1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nutrition Leadership Education and Training Program 2023-2028

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: MCH Nutrition Training Program

Project Director(s):

Marsha Spence, PhD
University of Tennessee
1215 Cumberland Ave
229 Jessie Harris Building
Knoxville, TN  37996
Phone: 865-974-5445

Goals and Objectives:

Project Description and Needs to Be Addressed: To improve the nutrition-related health of maternal and child health (MCH) populations, a highly-skilled, diverse workforce, which includes Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists (RDNs) who are leaders in community and/or public health nutrition and are experts in MCH, is essential. Thus, the University of Tennessee's MCH Nutrition Leadership Education and Training (NLET) Program will provide graduate-level community and public health nutrition education and interdisciplinary, clinical and community based nutrition field training, collaboration with and technical assistance (TA) to State Title V programs and other MCH-related agencies, and continuing education (CE) for the MCH workforce. 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 didactic and experiential learning activities in evidence-based practice, interdisciplinary collaboration, and family-centered approaches, long-term trainees develop didactic knowledge and practice skills in public health nutrition, clinical nutrition, nutrition science, and public health. Trainees strengthen MCH leadership competencies through coursework, field experiences, annual intensive courses, seminars, online learning modules, and interactions with professionals and peers. Faculty and trainees advance and disseminate MCH-related research, specifically related to obesity prevention and treatment, health equity, access to healthy food environments, nutrition and food security, and multi-sector interventions and training to improve MCH population health outcomes. Funded trainees develop and enhance 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, collaboration, and CE and workforce development activities for State Title V Programs, the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN), and other MCH-related agencies. Services/Activities: Program services and activities include 1) two intensive courses annually, entitled Promoting Health Equity in MCH, 2) cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills development workshop and online module for graduate students, State Title V personnel, and RDNs and other health professionals, 3) collaborative projects with other MCH Nutrition Grantee, including a new trainee-ASPHN exchange program and the continuation of the Emerging Nutrition Leaders in MCH Training Program, 4) public health policy training, 5) data analysis for quality improvement reports, 6) facilitation of the East Tennessee Childhood Obesity Coalition, and 7) service to professional organizations including the ASPHN, the American Public Health Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Population Served: The Program serves infants, children, adolescents, mothers, birthing people, people of childbearing age, children and adolescents with special health care needs, and families, including fathers, by providing graduate education and training, TA, collaboration, CE, and workforce development to improve systems, health equity, cultural and linguistic responsiveness, food and nutrition security, and health outcomes among these populations.