Health Educator and Nutrition Policy Specialist Nikoyia Phillips is the newest addition to the REACH team; and with her lengthy resumé, riddled with public health and urban planning experience, the county is excited to have her.
Nikoyia is the go-to person for REACH community members and county employees for all things nutrition related. Previously, she worked for Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, a partner of the grant, as their Health and Food Access Program Manager and when the opportunity to work with the county presented itself, Nikoyia took the leap to reach an even larger audience.
She’s wasted no time getting to work with partners. So far, she’s worked with various local markets to increase healthy options, with local churches to help change service eating habits, early childhood education centers to make eating healthy fun for kids and with government partners to improve diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
Like many on the REACH team, this work hits home for Nikoyia. She was born and raised in North Portland and witnessed the growing health inequities in communities of color. She earned a degree in Social Science with a focus on Community Psychology from Portland State University and has worked with a variety of institutions on equity and culturally-specific programming.
“I always wanted to design programs,” Nikoyia says.
Nikoyia’s background also includes focuses on education. She’s worked with Portland Public Schools and Portland Community College to support student retention rates, but says nutrition has always been a part of her work.
“Nutrition is one of the fundamental building blocks of optimum health,” Nikoyia says. “What you eat, how you get it and how much of it.”
When Nikoyia isn’t working as a community liaison, she can be found occasionally helping sick animals at a volunteer veterinary pop-up clinic. Before transitioning into public health, Nikoyia envisioned herself being a veterinarian and spent 8 years practicing as a Veterinary Nurse. But, if she’s not there, she can be found enjoying nature with her three dogs, London, Gemini and Aries.