Health

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

Best Practices for Cooking and Storing Meats – #AskUConnExtension

On this week’s #AskUConnExtension Showcase, we answer your questions about food preparation and storage. Extension Educator Dr. Indu Upadhyaya demonstrates the tips and tricks of ideal internal meat temperatures, best practices for storage, and more.
For more food-safe information, be sure to visit foodsafety.uconn.edu

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Text: Cooking meat can be a sensitive job. But, with some insider knowledge, one can easily learn the art of cooking the perfect chicken, ham, or steak before your next big outing. Dr. Indu Upadhyaya, an Assistant Extension Educator with UConn Extension, walks us through the basics around both cooking food and storing food safely, efficiently, and in a way that will impress.

New Normal with Extension Programs

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Extension educators rose to the challenge and virtually shared our programs and educational outreach over the past year and a half. While we will continue incorporating virtual educational opportunities, we are eager to resume in-person programs as well. A few of our educators share what the new normal with Extension will be for their programs. All our programs will continue serving your needs, including those that are not listed. We continue adhering to all state guidelines, and protocols may adapt as needed.

4-H

The UConn 4-H Program is looking forward to in-person 4-H club and county activities this fall. UConn 4-H delegates plan to participate in various 4-H activities at the Eastern States Exposition and the National 4-H Congress.

Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners have started reconnecting directly with the public through our outdoor activities and look forward to increasing in-person classes and events this fall. Our online experiences over the last year helped us reach an even larger audience, however, and we will continue to incorporate new technologies alongside our familiar hands-on programming. The heightened interest in gardening and environmental projects is likely to continue and we will be here in person, by phone, and online to assist!

CLEAR

Programs at the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) are slowly returning in-person outreach into the mix. However, virtually all programs will be retaining elements of the techniques and educational options developed during the pandemic year. The Land Use Academy now has recorded online versions of all basic training modules, available to the user at any time. CLEAR, in concert with the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is developing a new “one-stop shopping” online training portal (coming soon!) that will include all our virtual programs.

People Empowering People (PEP)

UConn Extension’s People Empowering People (PEP) Program is a parent, community, and civic leadership program, and we are preparing for different possibilities this fall. We plan to offer in-person PEP Communities Training for our local partnering organizations in October. However, we will offer this training online again if needed. Partner organizations can choose to offer the training in-person or online. Our People Empowering People CI Program reaches people who are currently incarcerated in correctional institutions in our state. When the Connecticut Department of Corrections is ready for our trained volunteer facilitators to return and lead the PEP CI program with the partnering institutions, the facilitators will return.

CLIR Lifelong Learning

Our volunteer board of directors is forming our fall program plan and will be releasing more information in early August.

Visit our programs page to find out more about the new normal for our other Extension programs.

Songbird Alert

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A bird in a tree at Mirror Lake on May 7, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

CVMDL (Drs. Mishra, Reinhardt, and Frasca) in UConn CAHNR are working with wildlife biologists of the CT DEEP to investigate this illness of songbirds; it is a disease concern throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

CVMDL – the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory – is coordinating sampling and testing with CT DEEP, who are working with wildlife rehabilitators.

We encourage you to take down your birdfeeders, follow DEEP’s cleaning recommendations, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance if you find a songbird in distress, and follow DEEP’s guidelines on disposal and reporting of dead songbirds.

More information can be found at s.uconn.edu/songbirds

UConn Extension is Strengthening Immunization Excitement Through USDA-NIFA, CDC Grant Funding

blue square with text vaccine resourcesUConn Extension received funding to strengthen immunization excitement in Connecticut through a grant funded project by USDA-NIFA, the Extension Foundation, and the CDC. The UConn project focuses on residents in Windham, Middletown, East Hartford, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and Groton.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided $9.95 million in funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support an innovative approach to community education and partnerships to advance adult immunization. This is the two agencies’ first concentrated vaccine education effort.

NIFA will use this funding, provided in an interagency agreement, to support Land-grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension System in delivering immunization education to the communities they serve to improve vaccine confidence. Extension will also work with local partners, including healthcare providers, to make COVID-19 and other adult vaccines more accessible for rural, medically under-served and other harder-to-reach communities.

Our secondary cities continue to be underserved in statewide public health initiatives, and COVID immunization levels in Connecticut align with this trend. While our state is relatively successful in our initial immunization efforts, pockets of underserved audiences exist at the first level of vaccination.

