Course Description:

This course will provide an introduction to the practice of public health nutrition, discussion of significant public health nutrition problems today, and an overview of food and nutrition programs available to the community. In addition, students in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics will integrate course information with their current community clinical placement experiences.  Students in the Didactic Program in Diatetics will engage in a specific community project during the course of the semester.

Required Texts

Boyle, A. M.  and D. H. Holben, Community Nutrition in Action: An Entrepreneurial Approach, fifth edition, Cengage, 2010.

Course Objectives

Students will be able to:

1. Describe the expanding role of the community dietitian.

2. Understand and articulate nutrition problems and practices in the community.

3. Discuss and understand the various nutrition monitoring and surveillance methodologies and how they are used.

4. Describe skills needed to deliver nutrition services and methods of accessing community nutrition resources and information.

5. Understand the principles of nutritional epidemiology.

6. Understand beliefs, customs and food practices of various cultural groups and apply this knowledge in planning nutrition education and intervention programs.

7. Describe the federal food assistance programs and role of the public health nutritionist working with these programs.

8. Articulate relevant food and hunger issues in the U.S.

9. Apply course material to improve rational thinking, problem solving and             decision making when analyzing community nutrition problems.

10. Develop a sense of personal responsibility regarding ethical dietetic practice.

11. Understand factors influencing dietary intake and ways to positively impact eating behavior.

12. Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use professional literature to make ethical evidence-based practice decisions (KR 1.1.a).

13. Use current information technologies to locate and apply evidence based guidelines, research and protocols (KR 1.1.b.).

14. Demonstrate effective and professional oral and written communication and documentation and use of current information technologies when communicating with individuals, groups and the public (KR 2.1.a).

15. Demonstrate assertiveness, advocacy and negotiation skills appropriate to the situation (KR 2.1.b)

16. Locate, understand and apply established guidelines to a professional practice scenario (KR 2.3.a)

17. Identify and describe the roles of others with whom the Registered Dietitian collaborates in the delivery of food and nutrition services (KR 2.3.b).

18. Develop an educational session or program/educational strategy for a target population (KR 3.3.a.).


Additional requisites for 7400:580

Graduate students will complete a special project on a topic selected in collaboration with the instructor.  (70 points)


Course grades will be based on a total of points:

Examinations – 375 points

Cross Cultural Communication Assignment – 50 points

Community Project – 70 points

Community Project Reports – 15 points

Pop Quizzes   (top 4 scores) – 40 points

Laboratory /Short Assignments – up to 50 points

Participation/Professionalism – up to 40 points

Total – 640 points


Class Schedule:


August 23/Overview and Orientation

August 27/Opportunities in Community Nutrition/Chap. 1

August 30/Opportunities in Community Nutrition/Chap. 1

September 3/Nutrition Monitoring and Surveillance/Chap. 7

September 6/Labor Day – No Classes

September 10/Nutrition Monitoring and Surveillance

September 13/Dietary Guidance for Americans/Chap. 7

September 17/EXAM 1

September 20/Dietary Guidance for Americans, Setting Goals/Objectives, Accessing Info./Chap. 7

September 24/Principles of Epidemiology/Chap. 5

September 27/Principles of Epidemiology

October 1/Hunger, Food Security, Emergency Food/Chap. 10

October 4/EXAM 2

October 8/Hunger, Food Security, Emergency Food/Midterm report on Community Projects

October 11/Food, Nutrition and Culture/Chap. 16

October 15/Food, Nutrition and Culture

October 18/Food, Nutrition and Culture

October 22/Food Nutrition and Culture

October 25/Food, Nutrition and Culture; Overview Federal Food Programs, Community Project Report Due

October 29/EXAM 3

November 1/Overview Federal Food Assistance Programs/Chap. 10

November 5/Federal Food Assistance Programs/Chap. 11, Mothers and Infants

November 8/Food, Nutrition and Culture Presentations (Note Double Class – We will meet from 9:00am-1:30pm during the time of Med Science II and Community Nutrition I. Please make arrangements to be there the entire time.)

