AgrAbility eNote banner
November 2009


At the Bridging Science, Practice, and Culture to Improve Health in the U.S. Virgin Islands Willard Downs presented “Let’s Talk About Arthritis” poster abstract during the 2nd Annual Health Disparities Institute. The purpose of Willard’s poster abstract was to discuss the NIDRR-funded Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (MARRTC) and USDA-funded Missouri AgrAbility Projects (MAP) curriculum and set of training materials to be used by promotores (lay health educators) in educating Hispanic migrant and seasonal farm workers about Arthritis. The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) which established the Caribbean Exploratory NCMHD Research Center for Excellence, University of the Virgin Islands, and Division of Nursing Education sponsored the conference to provide opportunities for a concerted focus on complex variables as well as the unique intersections of the island history, context, culture, demographics, socioeconomic status, and other factors that might contribute to health disparities within the islands. 

Don Schuster, Assistive Technology Coordinator for the Missouri AgrAbility Project exhibited, facilitated, and disseminated disability, health, safety, and wellness information and resource materials during several events across the state. At the “Exploring Extension Program” during the Carrollton Fall Festival, participants learned about AgrAbility Project as well as services provided to assist Missouri farmers, ranchers, farm workers and their families with disabilities.   The "disAbility Fair" sponsored by Access II ILC, in Gallatin, MO allowed participants to learn about the AgrAbility Project as well as services provided to assist Missouri farmers, ranchers, farm workers and their families with disabilities.  Don estimated that the group in Gallatin, MO included about 125 and 150 participants that came through the AgrAbility displays, took part in a puppet show regarding youth with a disability, and the food and snacks provided. 

Trisa Nickoley, ACE certified, health education and promotion graduate research assistant with the Missouri AgrAbility Project, Willard Downs, and Karen Funkenbusch continue to finalize their rural lifestyle farmer health and disability survey. The purpose of the survey is to learn more about the health and disability concerns of rural lifestyle farmers and ways to improve their quality of life. Information from the rural lifestyle farmer health survey will be used to develop educational materials and health programs to better serve the needs of this intended audience.

Karen Funkenbusch presented information about the Missouri AgrAbility Project during the AARP Drive Safely Workshop. This workshop was designed to help seniors farmers cope with the driving challenges they face as they get older. Instructors from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) taught senior farmers how to compensate for changes in vision, hearing, and reaction time; what to do if confronted with an aggressive driver; how medications may affect driving, and more. Karen shared AgrAbility information and resource materials including local agencies contract information for the University of Missouri Extension Centers, Centers for Independent Living, Rehab Services for the Blind, Department of Health and Senior Services, and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation that could be of assistance. 

Karen Funkenbusch is assisting Evan Prost, PT, BSEd, GCS, Clinical Instructor and Research Assistant for the MU Department of Physical Therapy with his problem based course. Over the next four weeks, senior-level physical therapy students will be presented with farming with arthritis (Missouri AgrAbility Project) and gardening with arthritis (Gardens for Every Body) case studies to work on as a team.

Karen Funkenbusch and Trisa Nickoley were invited guest speakers for the MU PRT 3220 - Introduction to Recreation for People with Disabilities. Sixty junior, senior, and master students learned how Missouri farmers and ranchers with disabilities are “Keeping Life in a Good Healthy Balance” by USDA-funded programs. The National AgrAbility video was showed followed by information shared about Missouri that illustrates how Missouri farmers and ranchers continue to work despite their disabilities while Trisa shared information and resource materials about physical activities, fitness, and exercise programs that are important to farmers and ranchers with disabilities.  

Russell Ramsey, “Volunteer” farmer with the Missouri AgrAbility Project disseminated AgrAbility information and resource materials to local agencies in Southeast Missouri as well as well has been spending time visiting with his local farmers and ranchers to discuss services and assistance provided by the Missouri AgrAbility Project, Farm Service Agency, and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Brad Marsh, consultant to the Missouri AgrAbility Project and Willard Downs are mentoring two student groups who are doing ASM Capstone Projects specific to the AgrAbility Project. Additional information and the specifics about the two ASM Capstone Projects will be provided in December.    

Submitted by: Karen Funkenbusch