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Showing posts from June, 2017

EFNEP Welcomes New Educator

By Amanda Vanyo, EFNEP Regional Coordinator — Health and Nutrition

Alma Galvez joined Extension's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) as a community nutrition educator in June. Before joining EFNEP, Alma was a community health coordinator with St. Mary's Health Clinics in the Twin Cities. St. Mary’s Clinics provide health care services to low-income, uninsured individuals and families in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Alma also has volunteered with the outreach program at Southside Community Health Services in Minneapolis. She has been focusing on nutrition's role in preventing disease for three years.

Alma earned community health worker certification through the Summit Academy Opportunities Industrialization Center in Minneapolis. She is also a certified MNsure navigator and a pre-diabetes health coach. Her areas of focus are Latino families, public health, community nutrition, chronic disease prevention (diabetes and heart disease), and mental health.


Extension Educators Contribute to a National Validation Study

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate

This spring, two University of Minnesota Extension educators interviewed staff from four Minnesota schools to find out how well a national school wellness assessment tool works.

WellSAT 2.0 is a tool that measures how school wellness policies get put into practice. It reflects the school food requirements of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and current best practices in all areas of school wellness.

Market Bucks Now Available at Minnesota Farmers Markets

By Ryan Johnson, Associate Program Director — SNAP-Ed

SNAP customers can now “spend $10, get $10” with their EBT card at farmers markets across Minnesota through Market Bucks. The Market Bucks program matches SNAP-EBT customers’ dollars at 84 participating markets. Every $1 of SNAP/EBT benefits spent is matched by $1 in Market Bucks — up to $10 every time a customer visits the market! Here’s how the Market Bucks program works.

Still Tinkering

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

At the start of the New Year, I shared my goal for 2017 — to take more risks. Over the past six months, I have been stretched in different ways to do just that. As a result, I have several “ah-ha” moments to share.

Extension Releases Toolkit to Get More Teens Eating School Breakfast

By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

Ahead of the 2017–2018 school year, University of Minnesota Extension has released a toolkit to help school staff in Minnesota and across the nation implement a school breakfast program tailored to their school.

Breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day, but many teenagers skip breakfast. When teens don’t eat until lunch time, their energy sags mid-morning and their ability to learn suffers. More and more middle schools and high schools are adding “Grab and Go” and “Second Chance” breakfasts to increase school breakfast participation.

Get Involved with Upcoming Minnesota Food Charter Events

By Jamie Bain, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

Do you want to learn more about what really matters to community members in your region? Are you interested in collaborating with other food systems leaders in your region? If so, we have just the thing for you!

As lead partner of engagement of the Minnesota Food Charter Network, University of Minnesota Extension is supporting eight regional Minnesota Food Charter in Action events in November 2017 to support local and regional food charter work.

Cultural ICANPD Classes Conclude and Reflection Begins

By Anne Dybsetter, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

This winter, a team of University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition staff in southwest Minnesota wrapped up a series of diabetes prevention classes and information-gathering sessions with the aim of developing and testing cultural adaptations to better meet the needs of Minnesotans of Latino and Somali backgrounds.

As a team, we’re sifting through what we’ve learned since the project began in 2015. We learned that culturally adapting a program requires attention to numerous factors. Addressing many of these factors is doable — if challenging — and may lead to promising outcomes. Other factors just cannot easily be addressed within the structure of an existing curriculum. Even more challenging, some of these factors are not readily apparent or only emerge with time and reflection.

Evaluation Essentials: Types of Evaluation

By Emily Becher, Research Associate

Last time on Cooking with Emily — I mean, Evaluation with Emily, I used pizza to describe evaluation as an essential process for making a decision. I also pointed out that research tells us why we like pizza, and evaluation tells us what kind of pizza to order right now. Now let’s get further into the weeds with some even more jargony words: formative, process, and summative evaluations.

"Formative" and "summative" are highly specific terms. If you haven’t been exposed to them, they are the exact kind of words people tune out on. In his book Evaluation Essentials: From A to Z, Marvin Alkin discusses how formative evaluation is designed to make improvements, e.g. how to change a program to improve outcomes. Summative evaluation is designed to support major decision-making, e.g. whether or not to continue funding for a program.

But the best analogy Alkin gives about this distinction relates to food.

When the cook tastes the soup…

'Falling Behind' eReview Wins University Award for Writing

The University of Minnesota Extension publication, Falling Behind: Understanding the Educational Disparities Faced by Immigrant Latino Students in the U.S. (PDF), has won a University of Minnesota Communicators Forum 2017 Maroon Award. The award was presented June 8 at the Communicators Forum annual conference, "Elevate."


Urban Family Development: What’s Up?

By Mary Marczak, Director of Urban Family Development and Evaluation, and Margaret Haggenmiller, Associate Program Director — SNAP-Ed Metro

Around this time last year, we reported on happenings at Urban Family Development (FD) with the blog post titled A Year of Growth. It’s time for an update! A theme for our work this past year might be connections.

First Pilot of Program to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Youth Complete

By Alejandro Peralta Reyes, Project Coordinator

A University of Minnesota Extension project led by Family Development staff to improve the health of Latino youth in the Twin Cities metro area concluded its first pilot of the Padres Preparados, Jóvenes Saludables program this May.


Evaluation Essentials: Evaluation vs. Research

By Emily Becher, Research Associate

My quest to advance myself as an evaluator and a professional continues. So to that goal I am writing up another blog post to summarize my efforts and learnings. Once again, Family Matters readers are acting as my accountability buddies, so thank you!

Recently I read the evaluation text Evaluation Essentials: From A to Z, by Marvin Alkin. If you’re looking for a great basic guide on evaluation, this is a really good one. What I liked about it is that it gave me some great ways of talking about evaluation that don’t get lost in jargon. I don’t know about you, but often I will sit in meetings with experts. At some point, they string together a series of words that have no meaning for me. After a couple experiences like this, I tend to tune out.

When I start talking about evaluation, I worry that I do exactly the same thing! So using Alkin’s book, I’m going to review some concepts and terms in a way that I hope is logical and clear so the next time s…