The Cooperative Extension Service has a new health specialist who will oversee several high-profile outreach efforts to improve the health and fitness of Arkansans.
Bryan Mader was hired November 16 as the health specialist for the family and consumer sciences department with extension, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. He is an assistant professor and previously served as the nutrition and food safety specialist.
In his new role, Mader will work with the Arkansas Delta Region Obesity Project, a multicounty project to reduce obesity rates in Arkansas. He will also manage Extension Get Fit, a community-based strength training program offered to older Arkansans through county extension offices, as well as manage Walk Across Arkansas and extension’s “How to Talk to Your Doctor” outreach program.
“I have a real passion for public health, and my goal is to affect lasting positive change in the health of Arkansans using extension’s vast and strong network in all 75 counties as a vehicle for health promotion and behavior change,” Mader said. “The work we do for Arkansas is multiplied and amplified by extension’s top-notch county agents, and I look forward to continuing to work toward positive changes in the health of our counties and our communities.”
Mader has worked three years with extension. He initially worked with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education program before he was promoted in 2019 to assistant professor for family and consumer sciences, specializing in nutrition and food safety.
He has a doctorate in public health leadership and a master’s degree in public health, both from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Public Health. Before joining extension, Mader worked in the areas of community food systems and increasing access to healthy foods.
“We are very pleased to have Dr. Mader leading our health programs,” Debie Head, associate department head for family and consumer sciences for the Division of Agriculture, said. “He brings community experience as well as a broad education base to his health leadership role. I am excited to see how he will lead the future of extension health programming.”