Chef Barry Infuso, M.A., CEC, CCE, AAC, was honored with the CRI Prevention Pioneer Award for his work with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Tucson, AZ. Chef Barry started teaching healthy cooking classes to members of the Tribe more than 10 years ago. He has worked with the Tribe’s Head Start Program, and has been a teacher in the Tribe’s “Cooking for the Health of It” program, assisting participants in preparing healthy recipes, providing information about plate size and portion control, and teaching participants how to prepare healthy foods at home. “Cooking for the Health of It” is part of the Tribe’s Centered Spirit Program, which takes an integrated behavioral health approach to help people at risk for diabetes, obesity, and other preventable health problems.
Reuben Howard, Executive Director of the Pascua Yaqui Health Department, explained, “Over the years, Chef Barry has led Pascua Yaqui Tribal members to the realization that it is possible to prepare healthy food that is tasty and enjoyable. Our Tribal members have benefited tremendously from his nutritional knowledge and his dedication to helping us get healthier.”
Chef Barry, who is also an instructor for the Pima Community College, is a teacher at heart. He approaches his work with humor and practicality, buying the foods for his Pascua Yaqui classes from the local stores where the people shop. “I encourage them to make small changes in the way they cook and the way they eat rather than attempting sweeping changes that are harder to maintain.”