Good outcomes in public health nutrition are predicated on good information. Sadly, the ever-increasing job demands we all face can limit the time we have to regularly share high quality resources and information with colleagues.
We recently sat down with ASPHN membersJennifer Dellaport, MPH, RD and Mikaela Schlosser, RD to find out how and why they actively engage in, prioritize, and value resource sharing as part of their professional growth. What we learned is both inspiring and insightful.
For both Dellaport and Schlosser, resource sharing stems from a desire to assist and support their colleagues. “I try to identify resources which can be of help to partners who are facing specific challenges in their work,” says Schlosser. “I call this ‘purposeful sharing,’” she adds.
As the MCH Nutrition Services Coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Health, Schlosser purposefully shares ASPHN’s Children’s Healthy Weight CoIIN newsletters with the school health coordinator in her state, and she also forwards the Development Digest and the Maternal & Child Health (MCH) Nutrition briefs to her state’s WIC Nutrition and Breastfeeding Coordinator.
Dellaport, who serves as Colorado’s Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Unit Manager, maintains a short list of colleagues to whom she forwards ASPHN’s monthly newsletter as a way of engaging them. “I typically pass on resources which I think might align with work that other folks are doing in the state,” she adds.
When ASPHN’s Policy Committee teamed up with the association’s Fruit and Vegetable (F&V) Nutrition Council to conduct two webinars on public health nutrition policies, Dellaport invited registered dietitians in her state health department to watch the webinars with her and discuss what they had learned.
During one of the webinars, the speaker, Sheila Fleischhacker, PhD, JD with George Washington University, addressed very specific federal policy issues impacting fruit and vegetable consumption. This information gave Dellaport’s colleagues valuable insight into how to approach their work from a policy perspective.
Trust and Timeliness
For Schlosser and Dellaport, sharing ASPHN resources comes easily because they trust the quality of the information.
Schlosser is a member of the MCH Nutrition Council and has been personally involved in the development process for ASPHN’s MCH briefs. “A premium is placed on ensuring that the briefs are well-researched, credible, and evidence-based,” she says. “The council’s steering committee provides guidance in selecting specific topics that are relevant and timely, and the ASPHN consultants who write the briefs share drafts with the committee members for their review and input.”
ASPHN’s resources and briefs save Dellaport from having to scour numerous websites to find the information she needs. “The association does all the heavy lifting by summarizing recent findings and providing citations for those looking for further details,” she says. “That’s why I immediately share the briefs with nutritionists within other departments as soon as they come across my desk.”
A Rewarding Work Practice
“Resource and information sharing is gratifying,” states Dellaport. Case in point? ASPHN’s release of Guidelines and Health Conditions Related to Timing of Early Infant Feeding coincided with work which WIC state colleagues were doing in updating their feeding guidelines. She shared the brief with them and learned that it “was immensely helpful to their effort, which was very rewarding,” she adds.
For Schlosser, the reward comes from the fact that ASPHN’s resources focus on the role of the public health nutritionist. “You can receive education about nutrition from a lot of sources, but seeing specific examples of how other states have incorporated it into public health nutrition programming is so beneficial,” she says.
Indeed, Schlosser believes that promoting the value of public health nutritionists is reason enough to share the association’s resources with colleagues and partners. “At the end of the day, better health and nutrition for all is the reason we go into this field of work,” adds Dellaport. “Sharing evidence-based resources brings us closer to the mission,” she concludes.