Research/2014/

Addressing the Rural Shortage of Mental Health Providers Through a Virtual Mentorship Network

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The state of Nebraska is facing a critical shortage of mental health providers. In 2011, 88 of Nebraska’s 93 counties were federally designated behavioral health professional shortage areas. Immediate intervention is required to address the …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The state of Nebraska is facing a critical shortage of mental health providers. In 2011, 88 of Nebraska’s 93 counties were federally designated behavioral health professional shortage areas. Immediate intervention is required to address the shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas. Therefore, the objective of this project was to engage and connect students and members of their communities with mentor relationships. A virtual mentorship community of rural students and professionals throughout Nebraska was developed. The program recruited dynamic behavioral health professionals from rural underserved areas throughout the state to partner with interested students at the high school or undergraduate level. Students partnered with mentors from two different mental health professions; psychiatry and psychology.

The long term outcomes of this project include the placement of behavioral health professionals in rural communities, and connecting them to a culture of mentorship. In short, families and rural primary care providers would be able to connect to a local psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or therapist so that they would not need to leave the community for care.

Impacts

Leaders in Nebraska are seeking solutions to critical shortages in the behavioral health workforce. The shortage is particularly acute in rural areas where there is a limited supply of practicing mental health providers to serve as role models for youth as they explore career paths. The development of a virtual mentoring network (VMN) may bridge geographic gaps and connect interested high school and college students with behavioral health practitioners to increase the number of applicants to graduate programs from underserved areas. The VMN program was rated to be helpful in both years of the project, but significantly more helpful in year two when college students were provided with tailored and career-specific information. These results suggest that separating high school and college mentoring cohorts due to different career counseling needs and allowing students to specify which licensed behavioral health professional they engage can increase the student satisfaction with an online mentoring program.  This pilot can serve as a model for other states that have significant workforce shortages in rural and urban underserved areas, as well as a model for additional behavioral health careers in which shortages are observed.

This mentorship program in the college-age small-group format will continue in the future. Efforts will be made to establish a sustainable program through which professionals in the behavioral health fields are able to provide career-specific guidance to mentees interested in the behavioral health career pathways. Dynamic professionals or advanced students will be recruited to serve as mentors to college students. Additionally, future work will include applying the successful VMN approach to additional behavioral health careers, such as social work, marriage and family counseling, and substance abuse counseling.

The videos created as a part of VMN are a permanent product and will be used to distribute basic career information to high school students through a variety of outlets, described above. Additionally, further outlets for the videos created for high school students will be sought, and distribution will continue as additional outlets are identified.

Project Team

  • Howard Liu (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
  • Heidi Keeler (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • Ann Kraft, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
  • Kay Glidden, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska

Partners

  • University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Munroe Meyer Institute at UNMC
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Psychiatry Residency Program, Creighton University
  • Wayne State College
  • Doane University
  • Grand Island High School
  • Kearney Senior High School
  • Lexington High School

Publications

Videos

Presentation

  • National Council for Behavioral Health Conference
    Addressing the Rural Shortage of Mental Health Providers
    April 20-22, 2015 | Orlando, FL

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Howard Liu, hyliu@unmc.edu

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Rural Community Engagement & Leadership Program

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014      Impacts One of the major outcomes of this project was the impact ALEC 496 had on ALEC academic programs.  The creation and refinement ALEC 496 led to formally adopting the course, now titled …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


 

 

Impacts

One of the major outcomes of this project was the impact ALEC 496 had on ALEC academic programs.  The creation and refinement ALEC 496 led to formally adopting the course, now titled ALEC 422-Facilitation & Program Planning, in several academic programs. The process for approving a course starts with the faculty in ALEC, then the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.  At these levels, the course received significant support and was ultimately recommended for approval. The course was approved by the university in April of 2016. The support and approval provide evidence that this course is meeting a need for students at UNL. The course is now a requirement for the Agricultural Education – Leadership Option major, and is included as an option for students in both the Leadership & Communication and the Leadership & Entrepreneurship minors.

During the two-year project, 21 undergraduate students worked with 142 middle and high school students in 12 classrooms to identify issues in the students’ community, leading to creation of service learning projects that addressed those pre-identified issues.

Several promising opportunities have been identified for future work. First, a second RFI award was earned for Research & Engagement. The purpose of this collaborative research study is to develop a psychometrically sound measure of youth leadership (including its developmental aspect) and examine its relationship to community outcomes, such as retention, civic engagement, entrepreneurial activity, and community attachment.

Additionally, this project led to the expansion of the RCAP program, and a continued commitment from all the partners to find a path to ensure the RCAP program is sustainable.

 

History

The goal of this project was to develop a course where undergraduate students would engage in facilitating a service learning project in rural communities within 60 miles of Lincoln. A partnership between Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Civic Nebraska (formerly Nebraskans for Civic Reform) was created to support the project.

Undergraduate students engaged with rural middle and high school students to identify issues in the students’ community, leading to the creation of a service learning project to address those pre-identified issues. This project built the leadership capacity of rural middle and high school students and increased their ability to positively impact their respective communities while also filling a community need.

 

Project Team

  • L.J. McElravy (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication
  • Gina Matkin (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication

 

Partners

  • Civic Nebraska (formerly Nebraskans for Civic Reform)
  • Conestoga Jr/Sr High School
  • Johnson-Brock Middle School
  • Johnson County Central High School
  • Nebraska City High School
  • Norris High School
  • Raymond Central School
  • Weeping Water Middle School

 

Publications

  • Hastings, L. J., McElravy, L.J., Sunderman, H., & Bartak, J., (2017, October). Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity. International Leadership Association Global Conference, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Road Safety – Syracuse, May 4, 2016

 

Presentations

  • International Leadership Association Global Conference
    Building a Theory of Positive Youth Leadership Identity
    October, 2017 | Brussels, Belgium
  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    RCAP: Rural Community Action Project
    September 27, 2016 | North Platte, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Serving Tecumseh: Restroom Renovations
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Giving Brock a Voice
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Celebrating Brock: A Town Forgotten
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Rural Civic Action Program: Nebraska City
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE

 

Media Coverage

Civic Nebraska Blog
IANR Growing Nebraska Magazine, news article, page 30, 2015

 

Contact: L.J. McElravy, lj.mcelravy@unl.edu

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The Great Question Challenge

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary Rural communities in the Great Plains are subject to many of the same challenges confronting urban communities on a global scale. These communities are uniquely positioned to identify global issues in their local area and …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

Rural communities in the Great Plains are subject to many of the same challenges confronting urban communities on a global scale. These communities are uniquely positioned to identify global issues in their local area and generate ideas to solve these problems by utilizing one of our greatest resources –our youth. The Great Question Challenge is designed to empower high school students to create local solutions for a global issue.

Each year, the Great Question Challenge planning team will identify a global issue that affects rural people and places. For 2014, the Great Question Challenge revolved around food insecurity. About 15% of all U.S. households are food insecure, and in Nebraska, nearly 100,000 children are unsure of when they will eat next. This challenge will mobilize students to identify how to alleviate hunger and increase nutrition in their hometowns.

Impacts

High school students across Nebraska, with an emphasis on 4-H and FFA members, were recruited. Students formed teams of 3-6 individuals and proposed a solution to implement in their local community for The Great Question Challenge. Teams competed at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair and the top 11 teams were awarded $500 each to implement their ideas in their local communities.

