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Product Details

Product at a Glance - Product ID#MBZ5D8FP

Title: Overtown Cookbook

Abstract: The Overtown Cookbook features 31 healthy recipes based on traditional Southern, African American, Latin American, and Caribbean dishes, and contains information about energy balance, fats, the truth about carbohydrates, healthy cooking, shopping tips, emotional eating, weights and measures. Each recipe included in the cookbook was collected from students, teachers, and other community members in Overtown, analyzed by nutritional software programs, edited to ensure the use of healthy ingredients, and taste tested by students at the historic Booker T. Washington Sr High School in Miami (BTW). The recipes aim for traditional flavor while reducing saturated fat, calories, and salt. The cookbook also contains evidence based nutrition and health promotion in content in easy to read format, with much of the messages drawn from public health guidelines, but developed iteratively with high school students, with much of the content written by students themselves.

Type of Product: Website

Year Created: 2010

Date Published: 4/3/2011

Author Information

Corresponding Author
David Brown
Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
11200 SW 8th St
AHC II 693
Miami, FL 33199
United States
p: 305-778-6114

Authors (listed in order of authorship):
David Brown

Anthony Jennings

Luther Brewster
FIU Medicine

Eddie Thomas

Agnes Morton
BTW Alumni Association

Tani Rivera
FIU Dietetics

Makeba Burke
FIU Public Health

Cheryl Carter
FIU Hospitality & Tourism Management

Shirlene Ingraham
Jackson Soul Food

Cheryl Brewster
FIU Medicine

Zoey Brown
HOPE Collaborative

Dainielle King

Carine Cadet

Giovanna Chug-Starks
HOPE Collaborative

Brandon Tate

Crystal Curry

Pascale Jean
Miami Dade County Health Department

Cynthia Carbin
Jackson Mem Hosp Family Medicine Residency

Shawn Fralin
Rakkasan Chef

Tangela Farmer
Jefferson Reaves, Sr Health Center

Sekayi Edwards
Human Services Coalition - Public Allies

Jerry Clark

Toni McNeal

Catherine Fung

Sonjia Kenya
Univ of Miami Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine

Amarylis Guindin
HOPE Collaborative

Geraldine Moreno
University of Oregon

Olivia Hemmings
University of Oregon

Ana Ruiz
FIU Public Health

Ruben Troncoso
FIU Public Health

Diana Stewart

Jeff Hyppolite

Marisa Vega
FIU Student Dietetics Association

Colleen Sulewski
FIU Student Dietetics Association

Product Description and Application Narrative Submitted by Corresponding Author

What general topics does your product address?

Allied Health, Arts & Design, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Nutrition

What specific topics does your product address?

Advocacy, Community coalition , Community development, Community engagement, Community health , Community organizing, Community-based education, Cultural competency , Curriculum development, Diabetes, Diversity , Education, Health behavior, Health disparities, Health education , Health equity, Interdisciplinary collaboration, Minority health, Nutrition/food security, Overweight/obesity, Physical activity/exercise, Poverty, Prevention, Primary care, Public & media relations , Social determinants of health, Social marketing, Urban health, Community-based participatory research, Service-learning

Does your product focus on a specific population(s)?

Adolescents, Black or African-American, Latino/Hispanic, Urban

What methodological approaches were used in the development of your product, or are discussed in your product?

Arts-informed methodologies, Case-based learning, Community needs assessment, Community-academic partnership, Community-based participatory research , Qualitative research, Service-learning , Interview, Participant observation

What resource type(s) best describe(s) your product?

Curriculum, Online course, Open access textbook, Syllabus, Training material, Cookbook

Application Narrative

1. Please provide a 1600 character abstract describing your product, its intended use and the audiences for which it would be appropriate.*

The Overtown Cookbook features 31 healthy recipes based on traditional Southern, African American, Latin American, and Caribbean dishes, and contains information about energy balance, fats, the truth about carbohydrates, healthy cooking, shopping tips, emotional eating, weights and measures. Each recipe included in the cookbook was collected from students, teachers, and other community members in Overtown, analyzed by nutritional software programs, edited to ensure the use of healthy ingredients, and taste tested by students at the historic Booker T. Washington Sr High School in Miami (BTW). The recipes aim for traditional flavor while reducing saturated fat, calories, and salt. The cookbook also contains evidence based nutrition and health promotion in content in easy to read format, with much of the messages drawn from public health guidelines, but developed iteratively with high school students, with much of the content written by students themselves.

