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Community Engagement

University of Utah Center for Community Nutrition

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH CENTER FOR COMMUNITY NUTRITION

Our department faculty, staff, and students create new ways of engaging individuals, families, and communities in adopting healthful eating habits to enhance health and prevent chronic diseases. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity are on the rise in Utah, across the nation, and abroad. Community-based education on lifestyle changes—including weight loss, healthy diet, and exercise—has proven remarkably effective in preventing or significantly delaying onset of these diseases for people who have access.

TARGETED COMMUNITY PROGRAMMING

We provide targeted nutrition programming in schools and to community groups, with special focus on populations that are at highest risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. We work to change public policies and improve community environments so that healthful foods are accessible and affordable for all. What’s more, we advance research in community, school, and policy interventions by designing and implementing novel ways of interacting with families, schools, and community members. We accomplish these interventions by using technology, innovative curricula, and incorporating cultural sensitivity and awareness.

PREVENTING DISEASE, IMPROVING HEALTH, ADVOCATING FOR FOOD EQUITY

The University of Utah Center for Community Nutrition (UUCCN) is an interdisciplinary team dedicated to the role of nutrition in healthy living and disease prevention.

We aim to:

  • Partner with community members to expand experiential nutrition and movement education.
  • Celebrate diverse food cultures.
  • Collaborate with state and local agencies to advocate for changes in food access and nutrition policies.
  • Prepare future health professionals to improve nutrition outcomes in underserved communities.
UUCCN Opportunities

Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in the volunteering with the University of Utah Center for Community Nutrition. We are a public service center that provides comprehensive education outreach to middle and high school students, medically underserved populations, college students, and families experiencing homelessness.

We provide volunteers with training to teach and inspire participants in our programs to incorporate healthy eating into their daily lives.

Join Our Volunteer Community

UUCCN Volunteers
UUCCN Volunteers

ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS

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UUCCN

Culinary Medicine

This course teaches students the basics of evidence-based nutrition as it relates to the real-world problem of food. It goes beyond macro and micronutrients to analyze how nutrition translates into real food choices and reasonable patient advice regarding what, when, why, and how to eat. Culinary Medicine takes place in a teaching kitchen, where students prepare and enjoy meals while discussing the science of nutrition and how to help patients make health behavior change.

Students who have completed the Culinary Medicine program have the opportunity to lead culinary medicine cooking classes in the community. These community classes aim to provide hands-on nutrition education and practical culinary skills for populations experiencing high disease risk. Not only do these experiences enhance the learning experience of future health professionals, they also positively impact the health outcomes of community members.

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UUCCN

CRUSH Diabetes

The CRUSH Diabetes program encourages healthy behaviors in middle school students. The curriculum is offered at no cost to teachers and is an online course with three learning modules: 

  • Diabetes 101
  • Nutrition Basics
  • Physical Activity

Each module has a presentation slide deck, content videos, and student worksheets. Aligned with the Utah, Idaho, and Arizona school board standards for middle school students, our curriculum was designed to meet teachers’ online learning needs and state standards.

Click below to register for access. 

Register for Access

UUCCN Team Thrive

UUCCN

Team Thrive

After finishing our two-year journey of data collection, Team Thrive found positive, statistically-significant evidence that our curriculum has proven impact towards increasing and maintaining healthy behaviors. Once we finished with our research, since early spring, we have been working on the development of a deliverable version of our curriculum. Due to the academic shutdown, we met remotely for editing and consultation while working on the final product. Our program’s package includes a student workbook, teacher’s manual, and some small additional accessories that pair with our lesson plans. We will also be including a digital/online version of the curriculum for the teacher’s convenience and safety.

Register for Materials

Food, Movement, & You Logo
UUCCN

Food, Movement, & You

Food, Movement, & You is a free diabetes prevention and nutrition education program for individuals and families facing homelessness across the Salt Lake Valley. Research shows that a majority of people experiencing homelessness have low food security. This means they lack access to required amounts of nutritionally adequate food. High rates of diet-related chronic diseases are also common in people experiencing homelessness. To address these issues, we partner with local organizations and homeless service providers to increase food security and help decrease barriers to healthy eating. We work on multiple fronts to address health inequities for those experiencing homelessness including:

  • Developing diabetes prevention and nutrition education curricula focusing on healthy eating habits and mindful eating
  • Working to directly provide nutritious foods to emergency pantries
  • Addressing transportation barriers to grocery stores and emergency pantries
  • Running on-site gardening clubs to assist adults and youth with learning to grow and prepare nutritious foods

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