Author Archive

Bags of Cheer Valentine’s Day Cards

February 1, 2012

I got my craft on yesterday at SPH!  This week, members of the Health Behavior Health Education Student Association (HBHESA) invited SPH students to join them in making homemade Valentine’s Day cards for University of Michigan Cancer Center adult cancer patients.  The cards will be distributed to patients through a program called Bags of Cheer to spread the love on Valentine’s Day.


I joined in on the fun and whipped up a card between classes.  It just doesn’t get much better than busting out some creativity and pink construction paper.

HBHESA Officer Reva Berman explained that the group wanted to do a service project that was fun and meaningful, and also easy for students of all departments to quickly participate in.  HBHESA provided all the craft supplies, so all SPH students had to do was show up and craft away!

I absolutely loved this activity—making the card was fun and easy, and I know the homemade cards will brighten patients’ day.  At the end of the day, positive patient interaction is a huge component of public health practice, and I love that we are practicing what we preach!  Are you in the Ann Arbor area?  You can participate, too!  Check out for information on how you can contribute your own homemade cards to Bags of Cheer.

MFarmers’ Market

September 20, 2011


We talked a lot in my Community Nutrition class last semester about starting farmers’ markets in food deserts to provide fresh produce to residents. Although Ann Arbor is far from a food desert, it can be difficult for students without meal plans or cars to go to the grocery store on a regular basis to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The Michigan Student Assembly delivered with a farmers’ market last week!

MFamers’ Market was held at the University Union and featured a variety of seasonal produce including squash, eggplant, apples, tomatoes, and peppers. As an added convenience for students, the Market accepted cash, credit card, and Blue Bucks. I was able to grab a squash for just twenty-five cents!

MFamers’ Market was a dynamic environment that encompassed much more than simply selling food.  Several farmers were on hand to chat with students about their produce—I spoke to the farmer who provided that squash I bought and he suggested that I chop the squash into small pieces, season with salt and pepper, and sauté in olive oil. Yum! There were also chef demonstrations and plenty of free samples. I tried a classic Wolverine trail mix that included peanuts, raisins, and blue M&M’s.


Several student organizations were on-site to provide students with information about healthy initiatives on campus, including the Body Peace Corps, a student group that promotes healthy body image, and University Dining Services. I ran into Alex Kloehn, another SPH Nutrition and Dietetics student, who was at the Market on behalf of Dining Services.  He shared information regarding sustainability in the dining halls.

It was really great to see the University’s commitment to healthy living in action at this event.  Not only did the market provide food to students, but the event also took additional steps to teach students how to cook their harvest. I hope to see you at the next MFarmers’ Market on Thursday, October 6!

Top 5 Random Things I Wish I Would Have Known As A New Student

August 30, 2011

Hi SPH!  I hope you are all enjoying the last few days of summer!  I love the “Top 5” blog posts that Katie and Tasha posted earlier this summer, so I thought I would throw my own top tips into the ring.  I’ve learned a lot since my own orientation to SPH at this time last year, and I want to share the Top 5 Random Things I Wish I Would Have Known As A New Student.

1. Research Studies

My roommate clued me in to the world of research study participation during the spring semester, and my world hasn’t been the same since.  Various departments within the University of Michigan are constantly running trials and recruiting participants for experiments and studies.  As a participant, not only will you play a vital role in advancing research and learning, but you will generally also earn a small monetary stipend.  Some of my favorite spots to find studies include the bulletin boards in East Hall, boards in the basement of the Central Campus Recreation Building, and online at the University of Michigan Clinical Studies website.

2. Free Bagels and Coffee

The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan offers free bagels, coffee, hot chocolate, and information about alumni services to all students (bring your MCard) during their Welcome Wednesday events during the school year!  Look at the schedule here and drop by from 8 AM to noon at the Alumni Center (next to the Michigan League).  Bagels certainly helped me through a few early-morning Biostats classes.

3. Rackham Study Halls
I love taking a little road trip from SPH to study at the Rackham Graduate Building!  I didn’t discover this gem until about halfway through the spring semester.  The study halls are gorgeous and the huge comfy chairs really can’t be beat.

4. U-Move Fitness Classes
U-Move is a program within the U-M School of Kinesiology that offers various fitness classes to University of Michigan students, staff, and faculty at low prices compared to the fees for classes you would find at a typical gym.  I took Step Aerobics during the fall semester and Yoga in the spring—both great study breaks!  Peruse the schedule for free sample classes offered September 6 through September 11 to try out a few new classes.

5. Birthday Freebies
Will you be in town on your birthday?  Change your itinerary and stick around if you are planning to be away.  Birthday deals are a legend in Ann Arbor—there is even a whole Wiki page devoted to the day!  Some of my favorite deals include 6 free bagels from Zingerman’s, a free pizza at Ashley’s, free ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s, and free tea at TeaHaus.

I hope this list helps you get started, and I’m sure you will find many more random hidden treasures during your time here at the University of Michigan.  Enjoy!

