Monica Meadows    

Dr. Monica Meadows is the Director of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics and Director of the UT Nutrition Institute. She earned her BS and PhD at the University of Texas. Dr. Meadows is a faculty member in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UT and a Registered Dietitian; she enjoys sharing her knowledge of and passion for nutrition with UT students and others in the community at home and across the country.  She has received the Excellence in Teaching award from the Department of Human Ecology, the Katherine Ross Richards Centennial Teaching Fellowship in Nutrition and Susan T. Jastrow Human Ecology Chair for Excellence in Nutritional Sciences fellowship. She served in the role of Liaison between Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Texas State Board of Examiners of Dietitians and Chair of Policy Council for Cancer Nutrition Network for Texans.

Dr. Meadows teaches Nutrition Education and Counseling, Assessment of Nutritional Status, Fundamentals of Nutrition and International Nutrition. She enjoys watching students grow into nutrition professionals with the guidance, support and encouragement she can provide.

susiejastrow 150x150  

Susie Jastrow received a B.S. in nutrition in 1995, and served as a research associate for UT from 1995-1997, working under the direction of Margaret E. Briley. She has contributed to many publications, including three articles in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. In 1998 she joined and created the People’s Community Clinic’s Nutrition Services department, where she continues to work today as a nutritional consultant and diabetes educator. She has served on the College of Natural Sciences Advisory Council since 1998 and on the School of Human Ecology’s Advisory Council since 1996. In 2007 her husband, Kenny, established the Susan T. Jastrow Excellence Fund in Human Ecology to honor Susie’s achievements. Susie received the Community Service Award from the Texas Exes in Human Ecology in 1999, and their Alumna of the Year award in 2006.

She has served on the St. David’s Community Health Foundation Board as secretary
and is on their Health Access Committee, which decides how funds are distributed to the community. Susie is a past president and former member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma House Board. She believes that health care should be accessible to all central Texans with an emphasis on preventive care rather than crisis care. She believes that nutrition and an active lifestyle can be very effective in reducing health care costs.

Lauren Brauer  

Lauren Brauer is a Registered Dietitian for the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity at Dell Children’s Medical Center.  She leads the nutrition sections of Healthy Living, Happy Living / Vida Sana, Vida Feliz program, a 10-week multidisciplinary intervention aimed at helping families achieve healthy lifestyle changes. Lauren also serves as a Clinical Dietitian for the ACES Clinic, a multidisciplinary family-based weight management clinic at Dell Children’s Medical Center, and the ACES teen cooking class. She earned her master’s degree in nutrition at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, in coordination with a dietetic internship at Tufts-New England Medical Center. At the completion of her internship, she was awarded the Rebecca Roubenoff Award for excellence in clinical dietetics.

Lauren brings her experience from serving as Clinical Dietitian and Program Coordinator for the Nutrition & Fitness for Life Program, a multidisciplinary family-based weight management clinic at Boston Medical Center. As an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Lauren has earned the Pediatric and Adolescent Weight Management Certification and has contributed to multiple nutrition and health-focused publications.


molly bray 


Dr. Molly Bray is Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UT Austin. Her research focuses on the relationship between energy balance and lifestyle factors such as exercise, nutrition, and circadian patterns of behavior. Dr. Bray currently leads one of the largest genetic studies of exercise adherence established to date, the Training Interventions and Genetics of Exercise Response (TIGER) study, with a total planned cohort of more than 5,000 individuals. Her research has included investigations of aerobic fitness and resting and exercise energy expenditure in children and adolescents, circadian studies of feeding and metabolic response, and clinical studies of morbidly obese adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery.

Dr. Bray has a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in Human and Molecular Genetics from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Joy Casnovsky New   

Joy Casnovsky holds a BA in Geography and Spanish from the University of Texas and a  Culinarian Certificate from Austin Community College. Prior to joining Sustainable Food Center, Joy served in Bolivia as Peace Corps volunteer for two years. She joined SFC in 2007. Under her leadership, The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® has more than doubled the number of people served through a variety of innovative cooking and nutrition classes, offered in both Spanish and English. She’s a strong proponent of improving cooking skills and confidence among individuals so that they have the ability to positively shape their health. Also important to her are forming smart, sustainable food systems policies that have broad, lasting impacts.

 As a lover of learning, she’s currently back at school obtaining her Masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School at UT.

Margaret Connor 2  

Margaret Connor earned a BA in Biology at Princeton University and her master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She works as a nutritional consultant in Austin, partnering with physicians to provide lifestyle and dietary modification and education for their patients. Her focus on health promotion also includes consulting with local companies to provide corporate wellness workshops and teaching the nutrition curriculum at the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Middle School.

Prior to her work as a nutritional consultant, Margaret worked as a statistician and research analyst for the Medical University of South Carolina and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health focusing on topics including mortality, morbidity, nutrition, health education and access to care. In addition, she volunteers her time providing health education to local organizations such as Travis County Medical Alliance, Austin Children’s Museum, the Girl Scouts, For Kids’ Sake, the Austin Bump Club and others.

Ladia Hernendez  

Dr. Ladia Hernandez received her B.S in Food and Nutrition from Texas Tech University, a M.S and a Ph.D. in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She completed a year long dietetic internship at Texas Woman’s University while completing the M.S. program. Dr. Hernandez is certified as a registered and licensed dietitian (RD, LD), and had worked in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) as a Research Dietitian for 10 years. During her time at MDACC, she was intricately involved in epidemiology- and clinical-based research at both the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Texas Woman’s University. Past research experiences include food frequency questionnaire development, SPSS programming for nutrition-related calculations, nutrition consultation in intervention studies, and training oversight of dietary and anthropometric data collection.

Pont Stephen  

Dr. Stephen Pont is a general pediatrician and is the medical director for the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, Dell Children’s Medical Center’s tertiary care pediatric weight management center. Dr. Pont serves on a team with the UT-School of Public Health/Dell Center for Healthy Living and the USDA/Baylor College of Medicine that has been awarded a $6.3 million CDC grant to fund a demonstration project regarding childhood obesity that will link primary care offices, schools, recreation centers/YMCAs, and community-based interventions focusing on childhood obesity in Houston and Austin. Dr. Pont also serves as the medical director for Austin Independent School District’s Student Health Services, whose Dell Children’s employed staff provides student health services for the district’s nearly 90,000 students and 110 campuses. Dr. Pont currently serves as Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Provisional Section on Obesity.

Dr. Pont is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with UT-Southwestern, Austin Programs and received a BA from the University of Texas at Austin, which included a semester of study at the University of Costa Rica, MD from UT-Southwestern, pediatric residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and completed an academic general pediatrics/Master of Public Health fellowship at Vanderbilt University.