2. What are the goals of the product?

The product is a culturally appropriate nutrition education curriculum and cookbook for African American, Latin American and Caribbean populations, but is also appropriate to broader Southern American and English speaking populations. Goals for recipes include less than 20% of the RDA of salt and saturated fat, and fewer than 500-700 calories per meal. Nutrition education goals include teaching about food labels, energy balance, healthy choices for carbohydrates and fats, as well as tips for shopping, preparing foods, and managing emotional eating. Procedes from sales of the cookbook support after school cooking and nutrition and mentorship programs at BTW.

3. Who are the intended audiences or expected users of the product?

African American, Latin American, Caribbean, and Southern US lay readers looking for healthy recipes consistent with traditional taste, a healthy lifestyle; including people with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Also appropriate for professionals working with these populations, or those who would use it as a model for working with other ethnic groups.

4. Please provide any special instructions for successful use of the product, if necessary. If your product has been previously published, please provide the appropriate citation below.

The cookbook curriculum and an online version of the cookbook with 10 recipes and all the health education content are freely available for download at: http://overtowncookbook.wordpress.com/the-overtown-cookbook-classroom/. The cookbook with all 31 recipes are available for purchase at www.amazon.com and other retail book sellers. A brief report describing the early stages of the project was published (1). As a result of strategic project training, students from Booker T Washington High School and Florida International University, School of Nutrition have routinely conducted numerous community health/nutrition workshops and presentations. These students continue to be available to make presentations about the project upon short notice.

5. Please describe how your product or the project that resulted in the product builds on a relevant field, discipline or prior work. You may cite the literature and provide a bibliography in the next question if appropriate.

To improve nutritional intake in minority populations, culturally appropriate community based approaches are recommended (2). Community driven interventions require significant ‘buy-in’ by local stakeholders, residents and referents to ensure their success (3). Service Learning is an educational strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience and strengthen communities (4), service learning techniques may be more effective than traditional interventions designed to improve nutrition knowledge (5); an approach that may complement the goals of CBPR.
Overtown, a historic Black community in Miami, is one of the most impoverished urban communities in Miami reporting many of the highest disease rates in the county (6). Overtown’s early residents were black pioneer families from Southern US states and the Caribbean, many of whom helped build the railroad that allowed the development of the City of Miami in the late 19th century. Overtown developed into a culturally rich “Little Broadway” near the Miami Downtown during the segregation era of the 20th Century (7). Desegregation was accompanied by highway development through the heart of Overtown in the mid 1960s with mass evictions and subsequent urban policies resulting in a socio-economically distressed urban environment(8). Our participatory action research pilot study (9) identified an issue, also seen in previous studies, that minority diabetic patients in the United States often receive culturally inappropriate nutrition counseling, potentially increasing health disparities (10, 11).
The pilot study, health professionals, and researchers collaborated with a culturally historic community local high school to implement student directed classroom activities, and an after-school program, resulting in the socially specific cookbook, curriculum, and website. CBPR and Service-Learning principles are incorporated informally and flexibly based on voluntary participation at all levels. Linkage to specific curricula has been intermittent based on the interests of students, volunteers, and teachers, and responding to external factors such as specific community events. For many participants, the project is community service or volunteer work. For others, it is integrated into a formal public health internship or other course of study.

6. Please provide a bibliography for work cited above or in other parts of this application. Provide full references, in the order sited in the text (i.e. according to number order). .

1. Brown D, Morton A, Jennings A, Wallace L, Hurtado A, Chug-Starks G, Jean P, and Brewster L. The Overtown Cookbook: Promoting Community Health. Florida Family Physician. 2007;Winter:28-29.

2. Flynn, M. T., McNeil DA, Maloff B, Mutasingwa D, Wu M, Ford C, et al. (2006). Reducing obesity and related chronic disease risk in children and youth: a synthesis of evidence with 'best practice' recommendations. . Obesity Reviews, 7(S1), 7-66.

3. Israel, B. A., Eng E, Schulz AJ, Parker EA, Becker AB, Allen A, & Guzman JR. (2003). Critical issues in developing and following community-based partcipatory research principles. . In M. Minkler, & Wallerstein, N. (Ed.), Community-based participatory research for health (pp. 55-73). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

4. NSLC (2001). Welcome to Service-Learning Retrieved June 24, 2007, from http://www.servicelearning.org/what_is_service-learning/index.php

5. Duerr, L. (2007). Role of service learning activities: Assessing and enhancing food security in low-income families. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 99(4), 9-14.

6. Zhang, G. (2006). Top 10 leading cause of death in zip code 33136 and Miami-Dade, 1999-2005. Specific Data Request, Miami Dade County Health Department, April 4, 2006

7.Dunn, M. (1997). Black Miami in the Twentieth Century. Gainesville, FL: The University Press of Florida.

8. Dluhy, M., Revell, K., and Wong, S. (2002) Creating a positive future for a minority community: Transportation and Urban Renewal politics in Miami. J Urban Affairs, 24, 75-95.

9. Brown DR, Hernández A, Saint-Jean G, Evans S, Tafari I, Brewster LG, Celestin MJ, Gómez-Estefan C, Regalado F, Akal S, Nierenberg B, Kauschinger ED, Schwartz R, and Page JB. A participatory action research pilot study of urban health disparities using rapid assessment response and evaluation. Am J Public Health. 2008;98(1):28-38

10. Davidson, M. B. (2003). Effect of Nurse-Directed Diabetes Care in a Minority Population. Diabetes Care, 26(8), 2281-2287.

11. Glazier, R. H., Bajcar J, Kennie NR, Willson K. (2006). A systematic review of interventions to improve diabetes care in socially disadvantaged populations. Diabetes Care, 29(7), 1675-1688.

7. Please describe the project or body of work from which the submitted product developed. Describe the ways that community and academic/institutional expertise contributed to the project. Pay particular attention to demonstrating the quality or rigor of the work:

  • For research-related work, describe (if relevant) study aims, design, sample, measurement instruments, and analysis and interpretation. Discuss how you verified the accuracy of your data.
  • For education-related work, describe (if relevant) any needs assessment conducted, learning objectives, educational strategies incorporated, and evaluation of learning.
  • For other types of work, discuss how the project was developed and reasons for the methodological choices made.

The Historic Overtown Public Health Empowerment (HOPE) collaborative is a voluntary collaborative that has a mission to promote health in Overtown, involving individuals representing FIU (Medicine, Public Health, and Hospitality), the Booker T. Washington High School community of students, teachers, and alumni, and other community partners. Each of these organizations has their own educational and service missions, but joins together with a joint focus on service and learning in Overtown through the HOPE collaborative.

The pilot study (9) led by David Brown (DB), a physician educator based at the Jefferson Reaves Health Center in Overtown, was a needs assessment from which to begin interventions in the clinic and in the community. One of the field team members, Irby McKnight (IM), a long time Overtown resident and activist, raised the issue of the cultural appropriateness of nutrition counseling at the clinic. This, along with the historic nature of Overtown, and the existence of diet related health disparties, led to the emergence of the concept of the Overtown Diet. The advisory group for the pilot study recommended working with local schools.

The nutrition education objectives were developed by the academic team:

1. Describe the relationship between energy balance and obesity related illness;
2. Describe the meaning of the components of food labels;
3. Describe healthy limits on calories, saturated fats, processed and salt;
4. Describe the health benefits of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and physical activity;
5. Demonstrate safe and healthful food growing, shopping and preparation techniques.

The H.O.P.E. Collaborative, with the permission of the principal, and involvement of a variety of volunteers prepared a recipe contest at the school. The principal determined that H.O.P.E. Collaborative was a Dade County Partner and that the project was a service learning project. The culinary instructor at BTW had students cook recipes they collected and modified. Anthony Jennings (AJ) submitted family recipes. IM collected additional recipes from a senior citizens group at the local community center.

AJ, a retired attorney who grew up in Overtown, and still owns the family plot in Overtown, was chair of the BTW Educational Excellence School Advisory Council (EESAC) and active with other projects to provide mentoring at the school. AJ invited DB to join EESAC. EESAC and the school district formally sanction the Overtown Cookbook project as a part of the school's improvement plan. AJ took direction of the school based activities while DB directed the academic component. The partnership has included community action on other health related issues of importance to the community.

The initial event resulted in local news stories. The NFL invited us to participate in the Super Bowl XLI Kick-off to Better Health. The project was incorporated into a number of BTW classes and contests were held for recipes, art, essays and business plans for the project. Subsequently, the project became an ongoing after school program with nutrition education, recipe collection, nutritional analysis, ingredient substitution, cooking, gardening, health fairs, and other community outings. A variety of donors extended small grants or donations to sustain the project. A variety of professional volunteers, foreign medical graduates, medical students, FIU Student Dietetics Association students, and FIU public health interns have contributed effort and content to the project. A vital component of this project is collaboration with the non-profit Roots In The City Farmers market. This urban garden/farmers market established by former FIU professor Dr. Marvin Dunn in the heart of Overtown in 2009. BTW students regularly participate in all aspects of this community endeavor. Overtown Cookbook activities are included in FIU School of Hospitality and Tourism Management events such as the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

8. Please describe the process of developing the product, including the ways that community and academic/institutional expertise were integrated in the development of this product.

Development of this product was aided through grants from the Miami Foundation. A variety of other community partners also supported this project, as noted in the cookbook.
The process was iterative and developed over several years making use of volunteers and available resources which fluctuated through the academic cycles of the universities and of the high school. Over several years, the project developed from an occaisional event, to a more regularly scheduled after school program. This included classroom curicula and cooking/gardening activities.
The BTW Alumni Association provided input into the project, with one of its members suggesting a change to the name of the project, avoiding use of the word "diet." Agnes Morton, RN, MPH, a public health nurse and BTW alumni, was chosen by the alumni as alumni liaison to the project.
The criteria for inclusion in the cookbook were authenticity and taste, judged by the high school students, and nutritional criteria defined by the academic team.
Nutritional criteria included 1. <700 calories (<500 preferred); 2. <20% of the recommended daily allowance for saturated fat; 3. No trans fat; 4.<20% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium. Online sources were initially used to analyze recipes. Ultimately, FoodProcessor software was used for nutritional analysis.
The key nutritional messages were developed by the academic team to include energy balance, healthy and unhealthy fats, healthier carbohydrates, emotional eating, and shopping and cooking methods.
Students were presented with essay prompts related to these concepts and the student essays were used to construct health education text within the cookbook.
BTW student generated essays were also incorporated into the cookbook and curriculum. Volunteer students developed and revised educational materials and conducted train the traner sessions with BTW students.
Recipes were collected from Overtown students, teachers, community members and a local restaurant, Jackson's Soul Food.
Academics conducted nutritional analysis of the recipes and highlighted areas in which the recipes were healthy or unhealthy. Students, teachers, chefs, dietiticans, physians, and dietetics students each contributed ideas for nutritional substitutions to the recipes.
The curriculum was developed iteratively over several years, with classroom, after school, and community activities. The key nutritional messages remained the same, but the content was contiually updated based on responses from the students.
Microsoft Word was used for create the initial pamphlet prototype. Microsoft Publisher was then used to format the cookbook and was then converted to Adobe Acrobat format. The University of Miami Luis Calder Memorial Library printed the initial bound edition of the cookbook. The blog site wordpress.com was used to host project materials on the web. Lightning Source www.lightningsource.com/ is being used for printing and distribution of the current print editions.

9. Please discuss the significance and impact of your product. In your response, discuss ways your product has added to existing knowledge and benefited the community; ways others may have utilized your product; and any relevant evaluation data about impact, if available. If the impact of the product is not yet known, discuss its potential significance.

The cookbook has significance as a culturally appealing health promotion tool, with healthy tasty recipes based on traditional favorites. It is used by health professionals to teach about healthy choices and incoprorating history and culture in its flavors.
On a local level, the cookbook project has provided an avenue for mentorship, leadership development, and health education. Each year a cadre of around 30 or more high school students participate in learning and cooking and community activities. Each year, a new group of students emerge as leaders and are trained to provide health education to their peers and to community members. Each year, students participate in a variety of health fairs and other community events representing the project. In addition, each year, a variety of faculty and learners from dietetics, public health, and medicine participate in activities at the school, helping to teach them about the culture of the community while serving as role models and mentors for the high school students. The project has attracted significant amount of local publicity providing a social media outlet for the health promoting message of the project, and bringing in new orders for cookbooks. The cookbook project provides a positive message of health and culture that students and community members can rally around. Through the collaboration with Roots In The City urban garden/farmers market, the activities of the project have also provided students with community service hours, healthy meals, and mentorship toward academic success. As a side-project, students are encouraged to take the SAT and apply for college and scholarships.
In the long run, the social capital generated by the cookbook, and the students' advocacy provides the long term potential to help empower the community towards healthy change.

