Teaching wellness online with grant from NIFA

Dawn Earnesty, one of our educators for Michigan State University Extension in the Health and Nutrition Institute, took the lead in creating an online nutrition education course called My Way to Wellness. On August 18, Dr. Jean Kerver, a specialist within the Health and Nutrition Institute, received news that our multilevel approach to worksite wellness would be receiving funds ($147,000) from NIFA, as part of the Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program.

If you haven’t heard about it already, My Way to Wellness is an opportunity for individuals to learn through self-paced learning modules that include the following subjects: personal goal-setting, nutritional needs and physical activity, building a healthy MyPlate, energy, picking the best portions, healthy habits for a healthy life and more. Although a healthy lifestyle is important for those of any age, making positive choices in terms of health and fitness as adults is crucial in determining many factors. Eating well reduces the risk of chronic disease, promotes energy and ultimately affects an individual’s weight and the way he or she feels.

Because the My Way to Wellness course is offered online, it is easy to accommodate to any schedule. Participants can complete the program at ease in the comfort of their own homes or in personal settings.

The convenience and accessibility of the program made it a prime candidate for the Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program. This fills a serious need because, according to the USDA, “Many individuals and families living in rural areas and communities experience disparities related to health and well-being…the opportunity to receive health information, or engage in health promotion activities is often limited…” This program will provide easily accessible, research-based information to those constituents.

The grant will provide an opportunity to provide a comprehensive worksite health promotion program with a personalized online component for individual Shiawassee County school district employees using resources developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MSU Extension.

Reaching our audiences where they are has always been a goal of MSU Extension, and it’s exciting to see our educators get additional resources to help them do that.

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