In at least 18 states around the United States, academic health science centers are partnering with cooperative extension systems to better address population health. A new report describes how these agricultural and health entities are using complementary resources to meet the health needs of local communities. The Cooperative Extension System, a program of the US Department of Agriculture in partnership with land-grant universities, is designed to help individuals and communities meet challenges in technology, nutrition and food safety, emergency response, environmental protection, and agriculture and natural resources. While the extension system is increasing its focus on health, the health sector sees extension as a model for working with local communities, including through the Primary Care Extension Program established by the Affordable Care Act. The report, from experts in cooperative extension systems and medicine in New Mexico, describes national activities as well as that state's joint efforts to provide nutrition education in community health centers, health and nutrition education for seniors, and healthy cooking demonstrations for immigrants. The authors encourage dialogue between states to identify best practices for the future of this important, multi-sector collaboration.
Agriculture and Health Sectors Collaborate in Addressing Population Health
Arthur Kaufman, MD, et al
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico