AgrAbility eNote banner
April 2014


Missouri farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and livestock handlers with upper-limb and lower-limb amputations participated in the NIDRR prostheses survey, Assessing and Responding to the Prosthetics Needs of Farmers and Ranchers, conducted by Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center. The purpose of the survey was to determine how prosthetic components used (or rejected) by farmers and ranchers can be improved to better serve these individuals.

Missouri as an affiliate state-level AgrAbility project facilitated several outreach activities and educational programs during the month of March. For example, Extension and non-profit AgrAbility staff members participated in several National AgrAbility meetings: back impairment resource working group, all-staff call/web meeting, and the Arthritis COI.

Staff from the Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP) continued to partner with the MO AgrAbility Project. The ISFOP is part of Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE), created to help the small farmers and ranchers of Missouri, especially those who are socially disadvantaged and under-served, to raise the level of efficiency on their farms while taking good care of the soil, water, and environment. A vast body of resources is available from universities, government agencies, and all sorts of organizations for small farmers. Many of the small farmers and ranchers are unaware of the information or opportunities that are available to them. As such, ISFOP makes farmers aware and assists them in accessing these resources so that they may improve their farms and farming operations, which in turn will improve their overall well-being. The information provided by ISFOP to small farmers will help them adapt to a rapidly changing economy. They work in partnership with University of Missouri Extension (UME), other USDA and state agencies, and non-governmental organizations to provide research-based information on various farm topics to help farmers lower input costs, improve farming skills, increase yields/productions, improve record keeping systems, try new enterprises, find niche markets, improve marketing skills, and add value to the harvest/products. Contact Dr. K. B. Paul, ISOFP Program Leader, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension at 573.681.5584 or

Pharmacy students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Pharmacy on the Columbia campus provided health, wellness, and quality life of outreach activities and the safe use of medications educational programs to farmers and ranchers with disabilities and their caregivers. Also, Dr. Cochran will share information about Onsite Farmstead Medication Assessments to Prevent Injury and Improve Safe Medication Use at the 2014 National AgrAbility Training Workshop in Lexington, KY.

To assist Missouri family caregivers and veterans, Extension AgrAbility staff members participated in A Family Member's Guide to Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) webinar presented by Dr. Timothy Elliott who discussed how professionals can work with family caregivers on coping with service members who have TBI. Living with a wounded warrior who has had a TBI can be overwhelming to families. Participants learned that not only do caregivers assist with medical appointments, multiple therapy sessions, and maintaining medications, but they are also having to deal with other aspects specific to TBI survivors such as behavioral changes. For professionals working with this unique audience, it is important to assist family caregivers though this process and to provide them with basic coping strategies to help them and their warriors succeed in the road to recovery.

Extension AgrAbility staff members also participated in the Army OneSource Resource Center web event on serving the military population: Funding Opportunities for Agencies Serving Military Populations. This free web event was designed to provide information on current funding opportunities for state and community-based agencies and congregations serving service members, veterans, and their families. Participants learned about outlines for funding opportunities, funding criteria, deadlines, key funder interests, and processes to submitting grant applications.

AgrAbility staff members Maureen Cunningham, director, Brain Injury Association of Missouri; Jon Sabala, veteran services director, Department of Mental Health; and Karen Funkenbusch, MU Extension, participated in the monthly MOBHA Alliance teleconference. The mission of the MOBHA is to make effective, culturally sensitive behavioral health services accessible to service members, veterans, and their families by establishing strategies to raise awareness, increase availability, improve communication, and promote prevention. Alliance members include Army OneSource, Missouri Veterans Commission, Missouri AgrAbility Project, Missouri National Guard, Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations, Brain Injury Association of Missouri, Missouri Coalition of Mental Health Centers, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Mental Health, Truman Medical Center Office of Psychological Services, and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

BIA-MO Brain Injury Awareness Day was celebrated on Tuesday, March 25 at the Missouri State Capitol, House Hearing Room 2. Survivors shared personal stories to educate elected officials about the availability of services and the prevention of brain injury.

Several BIA-MO Sports Concussions: Facts, Fallacies and New Frontiers educational seminars also took place during the month of March. On March 22 in Springfield, MO this session covered concussion signs and symptoms, identification, recovery, and the risks of sports-related concussions. A Concussion Management: The Team Plan was also presented on March 24 by Joseph Waeckerle, MD, FACEP, author of Concussion Management: the Team Plan, in rural Anderson, MO. This is an in-depth discussion about the role of each element of concussion management from prevention through recovery. The Team Plan Units are family, school, athletic, medical, and community. To learn more about these events call Maureen Cunningham at the Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA MO) at 800.444.6443 or check out their advocacy page on the BIA MO website.

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch