University of Nevada, Reno Extension has hired Elika Nematian in a newly created position to work with other Extension professionals to help assess the needs of communities in southern Nevada and pilot, implement and evaluate initiatives to promote good health and nutrition.
As the health and nutrition Extension educator for Clark County, Nematian will be helping to provide health and nutrition resources and education to community members of all ages. She also aims to tailor programs to meet needs of specific neighborhoods and zip codes, and broaden the reach of programs.
“We are looking at innovative ways to best share our resources and expertise with the community and stakeholders in Clark County,” Nematian said. “When providing resources, we really want to take a systems approach to improve the health of communities we’re working in.”
While Nematian works to determine the best courses of action to develop new programs and resources, she is also determined to ensure successful established initiatives continue to be supported. This includes the Healthy Kids Festival, which celebrated its 10th year this September. During the event, Extension and other local health, nutrition and physical activity specialists demonstrate activities and share available resources aimed to improve healthy living in their day-to-day lives.
Nematian has an extensive background in both health and nutrition, and Extension. Throughout her career, she’s developed and piloted community nutrition programs; provided statewide trainings and technical assistance; written and managed government grants; and advocated for policies to promote good health, nutrition and food security at the local and federal levels.
Nematian previously worked with Extension in Clark County for six years, so she understands the importance of evidence-based programing when it comes to serving the community in Nevada, and she is excited to be back. During this time, she worked as a community-based instructor to deliver nutrition education programs. Later, as a program officer, she piloted new nutrition education and physical activity programs for older adults.
Going forward, Nematian says she’s placing particular emphasis on collaboration. This includes working with other Extension professionals, as well as continuing to strengthen new and existing partnerships with community members.