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Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


2023 CFAES Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Speaker Series

The CFAES Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Virtural Speaker Series invites distinguised speakers to address a variety of DEI topics related to the disciplines of food, agricultural, and environmental sciences. The speaker series strives to center the voices of people from minoritized populations to advance equity and inclusion within CFAES and our communities. All events are free and open to the public.

Please save the dates so you can join us for all events! All sessions except our special events on Nov. 16 will take place on Zoom from 12:00 pm-1:15 pm ET on the third Thursdays in February, April, July, and September. Each session will involve a presentation followed by Q&A. See below for titles, descriptions, speaker bios, and registration links. To receive direct communications about upcoming DEI programs, please sign up for the monthly CFAES DEI Newsletter.

2023 Speaker Series Overview (click titles to view details)

Feb. 16 Courtney Johnson An Identity in Crisis: The Impact of a Single Decision
Apr. 20 Karima Samadi How COVID-19 Impacted Food Systems
Jul. 20 Gina Forster Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size: Moving Away from Harmful Diet Culture Toward Self-Compassion
Sept. 21 Dania Francis The Contemporary Relevance of Historic Black Land Loss
Nov. 16 Dr. Robert Bullard

The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice: Why Race and Place Still Matter


Dates, details, and speaker bios

An Identity in Crisis: The Impact of a Single Decision

February 16th 2023 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET
Courtney Johnson (she/her)
Chief Program and Education Officer, Office of Institutional Equity, The Ohio State University


What happens when one decision changes every aspect of your life and makes you question your core identities? Courtney Johnson, Chief Program and Education Officer, from the Ohio State University Office of Institutional Equity, will discuss some of the choices she made in the past that changed the course of her entire life and set her on the path that led her to where she is today doing equity work. Her inspiring presentation will generate awareness about a topic that creates significant barriers to jobs and education, especially for members of marginalized groups. Insights shared in this session will enable participants to better understand and support individuals who face similar challenges.

About the speaker:

photo of smiling black woman with glasses, medium length black hair, and a black and white striped shirtCourtney Johnson, Chief Program and Education Officer, from the Ohio State University Office of Institutional Equity, is a proud alumnus of The Ohio State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Upon graduation, Courtney attended Purdue University, earning a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. In 2014, Courtney returned to Columbus and to Ohio State to continue her academic and professional pursuits. Courtney earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs. Courtney leads a team of educators that helps to inform and consult with members of the Ohio State community about our policies. They facilitate both preventative and responsive educational opportunities for individuals and groups. Courtney is interested in the ways that our institutions make decisions and how those decisions impact marginalized groups.  



How COVID-19 Impacted Food Systems

April 20th 2023 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

Karima Samadi (she/her)
Policy Analyst – Food Systems, Policy, Research, and Evaluation, Center for Public Health Innovation


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of our food supply system. While national-level responses to our food supply revealed a lot of weaknesses, the hyper-local response to feeding our communities demonstrated great strength in our mutual aid networks. The foundations of food justice include the belief that food is a human right. In Columbus and Franklin County, we have a strong network of community organizations that lead the charge in feeding our neighbors in need of food, especially those that are underserved and underrepresented.

About the speaker:

Karima Samadi headshotKarima Samadi has engaged in food systems work for over 15 years, in various programs ranging from child obesity prevention to food and agricultural education, to food insecurity research. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Food Science from the University of Kentucky, and master’s degree in Public Health from The Ohio State University.

After nearly 10 years at OSU in food security research coordination and research translation, she recently began working as a Policy Analyst at Columbus Public Health in the Center for Public Health Innovation - Policy, Research, and Evaluation section. In this role, she works to advance policy, programs, and services that advance health and equity, with a particular focus on reducing health disparities, raising the life expectancy of the community, and racism as a public health crisis. She engages in multiple policy areas with a main focus on the food system. Through all this, Karima continues to advance the work of the Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Action plan, and bolsters the efforts to improve food access, food equity, and food justice.

Watch replay

Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size: Moving Away from Harmful Diet Culture Toward Self-Compassion

July 20th 2023 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

Gina Forster (she/her)
Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Intuitive Eating and Wellness Coach


The diet industry in the United State is worth nearly $65 billion dollars and its success can be attributed to a 95% long-term failure rate.  Weight management programs feed on insecurities that are perpetuated by societal norms of beauty and health. Diet culture promotes the incorrect assumption that a person’s weight is a predictor of health and something to be fixed if not within a range deemed “normal.” What if instead of promoting weight loss and deprivation the focus is on self-compassion, satisfaction, and permission? In this webinar, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Gina Forster, will address the harmful effects of diet culture and outline a more inclusive, satisfying, and realistic way to live.  Gina will discuss the misconceptions about weight and introduce four of the ten principles of Intuitive Eating. She will also share a favorite short meditation that can help people find peace regardless of their weight or size.

