Guided by critical praxis, Tambra Stevenson is a Ph.D. Student in the American University School of Communication focused on supporting policymakers and practitioners with a food and health communication research agenda centering Black women. As a health communicator by training, her scholarship takes on critical approaches in examining structural communication inequalities within under resourced communities in relation to food and health inequities. She draws on sociology, public health, intersectionality and antiracism to study communication ecology and digital communities pertaining to women of African descent. Using a multi-method approach, she is especially interested in the relationship between communication infrastructure and health outcomes in the District of Columbia. Her recent work addressed analyzing social media platform policies in addressing health misinformation and how urban communities use social media groups to access health information. The roots of her research journey began in bench lab, clinical nutrition and community-based nutrition research working with Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika, Dr. Karen Peterson and Dr. Stephen Abrams.

Currently, she serves as the Research Assistant to the Playful City Lab under the leadership of Dr. Benjamin Stokes and co-authored civic media research involving game design. She was selected to serve on the Games for Health Journal Early Career Committee. Also she was selected to the Greenberg Seminars for Effective Teaching and supported the Ann Ferren Conference. She is a regular consumer health contributor for U.S. News and World Report. She has served as guest lecturer on stigma, obesity communication, nutrition equity and food justice at Georgetown University Law Center, Howard University, American University and George Washington University.

With colleagues from Johns Hopkin University and George Washington University, Tambra has co-authored research examining caregivers navigating food desserts to feed children in Washington, D.C. and published in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a pending peer reviewed publication with the Frontiers Journal in Food Systems Communication on Black women building digital communities to fight food insecurity. She is the principal author of the Black Health Bill of Rights adopted by the Council on Black Health (formerly the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network), a network of academic researchers and community partners.

She is a member of Association for the Study of Food and Society, Asssociation for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Les Dames d’Escoffier International, and the North American representative for the African Nutrition Society. She also co-chairs the D.C. Chapter for Women in Toys, Licensing and Entertainment and instrumental in developing the Black Women in Toys initiative. She also has a design patent pending and is the author of a children’s bilingual book series.

Tambra is also a highly requested speaker, facilitator and consultant locally and globally in Europe, Africa and the Americas. She has been invited to speak at the Food Tank Summit, World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, United Nations Commission on the Status of Women NGO Forum, U.S. Botanic Gardens, Children’s National Medical Center, Dallas Independent School District, Maryland Parks and Planning, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Smithsonian Museum of American History, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Library of Congress, Black Policy Lab, Uppsala University in Sweden, Cape Coast Medical School in Ghana, Kano Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, University of Pretoria in South Africa, and African Union in Ethiopia.

Featured in Washington Post, Forbes and Voice of America, Tambra is the visionary founder of WANDA: Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture that centers Black women and girls in the food system by focusing on education, advocacy and innovative approaches. She has also successfully secured funding for programs and research. Prior to WANDA, the Oklahoma native began her career at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, D.C. Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives and the University of the District of Columbia. She is the former Policy Chair for the National Organization of Blacks in Nutrition and Dietetics. Appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the former Boren National Security Education scholar co-chairs food systems and nutrition for the D.C. Food Policy Council advising the Mayor of legislative priorities impacting the local food economy. As a fun fact, she was a 2014 National Geographic Traveler of the Year featured in National Geographic Magazine.

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