Dr. Emily Bergling passes her dissertation defenseFeb 24, 2021
Her defense was titled, "Implementation Factors and Teacher Experience of the Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP): A Mixed Methods Program Evaluation." See more details below.
Program evaluation is critical for evidence-based public health practice, including with school-based obesity prevention programs. Despite the promise of these programs, evidence on their effectiveness is limited and findings have been mixed. The complexity of these programs and the focus on outcomes-driven evaluation designs could account for the lack of a strong evidence-base for these programs. The Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP), an elementary school-based nutrition program, has shown promising results in short-term student-level outcomes related to attitudes, self-efficacy, knowledge, and behavior. However, INEP has yet to be critically evaluated to determine what implementation factors have led to these health outcomes. INEP utilizes teachers as implementing agents. Therefore, understanding their experience is critical to program success. The overarching goal of this evaluation was to begin to understand how implementation factors and teacher experience influence INEP implementation success and outcomes using a mixed-methods design. The RE-AIM framework guided the development of the evaluation and multiple methods were deployed including: a secondary data analysis utilizing existing INEP program evaluation data supplemented with Colorado Department of Education contextual data; the development and distribution of a quantitative end-of-year evaluation survey of INEP teachers; and follow-up qualitative interviews with teachers implementing INEP in the previous year. Results were synthesized to identify findings that can be used to inform program improvement efforts for INEP and provide information on ways to promote reach, efficacy, adoption, implementation, and maintenance of similar school-based health promotion programs.