Research/2017/

Health, Exercise, Technology & Aquaponics Day Camps

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary “Teaching Health, Exercise, Technology, & Aquaponics (THETA) Day Camps to Grow Future Health Professionals” is a collaborative project developed by a team of seven faculty members at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). The …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

“Teaching Health, Exercise, Technology, & Aquaponics (THETA) Day Camps to Grow Future Health Professionals” is a collaborative project developed by a team of seven faculty members at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). The goals of the THETA Day Camps project are to inspire and motivate middle school students to pursue careers in health science. Students will participate in a series of half-day science education camps during which they will learn about various careers that are associated with health science topics through physical activity, nutrition and food growing programs. UNK undergraduate students with career goals in health science will lead the camps, and it is hoped that by leading these camps the UNK students will be better prepared for graduate education in the health sciences.

 

Impacts

The pilot program for the THETA camps took place in McCook, NE from June 5-July 14, 2017. Two UNK students served as camp leaders and RFI Serviceship interns, and led between six and eight children as camp participants. The camps were held in the 4-H building at the Red Willow County fairgrounds, and were aided by the McCook Economic Development Corporation, the McCook Community Hospital, and Mid Plains Community College. This pilot program effectively identified the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

 

Between January and May of 2018, the research team (Drs. Brown, Adkins, Bice, Hollman, N. Bickford, & S. Bickford) recruited another camp leader, and met with the three students for training and discussion regarding the necessary supplies, educational curricula, and other matters concerning the THETA camps. The summer 2018 THETA camps began on May 28 and were hosted at the McCook YMCA facility. Camp attendance grew to 14 children from McCook and surrounding communities.

Project Team

  • Gregory Brown, Professor, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Matthew Bice, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Megan Adkins-Bollwit, Associate Professor, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Angela Hollman, Assistant Professor, Industrial Technology, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Sonja Bickford, Lecturer, Industrial Technology, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Nate Bickford, Associate Professor, Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Dustin Ranglack, Assistant Professor, Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Partners

  • Andrew Ambriz, Director, McCook Economic Development Corporation, McCook, Neb.
  • Ronda Graff, Youth Activities Director, Ed Thomas YMCA, McCook, Neb.
  • Denise Garey, Health Educator, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, McCook, Neb.
  • Sarah Wolford, Community Outreach & Wellness Coordinator, McCook Community Hospital, McCook, Neb.

Presentations

SHAPE America Central District Conference

Farm to Fresh! A Multidisciplinary Approach to Teaching Health and Physical Activity

January 25-27, 2018 | Sioux Falls, South Dakota

 

Media coverage

Summer interns no strangers to small towns – McCook Gazette, June 13, 2017 https://www.mccookgazette.com/story/2419849.html

Rural Futures Institute, UNK interns arrive for summer – McCook Gazette, June 6, 2017 https://www.mccookgazette.com/story/2418062.html

Greg Brown, Todd Bartee receive RFI grants for rural health, wellness projects – UNK press release, July 7, 2017 http://unknews.unk.edu/2017/07/07/greg-brown-todd-bartee-receive-rfi-grants-for-rural-health-wellness-projects/

 

Contact: Gregory Brown, brownga@unk.edu

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Obesity Intervention and Service-Learning

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary In an effort to combat the epidemic of rural pediatric obesity, Peru State College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in partnership with rural stakeholders, seek to develop a new service-learning course for undergraduates. …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

In an effort to combat the epidemic of rural pediatric obesity, Peru State College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in partnership with rural stakeholders, seek to develop a new service-learning course for undergraduates. The course will introduce post-secondary students to service-learning and the prevalence of overweight and obesity in rural areas. It will also seek to engage existing and new partnerships with community-based organizations for students’ service-learning. Finally, contributors hope the course will instill in undergraduate students a sense of civic commitment that they will carry with them following college.

Impacts

A service learning course was offered for the first time during the spring semester of 2018. ServeNebraska and Americorp volunteers provided training to the 11 undergraduate students who enrolled in the course. The 11 undergraduates contributed over 1,000 volunteer hours throughout the course of the semester, serving three afterschool programs which engaged 428 elementary and middle school students. The programs involved both physical and educational activities. Through leading the afterschool programs, the undergraduate students achieved a greater understanding of community-based interventions and implementing change with regards to pediatric obesity.

