More than 75% of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed and restaurant foods before salt is added at the table, leaving little choice for consumers trying to limit their intake. Therefore, reducing population sodium intake requires increased availability of lower sodium packaged and restaurant foods. Members of the foodservice system, such as foodservice operators, distributors and manufacturers, influence the foods that are available and served to consumers. Other influencers include government and private entities; industry, trade and community groups; and consumers, all of which can drive demand. These groups must work together to reduce sodium content in the food supply. 

This Web Forum will share research results on the strategies and promising practices for implementing healthy food guidelines in hospital and federal worksite cafeterias (John Graham); feature the valuable perspective from the foodservice director’s point of view (Angelo Mojica); and highlight credible rationale, tools, strategies, and resources for the school setting (Erika Pijai) and for evaluation (John Whitehill) from the federal level. 


A high sodium diet can raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. By reducing sodium, the food industry can have influence over the health of Americans.

To advance sodium reduction efforts and disseminate promising practices, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Network of Public Health Institutes have launched a web forum series, “Connecting Public Health and Food Sector Collaborators,” hosted by Dialogue4Health. This series features representatives from the food sector who will share best practices, success stories and subject matter expertise for public health audiences working with the food industry to reduce sodium. Web forums also include presentations from public health practitioners who will share lessons learned and real-life examples from their work with food industry partners to create change in a variety of food service settings.

This series is a continuation of the former web forum series: “Connecting Public Health and Food Service Providers” and “Connecting Public Health and the Food Industry.” 


John Graham, PhD

Senior Investigator

North Carolina Institute for Public Health in the UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health

Chapel Hill, NC

Dr. Graham is currently a Senior Investigator at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, in the UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Graham has overseen a number of the Institute’s consulting activities and research projects with a particular focus on the translation of scholarship to practice. Among…

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Angelo Mojica, PhD, MPH

Senior Director

Johns Hopkins Health System

Baltimore, MD

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Angelo Mojica has earned a Bachelor’s degree in dietetics, a Master’s degree in public health, a Culinary Arts degree and has recently completed a Doctor of Public health degree in health leadership and holds the distinction of being the only Certified Executive Chef and Registered…

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John Whitehill, Jr., MPH

Health Scientist, Applied Research and Evaluation Branch, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Atlanta, GA

John has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 3.5 years as a member of the Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Team in the Applied Research and Evaluation Branch. He is a Lead Evaluator for the Sodium Reduction in Communities Program, but also contributes on other evaluation projects…

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Erika Pijai, MS, RD

Senior Nutritionist / Senior Technical Advisor

USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Child Nutrition Programs

Alexandria, VA

Erika Pijai, MS, RD, is the Senior Nutritionist/Technical Advisor for Child Nutrition Programs at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. In this role, she manages nutrition education, training, and technical assistance for national Child Nutrition programs. Erika coordinates the agency’s national sodium reduction initiative and leads efforts related to enhancing the…

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Kelly Hughes, MPH, RD, CHES

Associate Director, Program Strategy

National Network of Public Health Institutes

Atlanta, GA

Kelly Hughes, MPH, RD, CHES, serves as an Associate Director for Program Strategy at NNPHI. Based in Atlanta, GA, she serves as a liaison to CDC, providing project and relational support for CDC-funded programs on a variety of topics, including sodium reduction and chronic disease prevention. Prior to joining NNPHI,…

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