Not Your Typical First Day of Classes…

Over winter break I got an email from my director inviting all of the interns (first and second years) to visit the National Agriculture Library (NAL) in College Park, Maryland for a regional collaboration with other interns for a day of “Nutrition, Communication and Information Management.” So, of course, I said YES! I spent the entire month of winter break out west, mostly in Colorado but also a week in New Mexico. I love traveling to new (and old!) places, so even though I did not get in to Morgantown until 2:00am on Saturday I was excited to travel again to Maryland on Sunday. College Park, Maryland is just over three hours from Morgantown. So, instead of heading to the office on Monday I was able to experience something new!

I had no idea what to expect when walking into the NAL that Monday morning. After talking with interns from the University of Maryland Medical Center who sat with us at our table I learned that once a month all the interns from Maryland (and other surrounding areas) gathered together and invite speakers to present on a general topic. Each internship takes a turn hosting the event so they are constantly engaging with others, sharing ideas and sharing stories of their struggles and successes. It was really great to be a part of this large event and I hope that we can build upon this relationship. Here is just a glimpse of some of the insightful information and programs I learned about during this event.

Opening Keynote – Communicating in the Digital Age: Workforce Collaboration

Tori K. Garten, Chief, New Media and Web Policy Branch, NIAID, NIH, DHHS

This was a very interesting speaker who told her story, struggles, and successes as working for the government and supporting social media and new technology. She made a good point that the government is very resilient to change and that all social media sites were banned until just recently. They have done away with print press jobs and publications and transformed those positions to work with social media, which involved a huge learning curve.  I liked this speaker because she explained the benefits of how working together in large corporation can make tax payers dollars stretch and not be used to create the same, repetitious, procedures in all departments. It really showed me how impactful social media and technology can be on a large scale.

Telehealth and Weight Management in the 21st Century

Sue A. James, MS, RD, LDN, TeleMove Coordinator

VA Maryland Health Care System

Telehealth is a program that works with veterans to improve their health through weight loss and exercise. This program is an innovative way to help veterans, who are primarily older, but are rapidly transition to include younger clientele, to become healthy using technology. This program was interesting to learn about because it shows where our future could be headed.

To learn more visit the Telehealth website.

 To learn more about TeleMove visit this website.


Luisa F. Soaterna-Castaneda, MPH Multicultural Outreach Coordinator

National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

This is an innovative program that uses a text message for healthy tips, emergency alerts, and appointment reminders. The best part of this program is that it is totally free. In fact, users are not even deducted messages from their monthly total if they are not on an unlimited plan. This program is awesome for expecting mothers and those with infants. It also showed me that even in today’s society you can now use text messaging with a low-income (WIC) population. This was my personal favorite program that was introduced and I would definitely recommend it to future clients. It is incredibly easy to use and delivers very helpful tips!

To learn more or enroll in this free service you can visit their website.

To enroll in this service text “BABY” to 511-411 (or “BEBE” for Spanish!)


Erin Braunscheidel and Laryessa Worthington

Food Supplement Nutrition Education, University of Maryland Extension

This was an interesting program with a focus on text messaging parents in the local schools with deals on groceries, physical activity class, and useful resources, as well as things their kids did at school regarding health. This is a great program and it was interesting to learn about the struggles they had and how they made it successful. This program is currently only in the state of Maryland but hopefully it will become successful and similar programs will some day be available in all areas!

To learn more about this program visit their website by clicking here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s