Project Team

  • Shane Potter (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska 4-H
  • Tom Field (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Mathew Habrock, Dupont Pioneer
  • Jordyn Lechtenberg, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Graduate Student

Partners

  • Ainsworth
  • Blair
  • Clarkson
  • Curtis
  • Exeter
  • Nelson
  • Newman Grove
  • Northbend
  • Red Cloud
  • Rushville
  • Sidney

Media Coverage

Two new contests at 2012 State Fair provide real world experience | UNL Newsroom

 

Contact: Thomas Field, tfield2@unl.edu

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Community Gardens & Farmer’s Market for Curtis, Neb.

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The goal of this project was to enhance a service learning course at NCTA by developing a weekly farmer’s market and providing community garden plots for community residents. The project focused on achieving the following …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The goal of this project was to enhance a service learning course at NCTA by developing a weekly farmer’s market and providing community garden plots for community residents.

The project focused on achieving the following objectives:

  • Foster and develop rural community engagement skills of NCTA students pursing education in horticulture.
  • Enhance the entrepreneurial and marketing skills of NCTA students enrolled in the Farmer’s Market course.
  • Strengthen the relationship between NCTA and Curtis community citizens.
  • Facilitate and enhance vegetable crop production and marketing education/experience for Frontier County 4-H members.
  • Provide a model for rural communities to establish a community garden that fosters growth in citizen relationships and engages their youth through partnerships with county 4-H chapters.

Impacts

This project facilitated the development of a community garden and farmer’s market on NCTA’s campus. Major objectives were to strengthen relations between NCTA and Curtis citizens, develop community engagement skills of NCTA students, and facilitate gardening and marketing skills for 4-H members. One significant success was engaging citizens of Curtis through the community gardens. Several citizens that utilized the gardens had no other garden space opportunity. Complementary workshops on food preservation and garden planning/design were also well received by community citizens. The project facilitated student internship assistance with the community garden during the summer and provided community engagement experiences. The farmer’s market was held during the fall semester, thus several students gained valuable experiences regarding community engagement and entrepreneurship.

Frontier County 4-H members also benefited from the project by gaining valuable vegetable production experiences in the community garden. Once developed, this service learning course has become sustainable and continues to be offered.

Project Team

  • Brad Ramsdale (PI), Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Agronomy-Horticulture Department
  • Tee Bush (Co-PI), Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Horticulture Department
  • Barbara Scharf, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension, Frontier County

Partners

  • Curtis Rotary
  • Nebraska 4-H
  • Nebraska Extension

Media Coverage

NCTA awarded grant for community garden | McCook Gazette

 

Contact: Brad Ramsdale, bramsdale2@unl.edu

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Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The primary aim of this project was to develop a new, online public health course for undergraduates enrolled at rural Nebraska campuses. The proposed course would focus on three themes aligned with RFI’s mission: community-based …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The primary aim of this project was to develop a new, online public health course for undergraduates enrolled at rural Nebraska campuses. The proposed course would focus on three themes aligned with RFI’s mission: community-based participatory research (CBPR), civic engagement (CE), and service learning (SL). Framed through the lens of public health, the ultimate goals of the curriculum are to provide a foundation of knowledge and action that supports the learning and capacity building in the three domains of a cohort of rural undergraduate students who have made a commitment to practice as health professionals in rural Nebraska. The curriculum also seeks to facilitate the learning of the students in how to become effective leaders, advocates, and change agents for their rural communities to achieve paths to their desired futures.

Impacts

In addition to addressing the dearth of undergraduate student coursework on rural Nebraska campuses in the domains of community-based participatory research (CBPR), civic engagement (CE), and service learning (SL), additional on-line modules on leadership, worksite wellness, and public health were also included. The course was taught online by the Faculty PI, Dr. Kyle Ryan at Peru State College. The course was shifted from a service learning focus due to the online nature of the course and associated complexity and challenges with identifying service learning sites for students taking the course outside of Nebraska.

Project personnel approached Chadron State College, Wayne State College and the University of Nebraska at Kearney to ascertain adoption at the respective campuses. Each has expressed interest and efforts are ongoing to implement the course offerings at these additional rural campuses.

