AMES, Iowa -- Rachel Sweeney has been hired as Iowa 4-H Youth Development’s new program coordinator for SWITCH – School Wellness Integration Targeting Children's Health. Her responsibilities will entail promotion, recruitment, communication and training of schools participating in the SWITCH program.
SWITCH is an evidence-based program designed to help schools promote healthy lifestyles through school-based wellness programming. SWITCH is led by an interdisciplinary research team of faculty and students who collaborate with Iowa 4-H Youth Development to carry out the program statewide. This year, 50 Iowa schools in 23 counties are providing SWITCH programming to youth in grades 4-8, reaching approximately 5,000 students. Last year, more than 3,000 youth participated in the program.
“I am looking forward to reconnecting with 4-H colleagues from across the state to help Iowa youth pledge their health to better living by switching what they do, view and chew,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney grew up on a diversified farm outside Iowa City and was actively involved with Johnson County 4-H as a member of the Graham Champions 4-H Club. She graduated from Iowa State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dietetics and exercise science. For her master's thesis, Sweeney investigated factors affecting the development and implementation of local school wellness policies. Sweeney went on to complete her dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
For nearly seven years, Sweeney worked as an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness, serving southeast Iowa. In this role she led the Pick a Better Snack program in Johnson County and developed an online registration system for the ServSafe food safety program. Most recently, Sweeney worked as a Registered Dietitian with Hy-Vee in Fort Dodge and Webster City. Sweeney is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and currently serves on the Iowa Academy Board and Council as chair-elect of the Awards Committee.
To find out more about the SWITCH program and how school districts can become involved, visit https://www.extension.iastate.edu/switch/.
[PHOTO] Rachel Sweeney