Associate Professor/Extension Nutrition Specialist Oklahoma State University
Deana Hildebrand’s passion is to support youth and families in developing healthy eating habits and living active lives. Prior to joining the faculty at Oklahoma State University she taught high school Family and Consumer Sciences, and for 17 years worked with Child Nutrition Programs at the state and local levels, School Lunch and Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Food Programs and WIC Service She is a registered dietitian, School Nutrition Specialist and serves as an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist focusing on maternal, child and family nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Oklahoma State University.
Dr. Hildebrand’s approach to nutrition education seeks to make learning fun and interactive. To educate elementary school age children on the relationship between food and health, she and her colleagues developed the Farm to You program (a traveling, interactive agriculture, nutrition and health exhibit) targeting elementary school age children, which was awarded the 2010 Champion of Child Health and the distinguished Champion of Oklahoma Health by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Caring Foundation.
While nutrition education is important for providing youth with needed skills to choose healthy foods, her more recent work aims to make healthy food choices the easy choice. She has engaged Cooperative Extension Educators to work with school districts across Oklahoma to be part of the Smarter Lunchroom Movement. As the Governor’s appointee, she served from 2009 to 2013 in an advisory role capacity to the Oklahoma Certified Healthy School Program. The program promotes and recognizes schools that adopt and implement evidence-guided nutrition and physical activity practices, including use of behavioral economic strategies. In 2014, the program has supported and recognized almost one-third of the 1700 plus school sites in Oklahoma. In recognition of the community-engagement efforts, she and her colleagues have been recognized with the 2013 Award for Excellence in Advancement of the Land-Grant Mission of Oklahoma State University.
Her and her colleagues’ work is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior and Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from University of Central Oklahoma and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.