Project Team

  • Kyle Ryan (PI), Peru State College, Exercise Science School of Education
  • Patrik Johansson (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Brandon Grimm, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Analisa McMillan, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health

 

Partners

  • Peru State College
  • Johnson-Brock Elementary School
  • Calvert Elementary School
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Rural Health Education Network

 

Publications

  • Grotrian-Ryan, S., & Ryan, K. (2017). The importance of mentoring with grit and the growth mindset. Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning Conference Proceedings.
  • Ryan, K., & Grotrian-Ryan, S. (2016). Fostering grit and the growth mindset through high-impact practices. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 28(2), 50-51.
  • Grotrian-Ryan, S., & Ryan, K. (2016). Exploring the Link between Mentoring Functions and Transformative Education. Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning Conference Proceedings.

 

Presentations

  • Nebraska State College Student Leadership Conference
    Seeking Out Leadership Opportunities at the Undergraduate Level
    Fall, 2016 | Peru, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health
    September 22, 2016 | West Point, NE
  • Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association Conference
    Fostering Grit and the Growth Mindset through High-impact Practices
    October 5-8, 2016 | Reno, NV
  • Lilly Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning
    Exploring the Link between Mentoring Functions and Transformative Education
    2016 | Newport Beach, CA

 

Awards

  • Nebraska Campus Compact: “Outstanding Community and Campus Collaboration Award” for excellence in community-based teaching and scholarship for this course, 2015

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Kyle Ryan, kryan@peru.edu

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Justice by Geography: Issues that Inequitably Impact Rural Youth

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The purpose of this service learning project is to educate students on the unique juvenile justice and legislative issues facing rural communities across Nebraska, culminating with a two month placement with a rural juvenile justice …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The purpose of this service learning project is to educate students on the unique juvenile justice and legislative issues facing rural communities across Nebraska, culminating with a two month placement with a rural juvenile justice professional or agency. Students will work closely with the partnering individual/agency to gain hands-on experience in the field, as well as an invaluable “real world” perspective.

Participating students will learn the juvenile justice and legislative processes and examine juvenile justice issues that impact rural Nebraska. In addition, this experience will provide students an opportunity to develop a network of contacts across the state in a variety of fields related to juvenile justice and the legislative process. Such a network may assist students in securing professional positions in rural areas.

Impacts

The Juvenile Justice Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha partnered with UNL Law & Psychology to teach Justice by Geography, a course that pairs student interns with rural juvenile justice agencies. Students learn about program evaluation and have the opportunity to do program evaluation work with their agency. The course culminates in a student presentation.

During the two-year project, 17 students were placed in rural communities to work with small rural agencies to evaluate their programs. Initially the preference was to enroll 10-15 students each semester, however, project personnel struggled to recruit and enroll students willing to do their internship in a rural community. However, upon further reflection, a larger class may not have provided as rich of a learning environment for the students. With smaller cohorts, each group got a very specific juvenile justice experience.

The Juvenile Justice Institute continues to offer the Justice by Geography project and recruit undergraduate students to intern with rural areas.

Project Team

  • Anne Hobbs (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Monica Miles-Steffens, Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association
  • Sommer Fousek, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Juvenile Justice Institute

Partners

  • Liz Neeley, Nebraska State Bar Association
  • Elaine Menzel, Nebraska Association of County Officials
  • Corey Steel, Nebraska Juvenile Services Division
  • Cindy Gans, Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
  • Darrell Fisher, Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
  • Amy Hoffman, Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

 

Publication

Presentations

  • Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference
    Evaluation of Rural Justice Programs
    May 18-20, 2016 | Kearney, NE
  • Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference
    Truancy, Absenteeism and Related Student Discipline Issues
    May 18-20, 2016 | Kearney, NE

 

Contact: Anne Hobbs, ahobbs@unomaha.edu

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The Nebraska Hayseed Project

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2014 Summary The Nebraska Hayseed project was a creative transdisciplinary civic engagement and community research effort bringing the Lied Center for Performing Arts, the College of Journalism and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at …

Teaching & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The Nebraska Hayseed project was a creative transdisciplinary civic engagement and community research effort bringing the Lied Center for Performing Arts, the College of Journalism and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln together. The goal of this unique collaboration that united art and agriculture was the fact that both arts and agriculture are inherently process based and essential to the quality of life in rural Nebraska.