November 12 /No class (Nutrition in Med Sci II at Children’s Hospital)

November 15/No class (Nutrition in Med Sci II at Children’s Hospital)

November 19/Federal Food Assistance Programs/Chap. 12, Children and Adolescents

November 22/Federal Food Assistance Programs/Chap. 13, Older Adults

November 26/No Class – Thanksgiving Holiday

November 29/Wrap-up

December 3/Community Project Reports

December 6/Final Exam (75 pts on the federal food programs; 75 points cumulative)



Community Projects 2010 – Details of community projects will be further developed with input from students and community contacts

1. Cuyahoga County Extension Service  (3 students)

  • Plan and develop an interactive booth on nutrition/physical activity for a large community event called Youth Odyssey sponsored by Metroparks.  This fun and educational event will be held on October 9 from 12-4:00 for kids 5-12 years. Event held at Canalway Visitor Center
  • Greg will help with ideas and materials
  • Meeting with Greg in Cleveland; Event is in Cleveland
  • Will need to supplement with another project since this won’t supply you with enough hours.


2. Crown Point Ecology Center(3 students)

  • Help with development of Farm to School Program
  • Help with planning and materials for the Summit County Food Policy Coalition


3. Safe Landing Youth Shelter(3 students)

  • Provide nutrition education at Safe Landing
  • Develop and gather nutrition education materials for Safe Landing residents
  • Hollie said that weight management is of concern to residents


4. Food Desert Project (up to 6 students)

  • Assist Geography and Planning Field Methods class with nutrition information.
  • Develop and conduct survey, tabulate results,
  • Mapping local food production and sources
  • Inter-professional collaboration with 10 graduate students from Geography and Planning Field Methods class
  • Learn about GIS applications
  • Field days on some Saturday mornings


5. Akron General Wellness (3 students)

  • Help with Nutrition and Fitness Club (Tuesdays 4-8 best)
    • Second Tuesday, Montrose
    • Third Tuesday, Stow
  • Help with LiteStyles weight management program (some Monday evenings)
  • Program marketing and advertising assistance
  • Help with recipes, handouts, presentations,
  • Put together educational materials
  • Some nutrition Assessments under the supervision of dietitian
  • Students need TB test – can get at UA health center with results in two days


6. The Good Neighbors, Inc. (3 students)

  • On-site help at Good Neighbors M-F 10-3
  • Program marketing and advertising assistance
  • Help with recipes, handouts, presentations,
  • Put together educational materials


7. Partners in Nutrition (3 students)

  • Help with campus nutrition presentations
  • Put together educational materials
  • Participate in one-on-one nutrition assessment and education
  • Flexible timing, some evenings


8. Kellogg Oral Health Grant (3-4 students)

  • Participate  with RD in oral health assessment and varnishing
  • Put together educational materials
  • Learn about WIC


Community Nutrition Project Guidelines:

The purpose of the community nutrition project is to give each student an opportunity to gain experience in the setting of a community program and to be involved in the collaborative planning and implementation of a specific nutrition project.  While project planning may be coordinated with a partner or team, each student is responsible for the planning, preparation and delivery of their portion of the project. Enjoy this experience and benefit from the opportunity to apply nutrition information in a community setting and to build confidence in your abilities.

Each student is asked participate in a specific community nutrition project for a minimum of 20-25 hours over the course of the semester. Most of these hours should be accrued in the first 10 weeks of the semester. A few of the hours may be used for preparation and planning of the project.  However, remember that the idea behind this assignment is for you to have exposure and experience in the community and with other professionals. Therefore, it is expected that you spend the majority of this time in the field.