Project Team

  • Danae Dinkel (PI), Assistant Professor, Health Physical Education & Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Kyle Ryan (Co-PI), Professor, Kinesiology, Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Peru State College
  • Sheri Grotrian-Ryan (Co-PI), Professor, Business, Peru State College

Partners

  • Northside Elementary (Grades K-2), Nebraska City
  • Hayward Elementary (Grades 3-5), Nebraska City
  • Nebraska City Middle School (Grades 6-8), Nebraska City
  • Peru State College
  • ServeNebraska

 

Contact: Danae Dinkel, dmdinkel@unomaha.edu

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Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary This project provides an opportunity for youth to develop system-thinking skills by understanding how food, energy and water systems are interconnected. Undergraduate students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Engineering will design and develop …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

This project provides an opportunity for youth to develop system-thinking skills by understanding how food, energy and water systems are interconnected. Undergraduate students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Engineering will design and develop aquaponics system kits as well as lesson plan trainings and implement the project in K-12 schools in rural Nebraska. They will use a train-the-trainer model to prepare middle school educators and high school students to implement the plan in their school system. The youth will develop systems thinking skills by understanding how food, energy and water systems are highly interconnected in our complex world.

Prototype of the aquaponics setup

Under the guidance of project faculty, the undergraduate student team developed two online modules that utilize multimedia and game strategies to engage middle school and high school students in the program. Online Module 1 is called Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future. Specifically, this module covers: What is Aquaponics, The Aquaponics Biological Processes, Water Quality – covering Temperature & Dissolved Oxygen, Nitrogen & pH, Hardness & Calcium, and System States. It also covers Visualizing Data using graphs and charts while teaching about techniques such as smoothing of plots. Finally, the module covers Energy Flow. Online Module 2 is developed for high school students and is called Building the Aquaponics System. This module explains how to instrument a system for data collection with a single board computer (Raspberry Pi) and connect a liquid temperature sensor, a color sensor, a humidity sensor and a radio controller.

Module 1: Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future
Module 2: Building the Aquaponics System

After designing and developing a prototype aquaponics system kit, the undergraduate students then built 12 systems that will be implemented in K-12 schools in rural Nebraska. They will use a train-the-trainer model to prepare middle school educators and high school students to implement the lesson plan in their school system. The first placement in schools began in January of 2018. Project faculty have developed survey instruments for capturing data collection to help in measuring impact of the project.

Impact

In combination with the RFI project, “Developing A Model for Quality of Life” as well as the RFI project “Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners,” this project has earned a $490k USDA grant for high-tech youth entrepreneurship clinics. Details >>>

Project Team

  • Ashu Guru (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
  • Jennifer Keshwani (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineer
  • Maria Rosario Guzman (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education and Human Science, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies
  • Jeyamkodan Subbiah (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Food Science and Technology
  • Dhundy Bastola (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Biomedical Informatics
  • Hongfeng Yu (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Computer Science

Partners

  • Jeff Cole, Beyond School Bells
  • Mark Pegg, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, School of Natural Resources
  • Kenneth Roche, Research Agronomist
  • Deane Nelson, Nebraska City Middle School, Science Teacher

Presentations

  • Nebraska K-12 Science Education Summit
    Systems Thinking and Sustainability through Aquaponics
    December 11, 2017 | Lincoln, NE

 

Contact: Ashu Guru, aguru2@unl.edu

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Ending Mental Health Stigma & Promoting Mental Health Among Rural Nebraska College and University Students

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017  Summary The growing shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas, alongside the rising number of rural college and university students who experience mental health difficulties, calls for a comprehensive public health approach to addressing …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

The growing shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas, alongside the rising number of rural college and university students who experience mental health difficulties, calls for a comprehensive public health approach to addressing underlying causes of mental illness and related stigma. It also calls for a focus on equipping students with resiliency skills that lay the foundation for growing strong and healthy minds. In collaboration with faculty and students at Wayne State College, the team seeks to develop and implement a promising mental health promotion curriculum aimed at addressing stigma and alleviating mental health difficulties among college and university students in Nebraska through civic engagement, health education and advocacy.

Impacts

According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, suicide is the leading cause of death among college and university students in the United States and is the 11th leading cause of death in Nebraska. In 2014, 1 in 6 Nebraska adults reported a diagnosis of depression, and 1 in 12 reported mental illness.

