While Benita Law-Diao was working on her Masters Degree program in the Division of Nutrition at Cornell University, she chose to get practical experience through the Maryland State Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Dietetic internship, which rotated her through a wide range public and private facilities throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. Some of the agencies that she worked in through rotations during her years employed for the State of Maryland were Johns Hopkins Hospital, Shady Grove Hospital, Anne Arundel General Hospital, University of Maryland Hospital, Thomas B. Finan Hospital Center (Cumberland, MD), Eastern Shore Hospital Center (Cambridge), McCormick’s Spice Company, USDA and the National Institutes of Health-National Cancer Institute, National Health (NCI), Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the US National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Benita came to the NYS Dept. of Health through a one-year Management Development Fellowship. After which, she was oﬀered a permanent position at the Dept. of Health and has worked there as a Public Health Nutritionist, Contract Manager and Program Research Specialist for the past 25 years.
Project LEAN (Lowfat Eating for Americans Now) Program, the Mary Lasker Heart and Hypertension Institute’s Healthy Heart Program, Eat Well, Play Hard Program, Eat Smart NY (FSNEP-Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program), Activ8Kids, the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP), the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Program (EPIC) and the New York State of Health are a few of the programs that she has worked on issues related to hunger and food security, food safety and sanitation, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, childhood obesity, tuberculosis, prescription drug coverage for the elderly, universal health, smoking cessation and prevention, and HIV/AIDS. She is currently a NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation WAVE (Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators) volunteer, and she works on environmental justice issues and community environmental education projects.
Benita has practiced dietetics for 36 years. Through her travels, she has observed how environment impacts culture, tradition, health and nutrition. Food is such a personal expression of identity. She has learned that if you respect the history of a culture/people and teach them how they can utilize the best of what makes them unique, you can inspire a healthy lifestyle.
Benita taught “A Taste of African Heritage” classes at Trinity Alliance, a community-based non-proﬁt social service organization which provides a wide range of services to persons with limited resources. Trinity’s mission is to provide services to the community that will support and promote healthy families, adults and children. They are dedicated to improving the neighborhood as a setting for family life, contributing to health and well-being, and promoting education and employment as a means of self-development.
In the future, Benita will oﬀer ATOAH to classes to pregnant women and young parents of 0-3 years old children who participate in Albany Baby Institute and AVillage, Inc. members at the Capital South Campus Center in Albany, NY. This summer, ATOAH will be introduced to the Albany community through food demonstrations at the NYS Oﬃce of General Service Annual Black Arts and Cultural Festival, August 1, 2015.
Benita’s favorite vegetable is kale. She has made kale chips, kale casseroles, kale side dishes, kale smoothies, kale salads, and even muﬃns with kale.