Imani Nia Marshall graduated from Amherst College with a degree in political science. At Amherst, Imani served as co-president of Amherst College chapter of GlobeMed, raising awareness of issues of global health equity and social justice. She also served as chapter head of the Roosevelt Institute at Amherst College where she worked to amplify student policy ideas and raise awareness about criminal justice reforms and local economic inequity. Moreover, Imani convinced the college administration to develop better relationships with local minority and women owned businesses. In addition, Imani worked as a research assistant for professors in black studies, women and gender’s studies and political science, working on issues of the representation of black women in films and literature, LGBT rights in Latin America, and environmental justice in America. She also co-authored a systematic review of the use of decision aids with LGBT and minority populations that was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Field placement: Market Umbrella
New Orleans, Louisiana
Imani worked with Market Umbrella to design a breastfeeding incentive program and WIC Cash Value Voucher at Crescent City Farmers Markets pilot program for mothers receiving WIC. These programs aim to increase access to fresh locally-sourced fruits and vegetables and increase breastfeeding rates among low-income mothers in the Orleans parish by providing a financial incentive and support system for families.
Policy placement: Food Research & Action Center
Imani worked to maximize the new CACFP meal pattern and nutrition standards by organizing a convening of organizations that represent key stakeholders (i.e., CACFP administrators and operators, child care providers, physicians, community organizations, and parents). The convening focused on how culturally humble communication, parent empowerment and community partnerships will be essential to ensuring an equitable and successful implementation of the new CACFP meal pattern. Imani also studied recruitment and retention strategies to reverse nationally declining WIC coverage rates. As part of this project, Imani interviewed and surveyed WIC agencies, local WIC agencies and WIC vendors in key states.
Hunger Free Community Report
Increasing Access to Food for Mothers, Infants and Children Receiving Benefits from WIC through Community Partnerships and Improving the Value of WIC Participation by integrating WIC into Local Food Economies discuss two problems that the WIC population faces: low participation rates and low breastfeeding rates. These reports explain how WIC agencies and community stakeholders can partner to incubate solutions to these challenges.