Development of a culturally tailored, technology-enhanced nutrition education intervention for Latina mothers with young children

Worksite Location
New York City (NYC), Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC
Project Dates
June 01 - July 31, 2020
Faculty Sponsor
Tashara M. Leak, PhD, RD, Division of Nutritional Sciences
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Alexandra L. MacMillan Uribe, PhD, RD
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Jennifer Tiffany, PhD, CUCE-NYC
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Culturally tailored nutrition interventions can significantly improve health outcomes but have largely focused on Mexican American populations, leaving other Latino groups, prevalent in urban areas like New York City (NYC), understudied. Existing nutrition education curricula (e.g., Eating Smart * Being Active; Health Children, Healthy Families; or others frequently used by Cornell Cooperative Extension nutrition educators) could be translated and modified to meet the culturally needs of NYC Latinos. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), such as smartphone applications, could provide additional informational and social support; they are accepted and effective in delivering nutrition education to diverse audiences and their use continues to increase among Latinos. Formative work determining factors that impact diet quality and weight status among Latina mothers of young children in NYC is critical to inform the development of a culturally tailored, ICT enhanced intervention. To achieve this, qualitative interviews and surveys will be conducted with (1) Latina women (18-49 years old) who have young children (0-3 years old) and (2) community members who engage with this group (e.g., nutrition educators, clinicians, social workers). For example, mothers will be asked about what types of ICTs they would be open to use and features of the application that would encourage their engagement. The results of the interviews will be corroborated through surveys conducted with the same aforementioned individuals, which will determine the most prevalent nutrition-related issues and needs of this group. The qualitative interviews and surveys will be executed June 1 through July 31, 2020. Results will inform the development of a culturally tailored nutrition education intervention, enhanced with ICTs that aims to improve diet quality and weight status of Latina mothers and their young children in NYC.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student intern will be trained in qualitative methods and survey design. With regards to qualitative methods, the student will first observe and, eventually, co-moderate interviews. They also will organize data using qualitative analysis software, help analyze qualitative data, and participate in team discussions of data analysis process. Subsequently, the student will contribute to survey development, distribution/administration, and data analysis using descriptive statistics. Additionally, the student will conduct literature searches and assist in writing abstracts, reports, manuscripts, and other publications. They are expected to attend weekly project meetings.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Required qualifications:

  • Completion of Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online trainings prior to May 8, 2020.
  • Demonstrated commitment to health equity. • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work with people from a diverse cultural background.
  • Organization and time management skills.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Ability to speak and write in Spanish (strongly preferred).
  • Previous experience in qualitative research or survey design.
  • Experience entering survey data into Qualtrics.

Preferred coursework:

  • NS 3320: Methods in Nutritional Sciences
  • NS 2450: Social Science Perspectives on Food and Nutrition
  • NS 3220: Maternal and Child Nutrition
Benefits and Skills

The student will gain or expand skills in qualitative research, survey design and analysis, and data management. They also will be familiarized with Cooperative Extension nutrition education activities and other nutrition-related outreach programs. Finally, the student will gain cultural competence skills by engaging with underserved groups.