happy children, mother and child, and expecting mother and father

Funded Projects

Grant Status: Completed

Grant Title: Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Health Nutrition

Project Director(s):

Marsha Spence, PhD, RDN
Research Assistant Professor Assistant Director, Public Health Nutrition Program
School of Nutrition
University of Tennessee
1215 W. Cumberland Ave
Knoxville, TN  37996-1920
Phone: 865-974-6265
Email: mspence@utk.edu


To improve MCH outcomes, MCH nutrition professionals must develop public health, clinical, and leadership skills. Technical assistance (TA)/collaboration and continuing education (CE) on cultural/linguistic competency, life course, maternal/pediatric weight, leadership and evaluation are needed.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Develop MCH nutrition leaders as practitioners in public health nutrition and clinical nutrition, policy development and advocacy, and academics. Goal 2: Develop culturally and linguistically competent MCH nutrition professionals who use evidence-based, family-centered care and population-based practices. Goal 3: Support innovative, interdisciplinary training and multi-professional/inter-organizational collaboration to improve health outcomes for MCH populations through TA/collaboration and CE. Goal 4: Generate and translate MCH nutrition research, particularly on assessment, prevention and treatment of maternal and pediatric obesity. Objective 1.1: Graduate at least 2 master- and/or doctorate-level funded trainees and 8 non-funded trainees annually. Objective 1.2: At least 90% of alumni demonstrate MCH nutrition leadership as academics, clinical, public health, or advocacy within 5 years of graduation. Objective 1.3: Webcast two day colloquia, annually, for 75 onsite attendees and at least 600 on-line participants by 2013; 900 online participants by 2016. Objective 2.1: 100% of trainees improve their overall MCH leadership competence by at least one skill level category on the MCH Leadership Self-Assessment, administered upon entry to and graduation from the program. Objective 2.2: 100% of trainees will attend the annual Cultural Competency Express day workshop prior to graduation. Objective 2.3: 100% of trainees will report increases in cultural competence awareness, knowledge, and/or skills, as assessed by concurrent field experience reflection logs. Objective 3.1: Annually, at least 30 TN Title V and MCH-related direct service staff will participate in cultural competence training workshops, delivered by Program faculty and funded trainees. Objective 3.2: Annually, at least 5 early-career TN Title V administrative staff will participate in distance learning leadership program, beginning in Year 2. Objective 3.3: Collaborate annually with ASTPHND on its CE needs assessment and annual meeting planning. Objective 4.1: Publish a faculty average of at least 2 manuscripts, technical reports, book/book chapters, or electronic educational products annually


The Program will provide graduate education and training through public health nutrition, nutrition science and public health coursework; community-based concurrent field experiences; and clinical and public health nutrition supervised field practice. Trainees will improve MCH leadership competencies through coursework, workshops, colloquia and field experiences. Faculty and trainees will generate and translate MCH-related research, specifically related to assessment, prevention and treatment of maternal/pediatric obesity. Funded trainees will develop leadership skills through Program activities and faculty mentoring. Program faculty, assisted by funded trainees, will provide technical assistance and collaboration, continuing education and workforce development activities to Title V, the Association of State Public Health Nutritionist and other MCH-related agencies. Program activities include: Emerging Leaders in MCH Nutrition Training Network; Promoting Healthy Weight colloquia; Cultural Competence Express: Graduate Student, Faculty & Staff Workshop; Interactions that Make a Difference: Cultural Competence Training for Title V Personnel ; development of online modules with UMN on evaluation, cost-effectiveness analysis, and quality improvement; development of leadership program for mid-level Title V personnel; UAB-UT trainee exchange program; development of a Diversity Community of Practice with all nutrition grantees; dissemination of MCH-related nutrition research.


National and Local Advisory Committees-program advisory roles; Knox Co. Health Department, East TN Children's Hospital, Cherokee Health Systems, Women's Center at Lisa Ross, UT Medical Center, Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities-field experience partners; MCH nutrition grantees, Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, TN Title V/State Department of Health, Regions I-IV state health departments- partners on graduate training, continuing education, and workforce development.


Trainee performance evaluated by course grades, research completed and disseminated (thesis trainees); oral exam passed (non-thesis trainees); successful completion of field practice assessed by faculty, preceptors and trainees; pre- and post-MCH Leadership Self-Assessment. Post-graduation (5 yrs) MCH leadership, advocacy and employment evaluated by alumni survey. Colloquia and continuing education and workforce development programs evaluated by participant evaluations and registration numbers.

Back To Top ↑

Title V in Your State