Marilyn Magaram Center

Summer 2020 Director's Message

August 28, 2020

Dr. Besnilian

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
– Dan Millman

Following guidance from the CSU Office of the Chancellor, Fall 2020 courses at CSUN will be primarily offered through virtual instruction and significant preventative health measures have been implemented for any on-campus classes, labs or activities. The Marilyn Magaram Center has continued with virtual operations in alignment with university procedures, developing best practices for online meetings, webinars, workshops and telehealth consultations as we strive to meet the needs of our students, staff and the community. During these uncertain and changing times, we are truly grateful for the opportunity to grow, build and provide innovative and collaborative programs and services in virtual formats. Please visit our website for details about our current services, resources and upcoming events, and you may find additional information regarding the fall semester on the CSUN as One webpage and planning hub.

The MMC remained productive this summer as we continued to explore and develop various methods of making our programs, projects and services readily accessible. One of the MMC’s most helpful services is diet analysis, which is an assessment of a participant’s 3-day dietary intake and includes a full macronutrient and micronutrient profile breakdown to identify important nutrients that may be lacking in their diet. During the month of August, the MMC Wellness Clinic offered free diet analysis with the purchase of an initial nutrition counseling session via telehealth, and in September we will be offering free nutrition counseling with the purchase of a follow-up session. To support those with specific health and nutritional needs, our four-part “Thrive with Diabetes” group education workshop series was facilitated in a virtual format over the summer and concluded on August 3rd. We received positive feedback from the participants in the cohort and have plans to offer this program again this fall, so please look for updates in our MMC Virtual Events emails.

In collaboration with the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing, the MMC was proud to present “A Healthy Gut: Food and Our Microflora,” a Wellbeing Wednesday workshop that took place on July 22nd. This webinar was an introduction to the importance of prebiotics and probiotics in a healthy diet and included a live food demonstration on the process of fermenting cucumbers at home to make your own pickles. For the gardening enthusiasts, our Let’s Grow Healthy team provided a “Creating Pollinator Habitats and Seed Bombs” workshop through the Oasis Wellness Center on August 14th. Pollinators aid in the process of growing nutritious fruits and vegetables, and participants learned how to design a pollinator habitat and plant a variety of wild flowers using seed bombs in this relaxing and educational workshop. There are also plans in the works to provide “Healthy Growers” training and videos in the next few weeks.

In partnership with CalFresh Healthy Living and our Let’s Cook, Move and Grow program, the MMC offered a “Staying Healthy While Staying Home” series of interactive virtual workshops during July and August, which included various topics such as “Reading the New Nutrition Facts Label,” “Building a Healthy Plate,” “Planning Healthy Meals,” “Planning on a Budget,” “What's on The Label?” and “Rethink Your Drink.” The CalFresh team continues to implement free virtual classes on nutrition and physical activity for children through our community partners, Child Development Institute (CDI) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and they recently received approval to resume monthly food distributions. You can read more about the impact of the CalFresh initiative in this CSUN Today article, but we are happy to report that $660,000 in additional funding was recently awarded from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to extend the program until September of 2022!

With virtual cooking classes and networking events gaining popularity, the MMC was pleased to participate in the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s (LAEDC) 2020 Summer Mixer on August 12th, where Chef Harold Avila prepared recipes using our products during a break-out session. Additionally, we were excited to co-host a Tapas & Wine event with the CSUN Alumni Association on August 27th. During this virtual “happy hour” and interactive culinary experience, Chef Avila demonstrated how to prepare tapas using fresh ingredients and Certified Sommelier, Sean Van Straatum, provided wine pairing recommendations to go along with the recipes. Participants had the opportunity to explore the components of each wine to appreciate it as more than just a beverage, enjoying the delicious appetizers they created along with games and networking following the live demonstrations.

We are also proud to announce that our USDA Pathways to Success program was recently selected as a finalist in the University Economic Development Association’s 2020 Awards of Excellence competition in the Talent + Place category! This is the fourth year in a row that one of our programs has been chosen for this honor, and our team looks forward to presenting at the UEDA Digital Summit on September 21st. With student engagement and success as our highest priorities, we have continued to provide leadership and entrepreneurship opportunities through collaborations with the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics and CSUN’s I-Corps Customer Discovery Program, where our dietetic interns gained valuable experience with their research, testing and marketing of the “Bee a Matador” honey products as they learned to develop target audience needs and solutions during the spring semester. Please see this article in CSUN Today to read more about these student opportunities and campus partnerships, and we look forward to virtual trainings and collaborations this fall.

I would like to thank our wonderful staff and students for embracing the change and working so hard to develop and provide new virtual programs and services to the CSUN Community! As a reminder, you can find the most recent CSUN COVID-19 updates here. According to the CDC guidelines, when you engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventative actions. Wishing you and your loved ones good health and safety as we all remain steadfast in anticipation of the academic year ahead!

Executive Director, Magaram Center