From informal qualitative data from a stakeholder in our target audience, the UConn Extension team is well positioned to identify key community influencers and work to address barriers to vaccinations in communities.

Our goal is to strengthen excitement for immunization in our five secondary cities in Connecticut. We are working with stakeholders to understand the barriers, identify key community influencers, create target social media and print media to increase vaccine awareness, efficacy, and safety and willingness to obtain vaccination. 

“Cooperative Extension educators are recognized and trusted messengers in their communities and can help deliver fact-based information on the COVID-19 vaccine and other adult vaccines,” said Dr. Jay Butler, CDC’s Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases. “We know vaccination rates overall are lagging in rural communities, and Extension agents can play an important role in building COVID-19 vaccine confidence and increasing vaccine access within the communities they serve.”

“Cooperative Extension has a century of experience as change agents and educators in communities across America,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “NIFA is proud to be the federal partner with such a trusted educational resource, but especially in this effort to deliver science-based vaccine education. This new partnership with CDC is a natural fit for the Extension System to do what they do best – provide balanced, reliable information so people can make informed decisions.”

“Vaccinations are a critical step in fully re-opening our nation. This partnership between USDA and CDC is an important part of our National Strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and getting Americans fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Sara Bleich, USDA senior advisor for COVID. “The President has directed us to make it easier for those living in rural communities to access vaccines by sending vaccines to rural health clinics, increasing vaccine education and outreach efforts in rural communities with resources from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), and increasing funding for rural health clinics and hospitals to respond to the pandemic with testing and mitigation measures.”

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.

UConn Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources strategic initiatives:

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

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. 

Heat Kills! Problems and Solutions from our EDEN Team

man that is overheated wiping his head with a towel

We are in a period of extreme heat and heat kills! Our Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) team shares problems and solutions for dealing with extreme heat.

The Problem: Know the Signs

Profuse sweating

Dizziness

Confusion

The Solution: Take Action

Seek shade (outside) or air conditioning (inside)

Drink fluids (water is ideal)

Rest


Learn more at https://eden.uconn.edu/shelter-from-storm/.

This work is supported by Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program 2019- 41210-30065/1020290 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Connecticut Residents Urged to Pick Up the Phone! for Largest-Ever Town-Level Survey on Quality of Life and Recovery from COVID-19

Connecticut Residents Urged to “Pick Up the Phone!” for Largest-Ever Town-Level Survey on Quality of Life and Recovery from COVID-19: Over 75 Leading Foundations, Hospitals, and Local Agencies Join DataHaven Initiative

Over 10,000 randomly-selected Connecticut residents will participate in the 2021 Community Wellbeing Survey’s live, in-depth interviews, the fifth such survey that DataHaven has fielded since 2012

hand holding a phone with textHow has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your health and financial well-being? Are the parks in your neighborhood in good condition? What has been your experience with telehealth appointments over the past year? What is your life like today and what do you think it will be like in five years? 

Those are just a few of the topics included in interviews by friendly survey-takers helping DataHaven and dozens of leading community and charitable groups complete what is believed to be the largest neighborhood-level well-being survey in the United States. Since 2012, some 50,000 randomly-selected adults living in every ZIP code in Connecticut have volunteered their time to participate in the program’s live, in-depth interviews, including the over 10,000 interviews projected to take place by the end of 2021.  

“Our experience is that people enjoy answering the questions in this survey,” says Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven, a 25-year-old non-profit organization that leads the collection and study of public data about Connecticut. “They are sharing their knowledge about how their families and communities have been faring during the past year, and about their own life experiences. These questions show that we care about how they feel, and create important indicators that will inform how Connecticut recovers from COVID-19.”

The 2021 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey will allow unprecedented tracking of statewide, regional, and local trends over the past year. After seeing the impact of the 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2020 results, over 75 of Connecticut’s leading hospitals, government agencies, and charitable organizations have decided, once again, to support the 2021 survey. Funders include community foundations, United Ways, healthcare providers, community-based non-profits, local health departments, and other agencies located in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, Greenwich, Milford, Middletown, Windsor, New London, Torrington, Derby, Windham, and many other cities and towns (see below). To ensure that the topics in the survey reflect the interests of local communities, including those that arose during the pandemic, an Advisory Council of representatives from 300 organizations around the state helped guide this year’s survey design.

