Food Insecurity in the COVID Era

July 21, 2020 | Noon - 1 pm

Food insecurity has always been an issue for San Antonio, and the pandemic has amplified the challenge of providing nutritious meals to our city’s low-income populations during difficult times. Join our panelists for a discussion of the current research and approaches taken to tackle food insecurity across our communities.


Cossman, Lynn

Lynne Cossman, Moderator

Dean of the College for Health, Community and Policy, UTSA

Medical sociologist and demographer Jeralynn “Lynne” Sittig Cossman, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at West Virginia University, has been named founding dean of UTSA’s College for Health, Community and Policy and Mark G. Yudof Endowed Professor.

Cossman’s own research focuses on community health and health professionals. She has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, among others. She is the author of approximately 70 peer-reviewed publications and has published in several sociology and interdisciplinary journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, Social Problems, Health and Place, Population Research and Policy Review, Sociological Inquiry and The Journal of Rural Health.

Erika Borrego

Erika Borrego

San Antonio Food Bank Chief Operating Officer

Erika M. Borrego, MSW graduated with a Master of Social Work in 2001 from Our Lady of the Lake University. Also an Alumni of St. Mary's University, Erika M. Borrego has worked at the San Antonio Food Bank for more than 15 years. In those 15 years she has supervised partner agencies in compliance and capability, overseen distribution and programs and most recently is working to create efficiencies as the Chief Operating Officer by overseeing Operations of the San Antonio Food Bank to include Culinary and Logistics Operations and Training Programs. In her time at the SAFB, Erika M. Borrego has also led our Disaster Services to include all services provided to our community such as prepared meals, supplies, services and donations management in partnership with the Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, Texas Baptist Men and our local VOAD and Office of Emergency Management.


Nikki Lee

Senior Associate Director, Student Union, UTSA

Nikki Lee, M.Ed. has been with the Student Union since 2007 and one of the founding members of the Student Union Food Pantry in March 2017. She provides oversight and leadership to the UTSA Food Pantries on the Main and Downtown Campuses (Whataburger Resource Room), in an effort to combat hunger for our students and to serve their basic needs. She works with so many to build awareness and support through partnerships, both on and off campus, through donations, education and experiential learning opportunities. She continues memberships as a partner agency of the San Antonio Food Bank, and the College and University Food Bank Alliance.


Johnelle Sparks

Professor and Department Chair, College for Health, Community and Policy, UTSA

Johnelle Sparks, PhD, is a Professor of Demography and Department Chair of the Department of Demography in the College for Health, Community and Policy. Her research focuses broadly on social determinants of health, with a focus on community and place-based factors. She had participated in local food-based research projects that assessed food insecurity in Bexar County and food insecurity and breastfeeding patterns among WIC recipients in San Antonio. 


Liset Vasquez

Assistant Professor in Practice, Health and Kinesiology, College of Education and Human Development, UTSA 

Dr. Liset Vasquez, RDN, LD, CHES is a registered, licensed dietitian, public health nutrition expert, practitioner and educator. Dr. Vasquez has over 20 years of experience in clinical, foodservice and community – based settings that has focused on improving the health of high - risk minority children, families, and college students. Her extensive practice and work experience includes, Assistant Professor of Community Health at Texas A&M University - San Antonio, Texas Program Manager for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Nutrition Consultant on obesity related grants from both USDA and NIH, Nutrition Counselor and Health Coach focused on behavior modification.


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The Future of Local Cuisine and San Antonio’s Culinary Identity
June 23, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Local restaurateurs and small business experts come together and discuss what the future landscape of San Antonio cuisine and tourism may look like.

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Cookbooks, Cuisine and Cultura
July 9, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Join us for a savory discussion of culture, food and history as we explore the UTSA Libraries’ Mexican Cookbook Collection, the nation’s largest.

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Food Insecurity in the COVID Era
July 21, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Join our panelists for a discussion of the current research and approaches taken to tackle food insecurity across our communities.

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Getting Food to our Grocery Stores and Tables: COVID’s Impacts on the Supply Chain 
August 06, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

Join our panelists as they discuss the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our food supply chain and measures being taken to address the challenges.

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Tacos, Texas and Tradition
August 20, 2020 @ Noon - 1pm

From puffy to breakfast to street, San Antonio loves its tacos! This entertaining panel will explore what makes a taco a taco, and how this favorite cuisine of South Texas has evolved over time.

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