SPICE-Healthcare: Awareness, Use, and Acceptance of Culturally Diverse Seasonings Among Healthcare Professionals

1/17/2024 6:20:00 AM Hannah Wirth

ClarkLindsey logoAcademic mentor: Minakshi Raj

Community partner: Clark Lindsey Village

Project Description: 
Long-term care (LTC) facilities in the U.S. exclude the dietary preferences and traditions of culturally diverse older adults who are increasingly likely to require institutional LTC support in the coming decades.  In our preliminary study, Asian American family caregivers (n=140) reported experiencing disparities in access to culturally relevant foods in healthcare facilities resulting in their relative's reluctance to enroll in LTC even when beneficial for their health and/or refusal to eat the food served in LTC with consequences to their health outcomes (e.g., frailty). To better understand this issue, we conducted a nationwide survey (n=118) of registered dietitians (RDs) and food service directors (FSDs) working in healthcare facilities. The most reported perceived barrier to dietary cultural inclusivity was a lack of cultural knowledge and awareness among LTC personnel. Studies have successfully incorporated culturally diverse seasonings in school settings, but the potential for incorporating these seasonings in LTC has not been empirically examined even though this could reduce food waste, improve appreciation and awareness of diverse cuisines among LTC residents and staff, increase the intake of healthy foods without added sodium (e.g., vegetables), and promote cultural inclusivity. Little is known about the current knowledge and use of culturally diverse seasonings among LTC nutrition personnel.

The objective of this project is to examine knowledge, awareness, and self-efficacy of culturally diverse seasonings among LTC food and nutrition personnel. Together with our community partner, ClarkLindsey Village (Urbana, IL), we will conduct an online, nationwide survey of 200 RDs and food service personnel working in LTC to evaluate respondents' (a) knowledge and awareness of culturally diverse seasonings, and (b) self-efficacy in preparing meals that use culturally diverse seasonings. Survey findings will inform an educational workshop on seasonings for LTC personnel in Central Illinois in 2025.

Role of the Community-Academic Scholar:
The Community-Academic Scholar will be involved in recruitment, data collection, data analysis, and preliminary development of the educational workshops. They will be invited and encouraged to join all monthly meetings with CLV and participate in weekly meetings with me and the other researchers involved in the study from my lab.