Around The South

Compiling SRDC and national news, recent publications, upcoming conferences and events, and job opportunities, this monthly newsletter furnishes a brief overview of announcements from the Southern region.

Recent Issues
February 2018 Main Topics

Bonnie Teater Award Nominations Due March 20, 2018

Each year, the SRDC honors someone who has excelled in community development work within Extension Service in the South. On even numbered years, we seek to honor a person with the Bonnie Teater Community Development Lifetime Achievement award. We need your help! Nominations are now open, so please consider nominating someone that has excelled in this arena. The nominee must be currently employed by one of the 29 land-grant universities located in the Southern Rural Development Center region; serve as an administrator, specialist or agent who has worked in the Extension CD area for at least TEN years at the state, multi-county and/or county levels. An individual who has retired over the past 12 months and who, at the time of his/her retirement, met the conditions outlined, is eligible for consideration.

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Tackling the Opioid Epidemic in Virginia from a Community-Based Perspective – Virginia Cooperative Extension

Like many other states, the opioid addiction crisis in Virginia has been declared a public health emergency. In 2013, it became the number one cause of unnatural death in Virginia. And the trend has continued to increase, with opioid deaths rising 40.3 percent from 2015-2016. To address these challenges, Virginia Cooperative Extension launched the Preventing Opioid Abuse in Rural Virginia project, with USDA Rural Health and Safety Education funding. With partners, we are implementing the PROSPER evidence-based delivery system in Grayson and Henry Counties and the city of Martinsville. Through PROSPER (Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience), local community teams are formed in each PROSPER community to guide programming and build sustainability. The teams are led jointly by an Extension agent and a representative from the school system. As the teams guide programming, all 6th graders and their families are recruited to participate in family-level education, for which we are using the SFP 10-14 evidence-based curriculum. It’s a universal, community-wide strategy, targeting all youth in the 6th grade, as well as their families. There is also a school-based component for Life Skills Training for all 7th graders. The research evidence for PROSPER indicates that there is a ripple effect, in that even youth who do not participate are positively impacted by the program.

In addition to PROSPER and its related components, a research-informed approach is being implemented through the Virginia Rural Health Association as a partner on this project. The Hospital Patient Education Program (HPEP) is being used to train health-care providers at rural hospitals to deliver a low-literacy training to patients arriving at the hospital that are taking a prescription opioid, or are being prescribed one at the visit. The one-on-one education, which often will include family members, explains the risks associated with taking an opioid, the importance of taking it only as prescribed, and how to avoid overdose.

As the work is occurring, we are also working closely with all Extension partners on complementary projects in the localities being served, as well as statewide to maximize resources and foster sustainability. Expanding the vision of the PROSPER community team to this project will provide opportunities for greater interaction as the team focuses on ways to address the opioid misuse and abuse problem through multiple community approaches.
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Launch Issue

January 2018 Main Topics

The 2017-18 Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues:
How Can I Be of Service? Determining the Best Role for Community Engagement

January 25, 2018 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

Cooperative Extension has a mandate to assess community needs and assist with community issues, but how agents engage with communities will vary by topic, need and situation. This webinar is an interactive session that will explore different roles agents might fill as they work for community change. We will discuss the different roles Extension can serve when creating community change including: informing, being a catalyst for change, innovating change; or orchestrating change – and when and how these roles may change.

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Healthier Together in Calhoun and Taliaferro Counties – University of Georgia

In 2016, the University of Georgia received a two-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to boost obesity prevention efforts in Georgia's most impacted rural counties—Calhoun and Taliaferro—each with an adult obesity prevalence of over 40 percent. Involving multiple University and community partners, a cross-programming approach was crafted to address obesity through Cooperative Extension. Fittingly, the project was named Healthier Together. University partners include Cooperative Extension, the College of Public Health, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

The primary goal of Healthier Together Calhoun/Taliaferro is to implement environmental changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity in places where youth and families spend their time. Interventions involve forming a community coalition to work with schools, community organizations, local government and businesses to serve and sell healthy food, create places to be physically active and address local policy issues that influence healthy living.

A multi-sector community approach promotes robust outcomes and long-term impact. After the first year of implementation, notable outcomes include the following: six community groups have installed 30 raised bed gardens, walking trails are being constructed, walkability of communities is being addressed by local officials, and new physical activities for youth and adults are being offered. Fresh Stop, a structured CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) style farmer’s market is underway through partnership with the Georgia Farmer’s Market Association. In addition, school cafeterias are adopting Smarter Lunchroom policies and practices, cancer prevention cooking schools are being offered and 4-H youth development activities have increased. Success stories are taking on a very personal nature in this project: a volunteer at the community garden, who also participated in the cooking class, used veggies from the garden and recipes from class to improve her family’s diet. This volunteer’s husband had pre-diabetes, and with lifestyle changes supported by Healthier Together, he has lost 20 lbs. Calhoun and Taliaferro counties are enacting sustainable, evidence-based practices for increasing the health of their residents. These outcomes also have positive impact on the economic vibrancy of the communities and their capacity to address issues through inter-agency collaboration as residents engage in addressing health concerns together.
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Launch Issue

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