Impacts

An undergraduate course was developed and co-taught by faculty from Journalism and IANR and built around oral history collection. Undergraduate students conducted oral history interviews in rural communities which engaged statewide conversations about agriculture through the arts. The collected stories were used to create an original theatrical screenplay that toured the state. This project celebrated our state’s rural communities through performing arts, a collection of oral histories and an exploration of Nebraska farm life.

The Nebraska Hayseed project was constructed to create a platform where farm families can openly speak about their life experiences. In addition to the book published from this project, the oral history transcripts from the interviews were donated to the Nebraska State Historical Society for permanent archiving.

Project Team

  • Petra Wahlqvist (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts
  • Mary Kay Quinlan (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Deepak Keshwani (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
  • Becky Key Boesen (co-PI, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts

Partners

  • Julie Jacobson, North Platte Concert Association
  • Billy Estes, Midwest Theater, Scottsbluff
  • The Golden Husk
  • Nebraska State Historical Society

 

Publications

  • Boesen, B., Keshwani, D., Quinlan, M. K., and Wahlqvist, P. (2017). “Pioneer Farms: A Century of Change.”

(To request a free copy of the culminating publication “Pioneer Farms: A Century of Change,” which contains excerpts from the oral history interviews, please contact Petra Wahlqvist.)

Contact: Petra Wahlqvist, pwahlqvist2@unl.edu

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Healthy Food, Healthy Choice

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014     Summary This project used quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand current food environment, as well as food knowledge and preferences of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in south central South Dakota. It introduced short- and …

Research & Engagement, 2014


 

 

Summary

This project used quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand current food environment, as well as food knowledge and preferences of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in south central South Dakota. It introduced short- and long-term strategies to increase local residents’ acceptance of and willingness to buy healthy foods. These strategies included working with Rosebud residents to design and test a labeling system to encourage the consumption of healthy food items, and focus groups to understand barriers to healthier eating.
 

Impacts

We learned that tailoring healthy food interventions to the local community can improve the effectiveness. Behavior change requires that people are motivated to eat healthy diets. While healthy eating policies have for years relied on providing objective information to consumers— think of nutrition facts labels and fast food calorie count policies—evidence suggests that this information is used more frequently by those who are already healthy. However, materials that market healthy foods or prompt people to actively consider health when choosing food, rather than simply providing information about the nutritional value of food, seem to be more effective.

While there is a significant literature examining healthy food labeling and promotion internationally, the materials and messages that have been found to be effective in large-scale, international studies may not be effective in underrepresented—but high priority—populations, such as rural and minority communities. The approach is particularly well suited for implementation in rural or minority communities for a variety of reasons, including because it is likely easier to obtain meaningful, community-level involvement in these types of communities, and more residents are likely to be exposed to healthy food promotional materials designed in a community with at most a few food retail outlets (grocery, convenience stores).

The solid data provided from this project allowed successful application for a federal grant to further investigate the effects of locally tailored labels on food choice. Collaborators on the grant—especially Rosebud residents working generally in the food access and sovereignty realm—have stated they feel that receiving the RFI Research and Engagement Award provided them with more credibility than they previously had in seeking additional external funding, which has allowed them to obtain a number of other small grants to further work on the community garden, farmer’s market, and other efforts predominantly on the community engagement side of the project.

