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Katie Funderburk, the new assistant director of federal nutrition programs at Alabama Extension.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — Katie Funderburk has been selected as the next assistant director for federal nutrition programs at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Under Funderburk’s leadership, Extension looks toward a bright future of expanding nutrition and physical activity opportunities to Alabama residents.

“I believe that Alabamians deserve to live healthy, active lives that are rich with opportunity and hope,” Funderburk said. “I am thrilled to lead the federal nutrition programs, because they are uniquely positioned to help this vision become a reality. We have an amazing team of Extension professionals and partners across Alabama who are committed to serving residents and driving positive change in their communities.”

An Effective Leader

Alabama Extension professionals that spoke at the MyPlate Nutrition Security Success Stories: Sharing the Good Work of the Community event.Funderburk began her role as assistant director May 27. Previously, she served as an Alabama Extension nutrition specialist. She also served as the coordinator of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) team. As assistant director, Funderburk will oversee the development and implementation of educational programs and community engagement opportunities involving Extension’s three federal nutrition programs. These include Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), SNAP-Ed and Thriving Communities.

“I am committed to cultivating an environment where our team thrives, programs result in positive change and communities are empowered to build healthier, more vibrant futures for all Alabamians,” Funderburk said.

Alabama Extension Director Mike Phillips said Funderburk’s prior experiences have prepared her to be an effective leader in this role.

“Dr. Funderburk has an exceptional knowledge in human nutrition and dietetics and is a demonstrated leader and communicator,” Phillips said. “From managing these multimillion-dollar grants to working with the educators, we are confident that Katie possesses the needed characteristics to successfully guide these programs as they work with our diverse clientele to address important health-related topics.”

A Look into the Programs

While all centered around health and nutrition, the three federal nutrition programs at Alabama Extension each have a unique purpose in serving residents. Funderburk said these programs have a great variety of projects that focus on improving health at every level of society.

“Our programs have state leadership teams made up of experts in nutrition, exercise science, public health, education and active transportation,” Funderburk said. “They also have county Extension teams who conduct evidence-based programs and approaches to improve individual and community health.”


EFNEP provides nutrition education to adults, youth with limited resources and pregnant women and teens. The program’s evidence-based educational components focus on building healthy habits to improve long-term health. Educators also work to empower participants to save money while improving their nutrition and physical activity habits.

SNAP-Ed provides nutrition and physical activity education to youth and adults. The program also works with partners to increase access to healthy food and physical activity in local communities, especially those with limited resources.

These programs have a statewide network of educators who implement evidence-based interventions and facilitate change at the local level. SNAP-Ed also has regional agents who make healthy choices more accessible through community-based policy, systems and environmental changes.

Thriving Communities

Thriving Communities focuses on making healthy eating and active living more accessible and affordable in Alabama counties. Extension teams collaborate with local partners on community-driven projects to bring about policy, systems and environmental changes. This is accomplished through three fundamental strategies:

  • Improved access to healthy foods
  • Better connected residents through improved walking and biking networks
  • Improved quality of early-care and education programs

Looking to the Future

For Funderburk, she sees every day as a new and exciting learning and growing opportunity for her team. As assistant director, she is focused on fostering collaboration and innovation to deliver programs that will further improve the lives of Alabama residents.

“Our work aligns perfectly with Extension’s mission to transform lives through science-based information, practical solutions and meaningful experiences,” Funderburk said. “We will continue to develop evidence-based initiatives that improve the quality of life for Alabamians.”

For more information on these programs, visit www.aces.edu/efnep and www.LiveWellAlabama.com. You can also contact your county Extension office for more information at www.aces.edu/directory.