Are you confused or do you have questions about GMOs?
Do you feel inadequate when discussing GMOs?
Are you given opposing information of GMOs and not sure what is right?
Do you wonder how the misinformation about GMOs spreads like a wildfire?
UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources is offering a new online course, Let’s Talk GMOs: Creating Consistent Communication Messages. This course introduces participants to the basics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They will learn how to create consistent communication messages and manage dialogue processes about GMOs with various audiences. The synchronous course is launching in January 2021; it has six online modules and three optional virtual sessions with instructors. The introductory cost is $150.
Most people have an emotional reaction to GMOs. They either love them or hate them. The majority already have an opinion about GMOs when the topic comes up. Extension educators, land-grant communicators, and agricultural producers will be comfortable sharing science-based information with their audiences after completing this course. Our role is to provide unbiased information that helps our audience form their own opinion and share their information in a non-confrontational manner.
Participants in the course will learn more about the science of GMOs and how to talk about GMOs in small group sessions where those in the dialogue have differing opinions of GMOs. The course instructors and their modules are:
Robert Bird, a professor of business law in the Department of Marketing, presents the module on how misinformation spreads.
Bonnie Burr, the department head of Extension, presents the modules on public policy and GMOs, and difficult conversations.
Stacey Stearns, a program specialist with UConn Extension presents, the module on communication messages you can use and is the course facilitator.
Cindy Tian, a biotechnology professor in the Department of Animal Science, presents modules on the history of GMOs and dialogue management.
There are brief introductory and course wrap-up modules in addition to the six core modules. The first three modules take approximately one hour each. Participants should expect to spend two hours on the last three modules.
Let’s Talk GMOs: Creating Consistent Communication Messages is an initiative of the GMO Working Group in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. The group has a multi-faceted outreach campaign to educate the public on the science of GMOs, offering background on the diverse application of GMOs with research-based consideration of the risks and benefits. Visit https://gmo.uconn.edu/ for additional resources from the team.
Join us for a two-day focus session where women livestock producers from around New England will tune in virtually to learn how to strengthen communication and improve negotiation skills to become an even more effective employer and business manager. During this program, women producers will have the unique opportunity to work closely in small groups with like-minded farmers from around the region. We are lucky to have UVM Extension Specialist, Mary Peabody, to lead us through this program.
Participants will also have the chance to partake in a facilitated discussion to help shape the curriculum for the upcoming New England Women in Livestock Business virtual conference which will address risks associated with managing a farm business such as, financial planning, market viability, and farm safety. There are three opportunities to participate in these focus sessions with limited space in each session, so pre-registration is required!
Pick from one of the following datesbelow when you register:
For questions or for special accommodations contact Elaina Enzien firstname.lastname@example.org 603-679-5616.
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588. This program is in partnership with UNH Cooperative Extension, UVM Extension, UMaine Cooperative Extension, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, and The Tri-State SARE Project.
Technology is ubiquitous, and a team of researchers at UConn are harnessing our everyday technology to address obesity issues in children and young adults (Poulin & Peng, 2018). Social media and text messages are a common communication tool among multiple populations, and can positively influence behavior change in health and nutrition (Hsu, M.S.H., Rouf, A., & Allman-Farinelli, M., 2018; Tu, A.W., Watts, A.W., Chanoine, J.P., Panagiotopoulos, C., Geller, J., Brant, R., et al., 2017; Pew Research Center, 2015 & 2018).
Tailored messages for health promotion and obesity prevention using e-health and m-health is supported through Hatch funding from the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. The inter-disciplinary team includes faculty and staff from Allied Health Sciences, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Communication, Windsor Public Schools, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, UConn Student Health Services, and the Windsor Hunger Action Team.
The team is implementing three connected studies to harness technology and deliver tailored nutrition and health messages to middle school students, adolescents, and young adults to improve diet quality for obesity prevention. Partnerships with the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Windsor Public Schools reach children. Young adults are included through the study with UConn Student Health Services. Each of the three studies is using quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Valerie Duffy, PhD RD, Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Allied Health Sciences is the principal investigator. “It’s more meaningful if you tailor messages to someone on health promotion,” Duffy says. “Our goal is to prime the pump and nudge people toward better diet and lifestyle behaviors. The messages were developed with input from those in the age group being served, and the algorithm tailors the messages to the individual’s responses.”
The tailored messages will have short-term and intermediate-term impacts. The child and parent will receive text or email messages on improving diet healthiness of children based on their online responses. Intermediate-term impacts will again be tailored to individual responses and delivered by email, text and social media with the goals of improving diet healthiness, and school meal consumption over the school year.
Heidi Karner is graduating in May of 2019 with her masters’ degree in Health Promotion Sciences from the Department of Allied Health Sciences. She works with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and the tailored messages project.
When she was an undergraduate in the dietetics program, completing a 4-week supervised practice rotation in Windsor, Karner saw a need in the community that wasn’t being met. This led her to pull together a collaborative team including the Windsor Schools, the Windsor Hunger Action Team, and the University to prepare and successfully obtain a seed grant from Foodshare. “The school food service director wanted to increase breakfast participation at Sage Park Middle School, and received $5,000 to start the project. We also tested breakfast items with the students, and many of our vendors donated products.”
The goals for the message program at Sage Park Middle School are to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, increase
breakfast program participation, and decrease food insecurity in middle school students. These goals were identified as problem areas by the middle school staff and the Hunger Action Team.
The collaborative team is working on a quantitative and qualitative approach to develop the message program. In the quantitative phase, 200 students completed an internet-based survey on what foods and activities they like or dislike and their attitudes and believes. The students completed the survey on Chromebooks available to each student at school. The students received messages tailored to their responses. From initial analysis of this quantitative phase, the tailored messages were well received by students — 78% agreed that they learned new information, 86% reported the messages were helpful, and 73% would like to receive more messages in the future.
In the qualitative phase, the complete findings of the quantitative survey will be shared with the stakeholders. The feedback will identify priority areas where student behaviors differ from recommendations. Feelings and feedback from students will be obtained through focus groups.
This feedback is being used to create a fun and interactive computer game to embed on the website. The Department of Communication at UConn is collaborating on the computer game, and it will be piloted with the middle school students.
“We’re trying to change the culture in the school and community about food and health,” Karner says. “I’m always asking what is relevant to the students, and what do they want.”
It all connects back to understanding the population being served, their health behaviors, and preferences. “It’s not just about hunger, but nutrition too,” Karner adds. “We focus on the quality of the foods.” Although Karner is graduating, this is a continuing project that will be refined and passed along to other graduate students to champions, continued collaboration with stakeholders and sharing best practices without other school systems.
Hsu, M.S.H., Rouf, A., & Allman-Farinelli, M. (2018). Effectiveness and behavioral mechanisms of social media interventions for positive nutrition behaviors in adolescents: A systematic review. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63(5), 531-545. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.06.009.
Pew Research Center. Social Media Fact Sheet. Internet and Technology2018.
Pew Research Center. Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. Internet & Technology, 2015.
Poulin, S. M. & Peng, J. (2018). Connecticut Childhood Obesity Report, 2018. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Tu, A. W., Watts, A. W., Chanoine, J. P., Panagiotopoulos, C., Geller, J., Brant, R., et al. Does parental and adolescent participation in an e-health lifestyle modification intervention improves weight outcomes? BMC Public Health. 2017,17:352.
A UConn Extension People Empowering People (PEP) class in March 2015. Madre Latina Inc., a Community organization from Waterbury visited. We were happy to have them because their experiences and knowledge help us to continue the process of help others. At another class, students made a game out of active listening and communication through crafts.