Funded Projects

Grant Status: Active

Grant Title: Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nutrition Education and Training Program

Web Site: University of Tennessee Project Exit Disclaimer

Project Director(s):

Marsha Spence, PhD, MPH, RDN, LDN
University of Tennessee
1215 W Cumberland Avenue, JHB 229
Knoxville, TN  37996-1920
Phone: (865) 974-5445
Email: mspence@utk.edu

Problem:

To improve health equity and outcomes of MCH populations, MCH public health nutritionists and community-based registered dietitian/nutritionists (RDNs) must be highly skilled in public health perspectives and methodologies, interdisciplinary collaboration, family-centered approaches, and as leaders in their fields. Graduate-level public health nutrition education and training, technical assistance (TA) and collaboration with State Title V programs and other MCH-related agencies, and continuing education (CE) for workforce development are needed to improve the health of MCH populations. The Program prepares graduate-level RDNs for MCH-focused leadership positions at local, state, and national health agencies, community-based organizations, and academic institutions. Through an integrated MCH curriculum and community-based field experiences, trainees develop didactic knowledge and practice skills in public health nutrition, nutrition science, and public health. They improve MCH leadership competencies through coursework, field experiences, workshops, colloquia, and online learning modules. Faculty and trainees advance and disseminate MCH nutrition research, specifically related to childhood obesity prevention and treatment, access to healthy food environments, and multi-sector interventions and training to improve MCH population outcomes. Funded trainees develop and improve leadership skills through Program services/activities, faculty mentoring, and leadership roles with peers, community stakeholders, professional organizations, and coalitions. In addition, Program faculty, assisted by funded trainees, provide TA and collaboration, and CE and workforce development activities to State Title V Programs, Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN), and other MCH-related agencies. Services/Activities: Program services/activities include Promoting Healthy Weight 3.0 colloquia; cultural and linguistic competence training for graduate students, State Title V personnel, and RDNs and other health professionals; the Trainee Exchange Program; the MCH Nutrition Grantee's Diversity Learning Collaborative; delivery and evaluation of a workshop for State Title V Programs to address implicit bias; policy and media training; a continuous quality improvement project to develop and evaluate an assessment tool for MCH Nutrition Leadership Competencies; the Leadership and Professional Development Seminar Series; participation and evaluation of cross-cultural communication and mentoring training; informal pipeline development with Tennessee State University; Family and Youth Advisory Board formation, training, and meetings; facilitation of the East Tennessee Childhood Obesity Coalition; revision and field testing of ASPHN's Moving to the Future: Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Planning. Population Served: The Program serves infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, women of childbearing age, mothers, and children and adolescents with special health care needs, and their families through graduate education and training and workforce development to improve the health equity and outcomes among diverse MCH populations.

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