Fighting-hunger-and-providing-nutrition-education

Fighting hunger and providing nutrition education

In addition to providing food and programs to more than 400 partners across 23 parishes in Louisiana, Second Harvest Food Bank launched a new project this summer aimed at weaving nutrition education into anti-hunger work, thanks to the help of a Tulane public health graduate student.

Jordan Berner, a second year graduate student in nutrition at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, worked with food bank staff to develop tools needed to implement the new Harvesting Health project. Her internship focused on connecting nutrition education to pantry work through cooking demonstrations, food tastings and incorporating pantry foods into courses for clients at food distribution sites.

"So many people rely on organizations, such as Second Harvest, to help feed their families for extended periods of time. Therefore, nutrition education programs are undoubtedly important in the fight against hunger," said Berner, who plans to graduate in May 2015. "This internship allowed me to use my knowledge gained in the classroom to help develop and implement an innovative new program. It also made me a much more creative cook as I had to use some unfamiliar combinations of ingredients for the recipes."

Jordan Berner was selected for the position through the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Health Promotion Practicum Program. The program matches graduate student interns and local host organizations for 300-hour practicum internships.

To learn more about the needs of food pantries and clients, Berner visited several pantries at community centers and churches and attended meetings with Second Harvest staff and their member agencies. Berner created lesson plans and set up three healthy food pantry demonstrations, with the specific goals of increasing the use of uncommonly chosen pantry items and educating clients on how to use them in meals. With guidance and support from Tulane PRC staff, Berner also worked to create a framework for measuring the impact of the Harvesting Health project.

By Naomi Englar
December 2014

(Photo by Tulane PRC Staff: Jordan Berner presented findings and results from her practicum at a poster session for the Tulane Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences in November 2014.)

Topics:   practicum , food environment , nutrition , diet , obesity , community health , health communication , wic , snap

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