Sustainable Food Systems Lecture Series

Sustainable Food Systems Lectures

This carefully curated schedule of events is solely dedicated to topics related to sustainability and the role of agriculture in environmental, social, and economic issues, with a heavy emphasis on the food we consume in our everyday lives. The series is part of our strategic initiative, Establish a Healthy Food System and Ensure Global Food and Nutritional Security. This year's lecture series is centered around topics of food security and equity, with a theme of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect for all in sustainable agriculture.

Register for the Series Watch March 30 Lecture

Tuesday, April 20

Dr. Stephen Thomas

Title: How A Student’s Human Centered Design Project Turned Into An Urban Farm: Implications for Addressing COVID-19 Vaccination and Health Disparities
Speaker: Dr. Stephen Thomas, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Director, Maryland Center for Health Equity
Date & Time: Tuesday, April 20 : 6:00-7:00pm

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Speaker Bio

One of the nation's leading scholars in the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, Dr. Stephen B. Thomas has applied his expertise to address a variety of conditions from which minorities generally face far poorer outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS.  He is the Principal Investigator (with Dr. Sandra C. Quinn) on the Center of Excellence in Race, Ethnicity and Health Disparities Research, funded by the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards for his professional accomplishments, and over the years, his work has become recognized as one of the scholarly contributions leading to the 1997 Presidential Apology to Survivors of the Syphilis Study Done at Tuskegee.  His current research focuses on the translation of evidence-based science on chronic disease into community-based interventions designed to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. More specifically, he has focused on understanding how social context shapes attitudes and behaviors of underserved, poorly served, and never-served segments of our society toward participation in health promotion and disease prevention activities. Dr. Thomas is particularly interested in how the legacy of the Syphilis Study at Tuskegee (1932–72) has impacted trust and influenced the willingness of African Americans to participate in medical and public health research.

Tuesday, May 4

Michael J. Wilson

Title: Fighting Hunger Without Food
Speaker: Michael J. Wilson, Maryland Hunger Solutions
Date & Time: Tuesday, May 4 : 6:00-7:00pm

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Speaker Bio

Michael J. Wilson is director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. In this role, he leads Maryland’s premier hunger advocacy, education, and outreach organization as it works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income families in Maryland. Michael serves in a leadership role in many statewide coalitions and is member of the management team of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). He Chairs the Board of the Montgomery County Food Council and serves on Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Food and Agriculture Regional Member (FARM) Ad Hoc Committee. 

 For more than three decades, Michael has been a leading advocate for economic and social justice. He worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative and press assistant for the late U.S. Representative Charles Hayes (IL). He also served in numerous positions at the U.S. Department of Labor, culminating as Chief of Staff in the Employment Standards Administration where he coordinated legislative, regulatory, communications, and policy development. Michael also was an international officer and director at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union where he headed the legislative and political department and led the union’s efforts in food policy and worker advocacy. Michael served as a FRAC Board Member for more than a decade, as well as a Board Member for the Consumer Federation of America and Americans for Democratic Action, where he also served as National Director.  

 He received the Community Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capitol Area in 2009, the Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Achievement Award in 1997 and 1999, and a Special Commendation from the Wage and Hour Division in 1997. Michael has a B.A. in communications arts and sciences from Michigan State University.