Publications, training deliver helpful information to Kansas citizens
K-State Research and Extension scientists and specialists continually develop new resources to improve the lives of Kansans. For example, the annual family and consumer sciences series of factsheets and leader’s guides responds to current topics and provides local agents with training for implementation.
These lesson topics are not chosen at random — they’re typically chosen in response to community needs, such as how to get more exercise, healthful eating, caring for an elderly relative, family activities or financial management.
For 2017, the family and consumer sciences (FCS) series includes:
- Alzheimer’s 101
- Donating Safe and Nutritious Food to Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens
- Healthy Cooking Styles
- Move More, Sit Less
- Family Dance! Dance as a Healthy and Fun Family Activity
- With This Ring … We Plan!
Publications can germinate in a number of ways: research findings, a public health concern, even breaking news events. Sometimes the best publications begin at the local level, said Sharolyn Jackson, an FCS specialist based in Manhattan. “The agent might propose an idea for a publication, and then a program focus team will work out the details, the finer points.”
K-State Research and Extension has 11 teams that bring relevant expertise from local agents, specialists and researchers to the same table.
“It’s these teams that either support the idea of a new publication or lesson plan, and then investigate it further to make sure it’s appropriate for the entire system,” said Jackson.
After the series has been published, FCS agents meet in Manhattan for subject updates and training on how to present the lessons.
“They’re created because of a need, and they’re designed to be used in different ways,” said Jackson, who coordinates the statewide Walk Kansas health and fitness program. “When I write the Walk Kansas newsletters in the spring, I use information from various publications, and then cite the source and provide a link for readers to immediately get an electronic copy.”
Once a publication is released, that doesn’t mean the work is done. Scientific research never stops, and revisions are sometimes necessary.
In 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released the MyPyramid model, to replace the1992 Food Guide Pyramid. The MyPyramid program worked — for a while.
“When USDA replaced that in 2011 with the MyPlate model, K-State Research and Extension had to revise all the factsheets and leader’s guides to reflect that new standard,” said Jackson explained.
Land-grant institutions such as Kansas State University are part of a network of sharing, learning and cooperation.
“Research is very important, but it’s not just Kansas State research — it’s also research at other universities. A good example is our Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program, which is the result of our partnership with the University of Missouri. We have access to Missouri specialists and researchers, and they have access to our specialists and researchers,” Jackson said.
“I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that, as more universities in extension and research work together. And a lot of our specialists have part-time research appointments, so they’re doing research along with their specialist role.”
Thousands of research-based publications are available from the K-State Research and Extension Bookstore.