(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)
(placeholder)

Team-Personnel

Research Coordinator - Audrey J. Clarkin, Ph.D


Dr. Clarkin is certified in New York State as a clincal and school psychologist. Dr. Clarkin was the Director of Psychology for the Scarsdale, New York School District for 20 years and has written grants for Title 1 programs in the Hastings-on Hudson public school system. Dr. Clarkin has conducted research on children's friendship patterns and authored review chapters in the Handbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She continues to function as a BOCES consultant and lecturer to teachers and administrators. Since 2006, Dr. Clarkin is director of evaluation research with the Nutrition and Fitness Education Initiative (NFEI).


Bilingual Out Reach Supervisor - Rosa del Cuadro, BA, MA


Ms del Cuadro has served as a teacher with NYC Department of Education and is liscensed in many disciplines: Elementary Education, J.H.S. Math and Science, Bilingual Education, Special Education, H.S. Spanish,Education Evaluation and Translation. Ms delCuadro also has an extensive dance background with credits including dance teacher, summer tours for the Parks Department, the musical "Puerto Rico Canta y Baila", Off-Broadway shows, Forest Hills After School Programs, and The Halsey Adult Education Program. As of 2010, Ms del Cuadro has been Research and Development Coordinator/Bilingual Director for the Nutrition and Fitness Education Initiative (NFEI).


Project Set Designer - Nadine Charlsen


Nadine Charlsen has been a life long theatrical set and lighting designer having worked in New York City on several off Broadway productions and in addition, in regional and educational theatre. She was Kean University's Theatre set and lighting designer/professor for 20 years. Ms. Charlsen now resides in Asheville, NC and is an accomplished, talented artist working in watercolor and other media at the 310 Art Gallery/Studio. In addition, she is project coordinator for the nutrition/fitness initiative, "MYPLATE! The New Food Guide Musical Program" for Asheville, NC.


Production Casting Director - Irene Stockton


Irene Stockton has been casting director for over 40 shows in both regional and Off Broadway theaters. In addition, she is a certified member of the Casting Society of America. Irene has a strong working relationship with Helen Butleroff Leahy, starting as casting director for the hit Off-Broadway musical THAT'S LIFE!, and continued on with many productions including her current position as casting director for "MY PLATE: The New Food Guide Musical" for the past 9 years.

Creator/Director

Helen Butleroff Leahy

Helen Butleroff-Leahy is a former Broadway dancer, Rockette, and director/creator and choreographer of over 50 Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional and summer stock theaters. Helen is also an RD (registered dietitian) and CDN (certified dietitian/nutritionist). Ms. Butleroff Leahy is a Registered Dietitian by The Commission on Dietetic Registration and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist licensed by NYS.


She is winner of the "Certificate of Achievement Award" and "Activ8 Kids Mini Grant" from the NYS Department of Health for her nutrition program targeting obesity in NYC public school children.

In addition to her private practice, Ms. Butleroff-Leahy gives nutrition presentations for the outpatient Psychiatric Clinic of New York Presbyterian-Cornell Hospital, for state legislators, United Nations Health forums, law firms and has been employed by GHI for TV segments on portion control, dehydration and healthy lifestyle choices.


She also runs "The Nutrition & Fitness Education Initiative" that has now reached 6,800 NYC school children.

Recognized for her work on behalf of children, Jane E. Brody of the New York Times wrote, "For all her talent and determination to help children eat better, Michele Obama could still pick up a few pointers from Helen Butleroff-Leahy, a 66-year old former Rockette turned dietician."


"Ms Butleroff-Leahy devotes her time to teaching children in disadvantaged neighborhoods about eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Her lessons take the form of musical productions, rehearsed in classrooms and on the stages of 52 New York City public schools so far. Children from each school do gymnastics and dance to a rap based script by Roumel Reaux that entertains while explaining the essentials of good nutrition. The 45 minute production by Ms Butleroff-Leahy is called "My Plate: The New Food Guide Musical"..."


To view the complete article please go to: A Musical Message for Children on Healthy Eating

Co Writer/Composer

Roumel Reaux

Co-writer and composer/lyricist of the original music and rap material is Roumel Reaux a veteran performer and assistant/director/choreographer of 6 Broadway shows including The Wiz. Roumel has appeared in numerous Off-Broadway, regional, national and international productions. Mr. Reaux choreographed and played the on camera choreographer on one of the most popular episodes of Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. The episode is still a popular post on You Tube and Facebook. Mr. Reaux heads the program's advisory board on selecting dance professional teachers who can implement the program in schools and is the Program Director for the Philadelphia, PA area.

Nutrition and Fitness Education Initiative Support Team

MyPlate Program Director CSUN Dietetics Director

Annette Besnilian, EdD, MPH, RDN, CLE, FAND


Annette Besnilian serves as the Executive Director of the Marilyn Magaram Center and works tirelessly to provide robust educational and professional opportunities for students, who like her, have the passion to advance the understanding of nutrition, dietetics, and food in diverse communities. In addition, at CSUN she is the Dietetic Internship Program Director; and faculty teaching Nutrition and Dietetic Classes to graduate students in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

She holds a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from CSUN. She received her M.P.H. in Public Health Nutrition from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) while completing her Dietetic Internship at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. She is a Fellow of the  


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), a Certified Lactation Educator (CLE), and a Faculty Affiliate of the CSUN Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing. She also serves as a NIH BUILD PODER Mentor for CSUN.

She currently has affiliation agreements with over 40 community, administrative, and clinical sites throughout LA County, primarily in the San Fernando Valley. These include but are not limited to: UCLA Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Northridge Hospital, NEVHC WIC.  She is an active member of several professional organizations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.), Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), California Educational Research Association, American Council on Fitness and Nutrition, and the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences. She is also the faculty co-advisor for Kappa Omicron Nu (KON) Honor Society.

Her research has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Contempo. She has written two Dietetic Internship Self Studies and has successfully completed the accreditation process and site visit for CSUN and Northeast Valley Health Corporation WIC Program. She has trained and graduated approximately 160 dietetic interns and Registered Dietitians/Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDs/RDNs). She has made great efforts on the development and research of childhood obesity and has implemented several childhood obesity projects with numerous community partners such as Kaiser Permanente, Northridge hospital Dignity Health, The Nutrition and Fitness Initiative, Aetna Foundation, etc.

Throughout her career she has received numerous awards and recognitions such as Primary Investigators (PI) Award, Diversity Action Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and CSUN Faculty Scholar, Outstanding Dietetic Educator award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, The Young Dietitian of the year award from ADA, and the UEDA Awards of Excellence to name a few.

Ms. Besnilian is the MyPlate Program CSUN Dietetics Director and has been instrumental in the expansion of our program to Los Angeles, CA and the launch of our Parent Intervention Initiative.