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The Collective for Health Equity and Well-Being

Cooperative Extension’s Collective for Health Equity and Well-Being is a community of Extension personnel and their partners united by their shared commitment to advancing health equity and well-being. Members work together to support the implementation of Cooperative Extension’s National Framework for Health Equity and Well-Being (2021) to ensure that all people can be as healthy as they can be.

Summary of December Lightning Presentations


On December 15, six land-grant universities shared information about current work happening at their respective institutions to advance health equity and well-being.  Summaries of these presentations are found below.

University of Missouri - Chiquita Chanay and Lisa Washburn shared information about how University of Missouri Extension is engaging various units across campus to address the health challenges of Missourians. Their Project ECHO replication is a peer-learning, knowledge network that provides a virtual, interactive platform for local practitioners to learn, connect, and collaborate with health experts.  Additionally, MU provides free mobile health screenings for high-risk comorbidities including Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

University of Wisconsin - Amber Canto discussed how Extension’s Health and Well-Being Institute is championing participatory approaches that advance health equity in Wisconsin communities. Youth Advocates for Community Health (YACH) uses a five-stage change model that positions young people as leaders of community change. Teams of youth and adults choose their battle, raise awareness of the issue, develop an action plan, implement the plan, and evaluate their efforts.

University of Kentucky - Jennifer Hunter highlighted UK’s involvement in the CDC’s High Obesity Program (HOP) focused on increasing access to healthy foods, promoting health eating, and increasing physical activity of program participants.  Strategies include both individual and systems level interventions.  Evaluation methods include focus group interviews, a longitudinal cohort survey, and program performance measures.  The HOP team partners with the landscape architecture and public health statistics teams on campus.

Clemson University - Michelle Parisi chronicled the multi-year journey to establish a robust health program within Clemson Cooperative Extension.  Signature programs include the nationally recognized Health Extension for Diabetes Program, Healthy Me/Healthy SC, and Walk SC.  Recognizing the impact of these efforts, the South Carolina legislature recently appropriated an additional 2 million to sustain and expand this work within the state.

Tennessee State University – Brione Lockett described his work at this 1890 institution to build upon current programming supported by the RWJF Well Connected Communities initiative to establish a sustainable health effort within TSU Cooperative Extension.  Current work in Denmark and East Jackson focused on providing community members with knowledge and community assets to make healthy choices regarding food and physical activity.  TSU also is also offering QPR training workshops to help trainees spot early signs of suicide risk.

Colorado State University – Sue Schneider provided an overview of how Colorado State University is deploying a new investment by the CSU System’s Board of Governors to expand engagement with rural populations.  Funding has allowed for the hiring of rural health specialists who will focus on preventive health, healthy aging, and behavioral health. Regional needs assessments will be conducted and work teams will be created to guide the work.

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