As a SNAP-Ed Educator for University of Illinois Extension, Veronica Skaradzinski addresses health and economic challenges faced by food-insecure families for six counties in northern Illinois. As part of the Illinois Nutrition Education Programs, SNAP-Ed evidenced-based services focus on nutrition education and obesity prevention through promoting behavior change. Communities with higher rates of food insecurity tend to have higher rates of diet related chronic disease and healthcare costs.
In her role, Veronica aims to create health equity by providing professional development opportunities and hands-on assistance at locations that primarily serve low-income families. She works with school wellness committees, school nutrition programs, food pantry volunteers, and community coalitions. Veronica believes small changes can make big differences over time and that values on health play a role in all organizations to impact the larger community.
Skaradzinski has a Bachelor of Science degree in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics from Illinois State University. She earned a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Northern Illinois University. Veronica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with previous work experience as an in-store grocery retail dietitian offering group classes, health screenings, medical nutrition therapy, and other interactive health promotion efforts.
Skaradzinski’s expertise includes nutrition, healthy retail promotion, and food pantry interventions. She utilizes the Nutrition Environment Food Pantry Assessment Tool (NEFPAT) when working with food pantries to implement best practices on obesity prevention.
In 2019, Skaradzinski’s efforts were recognized with the statewide Emergency Food Workgroup receiving the Team Excellence Award through the University of Illinois Extension as well as the Boone, DeKalb, and Ogle SNAP-Ed staff being awarded the Team Award through the Illinois Nutrition Education Programs.