Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents Making a Difference! (HCHF) - PROJECT FILLED

Worksite Location
Cornell University Cooperative Extension- New York City ( CUCE-NYC)
Project Dates
Approx. May 25 to August 3
Faculty Sponsor
Jamie Dollahite, Division of Nutritional Sciences
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Kate Dickin, Division of Nutritional Sciences; Tisa Fontaine Hill, Division of Nutritional Sciences
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Liam Geva, Cornell University Cooperative Extension – New York City; Jennifer Tiffany, Cornell University Cooperative Extension – New York City
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The purpose of the HCHF summer internship is to conduct qualitative research with community nutrition educators and low-income parents of young children.  This research will focus on parenting and nutrition education to supplement research findings from the current HATCH project, “Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents Making a Difference: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Overall, the research addresses the need to evaluate parent-focused nutrition education suitable to be delivered through Cooperative Extension programs and designed to promote healthy eating and activity choices consistent with obesity prevention. The Healthy Children, Healthy Families: Parents Making a Difference! (HCHF) curriculum being tested fully integrates parenting and nutrition education in a dialogue-based, hands-on format, designed to address this need. Survey data collected from participants will indicate “what” happened as a result of the intervention.  Qualitative data from educators working with parents and from parents themselves will seek to understand the context, successes, and challenges parents face in incorporating the HCHF practices into their parenting. This will add depth of meaning by providing insight into “how” and “why” of changes participants report. 

Roles and Responsibilities

The intern's responsibilities will include: 

  • Meeting with project staff to plan the internship research; 
  • Reading background literature and information associated with the project;
  • Developing skills in conducting qualitative interviews through reading, instruction, and practice with project staff;
  • Successfully completing the CITI – Social and Behavioral Sciences on-line training;
  • Organizing and conducting interviews with parents;
  • Transcribing audio recordings of the interviews;
  • Participating in coding and thematic analysis of transcripts;
  • Preparing internship logs and reports. 
Qualifications and Previous Coursework


  • Be able to live in NYC for the summer, or close enough to commute to NYC daily;
  • Have completed a course that introduces students to qualitative research, such as NS 2450 or have experience with qualitative research/interviewing; and
  • Have taken classes in nutrition and human development.  


  • Fluency  in both verbal and written Spanish, and
  • Experience with low-income populations. 
Benefits and Skills

The anticipated learning outcomes for the intern are:

  • Learn how to conduct high quality interviews using a semi-structured (qualitative) interview guide;
  • Learn methods of coding and thematic analysis of qualitative interview data.
  • Be introduced to the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) that targets low-income families through direct nutrition education. 
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges faced by low-income parents, particularly Latino and Black urban parents, as they work to incorporate new parenting practices designed to help the parent and their children improve food and activity choices.
  • Learn how parents are able to be most successful in incorporating new parenting practices that help parents and children improve food and activity choices. 
  • Learn how responsive parenting practices are consistent with healthier food and activity choices.