 

Project Team

  • Christopher Gustafson (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Illene Pevec (co-PI), University of Colorado at Boulder, Child, Youth and Environments Center
  • Suzanne Stluka (co-PI), South Dakota State University, Health and Nutritional Sciences
  • Barbara Dills, Grant Writing, Research and Management Consultant

 

Partners

  • Wizipan Little Elk, Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO)
  • Nora Antoine, Sinte Gleska University, Business Department

 

Publications

  • Gustafson, C.R. and M. Perlinger. 2017. “Nudging appropriately: incorporating identity and norms to improve healthy food interventions for high-risk populations,” in Reducing Health Disparities: Research updates from the field (vol. 2), K. Dombrowski and J. Soliz, eds. Syron Design Academic Publishing.
  • Gustafson. C.R. 2017. Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Labeling: Comparing the Relative Effects of Social Norms, Identity, and Generic Healthy Food Labels in a Choice Experiment. Under review at American Journal of Health Economics.
  • Gustafson, Christopher R. Point-of-purchase efforts to increase healthy food choice.
    Cornhusker Economics. October 25, 2016.
  • Perlinger, M. 2016. Impact of Healthy Food Labels on Consumer Choice and Valuation. Master’s Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Presentations

  • UNL Food Science and Technology Department Seminar
    Promoting Healthy Food Choice: Evidence from Behavioral Economics
    January 23, 2017 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Healthy Food, Healthy Choice
    September 28, 2016 | Chadron, NE
  • Duke-UNC USDA BECR Center PI Meeting
    Testing Locally Designed Labels and Social Norm-based Incentives on Food Choice in a Native American Community
    August 18, 2017 | Washington, DC
  • Agricultural and Economics Association Annual Conference
    Impact of Culturally Relevant Healthy Food Labels on Food Choice on the Rosebud Reservation
    August 1, 2016 | Boston, MA
  • University of Nebraska Eureka! Conference
    Healthy Food Promotion and Choice
    March 16, 2016 | Lincoln, NE

 

Media Coverage

 
Contact: Christopher Gustafson, cgustafson6@unl.edu

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Bridging the Skills Gap

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014   Summary Bridging the Skills Gap was a research-based, data-driven pilot project that identified community-based workforce development strategies aimed at assisting rural communities to be more strategic and competitive in their workforce planning initiatives. The research …

Research & Engagement, 2014


 

Summary

Bridging the Skills Gap was a research-based, data-driven pilot project that identified community-based workforce development strategies aimed at assisting rural communities to be more strategic and competitive in their workforce planning initiatives. The research pilot area consisted of six counties in northeast Nebraska and four counties in central South Dakota — in many ways, a microcosm of small town America. Agriculture, manufacturing and health care are mainstays of the local economy throughout these communities.

Impacts

While rural communities in the Great Plains, Midwest and across the US cannot alter the course of the global economy, they can take action to be more strategic and competitive in addressing local skills gaps and ramping up labor supply. This RFI-funded project focused on several pathways and strategies communities can adopt to enhance labor market outcomes and also considered the important role the US land grant Extension system can play in getting the conversation started along with enhancing local capacity for change.

A labor market assessment model was used to address skills gaps in rural communities to improve local workforces and enhance long-term economic growth. This model provides local decision makers with tools needed to address local workforce needs that leads to increased confidence and capacity building.

Project summary, overview, details and findings >>

 

Project Team

  • Carolyn Hatch (PI), Michigan State University, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development
  • Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Kenneth Sherin (Co-PI), South Dakota State University, Extension
  • Allan Vyhnalek (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Carroll Welte (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

 

Partners

  • North Central Regional Center for Rural Development
  • Michigan State University
  • South Dakota State University
  • Purdue University

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Annual Conference
    NCRCRD informal workforce development extension workgroup collaboration discussion
    June 11-14, 2017 | Big Sky, MT
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Bridging the Skills Gap
    September 28, 2016 | Chadron, NE
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Annual Conference
    Bridging the Skills Gap: Extension framework/community pathway
    June 2016 | Burlington, VT
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Annual Conference
    Bridging the skills gap: Workforce development in the Great Plains
    May 17-20, 2015 | Little Rock, AR

