Fresh from the Field, March 15, 2018

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Fresh from the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                 March 15, 2018

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), the nation’s first nutrition education program for low-income populations, remains at the forefront of nutrition education efforts to reduce nutrition insecurity of low-income families and youth. Funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), EFNEP uses education to support program participants’ efforts toward self-sufficiency and nutritional health and well-being. EFNEP reaches an average of over 500,000 low-income adults and youth in rural and urban communities each year.

Contact Dr. Helen Chipman and Dr. Mallory Koenings for additional information regarding EFNEP. The success stories this week were provided by Drs. Chipman, Koenings, and Deidre Chester.

Success Stories 

photo credit TANISHA FRANQUEZ AFLAGUEFresh from the Field editor Falita Liles

Interview from the Field: Tanisha Franquez Aflague

Q: How did you first get involved in the Children’s Healthy Living (CHL) Project? 

A: My involvement with CHL began as a trainee. There were two trainees selected from each jurisdiction (Alaska, Hawaii, Northern Marianas Islands, American Samoa, Federal States of Micronesia, and Guam) to pursue higher education in CHL’s effort to build capacity in each jurisdiction – my home and jurisdiction is Guam. After completing my doctoral program, I was hired at the University of Guam. At the University of Guam, I continue to be a part of CHL as faculty for the CHL Network (CHLN) and am a mentor for the Child Health Assessment in the Pacific (CHAP) – an extension of CHL, which is an undergraduate summer fellowship program. My role in CHLN is to align extension nutrition education projects and programs within the scope of respective funders.

Q: You are currently working as the EFNEP coordinator for the University of Guam. How did your CHL training prepare you for this role? 

A: The EFNEP coordinator provides leadership and oversight for the program, including keeping University administration and stakeholders informed about the program and its impact. My professional work experience and graduate program training, including the doctoral program, prepared me to fulfill this duty. At the core of EFNEP coordinators are warm qualities, soft skills, adaptability, and unique community awareness to ensure client-centered programming and implementation. CHL training prepared me to be an EFNEP coordinator in Guam by deepening my understanding of community-based approaches to create and leverage community partnerships to expand the reach of EFNEP and implement Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change programs. CHL has also increased my knowledge of my community through understanding health disparities and social determinants to health in the Western Pacific. My CHL experiences highlighted the strengths of Pacific cultures to frame nutrition education, which I apply to all EFNEP efforts. Our Pacific cultures and traditional practices are central to EFNEP paraprofessional training, recruitment, and implementation. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to at the National EFNEP conference? 

I still consider myself a new coordinator and always look forward to the conference to continue learning and growing to best meet the needs of Guam. I learn from other coordinators by networking and attending sessions. The sessions clarify national regulations and updates, as well as help me to refine my leadership and management skills.

Photo credit: Tanisha Franquez Aflague.

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