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Funded Projects

In Collaboration With: Colorado State University, Oregon Health & Sciences University, University of New Mexico, University of Washington

Grant Status: Completed

Grant Title: Partners in Excellence for Leadership Training in MCH Nutrition

Web Site: University of California, Los Angeles Project Exit Disclaimer

Project Director(s):

Marion Taylor Baer, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Community Health Science Univ of Calif, Los Angeles
650 Charles Young Drive South
Los Angeles, CA  90095-8347
Phone: (310) 825-8196
FAX: (310) 794-1805
Email: mtbaer@ucla.edu

Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor
Colorado State University
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
234 Gifford Building - Campus Delivery 1571
Fort Collins, CO  80523-1571
Phone: (970) 491-6791
FAX: (970) 491-3875
Email: lcsabo@cahs.colostate.edu

Elizabeth Adams, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor
Maternal & Child Health Epidemiologist
Nutrition Training Coordinator (LEND Program)
Oregon Health & Sciences University
Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine
Child Development and Rehabilitation Center
707 SW Gaines Road
Portland, OR  97239
Phone: (503) 494-0981
FAX: (503) 494-6868
Email: adamse@ohsu.edu

Dena R. Herman, MPH, RD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA School of Public Health
Department of Community Health Sciences
Box 951772
Center for Health Sciences 26-078B
Los Angeles, CA  1995-1772
Phone: (310) 312-9211
FAX: (310) 312-9210
Email: dherman@mednet.ucla.edu

Susan Silah
UCLA Partner's Project Manager
University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA School of Public Health
Department of Community Health Sciences
Box 951772
Center for Health Sciences 36-081
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1772
Phone: (310) 206-8444
FAX: (310) 794-1805
Email: uclapartners@ph.ucla.edu

Donna W. Lockner, PhD, RD
Associate Professor of Nutrition
University of New Mexico
MSC05 3040
Albuquerque, NM  87131
Phone: (505) 277-8932
FAX: (505) 277-8361
Email: dlockner@unm.edu

Donna Johnson, PhD, RD
Associate Director, Center for Public Health Nutrition
Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences
University of Washington
Box 353410
Seattle, WA  98195
Phone: (206) 685-1068
FAX: (206) 685-1696
Email: djohn@u.washington.edu


CA is the largest most diverse state in the US; all PH nutrition issues are magnified here and the West due to increased numbers of vulnerable groups, many from ethnic minorities. The resulting need for a regional nutrition resource is addressed by UCLA and its Partners (UW, OHSU, UNM, CSU).

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: To prepare nutrition graduates, emphasizing doctoral-level training, for leadership roles in nutrition education, service, research, administration and advocacy for the MCH population. Objective 1: To support at least 4 MCH nutrition trainees/ year, who are or will be, registered dietitians, for up to 2 years of graduate training (MS; MPH; DrPH; PhD) at UCLA and/or UW Schools of Public Health, or CSU, OHSU or UNM, with a view toward their assumption of positions of leadership in MCH nutrition. Objective 2: To recruit at least 30% of the supported trainees from underrepresented groups in order that nutrition professionals reflect the rich diversity of the population of the West. Goal 2: To continue the UCLA Partners as a western regional resource for Title V and related programs, and to provide, using various methods, consultation, TA and CE to meet the needs of the MCH community. Objective 1: To promote nutrition leadership among state and regional Title V and other public health nutritionists by supporting an annual meeting of the 13-state Western MCH Nutrition Leadership Network, to address identified training and technical assistance needs in the western United States. Objective 2: To continue to share resources and leverage the strengths of each of the MCHB- supported Training Programs in Regions VIII, IX and X, especially those located at the Partner universities, by collaborating in at least two graduate education, continuing education or research activities per year.


Broaden the unique and successful university Partnership (UCLA, UW, OHSU, CSU) to leverage MCH nutrition training funds to impact other Western states by including UNM. Recruit a graduate student at each institution for up to 2 years of support (minimum of 15 total), preference given to those intending to complete a doctoral degree. Target recruitment to PH agencies and programs that employ potential applicants, particularly those who represent cultural diversity, eg. HIS. Include training in leadership and cultural competence. Enrich the nutrition curriculum of each program by building on unique strengths to develop courses, distance learning modules and collaborative research activities. Focus CE activities on the integration of MCH nutrition services, using PH nutrition skills (including measuring outcomes and cost-effectiveness, and computer literacy) into health programs in a changing health care environment. Identify needs and develop training modalities to address the current and emerging PH challenges such as childhood obesity and the developmental origins of disease as well as assuring preventive services. Provide an annual forum for current nutrition leaders in the 13 Western states to increase their knowledge and skills providing and/or assuring services in PH settings by facilitating interdisciplinary, interagency and public-private networking and collaboration. Address issues, in partnership with state and local agencies, using a variety of modalities.


Each Partner has relationships with state and local Title V and other agencies (CA, OR, WA, NM, CO) through student field placements, consultation, TA, CE, etc. The Western MCH Nutrition Leadership Network provides coordination with the other 8 western states (HI, NV, AZ, UT, ID, AK, MY, WY). Coordination with other MCH Nutrition grantees occurs via conference calls and annual meetings. Bimonthly conference calls including all 5 institutions allow planning and coordination purposes.


Numbers of graduates in positions of leadership in MCH nutrition is a major outcome. Other process and minor outcome measures are tracked, including the spin-off effect on enrollment of RDs for PH training and the percent who work in community-based settings, the numbers of students in other disciplines taking nutrition courses, the numbers of PH courses with nutrition content, evaluation of CE activities, and the impact of the program on national health and training performance measures.

Experience to Date:

In the last 18 years we have recruited and supported 51 long-term trainee RDs, including those from UW (5), OHSU (4), UNM (1), and CSU (5); many are now in leadership positions. Nine trainees (18%) were Asian; 4 (8%) Black; 1 (2%) Middle Eastern; 2 (4%) Hispanic; 1 (2%) East Indian; 34 (67%) Caucasian; 2 (4%) males. Thirteen (25%) have earned (or are earning) doctoral degrees (PhD/DrPH); 5 other nutrition-related doctoral dissertations have been awarded. Ten new courses have been developed in the area of Public Health Nutrition at UCLA. Since 2000, 70 leaders from the 13 western states have participated in annual 2-day meetings of the Western MCH Nutrition Leadership Network (NLN). The 2011 meeting was held in Marina del Rey (Los Angeles); 30 participants represented 9 states. The focus was on Nutrition and the Life Course Perspective, with presentations by Michael Lu and Cherie Pies from the MCHB-funded SPH programs at UCLA and UCB; Kris Risley, from the SPH program at UIC, led the annual Leadership Seminar. This year, we continued to maintain and develop a website to facilitate between-meeting communication and training among the NLN members. Other significant CE activities this year (seminars, workshops, conferences, teleconferences) reached 1,773 interdisciplinary participants. Public Health Nutrition Colloquia are held each academic year at UCLA, organized by the trainees for students and faculty at the UCLA SPH as well as professionals from the community.

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