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Meet New Staff Member Keren Valerus
Meet BCOP Program Coordinator Keren Valerus
Tell me a bit about your work before you joined the PRCHN. Where did you work and what did you do?
In college, I had several jobs in student affairs and campus life. After graduating, I worked at a non-profit organization in a fast-paced residential setting in NY for 6 years. I held different positions where I worked to increase independence and self-efficacy in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who also had complex medical and psychiatric comorbidities. Some of my responsibilities involved scheduling and coordinating medical and psychiatric services, educating residents about their health conditions and how to manage them, and teaching life skills residents needed to successfully live independently in the community.  

Tell me about your education. Where and what did you study? Is your work here radically different than what you studied in college? In other words, has your career path made any unusual changes?
I earned my Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology at Stony Brook University.  A year later, I decided to pursue my Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Sciences at SUNY Downstate School of Public Health. I finally came to Case Western Reserve University for my Masters of Science in Medical Physiology.  Although my career path is somewhat unique, I don’t think it’s radically different from what I studied in college/grad school. I’ve used my psychology background in every environment I’ve been in, and my public health degree is definitely useful here at the PRC!

What aspects of your new position are most intriguing to you? What are you looking forward to?
I started at the PRC as one of BCOP’s Graduate Assistants, allowing me to see the project transition from the planning to implementation stage, which is pretty exciting to me. As BCOP’s Project Coordinator, I’m looking forward to seeing how BCOP evolves as we continue to disseminate and evaluate diagnostic tools to help SNAP-Ed practitioners’ support and maintain nutrition-related policy, systems and environmental (PSE) interventions.

What are some of your interests outside of work?
Cooking, baking, eating, being outdoors, volunteering, spending time with family and friends, traveling abroad and locally, listening to music, playing instruments (currently re-learning the piano), watching docuseries and documentaries.

Where did you grow up and where have you settled in Cleveland?
I grew up on Long Island, NY, and currently live in Cleveland Heights.

Is there anything else that you'd like to share with the PRCHN and its stakeholders?
I’m happy to be back at the PRC, and I plan on making valuable contributions during my time here! 
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