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Tambra Stevenson Communication (PhD)

BS, Human Nutrition and a minor in Spanish, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

MA, Media, Technology and Democracy, American University School of Communication, Washington, DC

MPH, Health Communication, Tufts University School of Medicine in conjunction with Emerson College, Boston, MA

MBA Coursework in Healthcare Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management, Boston University Graduate School of Management, Boston, MA

Didactic Program in Dietetics, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

Certificate, Integrated Marketing Communication for Behavioral Impact in Health and Social Development, New York University in conjunction with the World Health Organization, New York City, NY

Certificate, Social Marketing in Public Health, University of South Florida, Tallahasee, FL

Study Abroad, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Tambra Raye Stevenson, MPH, MA, is a Ph.D. candidate at the American University School of Communication. Her research dives deep into the realm of digital communities and Black women’s health, seeking ways to enhance their health and foster a sense of belonging. Her journey and the transformative era of the COVID-19 pandemic have shaped her focus, channeling her energy and expertise toward aiding policymakers and practitioners. She co-founded Black Women in Health Communication to foster sisterly support and scholarship.

Her health communication experience is enriched with critical approaches to dissecting structural communication inequalities that affect under-resourced communities in relation to food and health inequities. Tambra’s academic pursuits weave through sociology, public health, intersectionality, and antiracism, providing a comprehensive understanding of communication ecology and digital communities, particularly for women of African descent. Her methodology, which employs a multi-method approach, highlights the intricate relationship between communication infrastructure and health outcomes in the District of Columbia, adding a critical perspective to her field.

Tambra's contributions extend to the classroom, where she served as a teaching assistant at the Kogod School of Business for distinguished professor Dr. Sonya Grier, enriching courses like Race in the Marketplace and Social Marketing for Change. She also played a vital role in the Playful City Lab as a research assistant, contributing to civic media research. She serves on the Dean's Advisory Board and DEI Committee at the School of Communication and is in the Greenberg Future Faculty Program.

Her collaborative research efforts, including work with Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University, highlight the real-world struggles of caregivers navigating food deserts in Washington, D.C., with findings published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Also, she is a researcher on the $15 million-funded Wasted Food Research Network project, supported by the National Science Foundation. The Council on Black Health has also recognized and published her work, where she is the principal author of the Black Health Bill of Rights.

Mayor Bowser appointed Tambra to the DC Food Policy Council to co-chair the Nutrition and Health Working Group. Also, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack appointed her to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board, where she serves on the Executive Committee. She is on the Board of the National Food Museum. She co-chairs the Nutrition Security Working Group for the Tufts Food and Nutrition Innovation Council. She serves on the Milken Institute's Food as Medicine Advisory Board. Also, she co-chairs the Health Committee for the NAACP DC Branch, which has built a platform to address nutrition injustice and tobacco advocacy.

In her numerous affiliations, including the Games for Health Journal Doctoral Editorial Committee, the Washington Association of Black Journalists, and Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Tambra brings her expertise to a broader community. She also champions women in the toy industry through her work with the DEI Committee for Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment. She secured a design patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office. She contributed to the double James Beard award-winning book "Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South." She serves as a judge for the James Beard Foundation Awards, dubbed the “Oscars” of the food world. She's lent her expertise as a guest editor for Eating Well magazine and a regular health contributor for U.S. News and World Report.

Tambra’s role as a speaker, facilitator, and consultant has taken her around the world, addressing audiences at prestigious venues like the TEDx stage, the World Food Prize, the Milken Global Summit, and various universities and institutions across Africa, Europe, and the Americas. She has spoken at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Black Caucus, Georgetown Law Center, Food Tank, Uppsala University in Sweden, African Union, UN Commission for the Status of Women NGO Forum, and the World Bank. 

Tambra has presented at the National Communication Association and Health Sciences Communication Association, the American Nutrition Association, the American Public Health Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. She guest lectured at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, George Washington University, Tulane University, the University of Maryland-College Park, Howard University, Cape Coast Medical School in Ghana, Hawassa University in Ethiopia, and Kano Teaching Hospital in Nigeria.

