Africa Summit

Mary S. Willis

Mary S. Willis

Professor

UNL - Nutrition and Health Sciences
Ethiopia; Zambia; Food Security, Health and Nutrition; Dental

I conduct a research-based education abroad program for undergraduates in Ethiopia or Zambia each year focused on 'Food Security, Health and Nutrition'. Zambia is the current focus for my work; there is a USG Travel Warning for Ethiopia due to a State of Emergency that prevents travel there. Along with colleagues from Zambia's Copperbelt University School of Medicine, and the University of Mississippi, I am working on a vitamin A project. We are examining available and accessible food sources that could improve vitamin A stores in all population segments. We are designing nutrition education programs that will cover why a particular macro or micronutrient, or trace mineral, is important and in which foods those nutrients and minerals can be found locally. The project design also includes food preparation demonstrations for vitamin A-rich foods. Each summer, we collect data on growth rates in rural middle school children and are introducing dental education and hygiene programs among those who are malnourished. Because Zambia faces the double-burden of malnutrition, we will begin to study urban populations as well.