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NHOC highlight: Priester Award winners lead the way in health and wellness programs


By Sharon Mulé, staff development coordinator, Extension Center for Family Development

The 2018 National Health Outreach Conference in Bloomington gave attendees the opportunity to learn about many innovative programs. Perhaps one of the best chances to learn occurred at the Priester Awards Luncheon on the second day of the conference.


The Jeanne M. Priester Award honors the memory and contributions of Ms. Priester to the Cooperative Extension System. During her tenure at the United States Department of Agriculture, Ms. Priester was a leader in advancing health education within the Cooperative Extension System.

The award was established to recognize innovative Extension programs that positively impact the health of people across the United States. Qualifying programs also must provide leadership for expanding Extension's capacity to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The Priester Award recognizes programs at the county, state and national level.


Here is a list of the award winners for 2018, with links to more information about these programs.

Individual or FamilyKeys to Embracing Aging 30-Day Health Challenge, University of Kentucky and Kansas State University.

Keys to Embracing Aging 30-Day Health Challengeis a peer-reviewed Cooperative Extension multi-lesson program offered in Kansas, Kentucky, and Arkansas. The program aims to improve health, safety and well-being. It focuses on empowering individuals and families to take control of lifestyle decisions. Keys to Embracing Aging 30-Day Health Challenge is based on studies of people age 100 and older regarding healthy lifestyles. The program provides preventive education that creatively encourages people of all ages to make healthy choices a habit.

CommunityFaithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More, North Carolina State University.

Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving Moreis a field-tested program that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. It’s offered in communities of faith in North Carolina through a nine-lesson curriculum.

The program is co-facilitated by educators from Cooperative Extension, including EFNEP program associates, SNAP-Ed educators, and Family and Consumer Science agents. Educators from local health agencies also help.

Facilitators train leaders in local congregations to co-teach lessons and design policy, systems, and environmental support methods. Leaders from the faith community bring spiritual elements into each session through discussion questions and activity prompts.

Innovative: Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities, University of Minnesota Extension.

Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities is a web-based professional development program that promotes the integration of policy, systems, and environmental interventions with educational strategies. The program uses best practices in adult and online learning to provide an innovative and comprehensive approach to staff professional development.

In addition to the online modules, the program includes instructions for coaching both individuals and groups, as well as opportunities for personal and shared reflection. System Approaches for Healthy Communities also provides learning tools that may be used as part of the course or separately. Non-course participants also may use the tools.

Culture of Health: Growing Healthy Kids Columbus Coalition, Ohio State University Extension.

Since 2013, Ohio State University Extension has shared leadership of the Growing Healthy Kids Columbus Coalition with the city of Columbus Public Health. The coalition brings together over 40 cross-sector organizations and programs that serve pregnant women and children from birth to kindergarten entry. The aim is to address multilevel influences that contribute to childhood obesity. The coalition uses the social ecological model as a framework for identifying and promoting implementation of policy, systems, and environmental changes, as well as individual behavior change.

Leadership: Angela Flickinger, Family Living educator, StrongWomen Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Extension

In 2007 Angela learned about the StrongWomen evidence-based program and chose to become the sole StrongWomen ambassador for Wisconsin. For the last 11 years she has trained more than 840 individuals in StrongWomen principles. Under Angela’s leadership, the StrongWomen Wisconsin program is now offered at over 135 locations throughout the state. More than 16,000 individuals have been touched by the program. Angela has spearheaded this growth by initiating partnerships herself and encouraging others to form partnerships.

I hope you enjoyed this review of the 2018 Priester Award-winning programs and are inspired to continue the good work you are doing in your communities!
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