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Meet the Team

Our Monthly Recipes for Healthy Living Contributors

Cassie Verdi, MPH, RD, is the Associate Director of Nutrition and Medical Affairs at the American Diabetes Association. She has been on staff since 2010, and her primary role includes writing and managing a large part of the content you see each month on Recipes for Healthy Living. She also manages and develops content for diabetes.org and other Association nutrition materials.

Cassie graduated from Miami University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics. Following that, she earned a Master of Public Health in nutrition from the University of North Carolina, where she was involved in the local Nutrition Coalition and worked for a grant project developing a nutrition education curriculum for medical students and physicians. She currently lives in Washington, D.C., and some of her favorite activities are long-distance running, experimenting with healthy foods in the kitchen, and traveling.

 

Stephanie Dunbar, MPH, RD, is the Director of Nutrition and Medical Affairs at the American Diabetes Association. Stephanie has been with the Association since August 2001 and is responsible for managing nutrition-related activities and projects as well as assisting with development of the Association's Clinical Practice Recommendations.

Prior to arriving at the Association, Stephanie worked for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, where she developed training programs for public health nutritionists and educational materials for families of children with special needs. She also served as an instructor at East Carolina University Medical School Department of Pediatrics, where she worked with families of children with diabetes and counseled adults with type 2 diabetes. Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Science from West Virginia University in 1991 and a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan in 1994

 

Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton, RD, LDN, CDE is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with over 13 years of experience counseling people with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as for weight loss and general wellness. Lara also has a special interest in counseling people with celiac disease, as she was diagnosed with it in 2007. She works with Jennifer Bucko Lamplough to develop the foodie and quick recipes for Recipes for Healthy Living each month.

Lara is the co-author of the American Diabetes Association's best-selling Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking and The Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook (2004 and 2008). In addition, she works as a Certified Diabetes Educator for DuPage Medical Group in Naperville, Illinois. She previously worked as the Diabetes Center Coordinator at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where she also served as an instructor. Lara has also served on the board of the Chicago Dietetic Association and the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. Lara relates to the everyday home cook, as she tries to put quick and healthy (gluten-free) meals on the table for her family. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, son and daughter.

 

Chef Jennifer Bucko Lamplough, MCFE, MBA, is a Chef Instructor for the Robert Morris University Institute of Culinary Arts in Chicago, Aurora and Orland Park, Illinois and is co-author with Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton, RD, LDN, CDE of two American Diabetes Association Cookbooks: the award-winning, best-selling, Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking and the Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook.

Chef Jen was recently featured on Food Network's program, "Fat Chef." By participating in the program, she lost over 50 pounds and is still working toward her goal of 100 pounds lost. Her participation in the show has led her to launch FitFoodieChef, where she offers healthy cooking demos, online tips, recipes and more. She and Lara also work together to develop quick recipes and foodie recipes each month for Recipes for Healthy Living.

Chef Jen is a member of the prestigious Les Dames d'Escoffier organization, for which she currently president of the 2012-2014 Chicago Chapter Board. In the past, she held a position as Associate Dean for the RMU Institute of Culinary Arts and Executive Chef of the Market Place Food Store in Chicago.

 

Cristina Izurieta, Associate Manager for the Publications department at the American Diabetes Association, is responsible for managing the photography that you find on the Recipes for Healthy Living website. She and Cassie work jointly on food preparation and styling for the Recipes for Healthy Living photo shoots. Cristina also spends much of her time corresponding with Diabetes Forecast magazine readers and supporting the Association's professional journals.

Outside of work, photography is both a hobby and a passion of Cristina's. She has traveled all over the world, including various countries in Europe, Asia, South America and North America. She is fluent in Spanish and semi-fluent in Greek, which has helped her enjoy the many cultures she has been exposed to throughout her travels. Some of her favorite pastimes are camping and spending time outdoors with her fiancé and her dog.

 

Peter Papoulakos of PNC Photography

Peter Papoulakos is a professional photographer and owner of PNC Photography. He has over 10 years of photography experience and currently resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Peter is responsible for a large majority of the original food photography on the Recipes for Healthy Living website. Peter has also worked on other photography related projects with the American Diabetes Association and he is actively involved with other non-profits as well.

In addition to Peter's passion for photography and running his own business, he enjoys spending time in the scenic outdoors with his fiancé and their dog. Peter embraces each opportunity he has to capture life's vignettes with photography. It is rare to see Peter without his camera—he is always ready to shoot!

 

Michael Marks, Your Produce Man, has been in the produce industry since 1977. He contributes produce preparation videos to the Recipes for Healthy Living site monthly. He is best known for his weekly appearances on CBS13 News at Noon in Sacramento, CA, and on "Good Day Sacramento." Your Produce Man also publishes a weekly newspaper column in the San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune and the San Diego Union-Tribune. He is currently the Produce Ambassador and spokesperson for Raley's and Bel Air, northern California's largest family-owned retail grocery store chain.

Over his career, Michael has worked for the wholesale produce industry, serving as a sales manager and eventually becoming a marketing director for one of the California's largest independent produce distributors. He is a favorite speaker for schools, fairs, business, community groups and conventions—always delivering a positive and fun message about fruits and vegetables. He and his wife Julie live in California. They have four children and three grandchildren.