 

Contact: Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, cburkhartkriesel1@unl.edu

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Nebraska Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014 Summary This project was designed to connect health care providers to improve strategies for management of complex chronic diseases. Using a community-based participatory research approach, the providers, with the help of University of Nebraska Medical Center …

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

This project was designed to connect health care providers to improve strategies for management of complex chronic diseases. Using a community-based participatory research approach, the providers, with the help of University of Nebraska Medical Center faculty, were brought together to finalize a project focusing on obesity, which is associated with many disease states including diabetes, coronary heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, liver disease, chronic pain, cancer and more. This project was designed to assess the incidence of overweight and obese patients in rural and urban primary care clinics. In addition, the goal was to identify barriers to the treatment of obesity in rural primary care clinics.

Impacts

Eight primary care clinics in the Practice-based Research Network (PBRN) participated in this study. A total of 2033 patients were identified as eligible for the survey with 1723 completing the survey in its entirety.

This project helped lay the groundwork for future efforts to combat obesity in rural Nebraska. The support of the clinic physicians and staff was instrumental in a very high response rate from patients. We were able to assess attitudes toward obesity and identify barriers to weight loss, successful strategies, levels of activation and willingness to make changes. It appears that patients in Nebraska are motivated to make changes. Making these changes will be no small task. Many barriers to successful weight loss interventions exist including, but not limited to, patient perceptions, access to resources, time, cost and patient comorbidities.

Beyond the actual findings of the project, this funding was critically important in facilitating the development of a practice based research network in rural and urban Nebraska. This network has laid the groundwork to help provide the infrastructure for future projects throughout Nebraska.

Project Team

  • Christopher J. Kratochvil, M.D., (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, Clinical Research
  • Michael Sitorius, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Paul Paulman, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Audrey Paulman, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Janenne Geske, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Family Medicine
  • Ted Mikuls, MD, MSPH, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Internal Medicine
  • Ed Vandenberg, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Internal Medicine
  • Fausto Loberiza, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Internal Medicine
  • Gary Cochran, PharmD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Pharmacy
  • Jane Meza, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Terry Huang, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Lani Zimmerman, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • Mary Cramer, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • John Reinhardt, DDS, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Dentistry
  • Jennifer Larsen, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Research
  • Mike Huckabee, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Allied Health
  • Patrik Johansson,PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health
  • Kim McFarland, DDS, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Dentistry

Partners

  • David Palm, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Rural Health
  • Gerald Lucky, MD, Butler County Hospital, David City, NE
  • Brian Finley, MD, Lifecare Family Medicine, Bellevue, NE
  • Jason Hesser, MD, Crete Area Medical Center, Crete, NE
  • Kate Hesser, MD, Crete Area Medical Center, Crete, NE
  • Milo Anderson, MD, Prairie Fields Medical Center, Fremont, NE
  • Jason Bespalec, MD, Fillmore County Medical Center, Geneva, NE
  • Chris Vanderneck, MD, Henderson Health Care Services, Henderson, NE
  • Scott Ehresman, MD, Family Medicine Specialties, Holdrege, NE
  • Barbara Gutschall, MD, Avera Saint Anthony’s Hospital, O’Neil, NE
  • Kimberly Mickels, MD, Internal Medicine Associates, Grand Island, NE
  • Iassac Berg, ND, Internal Medicine Associates, Grand Island, NE
  • Robert Messbarger, MD, Kearney Clinic, Kearney, NE
  • Rich Fruehling, MD, Family Practice of Grand Island, NE
  • Zach Meyer, MD, Family Practice of Grand Island, NE

