Sunday, March 4, 2012

Life As A Dietetic Intern: End of First Rotation

Hey Everyone!

It has been a hectic past few weeks, while I've been working to complete my projects for my Community Nutrition rotation. During each rotation all interns are expected to complete competencies set by The Academy; each competency is geared toward the learning objective for each type of rotation (i.e., Community Nutrition, Medical Nutrition, and Food Service Systems Management). Community Nutrition is 7 weeks with the fewest set amount of competencies while Food Systems Service Management is 3 weeks longer and has almost double the amount of competencies. Some rotation sites do not accommodate each competency, in which case that competency transfers over to your  next rotation. Luckily, I was able to knock out all of my CN competencies at the UK Cooperative Extension Office.

Friday, March 2, 2012 was my last day with Cooperative Extension. It was an interesting day, especially because much of the state was under a severe weather threat. I spent the majority of the day organizing my projects and related documents to submit on BlackBoard. Before we were released to the storms, the ladies at the office prepared a nice "going away" lunch from Yummy Yummy Asian Cuisine in Lexington - it was delicious and I felt bad that we had someone else to risk their life in the severe weather. However, it was delicious and while everyone chowed down I opened my "nutrition gifts". I'm going to miss all of those ladies, but they will always be a part of my life. 

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

Week 5
This week started the first round of Assistant training. This training will last for several weeks and is geared towards the newly hired Assistants (these are individuals who will be working out of different counties and providing the LEAP nutrition education program to primary school age children). Yesterday I was able to sit in on their second day of training - this was pretty awesome because I was able to observe my preceptor present on nutrition basics, MyPlate, and food behavior. She was so energetic, funny, and relayed solid information in a very simple manner. I will be presenting my first CBNFE (community-based nutrition and food education) next week during another training session, so I will be tweaking my speech to better captivate the audience. Prior to the start of yesterday’s training, I introduced myself to the trainees and many of them felt comfortable and asked me several nutrition related questions. We ended up discussing energy drinks, we all know the misconceptions and misunderstanding that looms around this topic, so I was able to add in some pieces of knowledge to de-bunk some of their questions ;)

This week my preceptor and I traveled to Frankfurt to the Department of Agriculture for a Farm to School Resource Manual meeting. I’m really excited about this program because it’s one of a kind that hasn’t been implemented in the state of KY...yet! However, with the efforts of my preceptor, public health professionals, USDA officials, KY Dept. of Education staff, and Agriculture experts this program will hopefully start it’s piloting stage as soon as this summer. The purpose of the meeting, we attended, was to finalize ideas, strategies, and organization for the F2S manual that will be distributed to food service directors, farmers, and community members. A lot of great ideas were thrown around the table including how to improve purchasing between the food service director and the farmers; one idea was to have a F2S position at all Co-ops that work with schools and farmers - this will eliminate some of the procuring barriers between food service directors and farmers. Hopefully, there will be some grant money available for this program’s implementation because I believe F2S will have a big impact on high school students’ nutrition beliefs, understanding of where their food comes from, how it’s harvested, and overall health. 

Farm to School

Week 6
As this is my 2nd to last week at the Extension office, I’ve managed to squeeze in two CBFNE (nutrition education presentations) to meet my CN competencies. I’ve had a lot of fun creating my support material and designing the format and content for each presentation. My first CBNFE took place on Tuesday at the Good Barn on campus and I had the opportunity to present basic nutrition to newly hired Extension Assistants. My first topic involved introducing the Assistants to the LEAP program that they will be using to educate their community. I really enjoyed this presentation because LEAP’s target audience is primary aged children and their parents, so I had the freedom to be really expressive and creative describing child content topics. I wrapped up my presentation with a brief discussion on child sized food models; I prepared an interactive activity, so the Assistants could get some hands-on experience with the models and feel more comfortable using them with their clients. Although I didn’t have enough time to explain every little detail on my handouts, they really liked the format and the information provided.

Yesterday I had my first experience doing a t.v. spot with Lexington's WKYT-TV. I had prepared two outlines for my Meatless Meal segment, just to be prepared for any questions thrown at me. I was relieved to know that I was able to send two prompting questions to the news station a few weeks in advance. However, when it came down to the shoot, Bill Bryant and Barbara Baily had some questions of their own. I really liked their enthusiasm and interest, and didn’t at all mind that they didn’t use the questions I provided; I flowed with their sequenced interview and it was over before I knew it. I have learned so much about social marketing from my preceptor and I’m glad that I took a small stride yesterday to promote a healthy cause. I look forward to having the opportunity to do more t.v. spots in the future. Strategic planning and social marketing is where it’s at; it’s definitely opening my eyes to a future in public health, communications, and marketing.

Week 7 (last week at Extension Office)
This week has been a collection of different events and activities, much like it usually is at the Extension office. On Monday my preceptor and I traveled to Perry County for their fourth round of Plate Waste Studies - I'm glad they chose to implement the LEAP program in this county because it has the highest child obesity ratings in the state. The kids are always interested in our study and why we are taking pictures of them. They are so enthusiastic and seem to be picking up on the nutrition lessons. I had a boy from the third grade explain to me the differences between whole grains and refined grains. I was very impressed and love to see the change in knowledge and behavior.

On Tuesday I was able to attend my first professional meeting solo, without my preceptor! I definitely felt like a "big girl" and made some good connections and met a lot of different professionals from Lexington. This meeting was for the TWEENS Coalition, which was established by Anita Courtney (which by the way, is a great contact and resource to have if you're able to work with her eventually). Their mission is to promote, support, and create a healthier community - with a focus on preventing childhood obesity. During the meeting, they reviewed the status of "Better Bites" (Anita is in the process of changing this name into a fun, more creative, captivating title; in hopes to target teenagers. I will attach a flyer with more information. Everyone who enters a new title suggestion is in a running to win $100 until the March 31, 2012 deadline)! Better Bites is a program that targets teenagers by way of implementing healthier menus in community venues (Park and Rec., after school programs, high school Booster events, UK campus events, etc.). Currently, they have assessed the community's needs and interests as well as the financial ramifications and are looking to pilot a healthier menu at a public pool this summer. I love this idea because a child who swims for 2 hours can burn 430 calories and can eat well over 600 calories by choosing common items (i.e., hot dogs, fries, soda) at the current concessions. They are also currently researching the needs and ways to provide fresh food and produce in Lexington corner markets. This was a great learning experience because they detailed the entire research, implementation, and monitoring process that would be involved in jump starting this program.

Better Bites needs a new slogan! Enter to win $100!