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Family Resiliency Center December 2017 Newsletter
International Research-Based Intervention Shows Remarkable Impact

The JUS Media? Programme Study research team returns from Jamaica where they presented research findings demonstrating the efficacy of their program, and conducted feedback focus group showing the program is still having a major positive impact on the lives of participating families.  Using workshops and text messaging, this food-focused media literacy intervention is teaching adolescents and parents in Jamaica how to combat the impact of US cable/media on eating habits by improving their critical thinking skills about food advertising.  The team traveled to Jamaica last month and convened a meeting of key local stakeholders at the University of West Indies led by Brenda Koester, FRC Assistant Director. Stakeholders included the Jamaica Ministry of Health, Heart Foundation, Cancer Society, Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, and the National Parenting Support Commission among others.  The Principal Investigator, Dr. Gail Ferguson (FRC affiliate), also presented research findings showing the efficacy of the intervention at the Ministry of Health’s 2017 National Health Research Conference, and received a special mention for the Best Presentation. Organized by McKenzie Martin who is conducting an Undergraduate Honor’s Thesis within the project, the team also conducted focus groups to solicit participant feedback on the JUS Media? Programme in order to refine it for future Jamaican families. Pictured: Top (L-R): Dr. Michelle Nelson, Dr. Rachel Powell, McKenzie Martin, Arianne Anderson, Brenda Koester, Cagla Giray, Candice Wray | Bottom (L-R): Prof. Julie Meeks, Dr. Barbara Fiese, Dr. Gail M. Ferguson, Tashaine Morrison

Newly Published Research
Benefits and Barriers to Transdisciplinary Graduate Education

Transdisciplinary graduate education may broaden ways of thinking, expand opportunities, and offer greater collaboration and networking for faculty and students.  Published recently in Palgrave Communciations, Longitudinal perspectives of faculty and students on benefits and barriers to transdisciplinary graduate education: program assessment and institutional recommendations, also found barriers may include time demands, complicated logistics, and tension between depth versus breadth of knowledge.  The paper by Dr. Anna Keck, along with co-authors Drs Stephanie Sloane, Janet Liechty, Megan Paceley, Sharon Donovan, Kelly Bost, Brent McBride and Barbara Fiese, sought to longitudinally assess benefits and barriers of a transdisciplinary approach to doctoral education from the perspectives of students working towards a PhD/MPH degree and their faculty advisors over 5-years. This research was supported through a $4.5M Illinois Transdiciplinary Obesity Prevention Program (I-TOPP) grant from the USDA AFRI as well as support from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, College of ACES, and Colleges of Applied Health Sciences.Read More


Listen Up!

Holiday Chaos In The Kitchen: Easing The Tension and Improving Your Health. A Family Resiliency Center podcast featuring highlights from FRC research involving family mealtime and cooking with your kids. Listen in to explore ways family mealtimes can be improved this holiday season bringing health benefits to both parents and kids. Plus, cooking in the kitchen with your kids this holiday season, why you should do it and how it can improve your family's health. Hosted by Ryann Monahan, Family Resiliency Center Communications Specialist.  Featuring FRC doctoral candidates and researchers Jaclyn Saltzman and Jessica Jarick Metcalfe. #talkFRCResearch

Listen on the FRC Website | Subscribe and Listen on iTunes 


Expressing Gratitude This Holiday Can Better Your Health

Family Resiliency Director Dr. Barbara Fiese explains in a new op-ed  Read More

FRC Affiliate Spotlight
Michelle Nelson

1.  Can you tell us about the work you do with the Family Resiliency Center?

I feel extremely grateful to the FRC. Through this Center's various activities, I have been introduced to some amazing research collaborators (Dale Kehr, Illinois Extension; Dr. Angela Wiley and Dr. Gail Ferguson; and Dr. Barbara Fiese and Brenda Koester) and have enjoyed seeing how my research - with others - can make a positive impact on people's health and lifestyle.  My research and teaching focus is on media and advertising. Read More on Michelle Nelson's research and teaching here

 I have done guest lectures and online teaching for members of the FRC - mostly related to advertising and its potential influences on people's health attitudes and behaviors. One semester, graduate students in my advertising class conducted interviews and an online survey with mothers to gather information on family meal-times and help gauge their responses to the meal-time minutes public service announcements, which resulted in a collaborative research paper.

In the last two years, I have worked with members of the FRC (Gail, Brenda, Barbara) and their students on the JUS Media? Programmethanks to a grant from the Christopher Family Foundation and one from the NIH. My role is to provide the research and insights into the negative (and sometimes positive) effects of media for building healthier families. Together, we developed a food-focused media literacy intervention for adolescents and their mothers in Jamaica. We are in year two of the project right now where we are meeting with key stakeholders to figure out a way to build sustainability for our program related to health and family in Jamaica. Read More

2. You and your research  team just returned from a successful international research trip to Jamaica, what was the best part of the trip?

Some of our team members were able to meet Jamaica's Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world! Alas, I went home 'early' (almost midnight!) that evening and missed out on that opportunity. That might have been the best part! 

The best part was hearing and seeing, first hand, the gratitude from the stakeholders and the difference from the participants that this program has made in their lives. For me, research is more than a journal publication or book. It is about making a real (and positive) impact on people and their lives. The warmth and the genuine appreciation for our team and these same feelings expressed within our team make all of the hard work and late nights worth the effort. I attribute these 'bests' to our leader, Dr. Gail Ferguson, our international team, and to the warmth and openness of the Jamaican people we have met on our journey. 

3.  What is your favorite food or meal? 

Good question! I was one of those picky eaters that scholars in the FRC write about when I was a child. Not sure what changed, but I enjoy trying and eating most foods now. I especially like a good spicy Indian or Thai meal. I don't use a recipe and make variations depending on what's available in my fridge, but my go-to meal on a cold night is something like this recipe for butternut squash curry.

4. What are your favorite hobbies?

Spending time in nature - hiking, kayaking, biking with family and friends | Traveling - especially visiting new places, learning about different cultures and lifestyles and trying new foods | Reading and writing fiction. I was a nerdy, book worm as a child - turned English major. Still love to escape into a good read. 



FRC Doctoral Student 2017 I-TOPP Awards and Recognition

2017 Impact Award for work with Illinois Junior Chefs, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Program - Jessica Jarick Metcalfe 

2017 Student Scholarship, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Foundation-  Jessica Jarick Metcalfe

2017 Graduate Student Research Award, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and Paul A. Funk Recognition Awards, University of Illinois- Jaclyn Saltzman

Holiday Cookie Recipes
Featuring Pampered Chef

Pampered Chef Holiday Recipes


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