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Health Education Leadership, KY
Vail, A., F.D. Scutchfield
Department of Human Environmental Sciences
Kentucky is near the bottom in every major health status indicator. Mortality rates from diabetes, heart disease and most cancers are among the worse in the nation. The greatest factors contributing to these above-average mortality rates are traditionally learned unhealthy behaviors concerning personal wellbeing and pervasive difficulties in accessing needed and necessary care.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in every county of Kentucky. The most recent data from 2004 suggests that it accounted for approximately 30% of deaths in the state with 371.8 per 100,000 population. Almost 40% of hospitalizations in Kentucky are due to heart attacks, stroke or other health problems associated with cardiovascular disease. Those with cardiovascular disease-related hospitalizations spent a total of 325,795 days as inpatients in Kentucky hospitals with total charges resulting in more than $860 million.
According to the United Health Foundation's state health rankings for 2007, Kentucky ranked 50th in the nation for the number of cancer deaths. Health Education Leadership KY utilizes University partnerships of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service with academic health centers at the University of Kentucky in efforts to implement health education and outreach programs to address health literacy and health behaviors that are at the core of these chronic disease problems in Kentucky Communities.
The model of building teams and partnerships between the community and campus utilizes University resources and expertise to impact the health of Kentuckians. This project translates the Extension Diffusion Model to the diffusion of health innovations within the micro unit of the family in the broader contexts of community and the public health system. Multidisciplinary teams of Extension Specialists, Academic Health Center Faculty, Extension field professionals, students, and community partners will address priority health issues utilizing a logic model approach with a conceptual ecological framework identifying the family at the center of public health system. The underlying concepts are that health-related behaviors are best understood within their relational, social, and environmental contexts.
Health Education Leadership KY will create a partnership of families, communities, Extension professionals, and University researchers to design and implement programs at the local level that will change the health status of Kentuckians utilizing the Extension diffusion model to more rapidly diffuse new research findings and programs throughout Kentucky. Success will be measured in terms of pre-test, post-test of knowledge gained, behaviors changed, increased capacity of the community to address health issues, cost benefit of the intervention, and/or social and economic impact to the local communities The project will examine the effectiveness of new health behavior interventions piloted in Kentucky and diffuse effective and successful interventions through Cooperative Extension Service Family and Consumer Science Agents located in all 120 Kentucky counties.