Faced with these staggering statistics, the team at Wayne State College is scheduled to hold four forums funded by RFI and presented by UNMC’s Rural Health Education Network (REHN), in cooperation with the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) and the college’s student chapter of ActiveMinds. During winter 2017, more than 30 Wayne State College students from 17 different majors developed curriculum content and a discussion guide that will be promoted to mental health student chapters at colleges and universities across the state.

Nearly 60 Wayne State College students and faculty members participated in the first forum, held on Mar. 28, 2018, which was geared to raise awareness and generate discussion around mental health. The next forum is scheduled for fall 2018. These forums will help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, encourage people to seek help and provide meaningful and relevant solutions to address mental health difficulties experienced by college and university students.

Project Team

  • Sonja Franziska Tutsch, Graduate Student, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Rural Health Education Network
  • Howard Liu, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
  • Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health

Partners

  • Monica Snowden, Wayne State College, Department of Sociology

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Sonja Tutsch, sonja.tutsch@unmc.edu

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Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017 Summary Much interest is being placed on the role digital platforms play on increasing civic engagement in urban communities. However, their role in rural settings is not understood as well—but just as critical. Rural areas can …

Research & Engagement, 2017


Summary

Much interest is being placed on the role digital platforms play on increasing civic engagement in urban communities. However, their role in rural settings is not understood as well—but just as critical. Rural areas can and should benefit from utilizing digital platforms to become more responsive and increase civic engagement. In working with communities in programs such as Marketing Hometown America, communication and engaging members were always identified as issues as well as the question of how to reach and connect with younger members of the community. This project seeks to increase civic engagement in three rural Nebraska communities by developing strategies and tactics for engaging in conversations online, as well as social media training, to assist rural communities in increasing and improving overall engagement.

Impacts

Three communities in Nebraska – Ashland, Nebraska City and Ravenna – were selected to serve as pilot communities for this project. Steering teams were set up in each community to work directly with project personnel. The service learning component of this project involved students from UNO’s Social Media Lab who worked directly in the communities to learn about each community’s current social media presence. Students then prepared reports and identified strategies and tactics to strengthen their competitiveness in the digital economy.

Once the community steering teams each developed a strategy plan to strengthen competitiveness in the digital economy based on the recommendations, each community began working on implementing the strategies. A community survey focused on measuring civic engagement was done at the beginning of the project and will be done again at the completion to determine whether the increased social media tactics increased civic engagement.

Ultimately, the goal is to leverage broadband applications to improve a community’s competitiveness in the digital economy, community readiness to address change and/or action, and increase civic engagement and strengthen social networks, so rural communities can better respond to 21st century issues.

 

Project Team

  • Roberto Gallardo (PI), Purdue University, Center for Regional Management
  • Jeremy Harris Lipschultz (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Department of Communication
  • Charlotte Narjes (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Becky Vogt, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Jessica Quady, City Administrator, City of Ashland (key community contact)
  • Amy Algood, Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce (key community contact)
  • Dena Dennison, Ravenna Economic Development (key community contact)

 

Publications

A Social Media Strategy Plan for Ashland, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gCyNTA1DiPKbF7t6QnlbbLK49iues4DS/view

Nebraska City – Red to the Core https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S8E5RhKZc9oBbo8uiRaCtIm0s5ZRfSb_/view

Ravenna, Nebraska Social Media Audit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xLc93kdkGNLQsOZQWpoOM2WjXMB_TvWn/view

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age: Initial Trust Survey – Ashland, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BgqB_CjgWGj4viopn34FfcE7_hIbLGG4/view

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age: Initial Trust Survey – Nebraska City, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1voh_x9T42r95dcxzKifmBdMPgeNGc2X2/view

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age: Initial Trust Survey – Ravenna, Nebraska https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YMqYMg8i8u-knGkc8_Ze8TVRFqQTtWjP/view

Intelligent Community Checklist Report – City of Ravenna, NE https://drive.google.com/file/d/1txH0nQtNbctWmy3HYlDIIZNkjr3nIVK1/view

Intelligent Community Checklist Report – City of Nebraska City, NE https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hvprkWaMIHURWCuT8LRbTp8C9bpbuYMv/view

