Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Clinical Dietetics Simulation Experience

Dawn Clifford, Assistant Professor from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences received a CELT grant to support the first ever clinical dietetics simulation experience at Chico State. The high tech class activity took place at the Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center where the students provided nutrition care to computerized mannequins.

The simulation experience was conducted at the end of a two-semester clinical nutrition course and served as a culminating event that allowed the 20 students in the class to apply the content learned in the classroom in a clinical setting. Students spent four hours in the simulation center assisting three fictitious patients. For each patient, they reviewed medical records, conducted assessment interviews, discussed nutrition interventions with the computerized patients, and interacted with actors posing as health care professionals.

Students were surveyed before and after the experience and 90% reported that they enjoyed the clinical simulation experience. The majority (85%) believed that the experience increased their understanding of nutrition therapy. Roughly 65% of students agreed that the simulation experience increased their comfort speaking with health professionals and clients. One student wrote, “I got to talk to a ‘doctor’ during my interview with the patient. It was very intimidating but it made me a little more comfortable with speaking with other healthcare professionals.  ”Students also became more aware of the usual tasks of a clinical dietitian. One student wrote, “I have a better idea of what the hospital setting is like for a clinical dietitian and what would be expected of me.”

nutrlab  students


Stephanie Bianco-Simeral, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences and Assistant Director at the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP), received $214,000 from the CSU Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) with Drs. Cindy Wolff, Keiko Goto and Patrick Doyle (AGRI) to support the USDA Farm to School Initiative (FSI). School districts participating in the USDA National School Meal Program are required to implement a preventative food safety program and purchase food, specifically fruits and vegetables, from approved sources to ensure that the food is safe for the young high risk population they serve. Currently there are no known economically viable and validated food safety (HACCP) training and microbiological testing protocols for the small agricultural farmer. ARI funding will provide this much needed training for small area farms, in addition to other affordable food safety resources, to enhance competitiveness with larger operations that have food safety certification and protocols in place. ARI support for CNAP, in collaboration with the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture, will provide development of a Farm to School Food Safety Cooperative (Co-op) that will include: 1) food safety training and requisite food safety certification for 100 local growers, 2) development of Co-op website with food safety videos, 3) improved purchasing power for local farms with marketing strategies that showcase HACCP certified status to schools and distributors, and 4) dissemination of project methods, materials and outcomes.

HACCP    food