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Arizona Edition: New Grant Will Train Dieticians for Open Jobs in Rural Arizona

Arizona Edition

Nearly 50 million Americans live in rural parts of the United States. And rural communities make up two-thirds of what are called health professional shortage areas, or HPSAs.

It isn’t just a shortage of doctors or nurses that contribute to HPSAs. One need in Yuma County and statewide is a shortage of dieticians. These healthcare professionals work for, or consult with, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and farms. They work in media, government, and corporations. A successful dietician can impact health outcomes and disease rates for an entire community.

Now a new grant received by the University of Arizona, Arizona Western College, and Imperial Valley Community College will help train new dieticians by expanding curriculum at the institutions and creating a pathway to a four-year degree.

On this episode of Arizona Edition, we speak with Ashlee Linaras-Gaffer, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona's School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness. We'll hear why and how the grant partners believe training a new class of dieticians will have a profound impact on public health in Yuma.

We also speak with Jane Peabody, Arizona Western College Coordinator of Physical and Wellness Education. Peabody speaks about a ready group of local students eager to stay in the community and fill jobs that are waiting for them.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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