Residents throughout Connecticut are receiving phone calls from survey-takers at the Siena College Research Institute beginning this month. Calls continue this summer and fall. 

“Make a difference: Pick up your cell phone, help your community learn more about your needs, and tell us what you want to see to promote greater happiness and well-being in your neighborhood,” says Abraham.

“UNITED BY DATA”: FUNDERS AND SUPPORTERS FOR THE 2021 COMMUNITY WELLBEING SURVEY 

Unlike most statewide and national surveys, the DataHaven program brings together grassroots efforts across the state – effectively unifying dozens of existing regional surveys into a single, exceptionally high-quality program that covers the entire state. The mission of the initiative is to produce reliable neighborhood-level information on issues that are most meaningful to local residents, and to foster collaboration between the hundreds of organizations, institutions, businesses, and agencies that are working to build stronger communities.  This nationally recognized program provides neighborhood- and regional-level information not available from any other source on community vitality, health, housing, family economic security, safety, and other topics.

“We believe the 2021 Community Wellbeing Survey, the most comprehensive local-level survey of its type in the United States, will continue to be of great value to neighborhoods and organizations striving to make our cities and towns even better places to live and work,” says Abraham.

Results from the survey will be published in a series of local and statewide reports throughout 2021 and 2022, helping to shed light on progress being made toward community priorities, including financial security for families, access to affordable health care, public health and safety, and opportunities for children to succeed, as well as on current challenges, such as the opioid epidemic, housing instability, and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of reports and studies have used data from the Community Wellbeing Survey, including many that are posted on the DataHaven website.

Partners providing the support required for the program are representative of each region:

  • In Fairfield County and the Greater Danbury area, organizations including Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, the Health Improvement Alliance of Greater Bridgeport, Bridgeport Hospital, Saint Vincent’s Medical Center, Stamford Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Danbury Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Supportive Housing Works, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, United Way of Western Connecticut, Norwalk Health Department, Stamford Health Department, and the Danbury Health Department are among the funders.
  • In the Greater New Haven and Naugatuck Valley areas, funders include The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Greater Waterbury Health Partnership, Connecticut Community Foundation, Valley Community Foundation, Yale New Haven Hospital, Griffin Hospital, Waterbury Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, City of New Haven, United Way of Greater New Haven, United Way of Greater Waterbury, Milford Health Department, Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, NewAlliance Foundation, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, Yale School of Medicine, and others. 
  • In Greater Hartford and New Britain, the program has drawn support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, Johnson Memorial Medical Center, City of Hartford, Town of Windsor, Trinity College Center for Urban and Global Studies, Capitol Region Council of Governments, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, and others.
  • Additionally, DataHaven will ensure that residents of Connecticut’s smaller cities and rural areas are included to the same degree as those living in its major metropolitan areas. Support comes from organizations including Connecticut Office of Rural Health, Connecticut Health Foundation, Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Windham Hospital, Backus Hospital, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, MidState Medical Center, Sharon Hospital, Bristol Hospital, North Central District Health Department, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Middlesex Hospital, Eastern Highlands Health District, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ (DMHAS) Problem Gambling Services division, and Northeast District Department of Health.

 

ABOUT DATAHAVEN

DataHaven is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with a 25-year history of public service to Connecticut. Since 1992, DataHaven has worked with area organizations and agencies to develop reports and tools that make information more useful to the community. DataHaven maintains extensive economic, social, and health data, including information collected through its Community Wellbeing Survey and other programs. DataHaven is a formal partner of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a collaborative national effort by the Urban Institute and approximately 40 local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood information systems in local policymaking and community building. For more information, visit www.ctdatahaven.org.

Contacts: Mark Abraham, info@ctdatahaven.org, 203.500.7059, www.ctdatahaven.org 

Original Post

Ready, Set, Go! For a Healthier You!

Welcome any youth between the ages of 7 and 18 interested in challenging themselves to improve how they feel and how they feel about themselves.  Join us for the next 6 weeks in learning about ways to practice good habits, and getting rewarded for doing it.  We will be holding a weekly workshop on a variety of healthy living topics that will be followed by a week-long challenge related to that topic. Your participation will earn points towards fun prizes – the more workshops you attend and challenges you complete, the more prizes you will become eligible for. No charge to participate!! This activity is sponsored by an award from National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation.