All of you have signed up for your project and are now ready to begin.  Hopefully, each group has been able to successfully contact your preceptor. Please try to avoid overloading your contact person and agency by coordinating meeting times and work schedules among yourselves.  It is your responsibility to make contact with the preceptor and to arrange a meeting to discuss ideas for the project.  Project plans must be made with the approval and input from the preceptor.  Agency preceptors know the needs of their clients and agencies and are held responsible for our actions.  Therefore, before doing any extensive planning you need to meet with your resource person.

After clarifying what you will be working on each student should make a list of the performance objectives or competencies that you want to accomplish, and each group should develop a list of project objectives (two or three should be sufficient).  You should formulate a plan of activities that you will be involved in to achieve your objectives.  Each group will be meeting with me periodically for ideas, brainstorming and/or troubleshooting. If you are feeling lost or overwhelmed with the project please arrange to meet with me for more guidance. As a courtesy it is suggested that each student or group send a thank-you note to the preceptor at the conclusion of the project.


1. Gather background information on your project as you would for any other research project. Your ideas will begin to gel as you learn more about your audience and the needs of the target population and the organization you are working with.

2. If appropriate, conduct a library search to gather technical and background information.  Make a trip to local organizations that can assist you (American Heart Association, Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland, etc.)

3. Look for props, posters, educational materials that will be helpful to you.  The Nutrition Center resource room may have some materials that you can borrow.

4. Is there anything special about the group(s) that you will be working with?  Make certain that materials, surveys, etc. are appropriate to the educational and interest level or your audience.

5. If possible do a pre-assessment of the knowledge and interests of your audience.  This may involve a pre-test of needs and expectations or a discussion with your resource person about the needs of the population you will be working with.

6. Handouts and instructional materials should be of high quality and be culturally/educationally appropriate.

7. Possible experiences may consist of a variety of activities including (but not limited to):

  • Observation/participation in client assessment, counseling, education, home visits
  • Interviews with dietetic professionals and other professionals in a particular agency
  • Help develop a nutrition intervention for a community nutrition problem
  • Develop/Conduct a nutrition survey or assessment
  • Plan, direct, implement nutrition education classes and programs
  • Assist the health professional with nutrition-related tasks
  • Develop and/or evaluate nutrition education materials
  • Assist in nutrition program marketing or public relations

Project Expectations:

  1. 1. Begin and finish project within appropriate time frame.
  2. 2. Professional behavior in all project interactions.
  3. 3. Follow-through and completion of all agreed upon tasks in a timely manner.
  4. 4. Clear and frequent communication among team members.

What you should turn in at the end of the project:

1. Two or three learning/performance objectives.  (I would like to review them early in the project, if possible.)

2. Two or three outcome objectives for the project. (Each group can establish.)

3. Detailed log of all hours completed (date, times, number of hours, description of activities).

4. Any materials developed for the project or key materials used in the project (educational aides, resource materials, surveys, evaluation forms, outlines, plans, photographs, brochures, etc.)

5. A preceptor evaluation of your performance during the project. Your preceptor can mail it to me directly if preferred. I will provide you with the form to give to your preceptor.

6. A peer-evaluation of each member of your group.

7. A typewritten evaluation at the completion of the project (about 2-3 pages, double-spaced)

This evaluation is not a critique of the project. I am looking for an analysis/reflection of your learning experiences in the community. Suggestions for inclusion in your reflection are the following:

a. Evaluate your experience working on the project.

Were your performance objectives achieved? What did you learn and accomplish during your experience?  What areas of your professional development were strengthened?  Were you able to build creatively upon existing knowledge, and explore new ideas and approaches? Were you able explore and access new resources on community food/nutrition issues, programs, opportunities? (If you found something especially valuable please share it with us!!)Were you a critical thinker in addition to being a knowledge collector?

b. Identify factors which maximized your learning (or those that interfered).

Consider personal factors as well as those within the agency.  Recommend changes that could be made in your experience that would help maximize learning.

c. Did you discover anything surprising/interesting about the people you worked with, your group members, your chosen profession or yourself?