A fifth-generation Oklahoman, Tambra’s agricultural roots run deep from the heartland to her Fulani roots in Nigeria. In 2016, Tambra founded WANDA: Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics, and Agriculture with a mission to build a pipeline to support women and girls in Africa and the Diaspora to educate, advocate, and innovate the food system to create healthier communities. Under her leadership, she launched the WANDA Scholarship at Oklahoma State University and at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria. Her efforts in policy and advocacy have seen her appointed to key positions, advising on legislative priorities and food system changes in the District of Columbia.

Also, she was invited to the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and submitted a policy report for the first-ever U.S. Food Bill of Rights. Through the Community Health Innovators Residency program at Sibley Memorial Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine, she applied human-centered design to create the WANDA Academy, which was later implemented and funded by the D.C. Department of Health.

Through NativSol Kitchen, she has produced a “Cooking with Soul” culinary video series for the U.S. Botanic Garden. She serves on the advisory board of the Oldways Preservation Trust’s African Heritage and Health program. Also, she was featured in the recent award-winning “Food for the People” exhibit curated by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. She has curated African food programming at the National Geographic Museum’s Global Kitchen exhibit.

In the realm of government, Tambra has played pivotal roles. She coordinated the first DC Victim Assistance Academy for the Mayor's Office on Victim Services, launched the Office on Women's Policy and Initiatives, and created the DC Young Women's Leadership Committee. Her work in these areas underscores her dedication to empowering women and providing them with the resources and support they need to thrive. She later went on to the University of the District of Columbia's Center for Nutrition, Diet, and Health, serving as an extension agent. She also completed her dietetic internship at Dominican University.

At the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency, Tambra handled public affairs on critical issues such as rebuilding the Gulf, trade, and the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. Her contributions to these initiatives were vital to funding minority business development centers in key areas affected by natural disasters.

Her journey at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she managed special projects, was recognized with the Secretary's Leadership Award. She was featured as a “rising star” in Federal Computer Week Magazine and helped build the brand of Young Government Leaders, showcasing her commitment to nurturing new talent in the federal workforce. Before her time in government, Tambra honed her skills in media and marketing, working with CBS HealthWatch, WGBH-TV, Hill Holiday, Harvard Magazine, and others.

Her list of awards and recognitions is extensive, including being named the David L. Boren National Security Education Recipient, 2014 National Geographic Traveler of the Year, 2021 Science Defender by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2021 Changemaker by Clean Eating Magazine, 2022 Black Women in Food by Dine Diaspora, 2020 Changemaker in the Food System by Washington City Paper, Nutrition Hero by Food and Nutrition Magazine, 2022 Community Hero Award by NBC4, 2019 Women Environmental Leadership Fellow by Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, and the 2017 NAACP Dr. William Montague Cobb Award recipient for food justice and health advocacy. Her Eating Well feature won the 2023 Digital Health Awards' Bronze for the Publication Article Category and the Folio Eddie and Ozzie Award for Best Series of Articles under the Health/Fitness category. She won the 2023 President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering more than 4,000 community service hours.

Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR All Things Considered, Forbes, Food Tank, Food and Beverage Insider, Oklahoma Magazine, Mind Body Green, U.S. News, Clean Eating Magazine, Washington City Paper, Dr. Mark Hyman, Healthline, Cuisine Noir Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Discovery Education, NBC Nightly News, NBC4, and National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Black Enterprise, American Food Roots, Washington Informer, Tavis Smiley Show, Huffington Post, The Oklahoman, WHUR-FM, WJLA-TV, WUSA9, Yumlish, Voice of America, Edible Activist, Rootstock Radio, The Tidbit, Lunch Agenda, Heirloom Gardner, Radiant Health, TED, Bella Naija, TRT World (Turkey), TV3 (Spain), and The Fly Kids.