PRINCESS ANNE, MD- (January 22, 2020)-Dr. Virginie Zoumenou, professor of dietetics and nutrition at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and its 1890 Nutrition and Health Programs director, will serve the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in two leadership roles this year. 

Her colleagues nominated her as an “Outstanding EFNEP Program Leader” and choose her from among them to serve as one of 15 “Program Leader Exemplars,” said Dr. Susan Baker, professor and extension specialist at the Colorado State University and the EFNEP coordinator.  The program leaders, she said, are a group of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education and EFNEP staff from 1852 and 1890 Land-Grant Universities working with the SNAP-Ed Program Development Team executive committee to develop core competencies for all job categories within their programs. 

In this capacity, Baker said, Zoumenou will use the “Developing a Curriculum” process to create, validate and confirm new core competencies or revise existing core competencies for four job categories: program leaders, program supervisors, professional educators and paraprofessional educators.

Zoumenou will attend the 2020 National EFNEP meeting on March 2 in Arlington, Va. where she will begin her duties as a “Program Leader Exemplar.”  She was selected based on a survey whereby peers nominated Program Leaders “who are experienced, well respected and might be described as outstanding by their colleagues.”

Zoumenou has been a faculty member at UMES since 2006.  She develops and conducts Cooperative Extension outreach programs and research projects emphasizing the nutritional needs throughout the life cycle with particular target on chronic disease prevention.  For the past 10 years, she has provided leadership for three 1890s outreach nutrition and health programs: the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Family and Consumer Sciences Program.  She also launched the UMES Center for Obesity Prevention Serving Preschoolers, their Siblings, and Caregivers and serves as its director.

The faculty member holds doctorates in biochemistry and nutrition (National University of Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire) and dietetics and nutrition (Florida International University).  She has built strong collaborations with underserved communities, social services and community based organizations at local, state, national and international levels and has been awarded more than two and a half million through external funding.

“It is not surprising that Dr. Zoumenou has been given such an accolade, because the quality of her programs and activities are hard to match.  She is a unique asset to our UMES Extension Program,” said Dr. Nelson Escobar, interim 1890 associate administrator for Extension at UMES.

Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, School  of Agricultural & Natural Sciences, 410-621-3850,

UMES Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, martial or parental status, or national origin.

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