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NMC CREES Gains Regional and National Recognition (February 13, 2020)

The University of Hawaii’s Pacific Business Center Program recently named Northern Marianas College’s Interim Dean for the Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services (CREES) Patricia Coleman as a Rising Star of Oceania.

The Stars of Oceania Award was given to those based on individual service and/or organizational contribution to Oceania and the world. Recipients are also selected from recommendations by the Stars of Oceania founders and members of the Global Breadfruit Summit Ohana (family).

In addition to receiving the award in Hawaii, Coleman was again presented the award by Dr. Craig Elevitch, Global Agroforestry expert, at the recent Agroforestry Workshop held at Kanoa Resort, Saipan.

“This would not have been possible without the hardworking team at CREES and our collaborative partners,” Coleman said. "The work continues as we strive to enhance the CNMI's ability to produce nutritious food for local consumption using methods that regenerate the environment."

Coleman and Tayna Belyeu-Camacho, Program Leader at CREES, were also awarded the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Partnership Award for Integrated Research, Extension, and Education for their work with the Children’s Healthy Living Program (CHL). Coleman was invited to be an honoree at the USDA NIFA ceremony with expenses covered by NIFA but was unable to attend due to Super Typhoon Yutu recovery work at NMC.

In addition to strong partnership linkages, CHL was acknowledged for reducing young child overweight and obesity by 4% in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific, which includes Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The study results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.

The Children's Healthy Living Program (CHL) has authored 36 scientific publications, 33 extension publications, 30 academic presentations & posters, and continues to build regional capacity in food, nutrition, public health, research, and evaluation methods. NMC CREES is currently conducting a follow-up study with a $280,000 competitive research grant to determine if the effect of the 4% reduction in child overweight and obesity has been maintained.

NMC Interim President Frankie Eliptico said that this is also a great achievement for the college.

“This is a great accomplishment for the college and our CREES program,” Eliptico said. “Patricia and her team do an amazing job with our agricultural and nutrition programs, so it’s great to see them be recognized for it.”

The Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services (NMC-CREES) provides research and technical advice in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, natural resources, community and youth development, health, and nutrition that is locally sustainable, environmentally safe, and economically feasible, in order to enhance the well-being and improve the quality of life of the people living in the CNMI.

The four major programs in CREES are Aquaculture & Natural Resources, Agriculture Production, Family, Community, and Youth Development, and Nutrition & Health. Funding is provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For more information on NMC-CREES, call 237-6840 or visit

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