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CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Nutritional Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
School: Eastern Illinois University
Degree: M.S. in Family and Consumer Science with specialization in Dietetics
Placement: Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement, U.S. Department of Agriculture

María Cecilia Pfund was born and raised in Argentina and came with her family to the United States during high school. Growing up, she developed a profound interest in nutrition, which started when she realized how nutrition impacted health, disease prevention, and healthcare costs. María earned a B.S. in Nutrition/Dietetics from the University of Florida and a Master’s in Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University.

Through her education and experience, María has developed a strong interest in integrative nutrition and issues related to nutrition such as food waste, food insecurity, and chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity. Her passion and drive stem from witnessing the adverse effects of health policy and the health disparities that continue to exist in her community.

María is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and completed her dietetic internship at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico , where she gained vast experience in clinical nutrition. As a graduate student, she participated as a CHCI-United Health Foundation Intern at The Nutrition Center.  Additionally, she has worked part-time in diverse settings teaching nutrition, cooking and counseling. For the past year she has been volunteering for Family Restoration and Healing Center as a nutritional consultant.

As a CHCI Graduate Fellow, María wants to learn how to better serve and represent the Latino community in health disparity issues through health policy and the legislative process and enact strong and effective policies that improve people’s health. María’s goal is to empower people to take an active role in their health by supporting policies that promote sustainability, particularly as it relates to food waste and food insecurity. She believes that collaboration towards sustainable solutions to complex health, environmental, social, and economic issues can lead to a better, healthier future for all.