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April 2015


Karen Funkenbusch attended the quarterly Missouri Arthritis Advisory (MAAB) Board meeting. Arthritis Board members and collaborative partners discussed Missouri's action strategies to help prevent chronic diseases. Participants received an update from Casey Hannan, Chief, Arthritis, Epilepsy, and Well Being Branch from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about the Arthritis Foundation program transition. Board Members and collaborative partners provided programmatic highlights.

Karen Funkenbusch and Cody Waters, a military war veteran, presented to the Wellsville-Middletown Beginning Farmers about the Missouri AgrAbility Program. Twenty beginning farmers, including 10 veterans, asked questions and were provided helpful resources, practical funding sources, and support information for beginning farmers during this two and half hour session. Karen discussed:

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch

Karen Funkenbusch and Sherry Nelson, Missouri AgrAbility Project staff, presented a workshop session on the Missouri and National AgrAbility Project to social workers at the 2015 Symposium for National Association of Social Workers - Missouri Chapter (NASW-MO). This workshop was held on March 22 at the Lake of the Ozarks, MO. Social Workers are often involved in medical, rural health care, and discharge planning as well as interacting with farm/rural populations and veterans in many venues. This group of professionals offers another opportunity to be able to reach our target populations.

The workshop informed members of the social work profession about:

Feedback from the audience indicated they felt it was one of the best and most informative sessions at the conference. They indicated that the information they received would have an impact on their practice and the clients they serve. Several participants indicated they felt they would be able to utilize this information with some of their existing clients immediately.

MO AgrAbility has been asked to present again at the 2015 fall NASW-MO conference and to offer stand-alone Continuing Education workshops. They also received several requests for information from participants regarding Beginning Farmers and AgrAbility Resources. Additionally, there were two social work practitioners for whom we are providing information regarding the Kansas AgrAbility Project. Involving social workers in the network of service providers needs to be considered as a best practice to more fully serve AgrAbility's clientele.

Submitted by Sherry Nelson

Joseph Brajdich, Farm Worker Evaluator and Coordinator, Assistive Technology Services, presented at the 2015 Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO) Survivor and Family Regional Seminar in Springfield, MO on March 21, 2015. One hundred survivors of brain injury and their family members attended this regional seminar. Joseph participated in the Ask the Specialists panel alongside a licensed Christian counselor, social worker, vocational rehabilitation counselor and physical therapist. During this one hour session, attendees asked questions and were provided with helpful information, practical suggestions, and support for life with brain injury. Springfield, Missouri, is a unique area that mixes urban and rural, bringing together many diverse people to support one another in adjusting to life following a brain injury. Joseph discussed:

Several attendees were not aware of the program prior to the seminar but found the informational materials such as the "Emergency Preparedness Guide" to be particularly useful. Some attendees also expressed an interest in customized services offered by AgrAbility as it related to their agricultural occupations. The MAP collaboratively works with the BIA-MO as our non-profit disability organization.

Submitted by Joseph Brajdich

March is Brain Injury Month and was featured in Missouri with the Brain Injury Fact of the Day. This media campaign was a huge success with 222 radio spots on three stations with rural Missouri coverage. The Brain Injury Fact of the Day statements were added to the Brain Injury Association (BIA)-MO website ( daily along with additional information and links to resources, including AgrAbility. The Brain Injury Facts focused on brain injury in rural communities, veterans and brain injury in general.

In addition, two radio interviews about the Brain Injury Fact of the Day and AgrAbility were conducted in eastern and central Missouri during March 2015.

The result was an increase in phone calls with at least 12 in direct response to the media outreach. There was also a significant increase in visits to the BIA-MO website and it is anticipated that the increased awareness will influence individuals to contact BIA-MO and AgrAbility in the future.

The BIA-MO Survivor and Family Seminar was held in Springfield, Missouri, on March 21. Nearly 100 individuals throughout rural southwest Missouri attended this seminar which featured an "Ask the Specialists" panel that featured Joseph Brajdich with the Missouri AgrAbility Project. In addition, BIA-MO and AgrAbility exhibit tables shared information.

Maureen Cunningham with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri shared information about AgrAbility with military personnel, including officers, as well as veterans organization representatives at two events in March 2015. These events included a meeting of the Regional Alliance for the Troops (R.A.F.T.T.) and a Traumatic Brain Injury Symposium at Fort Leonard Wood.

Submitted by Maureen Cunningham

Kent Faddis, Sr. Marketing and Communications Coordinator, MU Extension Marketing, Linda Geist, MU Extension Communications Senior Information Specialist, and Latisha Hickem, MU student editor, received the Association for Communication Excellence bronze award for the AgrAbility "Back in the Saddle" video news story. The ACE Critique and Awards (C&A) program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills. ACE is an international association of communicators, educators and information technologists. The organization offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences.