Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (NIRI) Community-Academia Coalitions as Perceived by Community Partners

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nutrition and Food Systems

First Advisor

Kathy Yadrick

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Systems


This study examined the perception of Delta NIRI community committee members and reviewed project documents to determine the effectiveness of the NIRI committees in enhancing the capacity of community members and planning for sustainability. Six focus group interviews were conducted in the three research sites of Franklin Parish, Louisiana, Hollandale, Mississippi and Marvell, Arkansas. The groups included 33 adults, of which 27 were females and 6 were males, 29 were African American, and 4 were white. General and specific content coding completed data analyses. Descriptive and interpretative summaries and emerging themes were identified. Documents from the research sites were also examined. Documents reviewed were meeting minutes; attendance records; activity reports; and rules, procedures and bylaws documents. Documents were coded and analyzed for themes. Emerging themes related to the committees' structure, participation, accomplishments and barriers to effectiveness, sustainability, and the role of the community and university/ARS-USDA partners. Community committee members had varying perceptions about how effective the Delta NIRI committees had been in enhancing community capacity. They made recommendations on how the role of the partners should evolve and suggested strategies to make the Delta NIRI committees' efforts sustainable in their communities.