Field Experience Fun

May 30, 2011


 Hooray for summer!  I’ve been working at my summer internship for a few weeks now, and I absolutely love it!  I feel very fortunate to be completing my field experience requirement this summer at What’s In Your Cart? with owner (and University of Michigan School of Public Health Alum) Stacy Goldberg

Have you ever walked into the grocery store looking for a healthy food alternative and left feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of options?  What’s In Your Cart? strives to alleviate this confusion by teaching consumers how to read food product labels and select products that fit their individual lifestyles and specific dietary needs.  Stacy Goldberg started her company after graduating from the Human Nutrition program at the School of Public Health, and she offers private and group grocery store tours, and also partners with Plum Market to promote nutritious food products, which are identified throughout the store as Functional Five items.  Additionally, Stacy counsels individual clients and maintains an office at Franklin Athletic Club, and most recently, she has partnered with Daily Gourmet as their Nutritionist.  Daily Gourmet offers special deals on gourmet food products produced by small companies—really cool!

 I have been lucky to already work with all of these programs in my few weeks as an intern.  My first day as an intern was pretty fabulous—fellow intern and Human Nutrition student Kim Devine and I enjoyed a delicious lunch with Stacy at Pizzeria Biga, where she outlined the many facets of her company.  The timing was perfect, as Pizzeria Biga had just launched their new menu featuring nutritious options developed by Stacy and Chef Luciano.  It was great to see a pizzeria with fresh and healthy ingredients—they even offer gluten-free crust made with quinoa flour for those with gluten sensitivities!  We plan to spend more time at the restaurant during the summer to gain experience in the methods restaurants use to prepare and distribute healthy menu items. 


Photo Credit: Pizzeria Biga


 I have also spent time gaining familiarity with Functional Five products and identifying new potential products for the program at Plum Market.  Spending a few hours in the grocery store is my idea of the perfect afternoon!  I also followed along in a grocery store tour and jumped right in with participants in a nutrition label reading exercise.  We all selected our favorite yogurts in the dairy section and analyzed the labels.  Check out the sugar content in your next yogurt cup—you’ll be surprised by the amount of added sweeteners!


At Franklin Athletic Club, Kim and I selected meal plans for participants in a weight loss program, and we also organized and compiled binders that provide real life examples of healthy food products.  These are great resources for people just learning how to eat healthy, and I definitely found a few products I’m excited to try, too.

 My field experience so far perfectly embodies one of the things I’m most excited for in my career in nutrition—variety!  Each day is different and brings new and exciting opportunities.  I’m excited to see where the summer leads and will keep you all in the loop here at my SPH student blog!

 P.S.  Are you a prospective student with questions?  Connect with Stacy Goldberg and learn more about her experience at the School of Public Healthand her career.  Check out her profile here and feel free to send any questions her way!


April 4, 2011

Hello!  My name is Colleen, and I am a first year Human Nutrition student at SPH.  I thought it would be fun to write my first post about my job this semester at MHealthy, the University of Michigan’s employee wellness program.  Have you heard of employee wellness program initiatives?  Basically, companies offer free health education and promotion classes and activities for staff in order to improve employee health and overall productivity.  Since people spend such large portions of their time at work, the workplace is a great place for health interventions! MHealthy offers everything from exercise classes to nutrition consults to tobacco cessation programs.  Pretty neat!  It’s great to see such a strong commitment to health from the University.  Besides completing the normal administrative tasks at the office, I also have the opportunity to dabble in some of the MHealthy offerings. 

                Last week, I sat in on a Weight Management class taught by an MHealthy dietitian.  This class is a great example of employee wellness in action.  The free class is offered each week on campus during the lunch hour, which makes it very convenient for employees to participate.  The class that I attended focused on balancing calorie intake and expenditure, and it incorporated a lot of group discussion and interaction.  We all practiced using resistance bands and simple exercises that can be performed at a desk in order to increase one’s energy expenditure for the day.  It was pretty awesome to whip out a few push-ups while at work!  I also enjoyed celebrating class participants’ dietary achievements for the past week and hearing the teacher’s words of encouragement.  As a dietetics student, it was fun for me to see a dietitian in action.  Sometimes I get so consumed in memorizing metabolic pathways and vitamin transport systems for class that I lose sight of the ultimate goal of my education—teaching nutrition to my clients!  I left the 45 minute class feeling incredibly excited to start my career in a few years.

                Another great thing about MHealthy’s services?  Some are open to graduate students, too!  Active U is a physical activity program launched by MHealthy each winter semester, and University employees and graduate students are welcome to participate.  Participants form teams with friends and coworkers to keep each other accountable as they track their physical activity minutes each day for the semester.  Teams are ranked each week based on team member participation, and the competition gets fierce.  My team, Public Health Fitness Fanatics, is holding strong in 25th place this week!

 MHealthy is a powerful example of an interdisciplinary approach to public health—dietitians, personal trainers, and health educators all work together to improve health at the University.  Check out more at


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