- Promoting population health with an emphasis on health equity and community-centered methods
- Developing innovative food technologies to promote food sustainability and design novel foods for health and well-being
- Advancing basic science in human nutrition to guide evidence-based precision nutritional strategies for health promotion and disease prevention
- Developing translational, holistic, and personalized approaches to promote health, mitigate disease, and inform clinical and functional nutrition practices
Promoting population health with an emphasis on health equity and community-centered methods
Goal 1: Foster research innovation in public health and community nutrition through digital technology, particularly mHealth
Action 1. Enhance collaborations within NUSC across public health faculty through monthly joint lab meetings and partnerships with colleagues across the college and university, as well as other institutions working in public health with an emphasis on digital technology.
Action 2. Foster meaningful, long-term relationships with communities to build trust and nurture relationships that support community-relevant research.
Action 3. Capitalize on seed grant programs within the department and at UConn to build preliminary data and publication records in mHealth, food security, health disparities, and community-based studies that can lead to federal grants.
Action 4. Seek federal funding opportunities in the area of nutrition, chronic disease, and health disparities using mHealth.
Action 5. Hire a tenure-track or tenured faculty member in the area of public health and community nutrition whose research centers on health inequalities with skills and experience in digital health and intervention.
Goal 2: Enhance academic training in public health and community nutrition program
Action 1. Develop certificate/Master’s program(s) in public health nutrition and digital health technology (mHealth).
Action 2. Create new courses and clear course tracks in public health and community nutrition for undergraduate and graduate students in NUSC using courses available at UConn.
Action 3. Provide unique experiential learning opportunities for students by establishing partnerships with community agencies, food pantries, and local schools to help students understand social determinants of health and challenges for achieving health equity in communities.
Developing innovative food technologies to promote food sustainability and design novel foods for health and well-being
Goal 1: Foster a food science program with an emphasis on innovative technologies to support sustainable food systems
Action 1. Establish a new food technology-focused program to design novel foods for personalized nutrition.
Action 2. Hire faculty with expertise in emerging food processing and manufacturing technologies, such as, but not limited to, 3D printing and artificial intelligence.
Action 3. Build collaborations with other CAHNR Departments to promote food sustainability for plant-based food production, urban agriculture for food production, food safety, and resiliency of the food supply chain via modern processing and manufacturing technologies.
Action 4. Develop new undergraduate courses and programs in food quality, processing, and sustainability, including a laboratory section, to enhance undergraduate hands-on skills.
Action 5. Support a founding of a new undergraduate club focusing on food technology and sustainability to provide experiential learning opportunities and promote the intersection of CAHNR undergraduate programs for a genuinely holistic approach to sustainability.
Action 6. Increase interactions with food and nutraceutical companies to establish internship programs and provide professional development opportunities to students.
Goal 2: Promote translational approaches to commercialize innovative research findings in food and nutrition
Action 1. Conduct innovative research with the potential of patent applications and commercialization.
Action 2. Strengthen collaborations/partnerships between nutrition and food scientists and the food industry to translate research knowledge into commercial products.
Action 3. Foster the area of food entrepreneurship and business via collaborations with faculty experts in entrepreneurship across the campus.
Advancing basic science in human nutrition to guide evidence-based precision nutritional strategies for health promotion and disease prevention
Goal 1: Establish Precision Nutrition as the capstone program for basic science in Nutritional Sciences for effective translational initiatives in applied and clinical nutrition
Action 1. Promote the Master’s Program in Personalized Nutrition and the Graduate Certificate in Precision Nutrition to be offered to Health Professionals, Nutrition Educators, and others.
Action 2. Identify existing University resources as well as those external to UConn that will strengthen program infrastructure and enhance scholarly endeavors.
Action 3. Create an infrastructure for further development and effective delivery of this program by hiring faculty with expertise in Genetics, Precision Nutrition, or Bioinformatics.
Action 4. Envision the creation of a center for functional nutrition with an emphasis on Personalized Nutrition.
Goal 2: Provide innovative educational opportunities for precision nutrition that are workforce directed to enhancing postgraduate employment opportunities
Action 1. Develop an undergraduate minor focusing on integrative functional nutrition to foster interest in this area at the undergraduate level.
Action 2. Initialize collaboration with Industries and other Universities to provide internships for undergraduate and graduate students.
Action 3. Leverage Precision Nutrition research initiatives in applications for training grants to target outstanding students.
Action 4. Create Exchange Programs with Universities within the US and abroad to broaden undergraduate and graduate student training opportunities.
Developing translational, holistic, and personalized approaches to promote health, mitigate disease, and inform clinical and functional nutrition practices.
Goal 1: Strengthen translational research in personalized nutrition
Action 1. Build collaborations across within the College and University and at UConn Health to maximize relevant existing resources.
Action 2. Hire faculty who conduct translational/functional nutrition research in unmet areas relevant to NIH priorities.
Action 3. Advance research efforts that utilize/contribute to the development and application of medical devices/technology to stimulate interdisciplinary collaborations and entrepreneurship.
Goal 2: Establish the Department of Nutritional Sciences as a recognized program that embodies evidence-based approaches to functional nutrition across the lifespan
Action 1. Establish a center for functional nutrition.
Action 2. Secure grants and extramural sources to support the expansion of existing clinical and functional nutrition infrastructure in the department to increase human subjects research capacity and collaborations.
Action 3. Develop strategies for revenue generation, community and alumni engagement, and student training through the Center (e.g., offering nutrition counseling services).
Goal 3: Enhance and strengthen student training and experiential learning in clinical and functional nutrition
Action 1. Develop an undergraduate minor focusing on integrative functional nutrition for NUSC majors to attract pre-health students from other disciplines.
Action 2. Secure funds for undergraduate/graduate training in research/clinical experiences via federal training grant programs.
Action 3. Engage Pre-Medical Profession track and joint MD/PhD students in research initiatives.
Action 4. Develop relationships with alumni in clinical and functional nutrition areas for experiential opportunities for students.
Action 5. Build a network and collaborate with healthcare professionals in conventional/alternative medicine locally, regionally, and nationally.
Action 6. Embed principles of professional ethics and respective scopes of practice throughout undergraduate and graduate programs.