicine. If you eat well, you'll be well," Duncan said.

Presenters from the national and local areas will talk about breastfeeding, food packages provided by the Women, Infants and Children program, and the Healthy Diné Nation Act.

Duncan said one of the notable presentations will made be by Theresa Maresca, a medical doctor and associate professor at the University of Washington, who will talk about the ancestral diet and ways a traditional indigenous diet can be incorporated in today's food offerings.

Angelina Maia, left, speaks about motivational interviewing during the 2014 One Voice Nutrition Educators Conference in Gallup. San Juan College in Farmington will host the conference this year.

Other notable presenters are Beverly Thomassian, a diabetes nurse specialist, who will discuss microbiome and diabetes; and Nancy Clark, an internationally known nutritionist, who will talk about sports nutrition.

The Public Health Nutrition Department at the Tséhootsooí Medical Center and the Nutrition Services and the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention departments at the Gallup Indian Medical Center are sponsoring the conference, which will be held in the Little Theatre on the San Juan College campus, 4601 College Blvd.

Registration is online at

There will be limited on-site registration, and participants are encouraged to register online prior to the conference.

For more information, contact Bronston Chee at 928-729-8416 or

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.