Date of Award
Master of Science
Jeannette Biggs, Harold H. Walker
This report is based upon the student's observations and experiences during an eight weeks' period of field training in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Hillsborough County Health Department, Florida Seven weeks were spent in Puerto Rico and one week was spent in Florida.
The places of work for the field experiences were jointly planned by the University of Tennessee, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was selected because of the similarity of conditions to Thailand, where the student will be working as a nutritionist. The conditions considered were the socio-economic status and the educational level of the people as well as the existing health problems of the countries. Both countries are within the tropical region and agriculture products are the primary source of income. Education is considered as one of the greatest needs in both countries, and the insufficient number of schools for the increasing growth of the population is a problem to be solved. The majority of the people live in rural areas, and both countries have to consider the improvement of the standard of living and the health services in these areas.
Since Puerto Rico is known to have well-organized and effective programs for improving these conditions, the student went there to observe the nutrition education programs which are being carried out by different agencies in the island.
The student was scheduled to spend one week in the Hillsborough County Health Department of the Florida State Board of Health to observe how the nutrition education program helps meet the needs of the citizens of Florida.
The field training was planned to supplement and support the on-campus academic education in nutrition with practical nutrition experiences and observations. The specific objectives of the training were (1) to observe nutrition work being done by various agencies, (2) to study the organization and functions of these agencies and to learn how nutrition is integrated into the total program, (3) to observe how the program is planned to meet the needs of the community, (4) to observe the methods and techniques used in nutrition education, (5) to gain knowledge of ways in which agencies concerned with nutrition work cooperatively in the community, (6) to observe the nutrition education program in the Hillsborough County Health Department, Florida, in order that a comparison could be made with the program in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and (7) to evaluate findings from the field experiences which might be applicable to Thailand.
To help the student accomplish these objectives, the field experiences were planned by the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Florida State Board of Health.
In the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the first week was spent in the Office of the Department of State to obtain background and basic information about the island. Three weeks were spent in the isolated areas and the University of Puerto Rico. The remaining three weeks were spent in the Nutrition Division, the Public Health Education Division, the Dietetics Division, and the Preventive Medical Services Division of the Department of Health. Two days were spent in the Department of Education to learn about the public health education, home economics, and school lunch programs in schools.
In Florida, two days were spent in Hillsborough County with the nutritionist of the Hillsborough County Health Department. One day was spent in Pinellas County with the nutritionist of the Dairy Council of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. The remaining time was spent with the Regional Nutrition Consultant in meetings, health centers, and with farm families.
Throughout the period of training, the student recorded information gained through observations, reading, meetings, and conferences. The activities observed were individual nutrition consultation conferences, in-service training in nutrition for teachers and nurses, classes in methods of teaching nutrition and preparation of teaching aids in the University of Puerto Rico, and the nutrition activities in the isolated areas. The student had an opportunity to participate in some of the group conferences and meetings. Experiences were also gained in methods of approach in program planning for the people in the rural areas. These findings are summarized under the following headings in the report: The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; The Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Program for the Improvement of the Isolated Areas; The Home Economics and Agricultural Extension Programs in the University of Puerto Rico; The Puerto Rico Nutrition Committee; Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Hillsborough County Health Department, Florida; and Summary and Evaluation.
Viravaidhya, Vina, "Nutrition Field Experiences in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Hillsborough County Health Department, Florida. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1962.