Multi-Stage Evaluation and Follow-up of the HEART Clubs’ Civic Engagement Projects to Improve Heathy Eating and Physical Activity Opportunities in Rural Communities

Worksite Location
Cornell University
Faculty Sponsor
Rebecca Seguin, Assistant Professor, Nutritional Science
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Urshila Sriram, MSPH, PhD Candidate in Community Nutrition
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Paddy Redihan, CCE Schuyler County; Linda Robbins, CCE Herkimer County
Stipend Amount
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Dr. Rebecca Seguin developed the HEART Club curriculum to guide and empower rural residents to improve healthy eating and physical activity opportunities in their communities. HEART Clubs led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators in Herkimer and Schuyler Counties have been active for almost two years. Over the past few months, additional HEART Clubs have been assembled across different states, including two new sites in upstate New York. By Summer 2016, these HEART Clubs will have reached varying stages of the project, providing the CCE intern with an opportunity to observe and evaluate implementation across several time points. The original HEART Clubs in Herkimer and Schuyler Counties will have completed all steps of the HEART Club curriculum and will be continuing and expanding their community engagement projects. Six additional HEART Clubs will have recently finished the curriculum and guided process. We will be evaluating their work through follow-up surveys and interviews. Two new HEART Clubs in upstate New York will be actively working through the curriculum. This staggered timeline will allow the intern to experience all stages of the HEART Club process and observe community civic engagement efforts first-hand. The intern will attend community events and assist with project evaluation through follow-up surveys and interviews which will inform the development of an online adaptation of the HEART Club curriculum.

Roles and Responsibilities

The intern will complete CITI human subjects training and will participate in and lead follow-up calls for completed HEART Clubs, and when applicable, attend community events. The intern will participate in follow-up and evaluation activities, including the analysis of data from our original HEART Clubs. The intern will be able to participate in hands-on data collection and observation of active HEART Clubs in two counties in New York. For these two newest sites, the intern will develop and refine short resource guides for CCE Educators and community residents. Finally, the intern will help adapt and revise the curriculum for online dissemination through conversations and feedback from current leaders/CCE Educators.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Must be a full-time CHE freshman, sophomore or junior. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Must meet NYS Department of Motor Vehicle requirement, if applicable.

The student should have a strong interest in public health and civic engagement initiatives to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Research methods courses would be helpful, but are not required. Prior to beginning any work, the student will need to complete online CITI training for conducting research with human subjects (Social and Behavioral Research module).

Benefits and Skills

The student will gain qualitative research skills, specifically related to conducting surveys and interviews. Further learning opportunities related to the protection of human subjects in research, critical thinking and data analysis skills will be achieved by the student. In addition, the student will gain an understanding about the profession of health education and health promotion as well as the challenges and rewards of implementing this type of work in rural underserved communities.