Heather Gibbs, PhD, RD
American Institute for Cancer Research: AICR blog
Nutrition information can be difficult for anyone to understand, and many people struggle to make healthy food choices. The Nutrition Education and Literacy Laboratory conducts research that focuses on the challenges of nutrition literacy, or the capacity to understand and act upon nutrition information. In addition, we partner with educators and researchers in other disciplines at the University of Kansas to deliver interprofessional education and research this emerging teaching methodology as part of our dietetic internship curriculum.
Nutrition Literacy Projects
Gibbs’ 2013 pilot study to adapt her nutrition literacy assessment instrument (NLit) for the breast cancer population found relationships between nutrition literacy and diet quality.
Gibbs’ work to develop an instrument (NLit) for comprehensively measuring nutrition literacy is supported by the NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Development. The primary aim of this study is to produce a valid and reliable measurement tool, such that NLit scores are predictive of an individual’s diet quality.
In addition, Gibbs is partnering with Paula Cupertino and Juntos to translate these concepts into other languages and cultures. Graduate student Sarah Owens is working to translate her NLit into Spanish. Gibbs also traveled to Juiz de Fora, Brazil, in 2014 to discuss her ideas of nutrition literacy measurement with researchers, clinicians, and students at Centro HiperDia and the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (Universidade Fedral de Juiz de For a).
Interprofessional Education Projects
As instructor of medical nutrition therapy courses in KU's dietetic internship program, Gibbs partners with members of the Center for Interprofessional Education and Simulation at KU Medical Center to incorporate nutrition in the campus interprofessional education initiatives as well as provide interprofessional experiences for the dietetic student interns. For her role in these efforts, Gibbs was selected as a Kansas Reynolds Program on Aging Interprofessional Faculty Scholar for 2015 and will be engaging in training to further these efforts.