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