Health

Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally

Connecticut Trail Census Welcomes New Graduate Assistant

Eniola Fasola smilingUConn Extension is excited to welcome Eniola Fasola as Connecticut Trail Census‘s newest graduate assistant.  Eniola obtained her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Economics at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the University of Connecticut, respectively. Currently, she is doing her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics at The University of Connecticut. Eniola will be working together with the Connecticut Trail Census team as a Graduate Assistant on data gap estimation and trail user demand modeling. She hopes to use the count data to investigate the impact of the Trail use on development and health impacts. Apart from carrying out data analysis and conducting research, she considers herself “a people person,” and she loves to hang out with her friends to catch up and try out new food. 

Extension Impacts – 2020

cover of 2020 Extension impact flyerExtension is a part of UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources (CAHNR). We have over 100 years of experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs cover the full spectrum of topics aligned with CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces

Rising to the Challenge

Our educators faced the unprecedented challenges of 2020 and pivoted programs to offer life transformative education despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Programming moved to virtual environments through online certificate programs, virtual field days, podcasts, WebEx meetings, and YouTube videos. Our educators created and released 318 new videos on YouTube in 2020. These videos reached 305,200 people and had 39,501 viewers that watched 1,200 hours of Extension instruction.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of the 169 municipalities across the state (see map on last page). The By the Numbers 2020 highlights some of our key impacts from these initiatives.

CT Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Member Spotlight: Heather Peracchio MS, RDN, CD-N

Heather Peracchio MS, RDN, CD-N

Heather at Daily Bread

Do you have a current/past  position with the CT AND Board?

I have been many positions on the CT AND board but currently I am the Food Security and Sustainability Co-Chair.

 

What inspired you to become a RDN?

My first year at UConn I found the course ‘The Science of Food’ fascinating and was inspired to take more classes in Nutritional Sciences. I have had an interest in food and cooking from a young age. In fact, my mom taught after school cooking programs for elementary age students and I was her assistant. 

 

Where do you work now and where have you worked in the past? 

I currently work as an Assistant Extension Educator at the University of Connecticut based out of the Fairfield County Extension office.  I have been faculty at UConn since 2008, first working in the Department of Allied Health Sciences as a community nutrition preceptor (2008-2012) and then transferred to my current role and office in Bethel, CT (2012-current) as my husband and I settled in nearby Brookfield and started our family.  I also worked part-time as an outpatient dietitian at Community Health Center, Inc. covering Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford locations 2012-2018. 

 

What is your favorite recipe/food?

I could never pick just one! I love cooking and have many favorites. I especially enjoy sharing recipes with friends and clients that are delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare.

 

How is food related to your culture?

My parents and grandparents valued food and its origin.  My grandparents on my fathers side were farmers and very much connected to the land. My grandfather grew up on a dairy farm, Quinnequack Farm in Northeast Connecticut and my grandmother as the daughter of a dairy owner, Arrow Lakes Dairy in Cranston, RI. My grandparents on my mothers side were avid gardeners and wonderful cooks. Growing up my parents and grandparents shared many stories and recipes that had been passed down to them.

 

General tip for improving diet?

Make half your plate fruits and veggies! I am always sure to share this simple tip in presentations as it can easily shift one’s diet in a more healthful direction. 

 

If stranded on island-what one food or beverage you would want an unlimited supply of?

Coffee

 

What is the best part of your job?

I love my job because each day is different. At times I am working on research projects or writing grants, other times I am connecting with community partners such as emergency food sites or I might be in the field giving presentations or attending health fairs. No two days look alike.

 

How has Covid-19 changed the way that you do your job?

The majority of my work has shifted to telecommuting, spending much of my day in virtual meetings or chatting with colleagues on Microsoft teams. My nutrition presentations and class series have transitioned to a virtual format. Also all data collection tools that were traditionally pen and paper have been transitioned to online survey formats.  It is certainly different but I am still doing what I love.

Where do you want to see the RDN/NDTR profession in 10 years?

I would love to see RDNs working more in primary care.  In my role at CHC I saw the value and appreciation for RDNs in primary care and enjoyed working as part of an interdisciplinary team.  I hope that model of care expands and RDNs work more in primary care clinics as well as alongside pharmacists in community pharmacies.  Pharmacies are quickly becoming the go-to resource for primary care and will become more important as vaccination efforts increase. I feel this could be a great place for multidisciplinary work and a great way for RDNs to connect with patients. 

Original Post

Making Maple Syrup in Your Own Back Yard CLEAR Webinar

maple syrup
Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

As winter winds down, and you’re considering outdoor, low-risk activities, making a small batch of maple syrup at home with your family might be a fun and healthy choice. This webinar will provide all the essential information you’ll need to get started, from identifying which of your trees might be sugar maples, to tapping, boiling and finishing the sweet product for use on your favorite pancake recipe. Extension Forester Tom Worthley will take you through the process and share some tricks he has learned.

Join our webinar on Wednesday, March 3rd at 1 PM to learn more.

http://clear.uconn.edu/webinars/schedule.htm

 

Connecting Connecticut: A New Podcast from UConn Extension

 

Land-grant universities have provided communities, organizations, farmers and individuals with practical knowledge rooted in research through the Cooperative Extension System since the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. Over the last 107 years a lot has changed with our Extension systems. The program has expanded beyond its agricultural production origin to encompass a wide variety of resources ranging from nutrition to environmental issues and technology.

