Barbara L. Hughes is the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention (NEOP) Program Registered Dietitian Director for UC San Diego Center for Community Health. She leads the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s team of Nutrition Specialists, supporting healthy eating and active living for tens of thousands of SNAP-Ed eligible families and communities, with the goal of reducing obesity and associated chronic diseases. Barbara directs the nutrition education program including project administration, coordination, the development of the nutrition education component and materials/curricula across all age groups, and other nutrition and physical activity promotion programs.

Passionate about equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities, Barbara strives to promote healthy food and beverages and increase physical activity in settings where local community members live, learn, shop, and work. Putting her passion to practice, Barbara implements nutrition education collaboration efforts with local and state level CalFresh, local schools, low income housing facilities, farmers’ markets, community based organizations, foster and homeless youth groups, and family self-sufficiency organizations throughout the county.

Barbara provides nutrition expertise and consultation to Live Well San Diego programs, driving implementation of nutrition-related county policies. She participates in CA Department of Public Health workgroups for statewide initiatives and local healthy food and beverage standards. Partnering with schools and school districts, she provides technical assistance for school district wellness policy evaluation and revision.

Committed to supporting community members affecting change in their communities, Barbara co-developed a Promotora train-the-trainer series, adopted in 5 local elementary and middle schools. Creating, activating, and sustaining partnerships, she also established collaborations with rural and urban Native Americans, implementing “Kitchen Wisdom” class series, “Warriors of Wellness” youth engagement, assistance with development of an edible indigenous garden, and health policies targeted at decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.

Prior to her current public health journey, Barbara was in private practice for almost 20 years. She has provided consultant services for numerous physician practices and supermarket chains, and has experience in nutrition software design, research, and medical systems analysis.

Barbara holds a Master of Science in Nutrition from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition from San Diego State University, in addition to degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology.


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