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Showing posts from November, 2014

A Thanksgiving Update from Karen Shirer

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

Trish Olson asked that I give you an update on what is happening with me. Many of you have been asking how I have been doing with the cancer treatments.

First, some details on the cancer treatment. The cancer that I have is large B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma and my specific one is a “double-hit” lymphoma. It is a very aggressive form of cancer and was spreading rapidly through my lymph node system before I began treatment. To date, I have had four rounds of chemotherapy. Each round is five days long and completed in the hospital. The chemo goes by the acronym R-EPOCH, which describes the type being used. You can find out more at this website:

The chemo rounds have been rigorous, but I have been able to control the nausea with medication. Fatigue has been a problem because of the intensity of the chemo, but I am managing that much better with rest.

Parents Forever™ Website Expands

This past September and October, the Families in Transition Team took its show on the road.
Here we go! Rolling out the @UMNExt Revised Parents Forever curriculum training! 1st stop Andover RC! — U of M Ext FEN (@UMNExtFEN) September 22, 2014
Team members had worked hard to revise the Parents Forever™ curriculum and rolled it out to facilitators across Minnesota with in-person training sessions.

MDH Expert in Food Safety to Advise SNAP-Ed Program

We are excited to welcome the skills and talents of Tim Jenkins to FD’s SNAP-Ed program. Tim continues his position as Food Access Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), but will provide technical assistance and support for SNAP-Ed work in policy, systems and environment (PSE). Tim brings a strong food safety and food access background from his work with MDH and prior position with the city of Minneapolis as Environmental Health District Supervisor; he will look at SNAP-Ed’s PSE work through a food safety lens.

Financial Educator Joins Family Resiliency Team

We welcome Sarah Butler, who joins FD’s Family Resiliency Team as a Financial Educator in Dakota County. Sarah has been active in the field of financial education for over five years, focusing on low to moderate-income communities. She has experience in consumer credit counseling, financial coaching, foreclosure prevention, student loan rehabilitation, bankruptcy counseling education, asset building, and credit improvement. In addition to her work in financial education, she has extensive experience in community social service referrals.

Celebrate Family and Consumer Sciences Day by Dining In

Join families across America and celebrate the first annual Family and Consumer Sciences Day by dining in on Wednesday, December 3. The event is sponsored by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS).

AAFCS is asking families to prepare and eat a healthy meal together on December 3 — the birthday of AAFCS Founder Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman graduate of MIT. She is known as the “Original Home Economics Superwoman.”

Visit the FCS Day website for information on how to participate and spread the word: The goal is to reach 200,000 families, so help get out the word and commit to "Dining In" on December 3. Family and Consumer Sciences Day partners include the USDA and National 4-H Council. Questions? Contact Emily Becher.

Emily Becher, Research Fellow

Humphrey Policy Fellow Joins Health and Nutrition Team

Starting Wednesday, Dec. 3, a new Extension educator will come on board with Health and Nutrition Programs: Cassandra Silveira. Cassandra joins us as a Humphrey Policy Fellow with a wealth of knowledge and experience developing, coordinating, and evaluating health and nutrition initiatives. She also has experience providing technical assistance for chronic disease prevention and management.

Cassandra will start her Extension career by providing intensive leadership and development to grow and enhance the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, and from there will lend her broad expertise to food literacy, food access, and physical activity initiatives throughout the state. She will be based at the Ramsey County office.

Trina Adler Barno
Program Leader — Health and Nutrition Programs

Turnip for Technology

Dear colleagues,

My 15 year-old daughter is hardly the poster child for a healthy lifestyle. She’ll often watch me (not offering to help) unpack grocery bags and put items away in the refrigerator and cupboards, and as the last item finds a spot, she’ll say, “Why didn’t you buy any real food?” She means salty food, sugary food, or fatty food, or, preferably, all three combined.

Yet, she was the one who first showed me Michelle Obama’s latest health promotion initiative.

Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign has strategically and carefully focused attention toward healthy eating and active living for children and families. The First Lady has used a variety of technologies and platforms to reach out to target groups. She’s been on Sesame Street, the Disney Channel, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and countless talk and news shows. But perhaps the most fascinating and most viewed, the viral “Turnip for What?” clip* on the Vine video-sharing app, has all of us in the healthy-eating-…

Partner to Get Fit

By Jodi Nordlund, SNAP-Ed Educator and Stephanie Heim, Associate Program Director — Health and Nutrition

How do you get kids to eat their vegetables? Teach them to grow their vegetables!

It takes a village to run a community youth garden, and the garden at King Elementary School in Deer River is no exception. Get Fit Itasca pulls together the partners: The Boys and Girls Club of Deer River, Deer River School District, Itasca County Master Gardeners, many community volunteers, and University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition.

Health and Nutrition has partnered with Get Fit Itasca for over three years to improve food literacy, physical activity, and healthy food access in Northeast Minnesota. SNAP-Ed Educator Jodi Nordlund teaches cooking and nutrition classes using produce from the garden. This summer, kids tried many vegetables for the first time, from kohlrabi and kale to radishes and red cabbage. One Boys and Girls Club member said she "hated vegetables." But aft…

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

By Trish Olson, Interim Associate Dean

Today is Veterans Day in the United States. This day of remembrance started after World War I to commemorate an armistice — a temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany. This truce went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, and effectively ended “the war to end all wars.”

FD Selected to Help Military Family Service Professionals Worldwide

By Trish Olson, Interim Associate Dean 

The Center for Family Development has been selected to help implement the work of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN), which serves military family service professionals around the world.

MFLN recently received a joint Department of Defense-U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that will enable it to continue its work for the next four years. “We are excited that our new funding will allow us to expand our work to include providing online professional development, educational programming, and engaging communities in the areas of community capacity building, families with special needs, transition, and nutrition and wellness,” said Sarah Baughman, Project Leader, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech).

Family Development's involvement in the MFLN initiative adds the University of Minnesota to the network of academic institutions implementing this important work. Besides Virginia Tech, they include including the University …

Cooking Classes with Elementary School Children

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate 

Extension Educator Laura Perdue knows how to review literature.

Last week an article on a literature review conducted by Laura and three colleagues was published in the November issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Laura was second author on the article titled "The Impact of Cooking Classes on Food-Related Preferences, Attitudes, and Behaviors of School-Aged Children: A Systematic Review of the Evidence, 2003-2014."

Laura and her colleagues did the literature review because of her involvement with a program called Food Explorers™ — a school-based cooking curriculum to encourage kindergarten and first grade students to eat more healthy foods. Food Explorers trains parent and graduate student volunteers to introduce new recipes featuring fruits and vegetables in classrooms in four Twin Cities-area schools.

A Different Kind of Poster

You may recall that this past September, Extension Educators Ellie McCann and Sara Croymans presented a poster at the 4th International Conference on Building Resilience in Manchester, England. Not ringing a bell? Perhaps this photo will refresh your memory:

Ellie highly recommends fabric posters for travel with expected reuse.

If you look closely at the poster, you will see that it hangs a little differently than most. That's because it was printed on fabric! Fabric posters are perfect for international and other extended travel. They don't wrinkle or tear and fold up neatly to pack in your suitcase. PosterSmith and are just two businesses that print posters on fabric. Check them out and others online today!

Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

'If not me, then who? If not now, then when?'

By Trish Olson, Interim Associate Dean

The Community Fund Drive has been extended to November 7. This effort is the University of Minnesota's annual charitable giving campaign that provides an easy way for employees to donate to nonprofits that enrich the community. The Community Fund Drive was started by President James Morrill during the Great Depression in 1931. Since 1995, the Community Fund Drive has raised $17.8 million. In 2013, 36 percent of employees on the Twin Cities campus donated more than $1.3 million to the community.

Faculty and staff can donate online or via a paper form, and make either a one-time gift or have their donation taken out of their paycheck each pay period. Gifts can be made to a federation, an agency/agencies within a federation, an external charity, or a combination of all of three.