Intelligent Community Checklist Report – City of Ashland, NE https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i5JywQh5aQaTnHShGv-70Aeb6LTHu8i5/view

 

Media Coverage

All three communities had newspaper articles encouraging participation in the trust survey. In addition, communities social media to encourage participation. A sample below:

The Ashland Gazette: Trust Survey deadline extended http://www.wahoo-ashland-waverly.com/ashland/news/trust-survey-deadline-extended/article_efd19b2a-d6b8-11e7-9619-6b8f48f253e0.html

The Ashland Gazette: Nov. 14 deadline for survey http://www.wahoo-ashland-waverly.com/ashland/news/nov-deadline-for-survey/article_7d47d1c8-c006-11e7-9628-d74e6ca47e42.htm

 

Contact: Roberto Gallardo, robertog@purdue.edu

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Assessment of and Treatment Applied to Food Addiction to Encourage Self-Management of Obesity

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017  Summary Obesity is a major health issue in the United States and is associated with increased risk of comorbidities and higher medical costs. This is particularly a concern for rural residents, who have a greater …

Research & Engagement, 2017


Summary

Obesity is a major health issue in the United States and is associated with increased risk of comorbidities and higher medical costs. This is particularly a concern for rural residents, who have a greater rate of obesity than urban residents, but are disadvantaged in obtaining care because of a shortage of health care professionals. To address this, the research team will evaluate the efficacy of using nurse practitioners to deliver interventions to patients referred to an outpatient clinic for treatment of obesity. The primary objective is to evaluate the efficacy of four interventions in obese rural patients with and without food addiction to develop effective, better-targeted interventions to help obese rural residents successfully self-manage their obesity to enable them to live healthier lives and reduce the high cost of treating the comorbidities associated with obesity.

 

Impacts

84 participants from nine different rural communities are currently enrolled in this study, which has accumulated over 1,000 volunteer hours. The team is currently working on data compilation, analyses, and manuscripts, as well as preparing another grant submission using data from this study.

 

Project Team

  • Trina Aguirre (PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing
  • Rebecca Kreman (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center

Partners

  • Martha Strickler, Regional West Physicians Clinic

 

Contact: Trina Aguirre, taguirre@unmc.edu

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Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017  Summary The critical role of entrepreneurship and small businesses in addressing many of the social (e.g., population retention) and economic challenges (e.g., lack of jobs) facing rural communities has now been well established. Consequently, there …

Research & Engagement, 2017

Summary

The critical role of entrepreneurship and small businesses in addressing many of the social (e.g., population retention) and economic challenges (e.g., lack of jobs) facing rural communities has now been well established. Consequently, there is a substantial need for educational programs that promote entrepreneurship and vocational skills for both adults and youth whose retention will be critical for rural futures. Such programs can help local business owners maintain and grow their enterprises and promote career readiness and entrepreneurship for youth. Unfortunately, most programs intended to address these goals are developed in and for larger communities and are not attuned to the unique economic environment and job outlook in smaller communities.

This project intends to analyze the unique needs of rural businesses and youth to implement a highly successful entrepreneurship program within the local context, modify as needed and disseminate via extension professionals and relevant educational entities.

Impact

The research team has successfully completed the first pilot program in the Sandhills area and implemented a portion of the program in Krakow, Poland in June 2018.

In the Sandhills, one-on-one interviews with local business owners and focus group interview with youth participants were conducted to address the goal of examining the unique needs and contexts of local businesses and rural youth with regard to business ownership, entrepreneurship, and vocational training. The research team is in the process of transcribing, coding, and analyzing the collected data.

In combination with the RFI project, “Developing A Model for Quality of Life” as well as the RFI project “Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future,” this project has earned a $490k USDA grant for high-tech youth entrepreneurship clinics. Details >>>

Project Team

  • Surin Kim, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education and Human Sciences
  • Maria Rosario de Guzman, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • Mindy Anderson-Knott, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium
  • Susan Pearman, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Jody Dexter, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Don Macke, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Monica Braun, Center for Rural Affairs
  • Lana Zumbrunn, Fuse Coworking Space
  • Dave Rippe, Hastings Economic Development Corporation
  • Matthew Hurt, Hastings Senior High School
  • Tom Field, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Carlos Estrada, Unicornable, LLC
  • Van Tran, Amazon.com, Inc

