MDC Rural Forward
Hetal Patel is a Program Manager for MDC’s Rural Forward program. Hetal joined the Rural Forward team as a partnership manager in May 2020 where she works to support local leaders to amplify their work in community. In her role, she provides many services such as facilitation, consultation, and leadership coaching to rural leaders. Hetal serves as principal for our work in the southeastern counties of Robeson, Columbus, and Bladen.
As MDC Rural Forward’s lead on healthy eating and active living, Hetal is particularly passionate about food insecurity, bringing equity into spaces, relationship building, and amplifying the voices of community leaders.
Prior to joining MDC Rural Forward, Hetal worked in Rockingham County, engaging with grassroots organizations in food systems and nutrition education programming through Cooperative Extension. Hetal also worked within the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors where she dove into work surrounding systemic poverty, early childhood education, racial equity, youth development, and adverse childhood experiences. She graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition Science.