UA Statewide Briefs

Gender discrimination law expert speaks at UAF

FAIRBANKS – Martha West of University of California, Davis, gave a free public lecture, “Seeking Equity for Faculty Women,” on April 22 in the Wood Center Ballroom on the UAF campus. West is a professor emerita at UC Davis who specializes in gender discrimination law.

West’s lecture was held in conjunction with Equal Pay Day, a day in late April set aside nationally to highlight the importance of gender equity in compensation. Equal Pay Day recognizes that it takes the average woman nearly 16 months to earn what the average man earns in a year.

West’s lecture was sponsored by the UAF Faculty Senate Committee on the Status of Women and the UAF Women’s Center. It was funded by a grant from the American Association of University Women. For more information, call 474-6515.

Program for rural nutrition education receives $1 million

FAIRBANKS – The University of Alaska Fairbanks Interior-Aleutians campus has received a $1 million, three-year grant for nutrition education in rural Alaska.

The Troth Yeddha’ Nutrition Program will combine education and outreach for community collaboration aimed at improving the health of Alaska Native peoples, a population at increased risk for the development of obesity and other health-related challenges.

“What we’re going to be doing is offering for credit courses,” said Sarah McConnell, the program’s coordinator. “Embedded in each course is an outreach component, so the students become the outreach team.”

The program, actively recruiting students for fall 2008, will offer up to 12 credits in nutrition-related courses for degree-seeking students. This area of concentration may also attract health aides, teacher aides, or early childhood and food service professionals interested in integrating nutrition into their current positions. A full-time registered dietitian has been hired to provide nutrition expertise.

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McConnell has experienced firsthand the effectiveness of education on healthier food choices since she began working with dietitians to develop the program. She’s lost more than 40 pounds in the last two years.

“This stuff really works,” McConnell said. “It helped me to break the code. The information I was getting worked as a secret decoder ring to help me make healthier choices about what I ate and how activity played a role.”

The grant will focus on getting similar information to people in rural Alaska where traditional foods have, in many homes, been replaced with convenient snacks and highly processed staples. Although healthy foods can be more difficult to find in rural areas, the intent is to have students working in their home communities to develop culturally appropriate educational materials that would include information about the benefits of traditional foods. For example, most dietary recommendations don’t include subsistence meats and wild berries, which can provide nutrients and health benefits.

The grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service and the National Research Initiative, Human Nutrition and Obesity Program.

Writers’ conference brings Alaska wordsmiths together

HOMER – The annual Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference will be held on June 6-10 in Homer, at the Land’s End Resort. The keynote speaker is best-selling author Anne Lamott. There will also be workshops, dinners, work sessions, evening readings, agent/editor consultations and more. The deadline for early registration at $185 for degree-seeking UA students ($295 for the general public) is May 9. Visit writersconference.homer.alaska.edu for more information.