The Peer Educator program provides students the opportunity to educate their peers about health issues and to model health enhancing behaviors. Peer educators demonstrate and encourage commitment to health through their ongoing participation in the community. Peers also act as a communication channel between students and health educators.
The Peer Nutrition Educator Program is coordinated by the Registered Dietitians in University Food Services and the University Health Center in cooperation with the Food and Nutrition Department. Peer Nutrition Educators (PNEs) must successfully complete a summer course designed to translate scientific nutrition principles into practical food and nutrition applications for University of Georgia students. Throughout the course the PNEs improve their skills in researching topics, developing programs, and in presenting this information to an audience. PNEs also assess their personal health behaviors and examine processes involved in health behavior change.
After completing the course, Peer Nutrition Educators fulfill requests for nutrition programs for dorms, sororities, fraternities, student groups and community groups. PNEs also promote healthy eating and good nutrition through media interviews, newspaper articles, and staffing health fairs and screenings. PNEs participate with University Health Center and University Food Services for special events and conferences.
As representatives of the University and the Dietetics profession, Peer Nutrition Educators are expected to display professionalism and sensitivity in their endeavors. PNEs are expected to develop competency in basic nutrition education, but they are also expected to know their limitations. A knowledge of local resources is essential for those times when referral is appropriate.