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Nursing professor receives grant to continue community collaborative food insecurity research

January 23, 2014
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Dr. Mary Canales, professor of nursing at UW-Eau Claire.

EAU CLAIRE —Dr. Mary Canales, a professor of nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and her colleagues at Feed My People Food Bank and UW-Extension recently received a two-year $50,000 development grant from the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health's Wisconsin Partnership Program to continue a community-academic collaborative research project on food insecurity and hunger in Eau Claire County.

Canales' project was one of five chosen to receive funding out of more than 40 applicants.

Canales, who is interested in food and local justice issues and public health and public policy research, is partnering with Feed My People Food Bank and the Eau Claire County UW-Extension Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program to form a coalition in Eau Claire County to address food insecurity and hunger issues in the area. Members of the coalition will create a five-year strategic plan that will align city, county and health system plans to streamline efforts dedicated to improving access to healthy and affordable food for low-income residents.

"This is a community-academic partnership project," Canales said. "Invitations to join the coalition will be sent to the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association, Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, the City of Eau Claire, other stakeholders and advocacy groups. People who experience food insecurity will provide feedback on the strategic plan and guide the coalition in their work. We will also identify ways to increase community awareness to help reduce the stigma associated with food insecurity in the community."

Work on the project will begin in April and has the potential to make a difference for real people in the Eau Claire County community, Canales said.

"I am most looking forward to bringing people together who are committed and passionate about this issue," Canales said. "We can always accomplish much more working as a committed group than we can working alone. I am excited to make a difference in my own community and want to recognize the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for sponsoring a grant-writing workshop specifically for the Wisconsin Partnership Program grant and for bringing this program to my attention."

For more information on the community-academic project on food insecurity and hunger, contact Dr. Mary Canales at canalemk@uwec.edu or 715-836-5737.

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