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CCE Tompkins County Names New Executive Director


Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Tompkins County’s Board of Directors has named Cynthia Cave-Gaetani as the association’s next Executive Director. Cave-Gaetani stepped into the role on January 16, assuming the leadership position held by Interim Executive Director Meg Cole since July of 2022.

Cynthia Cave-Gaetani, MS, RDN, CDN, comes to CCE Tompkins County from a long career at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, most recently as the Senior Director of Food and Nutrition Services and Northeast Regional Safety Champion. However, she is not new to the extension system, having started her career as a Community Nutrition & Wellness Resource Educator at CCE Tioga County from 2000 to 2003.

“I’ve already seen that this association is a remarkable place,” Cave-Gaetani said. “I’m excited to help support the work of so many committed and passionate people as we strengthen the partnerships that our community relies on.”

An expert in nutrition, obesity prevention and food safety and security, Cave-Gaetani is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in human nutrition and is certified in adolescent, pediatric and adult weight management. She has worked to establish community collaborations including the Rural Health Network’s Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program, which enables Medicaid/Medicaid eligible participants to receive nutrition education and vouchers to exchange for fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets. In the past year, the program helped over 60 individuals and their families access healthier food and enabled over 150 education interactions.

In 2015, she wrote and administered a grant through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program, providing for the integration of registered dietitians in primary care. These grant-funded positions became permanent in the Lourdes system, ensuring greater preventative care and counseling access throughout their service area. Additionally, Cave-Gaetani’s department earned a national Partner for Change Award from Practice Greenhealth after demonstrating zero percent food waste through composting.

“Cynthia has shown a commitment to the health, economic, environmental and social issues that are at the heart of our work,” said Ann Michel, president of the CCE Tompkins County Board of Directors. “We are fortunate that she has chosen to join us, and I look forward to the strengths she will bring to the breadth of our programming.”

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