Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
Faculty Profile
Palmer, Debrah
Debrah's Profile
Palmer, Debrah
Associate Extension Specialist; Director, New Jersey Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program

Phone: 732-932-9853

Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 1994

Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick; New Brunswick; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Nutrition Education, Food Security.
Academic Interests and Plans
I have a joint appointment between the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Thus, my research is geared toward educational issues encountered when delivering nutrition education to the public, most specifically limited resource urban populations. Many of the projects that my group works on are focused on the specific development of a needed curriculum. A research protocol is used in their development. Examples of this work, as well as an overview of the programs that I oversee can be found at my web site:

The remainder of the work done by my research team has a more global spectrum. However, it is all focused around household food security and related nutrition education issues. For example, recent or current projects of this nature are as follows:

Many of the limited resource adults that we work with throughout the state have a difficult time maintaining enough food to feed their families. In other words, they are not food secure. Therefore, many of our program participants have developed coping mechanisms for improving their household food security. Unfortunately, the anecdotes they have related to our field staff suggest that many of the coping strategies they have adopted are fundamentally unsafe. For example, people report the purchase of meat from people who butcher animals in their cellars or people who fish in contaminated waters. These stories have prompted us to begin a formal research investigation to learn from our field staff, as well as program participants, about participants' coping strategies and what questionable food security strategies are used by them.

Academicians in the field of nutrition education are versed in the areas of program delivery and evaluation; however, many of the programs run for limited resource audiences in this country are directed by academicians, but are actually carried out by paraprofessional staff. Over the past five years I have performed research to determine how educational protocols for nutrition education delivery and evaluation can practically be used in the field, and how these protocols can be taught in an understandable format to paraprofessional staff. The results of this work are a process that has been defined and will soon be published as The Nutrition Education Process Manual.