About the speaker:

Gina ForsterGina graduated from Miami University with a degree in Dietetics, followed by an internship at Mt. Carmel College of Nursing.  Soon after becoming a Registered Dietitian and starting work at her first RD job, Gina decided to return to school for a master’s degree in Human Nutrition Science from The Ohio State University. After receiving her master’s degree, she worked for a brief period for a private workplace wellness company, followed by three years working as the Dietitian and Wellness Coach at the Kingsdale Giant Eagle Market District.  Gina spent the last ten years as the Assistant Director of Nutrition for OSU’s Dining Services, but recently left to start her own practice as an Intuitive Eating coach (  Gina is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and an avid proponent of Health at Every Size. Gina works with people of all ages to develop a healthier relationship with food and their body. Gina’s favorite foods are Tommy’s pizza and any cake with real buttercream.

Click here to watch the replay

The Contemporary Relevance of Historic Black Land Loss

September 21st 2023 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET
Dania Francis (she/her)
Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Boston


At the close of the Civil War, Black Americans owned very little farmland but began acquiring it at a rapid pace, so that by 1910, Black farmers owned more than 16 million acres. This, however, would be the peak of Black farmland ownership in the United States as the twentieth century oversaw the rapid dispossession of Black-owned agricultural acreage. As a result of having their land stolen from them, many Black landowners lost a valuable tool for wealth creation. This talk will chronicle the loss of Black farmland from 1920-1997 and draw links between that land loss and current racial wealth disparities.

About the speaker:

Dania FrancisDr. Dania V. Francis is Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research interests include examining racial and socioeconomic disparities in education, wealth accumulation, and labor markets. She is the co-author of an influential paper titled “The Economics of Reparations” in the American Economic Review. Her research has also been published in Science, Journal of Economic Literature, and Review of Black Political Economy among other peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Francis received her doctorate from Duke University and also holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College.  She is a board member of the National Economics Association and a National Academies of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship award recipient (2018-2019). Dr. Francis has been featured on CNBC International and TRT World and her research has been written about in several major publication outlets.


The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice: Why Race and Place Still Matter

November 16th 2023 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET - See complete schedule of hybrid events below
Dr. Robert Bullard (he/him)
Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University and Director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, Houston, TX


HYBRID: Zoom and In-person - (Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center - Cap has been reached, please register to join via Zoom). Free parking permits available (must be printed and displayed on dash)

This event will feature a catered lunch (RSVP by Nov. 10) and Dr. Bullard's talk will be followed by a panel discussion coordinated by the Environmental Professionals Network and moderated by Ohio State's Dr. Darryl Hood, Professor and Deans’ Fellow, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health. This will be a hybrid event with Dr. Bullard joining us remotely from Texas. All events will be live streamed via Zoom.

Schedule of events for Nov. 16, 2023:


11:30am - Doors open for lunch (registration deadline for lunch - Nov. 10)

12:00pm - Dr. Bullard's presentation followed by Q&A (via Zoom)

1:15pm - Break

1:30pm - Environmental justice panel discussion - Featuring Dr. Darryl Hood, Professor and Dean's Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence, College of Public Health and Dr. Kerry Ard, Associate Professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Sociology, School of Environment and Natural Resources.

2:45pm - Call to action and closing remarks by Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

3:00pm - End


Climate change is the defining global environmental justice, human rights and public health issue of the twenty-first century. The most vulnerable populations will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks because of where they live, their limited income and economic means, and their lack of access to health care.  Climate-sensitive hazards are forecast to increase in the coming years. However, not all of the populations residing within these hazard zones have the same capacity to prepare for, respond to, cope with, and rebound from disaster events. Having worked on environmental and climate issues in the U.S. and round the world, Professor Robert D. Bullard’s talk focuses on the need for empowering vulnerable populations, identifying environmental justice and climate change “hot-spot” zones and designing fair, just and effective adaptation, mitigation, emergency management and community resilience and disaster recovery strategies. He will also discuss his book, The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities, which analyzes more than eight decades of differential government response to natural and human-made disasters. Finally, Dr. Bullard will offer strategies to dismantle institutional policies and practices that create, exacerbate and perpetuate inequality and vulnerability before and after disasters strike. 

About the speaker:

Dr. Robert D. Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice. He is the former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland SMan with dark brown skin, round glasses, short salt and pepper hair and goatee wearing black shirt and gesturing with right hand while speakingchool of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University 2011-2016. Professor Bullard currently is Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University and Director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice. Prior to coming to TSU he was founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. He is an award-winning author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, disasters, emergency response, and community resilience, smart growth, and regional equity. To learn more about Dr. Bullard please visit his website


The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences would like to thank our co-sponsors:

University Libraries, the College of Engineering, the College of Social Work, the Moritz College of Law, and the College of Public Health. We would also like to acknowledge folks at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs for their important contributions.