Ready, Set, Go! For a Healthier You! – Weekly Topics

  • Let’s Get Moving – June 15th, 7 p.m. – Focus on physical fitness and making summer safety a breeze
  • What’s Cooking? – June 22nd, 7 p.m. – Summer fun in the kitchen
  • Lettuce Learn about Nutrition – June 29th, 7 p.m. – What’s on your plate?
  • Go Bag Go! – July 6th, 7 p.m. – Make a go-bag 
  • Ready to be Mindful – July 13th, 7 p.m. – Taking a closer look  
  • Hydration Station – July 20th, 7 p.m. – Getting bored with water?
  • 4-H Healthy Living Awards and Recognition Ceremony 

 Secure your place now – first workshop is next Tuesday, June 15.  Special offer to the first 50 registering – free 4-H zippered bag to be used for storing supplies in case of emergency.  Any questions, email Margaret.grillo@uconn.edu

Click Here to Register

Job Openings: Educational Program Assistants

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Search #: 495338

Educational Program Assistant 1, Tolland County Extension

Search #: 495338
Work type: Full-time
Location: Tolland County Extension Ctr
Categories: Academic Programs and Services

JOB SUMMARY

The UConn Extension Center located in Vernon, CT is seeking applications for two (2) Educational Program Assistant 1 positions – one full-time position and one part-time position (75%).  These positions are responsible for supporting and helping implement high-quality, comprehensive, Extension programming at different program sites throughout the region, with specific support to Farm Business Planning, Beginning Farmer, Food Systems, Food Safety, Vegetable, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs.  The Educational Program Assistants will report to the Center Coordinator to prioritize programmatic work assignments.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

  • Assists and provides programmatic support to Extension Educators
  • Assists in developing educational programs
  • Coordinates recruitment and orientation for Extension volunteers and participants
  • Assists with development and maintenance of program databases using programs such as Excel and Access
  • Maintains accurate records on each program, assembles databases, and prepares statistical and/or historical reports
  • Performs administrative functions in support of educational programs
  • Supports Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in implementing and providing off-site educational activities in the community
  • Provides assistance in assembling, arranging, organizing, and dismantling program event and activity set-ups and arrangements at various locations and venues, i.e. classrooms, fairgrounds, community centers, etc.
  • Supports media relations activities for various programs; assists with promotional material for Extension programs
  • Assists Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in developing and implementing programs to enhance learning and provide appropriate content based experiences to accomplish program goals
  • Under supervision, provides educational training and conducts related support services on an ongoing basis, and assists in resolving problems in assigned area of responsibility
  • Assists with increasing community collaborations with partner groups
  • Performs other related duties as required

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS   

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field and up to one year of related experience or an Associates degree and two to three years of related experience; or five or more years of profession-based experience in agriculture, food systems, education, 4-H, or related fields.
  • Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work effectively with communication technologies and the media.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite including Excel and Access
  • Demonstrated sensitivity towards diverse youth, families, and volunteer clientele to be served.
  • Demonstrated experience providing organizational support in a team environment.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with the Cooperative Extension System.
  • Must be able to regularly lift, carry, load, unload, and transport equipment, supplies, and/or program materials for educational events and workshops such as laptops, projectors, tables, chairs, displays, paper media, etc.
  • Must be willing and able to work flexible and irregular hours, including occasional nights and weekends to help conduct programs at off-site locations.
  • Must have reliable transportation to meet in-state travel requirements (mileage allowance provided).

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS 

  • Demonstrated success in public relations utilizing electronic, social, and print media and platforms such as Cushy and Aurora.
  • Experience working with large databases, and generating reports including 4-H Online.
  • Experience participating with collaborative community partnerships.
  • Experience working with UConn administrative processes.
  • Experience with STEM (Science, Technology. Engineering, and Mathematics) technology.
  • Bilingual Spanish and English

Physical Requirements

Incumbents must possess the ability to perform the required duties set forth above.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

Both positions are located at the Tolland County Extension Center in Vernon, CT, however, regular travel within the region will be required. Occasional in-state travel to other UConn campuses, including Storrs, may be required in support of program needs. These positions include an outstanding full benefits package. Salary will be commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and work experience.

TO APPLY

Please apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs, Staff Positions, Search #495338 to upload a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references. ** Please indicate in your cover letter if you wish to be considered for the full-time or part-time (75%) position, or both.**

Employment of the successful candidates is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:55 p.m. Eastern time on June 22, 2021.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Advertised: Jun 08 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Jun 22 2021 Eastern Daylight Time