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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Seeing Critical Issues Everywhere — and Our Role in Addressing Them

Making a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address critical issues in Minnesota.

I know this statement well — it is Extension’s mission statement that drives our work. I have used it many times as a way to describe who WE are and to put context to our work. I’ve been thinking about this statement a lot lately, as I have been listening to the radio, checking in on current events, and reading the newspaper. I was struck by what I heard and read.

New ICANPD Coordinator Will Work with Somali Community in Willmar

Family Development is happy to welcome Kenya McKnight Ahad as the new Coordinator for the Individuals and Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes program — I CAN Prevent Diabetes (ICANPD).

FD’s ICANPD program team has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health to offer sessions across Minnesota since 2014. Now the team is adapting and piloting the ICANPD curriculum for a Somali community in the Willmar area. Kenya will be key to ensuring that this new project is a success. She will coordinate delivery of 16 initial sessions and six followup sessions for Somali ICANPD participants in the Willmar area.

Kenya comes to this position with a wealth of coordination and project management experience in both the non-profit and government sectors. While much of Kenya's work will be in the Willmar area, she is housed in Coffey Hall in St. Paul. This is scheduled to be a temporary position through 2016. Kenya joined us on January 26. Please say hello to Kenya when you see her!

Cassie Silveira
Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition, EFNEP 

Editor's note: For more on I CAN Prevent Diabetes in the Willmar area, see Cultural Adaptation of Diabetes Prevention Program Continues.

Welcome to FD’s First Area Community H&N Specialist

On January 18, Family Development welcomed Nikki Johnson as the first Area Community Health and Nutrition Specialist serving eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota in the Red River Valley. This is a joint position between Minnesota and North Dakota and will focus on chronic disease prevention and policy, systems, and environmental changes that promote improved health outcomes.

Nikki has a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from North Dakota State University, Fargo, and a Master of Science degree in Health Promotion Management from Nebraska Methodist College, Omaha. Nikki has served as the Youth Nutrition Agent in Cass County, ND, since 2012. Prior to her work in North Dakota, Nikki was a community nutrition educator for the University of Minnesota in Clay, Becker, and Ottertail counties.

Trina Adler
Program Leader — Health and Nutrition

Qualey-Skjervold Conference Set for Mid-July

“Save the date” — I get excited when I hear those words and I hope you do, too. The 2016 Qualey-Skjervold Family Development Annual Conference will take place July 11–13, 2016 at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center in St. Paul. All FD staff members should see this event on their calendar — contact Jeanne Laqua if you do not.

The theme of the conference this year is poverty. All FD staff will receive a short survey to provide ideas and input into our conference planning. Please complete this survey and return it by the due date so the conference planning team can consider your ideas as we plan.

Sharon Mulé
Staff Development Coordinator

Intermediate Qualtrics Training Set for Mid-March

Do you have knowledge and experience using Qualtrics but find it a bit "clunky" or awkward to use? Do you want to know useful ways to capture the data you need? Do you simply want to brush up your Qualtrics skills?

If so, the upcoming Qualtrics Tips & Tricks: Making the Most of Your Surveys training is for you! The Family Development Applied Research and Evaluation (ARE) team is providing this training exclusively for FD staff.

Schoolyard Gardens Conference Set for Early March

“An Ecosystem of Learning, Sharing Common Ground” is the theme of the 2016 Schoolyard Gardens Conference, set for Friday, March 4, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, MN. The annual event is sponsored by the arboretum and the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, in collaboration with the Minnesota Schoolyard Gardens Coalition.
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