Extension Professional Staff
Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness
1650 Commerce Drive
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
Drusilla Banks is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator for University of Illinois Extension. Her areas of expertise include nutrition, food safety, wellness, and food service sanitation. Drusilla provides educational resources, training, and consultation to community organizations, government agencies, and families. She began her Extension career in 1983 as a Home Economics Advisor in Chicago.
Most recently while at Extension's satellite office on the campus of Chicago's Wilbur Wright College, she conducted presentations for the Women of Wright mentoring program, participated in Eli's/Wright Internship program for Chicago High School for Ag Sciences, and conducted "the Tasters Club" workshops for Vaughn High School's special needs students.
Drusilla is an Illinois Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Manager's Instructor and a National Restaurant Association ServSafe Instructor. She has worked collaboratively with her colleagues to develop several Extension websites including: Turkey for the Holidays, Pumpkins and More, Thrifty Living Newsletter, and Watch Your Garden Grow www.urbanext.uiuc.edu.
Drusilla attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where she earned a bachelor's degree in home economics education. She also holds a master of science in food and nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Professional Affiliations and Awards:
Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society; Chicago Literacy volunteer; Chicago Tribune Good Eating Award for leadership in community education; Extension Team Awards of Excellence for the Illinois Department of Public Health Food Service Sanitation Manager's Re-certification Course; Outstanding Team Award for Dining with Diabetes, Healthy Moves for Healthy Children, and Your Young Child; and National Extension Association Newsletter Award for Thrifty Living Newsletter
Extension programs and workshops address issues that have been identified by community leaders for particular target audiences and/or the general public. Examples that area currently available include:
Health and WellnessVital Signs: Your Health Assessment
Participants increase their awareness of individual vital signs, including blood pressure, cholesterol level, and body weight. They learn how these measures may impact overall health and wellness.
Exercise for Everyone
This workshop encourages improvement of strength, endurance and flexibility with emphasis on the latest research supporting physical activity and health effects.
Diet and Coronary Heart Disease
This program explains how fat and cholesterol in the diet can affect cardiovascular health. Dietary modifications to achieve the Dietary Guidelines are emphasized.
Hypertension, Diet and Lifestyles
Participants explore lifestyles that contribute to hypertension, a preventable risk factor for stroke and heart disease. They learn to monitor and understand their own blood pressure reading. Diet, drug and food interactions are also discussed.
Food Preservation and Food SafetyFood Safety at Community Festivals and Events
Participants will learn to comply with local and/or city ordinances, maintain high sanitation standards, and temperature control for hot/cold foods for sale to the public.
Basic Food Safety
This program reviews the basic rules for safe food handling and applies them to a variety of day-to-day situations faced by consumers both in and away from home.
Volunteer Master Food Preservers
Community volunteers spend 30 hours in training to become certified in food safety, long term food preservation methods (canning, freezing and drying), and food demonstration skills. Certified volunteers return 60 hours of time by presenting programs, workshops and demonstrations to small community groups, local fairs, farmers markets and garden clubs. Volunteer skills are updated annually through recertification sessions and examinations.
Meal Planning and Safe Food Handling
Volunteer food handlers for emergency food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens learn to evaluate donated foods for safety, plan balanced meal boxes, and handle food safely.
Food Preparation and Food BuyingFeeding Young Children
Parents of young children, foster parents and child care providers learn to plan and prepare nutritious meals and snacks for young children. Emphasis is placed on dealing with poor eaters.
Supermarket Survival Skills
Consumers on limited budgets learn to prepare for supermarket shopping to make wise food selections. Shoppers learn to identify strategies employed by businesses to encourage consumer spending. Package labeling and meal planning are also a focus of this lesson.
Vegetarian and Plant-Centered Meals
This workshop covers the healthful effects of vegetarian diets and how to plan for nutritional adequacy in plant-centered meals. The program includes making wise food choices, determining meal patterns, selecting cooking methods, and expanding knowledge about food sources for various nutrients.
This program is geared toward nutrition for the high school athlete. The pre-game meal, keeping fluid and energy levels up, and nutrition during training are covered. The information focuses on current research that dispels old myths about sports nutrition.
Current food labeling is analyzed and proposed changes are discussed. The use of health claims, vitamin/mineral food fortification, serving sizes, and nutrient content are emphasized through lecture and activities.
Food Safety & Preservation
Latest food safety and preservation information from Cook County Extension