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New Pilot Program Prompts Educators to Think Bigger

By Anne Dybsetter, Extension Educator — Health & Nutrition

Health promotion educators in Michigan and Iowa recently participated in a pilot program created by University of Minnesota Extension's Health and Nutrition team. Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities is a professional development program that sparked interest from Extension colleagues in other states after being developed and used in Minnesota.

A snippet from one of the program's modules.

Through the program's five online modules, educators learn how health education works best when paired with approaches that take into consideration the policies, systems, and environments where community members live, learn, play, and work. One educator noted that the program "really made me understand that even if participants... come to a six-week [nutrition education] series and graduate, they may still have many barriers that make them unable to make those healthy choices. They may not have access to healthy foods, or they may not have transportation to get to the grocery store. We really have to think of the bigger picture."

After the successful pilot, Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities will be available nationally fall 2017.

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