Publications

  • Parecki, R. Schwab, MD, K. Schmid, PhD, D. Meyer, L. Zimmerman, PhD, RN, C. J. Kratochvil, M.D., and J. L. Larsen, MD. (2016). Obesity and Patient Activation in Primary Care Clinics.
  • Nebraska Primary Care Practice Based Research Network: Milo Anderson, MD; Jason Bespalec, MD; Brian Finley, MD; Toby Free, MD; Jason Hesser, MD; Kate Hesser, MD; Douglas Inciarte, MD; Gerald Luckey, MD; Ted Mikuls, MD; Jason Patera, MD; Audrey Paulman, MD; Paul Paulman, MD; Mike Sitorius, MD. (2) Hibbard, Judith H et al. “Development and Testing of a Short Form of the Patient Activation Measure.” Health Services Research 40.6 Pt 1 (2005): 1918–1930. PMC. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

Presentations

  • Endocrine Society’s 98th Annual Meeting and Expo
    Perspectives on Obesity and Patient Activation in Rural Compared to Metropolitan Primary Care Clinics
    April 1-4, 2016 | Boston, MA
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Nebraska’s Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network Project
    September 30, 2014 | Nebraska City, NE

 

Contact: Christopher Kratochvil, ckratoch@unmc.edu

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Catalyzing the Role of Micropolitan America in the Future of Rural America

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2014 Summary The specific objectives of this research were to develop wealth indicators for Nebraska micropolitan areas and utilize those indicators in a community engagement process in four Nebraska micropolitan areas: the Scottsbluff, Columbus, Hastings and Fremont. …

Research & Engagement, 2014


Summary

The specific objectives of this research were to develop wealth indicators for Nebraska micropolitan areas and utilize those indicators in a community engagement process in four Nebraska micropolitan areas: the Scottsbluff, Columbus, Hastings and Fremont. Wealth indictors included measures of physical, human, intellectual, financial, social and cultural wealth.

Impacts

This project helped micropolitan areas identify opportunities and formulate research-driven plans for their future success in order to support rural economies. It developed a prototype in Nebraska with national applicability and actionability. As a result of this project, the University of Nebraska leads the nation in articulating the role of micropolitan areas and helping them capitalize on their unique opportunities for regional innovation and rural development.

There were four primary project outcomes related to the calculation of wealth indicators:

  • Nebraska micropolitan areas differ substantially according to measures of physical, human, intellectual, financial, social and cultural wealth
  • Wealth indicators are feasible to integrate into discussions of community strengths and weaknesses as part of community engagement and strategic planning efforts; changes in wealth indicators can be used as benchmarks to measure progress
  • Micropolitan areas have a broad interest in the standard of living and quality of life, in addition to traditional development goals such as job creation; micropolitan communities have an underlying interest in tracking broad measures of wealth
  • Micropolitan areas appear to be large enough to enjoy advantages for and success in industrial and economic production, but not large enough to have similar advantages for consumption and quality of life

Project Team

  • Eric Thompson (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Bureau of Business Research
  • Matthew Fannin (Co-PI), Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI)
  • Robert Blair (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Jerome Deichert (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Randolph Cantrell (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension & RFI

Partners

  • Kathy Miller, Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI)
  • David Drozd, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Sam Cordes, Purdue University, Rural Policy Research Institute

Publication

Presentations

  • The Engagement Scholarship Consortium Annual Conference
    Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    October 11-12, 2016 | Omaha, NE
  • The International Community Development Society and the International Association for Community Development Annual Conference
    Micropolitan America: A New Frontier for Rural Research and Engagement
    July 24-27, 2016 | Minneapolis, MN
  • Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities Annual Conference
    Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    October 11-13, 2015 | Omaha, NE
  • League of Nebraska Municipalities Annual Conference
    Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    September 24, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Nebraska City/County Management Association Annual Conference
    RFI Pilot Project: Building and Strengthening Small Urban Communities through University Research and Engagement
    June 4, 2015 | Alliance, NE

Media Coverage

Research grants explore improvements to rural communities | Norfolk Daily News

 

Contact: Eric Thompson, ethompson2@unl.edu

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