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National food institute
joins Applied Sciences

The National Food Service Management Institute, the country's authority on child nutrition programs, has found a new home with the School of Applied Sciences at Ole Miss.

NFSMI is the only federally funded national center dedicated to applied research, education and training, and technical assistance for child nutrition programs. It was established by Congress in 1989 and funded at the University of Mississippi in 1991 by a grant administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bringing NFSMI into an academic unit presents benefits for both the institute and for the school.

"We are so pleased to have the institute become a part of the School of Applied Sciences," said Linda Chitwood, dean of the School of Applied Sciences. "This partnership facilitates, for example, the expansion of the research capabilities of NFSMI and brings greater opportunities to the faculty and students of both units."

Examples of this partnership include faculty participating in the development of training materials and the ability to bring students to NFSMI's state-of-the-art facility, the R. Gerald Turner building, which houses a training kitchen and an auditorium designed for distance learning and teleconferences. This year, students from the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management used the facility's professional kitchen for classes and events.

Shortly after the institute merged with the school, Katie Wilson, a school nutrition director for the past 22 years, was tapped to lead the institute.

"Here I can be at an executive level, have impact nationally and still be involved with child nutrition," Wilson said of her appointment. "I'm so passionate about training; that's what makes this a great fit."

"Dr. Wilson is known for her ability to build coalitions with allied organizations on school nutrition issues," Chitwood said. "She is the ideal person to lead our institute as we assume a stronger role in policy formation and education, not only for school food service directors but also for the general public."

NFSMI is composed of four divisions that work hand in hand to aid child nutrition and child care professionals in the operation of successful child nutrition programs. The Education and Training, Information Services, and Administration divisions are headquartered on UM's Oxford campus. The Applied Research Division, which is operated in cooperation with the University of Southern Mississippi, is located in Hattiesburg.

NFSMI reaches child nutrition program professionals through training seminars and webinars, online courses, conference and meeting presentations, training resources and support materials including newsletters, fact sheets, recipes and instructional videos. The institute also operates a Help Desk, and its website offers support materials free of charge. It also houses the Child Nutrition Archives, which document the history of the federally funded child nutrition program.

To learn more about NFSMI, visit www.nfsmi.org.

Cooking in NFSMI kitchen

NFSMI offers hands-on training to child nutrition program professionals.

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