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Translational Training, Education, and Leadership in MCH Nutrition: The TRANSCEND Program

Project Profile

MCHB Program: MCH Nutrition Training Program
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Location: University Park, PA
Region: 3
Project Director:

Meg Bruening, PhD
Phone: 814-865-2238


Goals and objectives:

Proper nutrition is vital for growth and development, and for the prevention of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Efforts are needed to improve health equity in obesity, food insecurity, and low breastfeeding initiation and duration rates as these tend to negatively impact maternal and child populations and communities of color at greater rates, resulting in significant and costly public health problems. Dietitians and nutritionists are uniquely qualified to provide relief to families in need by delivering critical public health services and nutrition education, using their training in life course development, social determinants of health, systems change, and prevention sciences. More training opportunities are needed to develop leadership skills and competencies among public health nutritionists and dietitians to address the public health needs of mothers and children, particularly those served by Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program. Developing a diverse workforce with lived experiences that is more representative of community needs coupled with nutrition expertise is needed to use their skills and training to improve health and promote health equity among maternal and child health populations. Proposed services and the population groups served. The overall purpose of the Translational Training, Education, and Leadership MCH Nutrition & Childhood Obesity Prevention (The TRANSCEND Program) is to provide high quality accessible, interprofessional, training, with a special emphasis on training of underrepresented nutritionists to serve Title V and related services, filling an educational gap. Activities will be focused in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Arizona where there is high need. Related activities fall into four goals: 1)train a diverse group of long-, medium-, and short-term trainees, emphasizing leadership development for long-term trainees; 2)strengthen competency-based curriculum on MCH nutrition; 3)address current and emerging MCH nutrition workforce training needs through continuing education and technical assistance; and 4)advance the MCH nutritional science and research. Activities include for these goals address the MCHB Training, Core and Capacity Building Performance Measures and include: 1) supporting an avg of 8 long-term trainees/yr, with an avg. of ~3-4 trainees/year from underserved backgrounds; 2)providing education and training that is structured around MCH and public health competencies to short-, medium-, and long-term graduate nutrition trainees; 3)providing continuing education to professionals through monthly seminars, the annual MCH TRT Conference, and national outreach; 4)providing technical assistance on MCH nutrition-related topics; )collaborating with other MCHB Nutrition Grantees, to enhance the pathway for students into graduate MCH nutrition (ASPHN Health Equity Interns), trainee connection, CE, TA and research; 7) Developing educationan and professional development curriculm, 87)Evaluating and monitoring grant activities, and 9)Advancing the science and research related to MCH nutrition through the dissemination and translation of findings for implementation in MCH nutrition practice. IMPACT: The TRANSCEND Program will result in a more diverse public health nutrition workforce prepared to lead to improve public health outcomes for current and future MCH populations, enhancing the impact of Title V.