Educating the Next Generation of Health Professionals
With farm and ranch families comprising just 2% of the U.S. population, it’s understandable that many people would have questions about how food gets from local farms to their dinner tables. The trouble – most soon-to-be registered dietitians have the same questions. While they absolutely know a thing or two about food, nutrients, disease prevention and treatment, most of these “professionals in training” are guided by the myths and misinformation that abound. Opportunities to educate them about agriculture and dairy nutrition by connecting them with local dairy farmers are imperative.
To better equip these nutrition students and interns to someday answer their client’s and patient’s questions accurately, Dairy MAX’s Health and Wellness Team strives to partner with university nutrition and dietetics programs to take students and interns on dairy farm tours or educate them through presentations, film screenings, panel discussions, culinary modifications labs and communications trainings – all with the goals of:
- Providing an opportunity for learning from the farmers themselves about the journey of food, and specifically milk, from farm to table.
- Address questions and misconceptions about dairy foods, dairy nutrition, dairy farming and the food system.
- Provide an opportunity for science-based dialogue about agriculture, sustainability and nutrition.
In 2019 the Dairy MAX Health and Wellness team hosted 6 farm tours, 3 film screenings, and 2 communications trainings with university students and dietetic interns and provided 7 guest lectures and 3 culinary applications labs with a total impact of over 500 students and interns.
One University professor had this to say after a film screening and panel discussion:
“Nutrition curriculum often do not present opportunities for students to understand what it takes to produce food. This is something we are striving to change at MSU Denver. Food Evolution was a nice addition to what we are already doing. Again, thank you for your generous support.”
And one dietetic intern shared this on his/her post-farm tour survey:
“I had only previously seen videos from "factory farms" usually posted from places like PETA which were probably just propaganda. It was great to see the reality that the cows were living in good conditions and treated with respect and care!”
To learn more about how Dairy MAX is engaging the health and wellness community, click here.