 

Publications

 

Publications

  • International Council for Small Businesses
    Youth and Young Adults Helping Local SMEs to Expand Their Markets by Solving Live Cases of Their Market Growth Challenges
    June 29, 2018 | Taipei, 
    Taiwan
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    Nurturing Rural Youth Entrepreneurs
    January 13, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    Developing a Model for Rural Youth Entrepreneurs
    January 12, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Surin Kim, surin@unl.edu

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Rural Narratives on Welcoming Communities

November 17, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2017 Summary The team will use appreciative inquiry to interview community leaders about creating welcoming communities and work with partners to develop powerful narratives, provide access to resources and disseminate best practices. Impact The team began working …

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


Summary

The team will use appreciative inquiry to interview community leaders about creating welcoming communities and work with partners to develop powerful narratives, provide access to resources and disseminate best practices.

Impact

The team began working with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s Engaging Diversity Committee to identify community leaders in Columbus. Between January and March of 2018, research team members contacted all identified potential participants and evaluated their interest in participating, ensured they met eligibility criteria, and scheduled the interview upon their agreement. 15 key informant interviews took place, with participants representing different sectors in the community, including business, education, healthcare, and social services. Once interviews and data collection were complete, the two graduate students developed a coding scheme and identified eight themes: acculturation strategies, assets of immigrants, collaborations, community development, historical development, opportunities, personal experience of migration and sense of community. Two abstracts have been accepted for poster presentation, and the team is in the process of developing a community fact sheet and report based on the study’s findings. These will be shared at an upcoming meeting with the Engaging Diversity Committee, as well as the study’s participants.

 

Project Team:

  • Athena Ramos, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Center for Reducing Health Disparities

Presentations

  • Cambio de Colores
    Rural Narratives on Welcoming Communities
    June 6-8, 2018 | Kansas City, MO

Media Coverage

Partners

  • Yesenia Peck, Nebraska Public Power District
  • Comite Latino de Schuyler
  • Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Engaging Immigrants Committee
  • Heartland Workers’ Center

 

Contact: Athena Ramos, aramos@unmc.edu

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Building Capacity for Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating the Family Health and Wellness Coalition’s Community Health Improvement Plan

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017    Summary Social, environmental and behavioral determinants of health account for 60 percent of a person’s health status. Consequently, community development can influence health and a healthy community has a significant economic impact. High rates …

Research & Engagement, 2017

 


Summary

Social, environmental and behavioral determinants of health account for 60 percent of a person’s health status. Consequently, community development can influence health and a healthy community has a significant economic impact. High rates of chronic, but mostly preventable, diseases are one of the biggest drivers of health care costs and are limiting worker productivity. The Family Health and Wellness Coalition was formed in 2015 with the focus of reducing chronic disease risk among residents of Boone, Colfax, Nance, and Platte counties. This emerging coalition is motivated yet hampered by challenges to participation, resources and other core capabilities such as planning, implementing and evaluating their work. Through this project the coalition will increase its capacity to a) assess, prioritize and plan; b) take targeted action; c) change community conditions and systems through the implementation of evidence-based interventions; and d) achieve widespread change in behavior and risk and protective factors. By the end of the project, partners will have produced a systematic community change process that can be replicated in other rural areas.

 

Impacts

The research team holds weekly video conference meetings with representatives of their partnering organizations (Columbus Community Hospital, East Central District Health Department, and the Center for Community Health and Development at Kansas University), focusing on the planning of future leadership academy workshops.

Coalition meetings and leadership academy workshops take place each month, the first of which was held in January of 2018. Meeting topics have included identifying and discussing potential targets and agents of change, social determinants of health, forming action teams, and strategic planning. In March, Roberta Miksch was hired as the new part-time coordinator of the Coalition, and in June, the Coalition website became available to all its members. A webpage for the public is currently being developed.

 

Project Team

  • Todd Bartee (PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences
  • Jerry Schultz (Co-PI), University of Kansas, Community Health and Development Work Group
  • Jennie Hill (Co-PI), University of Nebraska Medical Center

Partners

  • Family Health and Wellness Coalition, Columbus Community Hospital; East Central District
  • Community Health and Development Work Group, Kansas University
  • Nebraska Health Department

 

Contact: Todd Bartee, barteet2@unk.edu

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