UConn Extension is no exception to this evolution that the Cooperative Extension System has seen. However, one thing has not changed, in more than a century of working with Connecticut residents, producers, and communities; UConn Extension has always been about connection. Across the board, UConn Extension educators and programs strike at the very core of our 169 cities and towns to make each one of them a better place. Connecting Connecticut, our new podcast, showcases each of our programs through the eyes of those impacted by them.

Connecting Connecticut teaches individuals throughout our state about the programs in their communities. By talking to extension educators, volunteers, researchers, and community members each episode dives into the goals and impacts our programs have here in Connecticut. From learning about coastal resilience and the Connecticut Sea Grant program, looking into the impact 4-H has on the state’s youth and communities, to discussing the importance of volunteers across the Constitution State it is our goal to share the work of UConn Extension, and ultimately our impact on Connecticut.

Join us as we hop from Salisbury to Stonington, visit all eight counties, and talk to all of the wonderful people in between that truly make this state great. Our goal to reach every community, people from all walks of life, and strive for a better tomorrow and we have been fulfilling that mission since 1914. We are chronicling that journey and the people who make it
possible everyday. It is only fitting that in telling our story we do so by Connecting Connecticut.

Article by Zachary J. Duda

National Heart Health Month

trail users on a trail in Connecticut, people walking way into the woods
Photo: Virginia Raff

February is National Heart Health month!

Hiking provides all of the classic health benefits you get from most cardio exercises. It improves blood pressure, lowers your risk of heart disease, decreases cholesterol, and helps control your weight.  There is nothing better than getting some fresh air in Winter if you feel cooped up.  Hiking is good for both physical and mental health. But one of the most obvious is improved cardiovascular fitness.  February is Heart health month… so go enjoy a winter hike.
This message is brought to you by the UConn Extension PATHS team – People Active on Trails for Health and Sustainability. We are an interdisciplinary team of University of Connecticut extension educators, faculty, and staff committed to understanding and promoting the benefits of trails and natural resources for health, community & economic development and implementing a social ecological approach to health education.

2021 FSMA Produce Safety Alliance Remote Grower Training Course

radishes in a person's hand with the words food safety on the photo2021 FSMA Produce Safety Alliance Remote Grower Training Course :

Register here: http://cahnrconference.uconn.edu

Date/Time of Event:

Monday, March 8th, 2021: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Contact Person Phone and Email:

Indu Upadhyaya, 860-786-8191, indu.upadhyaya@uconn.edu

Instructors

  • Indu Upadhyaya, Ph.D., Food Safety Specialist, UConn Cooperative Extension
  • Diane Hirsch, MPH, Food Safety Specialist, UConn
  • Bruce Gresczyk, Owner, Gresczyk Farms

Course Summary:

The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course has been designed to provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices knowledge that includes emphasis on co-management of food safety and environmental management goals, while outlining the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’ This course will be taught remotely on a Zoom platform as per the remote delivery guidelines established by PSA.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

In order to obtain a certificate that provides evidence of compliance with the training requirements of the rule, you must be present for the entire two-day course. Please make sure you have a computer/laptop (no phones or tablets allowed) with built-in video or external webcam and microphone with sufficient internet connectivity for the entire duration of the course. There will be 15-minute breaks during the course.

  • No more than 2 people from the same operation should register for the course.
  • If you are joining in the same physical room as someone else, you must utilize headphones to minimize background noise and feedback.

Registration Types and Their Associated Fees:

Course registration fee (includes all course materials and certificate): $50

The preferred method of registration/payment is through the CAHNR Conferences site, paying with a credit card. Please include both a work and cell/home phone number and regularly used email address in case of emergency or cancellation.

ONLINE REGISTRATION is PREFERRED: To register: Go to https://secure.touchnet.com/C21646_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=106&SINGLESTORE=true OR http://cahnrconference.uconn.edu/ : Click on “Register for an event” VISA and MasterCard are accepted.

Registration is first come, first served, so please register early. You must pre-register. Space is limited. Registration materials must be received by February 22nd.

Cancellation Policy: No refunds or cancellations will be accepted after February 22nd.

COVID-19 Vaccine

covid bannerIt’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t know COVID-19 existed. Now when people say “virus,” we know what they mean. The impact of COVID-19 on our lives, our activities, and our freedom has affected us all. The responsibility is ours, as a community, to help stop this virus. Now we have a new, safe, and effective tool to help us do that—COVID-19 vaccines.

Getting vaccinated adds an important layer of protection for you, your family, and loved ones. Here are some things you should know about the COVID-19 vaccine:

 

  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are very effective at preventing the disease.
  • The most common side effects are pain in the arm where you got the shot, feeling tired, headache, body aches, chills, and fever.
  • Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available—wearing masks, staying at least 6 feet apart from people who don’t live with you, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, washing your hands frequently, and getting vaccinated.

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit CDC’s FAQs web page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.

 To learn more about the different vaccines for COVID-19 and how vaccines work, visit:

 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html