BROOKINGS, S.D. - Growing up a Type 1 diabetic, Francesca Willard is familiar with the challenges associated with a chronic disease. She also understands the value of nutritional education and a supportive team have on living a full life in spite of her Type 1 diabetes.
"Education helped me manage my diabetes in a balanced way," explains the new SDSU Extension Family & Community Health Field Specialist who will now help educate South Dakotans.
Through her new position as SDSU Extension Family & Community Health Field Specialist Willard will work with individuals and their community supporters to help develop healthier nutrition and physical activity environments through the South Dakota Department of Education Team Nutrition grant.
In addition, she will work with current community wellness coalitions in Lower Brule and Crow Creek in their endeavors to help make their communities healthier places to live, work and play. This part of her work is funded through Centers for Disease Control 1416 and SNAP-Ed grants.
"Frankie has a passion for helping people that is born out of her personal experiences and enhanced by her education and professional experience," says Suzanne Stluka, SDSU Extension Food & Families Program Director.
More about Francesca "Frankie" Willard
Frankie Willard received her master's of nutrition and exercise sciences from South Dakota State University. She says that it was her personal experience of living with Type 1 diabetes, and having two siblings with the same disease which led her to pursue a degree where she could help others live healthier lives.
"I know how nutrition and diabetes education have benefited me, so I want to help others," she says. "There are so many sides to living with a chronic disease, like diabetes. I learned through my personal experience, and education, that nutrition education makes a big difference. I look forward to serving as a guide to individuals and community wellness coalitions and building partnerships for health."
To contact Willard, e-mail her or call 605.682.8440.