Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Mary Nelle Traylor

Committee Members

Jane R. Savage, Robert H. Kirk


This thesis is based upon observations and experiences during seven weeks of field training with the Nutrition Division of the Sullivan County Health Department in Tennessee. The purpose of the field training was to supplement academic training in public health nutrition at the University of Tennessee.

The field experience and the preparation of this report provided an opportunity for the student to evaluate the health needs of Sullivan County and to observe the public health program, particularly the public health nutrition program, that had been planned to meet those needs. Information was obtained on the history of Sullivan County and the Sullivan County Health Department, on the vital and biostatistics, and on the socioeconomic, political, and educational characteristics of the population in an effort to examine the health needs and other factors which determine the policies and programs of the field agency. Through orientation conferences with the Health Officer, the Public Health Administrator, supervisors, and other personnel in the various divisions of the health department and through observation and participation in program activities of the field agency, the student's understanding of the contributions of each division to the total public health program and each division's interrelationship with the Nutrition Division was increased. The opportunity to visit with personnel in many of the allied agencies located in Sullivan County and/or to examine their programs increased awareness of services provided by community and state agencies.

Experiences of providing nutritional services to individuals and groups, both professionals and nonprofessionals, through counseling and guidance of individuals, conducting classes and a workshop, giving a talk, and other methods increased self-confidence. Involvement in the planning, development, and execution of a study of nutrition in the Sullivan County Head Start Program provided an opportunity for working with other professionals in the community. It also provided for professional growth by increasing the student's competency in the assessment of problems and the development of activities and evaluation procedures which are related to the program planning process. Critical self-assessment of performance in the Head Start project and in providing other nutritional services also promoted personal growth and development.

The field training allowed the student to apply the knowledge that she had acquired in academic training to the work situation. Understanding and appreciation of the Nutrition Division and its relationship to the other divisions and to the health department as a whole were developed. Moreover, the field training increased her professional competency as a public health nutritionist.

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Included in

Nutrition Commons