Ohio AgrAbility is excited about a new pro-disability hiring initiative between The Ohio State University and Opportunities for Ohioan's with Disabilities (OOD - state Vocational Rehabilitation agency). OOD counselor Lucy Muchmore is embedded in the human resources office at Ohio State, and acts as an advocate for OOD clients who are seeking employment. Ohio AgrAbility staff met with Lucy and her supervisor to promote AgrAbility, explore ways they can work together, and support OAP/OOD clients. Lucy is the only OOD employee to be embedded at any Ohio university, and is hoping her experience at OSU will encourage other Ohio colleges to host OOD staff, and increase hiring people with disabilities. Lucy and her supervisor were very interested in the work OAP does, and were interested in the trainings OAP has developed for OOD and other disability professionals. OAP staff are excited about the opportunity to further develop the working relationship between OOD and Ohio AgrAbility, and ODS's HR department.
Ohio has been hit hard by the opioid and substance abuse crisis, and has one of the highest death-by-overdose rates in the country. OAP Disability Services Coordinator Laura Akgerman is a member of the OSU Extension Opioid Crisis Working Group, which gathers information and resources, then develops training and educational resources for Extension educators and community leaders. Laura is working on a community action plan to create opportunities to present information about opioid abuse and resources to AgrAbility clients, state and regional agencies that serve people with disabilities, and the agricultural community. She is also researching how information about substance abuse is presented in rural communities, and whether including health fair activities at agricultural events would increase knowledge and reduce stigma about substance abuse and addiction in rural communities.
OSU Extension, Ohio 4-H Health Heroes, and the OSU College of Pharmacy have created an interactive medicine cabinet exhibit, which will debut at the Ohio State Fair this summer. The medicine cabinet is intended to make people think about what is in their medicine cabinet and who has access to it. The idea for the medicine cabinet was developed with the Ohio 4-H Health Heroes, a group of teens from around the state who are advocating for health-related issues in their community. They hope that their medicine cabinet will be a model for others to create their own medicine cabinet displays and raise awareness of this issue in their communities.
Submitted by Laura Akgerman