10. Please describe why you chose the presentation format you did.

The cookbook format was a the natural format to present healthy recipes. The health promoting content was framed by the academics and developed by student volunteers from medicine and dietetics, and then modified to incorporate input from the high school students. In-class and after-school activities were developed in order to obtain student input into the content. Student essays were incorporated into the health-promoting text. Photos of project activities were chosen to allow students to see themselves in the project. Student leaders gave their suggestions into the size and color of the book. Students wanted a full-color high quality product. The initial format was a 4-page flier and power point presentation. These were expanded over the years into the current format.

11. Please reflect on the strengths and limitations of your product. In what ways did community and academic/institutional collaborators provide feedback and how was such feedback used? Include relevant evaluation data about strengths and limitations if available.

The product is a cookbook that contains healthy recipes prepared and taste tested by high school students. It is in an appealing format that demonstrates the involvement of students in all aspects of the development of the product. This project has had consistent leadership by Anthony Jennings at the high school and David Brown for the academic team. The project and product have been repeatedly presented to and support obtained from each of the principals of the high school over several years, and by the High School Alumni Association.
Volunteers such as dietetics students, foreign medical graduates seeking research experience ahead of application for residency training, public health interns, resident physicians, medical students, dietetics students, and others, have participated in a variety of project activities.
The principal participants have always been the students at BTW. The response of the students to project activities and their feedback has always been instrumental in development of the project. Students were from the start charged with developing rubrics to evaluate the authenticity and taste of the recipes. Students cook the recipes and only if they approve do the recipes get included in the cookbook. Students are the principal spokespersons for the project.
As a project that has been primarily a volunteer activity, there has not been a formal research or evaluation component completed yet. The principal form of evaluation has been the day to day response and participation of students in the project, and the positive reception the project and cookbook has received, with students participation positively received in a variety of community events, with regular media attention and the constant demand for cookbooks.

12. Please describe ways that the project resulting in the product involved collaboration that embodied principles of mutual respect, shared work and shared credit. If different, describe ways that the product itself involved collaboration that embodied principles of mutual respect, shared work and shared credit. Have all collaborators on the product been notified of and approved submission of the product to CES4Health.info? If not, why not? Please indicate whether the project resulting in the product was approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or community-based review mechanism, if applicable, and provide the name(s) of the IRB/mechanism.

The voluntary nature of the project necessitated strategies to seek mutual gain, and sensitivity to the needs of all participants. Project coordination was a fluid process performed in iterative waves to fit the opportunities and participants that emerged. This adaptive approach continues to be one of the hallmarks of this project. Curriculum development was an iterative group process, informed by techniques from qualitative research, but also used in marketing, and education, and a variety of other fields, such as discussion of shared experiences, creating and annotating narrative data, grouping emergent themes, and collaborative story-telling, editing, and cooking. This service-learning protocol was consistently punctuated with student participation and input. Exemplary of this dynamic is the students’ intricate role in recipe design, ingredient selection, preparation, cooking and judging.
The concepts of “delegation” and “deference to content expertise” were applied flexibly to each situation and to a variety of conceptions of “expertise.” All student members of the team are expected to have their own “expertise” that enables them to assume leadership roles or to participate in decision-making for certain project components. The primary aim has been sustained student engagement.
Aligned with CBPR methods, each activity was implemented with significant input from a combination of students, teachers, and community volunteers, who also assisted with the judging. Utilizing input from our multidisciplinary team and students, we also developed our project website, http://overtowncookbook.wordpress.com/. Each year built upon the work done previously, with students taking a more substantial role as they became more familiar with the materials.
The University of Miami Institutional Review Board and the Miami Dade Public Schools Research Committee each confirmed that the project did not involve human subjects research. An evaluation of the project was approved by the University of Miami IRB, the Florida International University IRB, and the Miami Dade Public Schools Research Committee.
The project leaders were informed and approved of the submission.