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New MU Program Will Help Low-Income Families Eat Healthier

$100,000 gift also provides opportunities for students in dietetics fields

November 21st, 2016

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Research has shown that nearly twice as many Americans with low incomes have poor diets compared to middle-class and wealthy Americans. Children living below the federal poverty level are nearly three times more likely to be obese than children from wealthy families. Now, a new University of Missouri program will help combat this problem in the mid-Missouri area by providing free dietary counseling to low-income populations at the MU Family Impact Center. The program will support a registered dietitian who will supervise MU dietetics students while they provide dietary advice and services free-of-charge. This program will give students valuable training in the dietetics field while providing an important health service to people who otherwise would not be able to afford a dietitian.

“Many low income people with special health needs, such as type 2 diabetes or celiac disease, never receive proper dietary advice to help them manage their health problems,” said Nikki Raedeke, assistant teaching professor and dietetics program director at MU. “It is possible to eat healthfully on a budget, but many people have never been provided information to do so.  This program will allow us not only to give valuable dietary advice to participants at the Family Impact Center, but it also will prepare the next generation of registered dietitians by providing dietetic students valuable hands-on experience in a healthcare team environment.”

The program will be funded by a new $100,000 gift from the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation to the University of Missouri Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. This gift also will provide five years of support for valuable dietetics simulation training for MU dietetics students.

“We cannot thank the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation enough for their generous support, as it will further cement the MU dietetics program as a leader in dietetics education,” said Chris Hardin, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. “This gift will provide an incredibly valuable service to our community in so many ways.”

The gift from the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation will provide $15,000 annually for five years to support the dietitian supervisor, as well as $5,000 annually for five years to support the dedicated simulation training time for dietetics students in the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center in the MU School of Medicine. Simulation training is valuable for students as it allows them to practice providing dietary consultations under observation and then receive feedback from professors as well as actor/patients who participate in the simulations. This latest gift brings the total giving of the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation to MU to $200,000.

“I had such a wonderful experience within the dietetics program when I attended MU, and I want current and future MU students to have those same opportunities for a great education,” said Susan Daniel, president of the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation. “Further, it is great to be able to help provide a service to communities that need guidance in how to eat and live healthy lives.”

The Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology is jointly administered by the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, the College of Human Environmental Sciences and the School of Medicine.

With an overall fundraising goal of $1.3 billion, the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign will secure the University of Missouri’s status among the nation’s elite public universities by focusing on three priorities: endowment — building the university’s endowment to compete with other institutions will strengthen the ability to attract and retain stellar students and faculty; signature centers and institutes — interdisciplinary centers and institutes will be the engine of research growth that will enhance MU’s AAU status and add to the university’s distinctiveness; and a campus renaissance — new and renovated facilities will propel Mizzou to global leadership in education and research and will help attract and retain students and faculty.