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Extension > Family Matters > February 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pillsbury: Growing a Taste for Good Health for Over Twenty Years

Thirty-three. That's the number of elementary schools in the Minneapolis school district. And twenty-five? That's the number of years Pillsbury Elementary School has partnered with University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition Programs.

Pillsbury School: Each student ready to lead the future.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Following Harry Potter’s Lead to Build a Culture of ‘WE’

By Laura Bohen, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

I was so pleased to be asked to write a follow-up to Mary Marczak’s post Following Flip Saunders’ Lead to Build a Culture of ‘WE’. I must first make a shocking confession though: I had absolutely no idea who Flip Saunders was until I read that post.

I know! I know! The shame!

While I’ve just revealed my lack of Minnesota sports knowledge (I could barely name a Vikings player to save my life, let alone a basketball coach), I hope you will bear with me for the rest of this post.

Extension Educator Helps Avert a Financial Scam

By Sarah Butler, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Last week, I received an email from a woman who was about to be scammed by a so-called student loan forgiveness company. The company told her that if she pays a service fee for her daughter's student loans, all loans would be forgiven. She was going to provide her bank account numbers to this scammer! I was able to talk with her before she did and to give her proper information on what to do next:
  1. Do not give your bank or credit card info over the phone.
  2. Get your daughter to make an appointment with a certified nonprofit credit counselor, like LSS Financial Counseling, that specializes in helping people struggling with student loans.
  3. Your daughter needs to pull her credit report to find out where her delinquent loans are located, and then she can attempt to rehabilitate the loans.
Why am I sharing this with you? Well, this woman lives in Dakota County and looked for help locally. She did a Google search and found my email address and phone number. So between the expertise Extension offers at the local level and the work of the FD Communications Team to keep our website up to date, we saved this woman money, time, and the heartache of being a scam victim.


Editor's note: You can find up-to-date contact information for the entire Financial Capability Team, as well as Family Resiliency, on our website. Something amiss? Contact Hannah Jastram. Have a success story you'd like to share? Contact Hannah Jastram.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Piecing Together the Puzzle

By Teri L. Burgess-Champoux, Program Director, Health and Nutrition Special Projects

February has arrived and I am now six weeks into my new position as program director for Health and Nutrition Special Projects in the Extension Center for Family Development. During this time, family and friends often asked me the same question: So what will you be doing in your new job? I usually began by saying that my new colleagues were very welcoming and supportive, but that the specifics of my role were fuzzy. I finally came to realize that beginning a new job is like starting a new puzzle: it’s all about figuring out how the pieces fit together.

Workshop to Address Educational Disparities

This April, South Central Service Cooperative will host “Implementing Effective Partnerships,” the final workshop in a three-part series on family and community engagement. University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Education are offering this training, their first partnership of this kind addressing Minnesota’s educational disparities.

February Website Bytes

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Here's your monthly round-up of what's new on FD websites, with pictures galore.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Health Equity Guide Offers Resources to Improve Healthy Food Access for All Communities

By the Minnesota Food Charter Team

While Minnesota’s food system requires many changes to ensure healthy, safe, and affordable food is accessible for everyone, Minnesotans of color and American Indians are  disproportionately affected by these issues. Cultural barriers, such as institutional and economic inequities, human rights issues, and access to influence and decision-making power, prevent these communities from reliable access to healthy and affordable food.

The issues are particularly potent in Minnesota, where we have one of the widest gaps in health between white residents and people of color in the nation.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Seeing Critical Issues Everywhere — and Our Role in Addressing Them

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

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.

First, I heard a story on the radio about health insurance literacy and the challenges people across the nation are facing in understanding the terms and concepts involved in making an informed decision when choosing a health insurance plan (NPR’s “Do You Speak Health Insurance? It’s Not Easy”). Choosing the right plan has implications for health and personal finance. So this is a critical issue, right? I’m proud to say we address this critical issue in our Family Resiliency programming through our Smart Choice Health Insurance™ workshops. These workshops help individuals and families understand health insurance to make the best decision for themselves and their families.

New ICANPD Coordinator Will Work with Somali Community in Willmar

By Cassie Silveira, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition, EFNEP 

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!


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

By Trina Adler, Program Leader — Health and Nutrition

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.

Qualey-Skjervold Conference Set for Mid-July

By Sharon Mulé, Staff Development Coordinator

“Save the date” — I get excited when I hear those words and I hope you do, too. The 2016 Qualey-Skjervold Professional Development 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.


Intermediate Qualtrics Training Set for Mid-March

By Sarah Cronin, Research Assistant — Applied Research and Evaluation
Emily Becher, Research Associate — Applied Research and Evaluation

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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Stitching Together Chronic Conditions, Grand Challenges, and Plans of Work

By Trish Olson, Director of Programs

I like to put things together. I guess that’s what quilters do. As I drove to work one day last week and heard about the new Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) report on the prevalence and cost of chronic medical conditions, these statistics really caught my attention:
  • In 2012, 35.4 percent of insured Minnesota residents had at least one diagnosed chronic condition.
  • Minnesotans with diagnosed chronic conditions accounted for 83.1 percent of all medical spending in the state in 2012, with those who had five or more chronic conditions (5.6 percent of the population) accounting for 36 percent of all medical spending.
  •  Annual per-person medical spending for Minnesotans with one or more chronic conditions was, on average, eight times higher than that of residents with no chronic condition.

Welcome to New Extension Educator

By Trina Adler, Program Leader — Health and Nutrition

Please join us in welcoming Jessica Norman, our newest Health and Nutrition Extension educator. Jessica joined our team on January 25 and works out of the St. Cloud regional office.

Introducing Two New SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinators

By Margaret Haggenmiller, Associate Program Director — Health & Nutrition Programs, SNAP-Ed

Two new regional coordinators have joined the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) team: Evalyn Carbrey and Callie Recknagel. Evalyn and Callie joined us Feb. 1 and will be working in the Twin Cities metro area.

FD in the News

Here’s a roundup of regional media coverage of the wonderful work Family Development staff members are doing.

Food Charter Champion: CeAnn Klug
“My passion for food solidified when I opened my own restaurant, a small bistro in Mankato, Minnesota, which I ran for 10 years.”

New Children’s Mental Health eReview
Authors and editors across Extension centers, University departments and community organizations collaborated to define coparenting and describe how divorced, separated or never-married parents can support their children when parenting apart.

A Special Thank You from KOOTASCA Community Action
“Our families were put up to the challenge of feeding a family of four a nutritionally complete meal with just $10 and thanks to some fantastic teaching from Extension staff everyone beat the challenge!”

New nonprofit focuses on recovery from historical trauma
"Historical trauma is not only about what has happened in the past," Michaels said. "It’s still happening now."

Holidays and family traditions: It’s tough to make tough choices
Adapted from December Food Bytes by SNAP-Ed Educator Megan Janssen
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