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Metro Area Health and Nutrition Team Charts New Path

By Mary Marczak, Margaret Haggenmiller, and Cassie Silveira

This summer, the metro area Health and Nutrition (H&N) team engaged in a three-month strategic visioning process to reach consensus on how to prioritize programming and staffing, as well as streamline resources, to provide greater impact within communities experiencing the greatest health disparities.

The metro area. Image credit: Google Maps

Taking a Place-Based Approach

The process helped the H&N team design new ways of working in the community. Specifically, team members will take a place-based approach to their work, relying on community partners to help guide and co-create solutions across the spectrum of prevention. A place-based approach (PBA) will be used in the following areas:
  • Near North neighborhood, Minneapolis.
  • Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods, St. Paul.
  • Minneapolis Public Schools (working at the district level on schoolyard gardening)
  • St. Paul Public Schools and Ramsey County Statewide Health Improvement Program or SHIP (supporting and implementing school wellness policies and providing direct education in classrooms).
Special emphasis has been placed on working across programs within Extension to maximize our resources.

October marks the start of a new program year for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). For SNAP-Ed, 2017 is year one of a three-year plan, and EFNEP is starting year two of a five-year plan. Concurrently with these new areas of focus, SNAP-Ed work will continue with caregivers of young children (especially ages 0–4) in partnership with WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), Head Start, and other agencies that serve this audience. EFNEP work will continue to focus on high-risk minority and immigrant populations.

We are in the first weeks of this new model, and teams working on the place-based approach have been identified. Team members include Extension educators, regional coordinators, and nutrition educators from EFNEP and SNAP-Ed. We are looking forward to our new program year and we are excited to implement this new model.

For more stories about Family Development’s work in the metro area, see Family Matters: Metro.
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