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Monica Esquivel [Hawai’i]

Monica Esquivel

Monica Esquivel

Degree sought: PhD/Nutrition UH-Manoa
Hometown:  Alexandria, Virginia

What drew your interest to the CHL training program?
After working one-on-one with families in Waianae to improve their eating habits and health, I wanted to contribute to changes that would have a broader impact on childhood obesity prevention; changes that would make it easier for the families I had counseled to stick to their healthy eating habits and healthy ways.

What are your long-term goals?
To make meaningful contributions to the field of childhood obesity prevention research and evidence based practices all while leading a healthy and balanced life.

After completing your studies, how do you hope to impact your home community?
To help various community organizations and members implement these evidence-based practices through policy implementation and educate future community health professionals.

Describe one thing that you appreciate about your home community.
Aside from the beautiful weather and natural resources, I really appreciate the diversity of the population here.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned thus far from the CHL program?
One thing I have found valuable is to embrace the unique experiences and perspectives that each CHL trainee brings to the table when considering how best to approach childhood obesity prevention in their home community.

What is a typical day for you like?
If I don’t have sunrise paddling, our dog has my husband and I up with the roosters, and we take him for a walk, make breakfast, pack lunches, head to school by 8:30. At school I am lucky to have a space to call my own, where I can do school work and research in between my classes which are at a variety of times throughout the day. Typically I leave school between 4 and 5, depending on my last class, head home and try to get another walk in with the dog before or after dinner, maybe go to a yoga class. Then to bed at a decent hour to get my 8 hours of sleep!

What are your hobbies / interests?
I enjoy being active outdoors, hiking, surfing, paddling, walking my dog at Waimanalo beach, and spending time with my husband and family.

What’s your favorite food or dish to cook?
Any breakfast foods! I love trying out different pancake recipes, omelets, oatmeal… you name it!

What is the healthiest dish you know how to cook?
Spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and steamed veggies-the spaghetti squash replaces the pasta. Even my picky-eating family members wouldn’t miss the pasta.

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go and why?
Right now I am really interested in visiting the home islands of all of the other CHL trainees- Guam, Saipan, Palau, American Samoa, and Kosrae! I have heard so many great stories about these places from my classmates and would love for each of them to show me around their communities!

Any words of wisdom for future CHL trainees?
Being removed from our communities and in a classroom setting, we can sometimes forget the big picture. Just don’t forget to remember and keep in mind what the goal is: to make a positive impact on our communities.