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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.
2010 Project Description
The Health Education Leadership Ky project is implemented in all 120 counties of Kentucky. Programs focused on improving the quality of life for Kentuckians.
A multidisciplinary project development focused on building on the protective factors for mental health as documented through the USDA funded Mental Healthiness in Aging Project. Memory Banking is a pilot program has been developed by Family Studies and the Graduate Center for Gerontology. The 4-week program is designed to provide participant teams the knowledge and skills to work together to collect, document, and maintain life stories and health histories. Participant teams may include but are not limited to spouses, parents with adult children, grandparents and grandchildren (18+ years), siblings, friends, and caregivers. The program is valuable for promoting an active brain, quality relationships, mental healthiness and legacy building. Participants are currently being recruited from the Central Kentucky area.
Health Literacy partnerships were developed with government agencies, corporations, and other universities to improve the quality of life for Kentuckians. What's in a Doctor's Bag is a new health literacy curriculum developed for preschool/kindergarten children and their parents. The first Health Literacy Summit was held in 2009 in Kentucky, focused on developing a collaborative effort to address poor health literacy and poor health outcomes in Kentucky.
Monthly Health Bulletins are prepared monthly on timely topics for youth and adults.
Truth or Consequences, a substance abuse curriculum for middle school youth, was developed by an Family and Consumer Science Agent, in the substance abuse program.
2nd Sunday, a Built Environment for Physical Activity community program, has been held for the 2nd year involving more than 100 of Kentucky's 120 counties. Health and Wellness program impacts were reported by 78 counties.
More than 33,000 Kentuckians reported implementing personal health practices appropriate for their life cycle. Ninety-seven freshman students participated in Truth and Consequences program along conducted by50 adult volunteers. Pre-test results indicated that 32 freshman felt it was safer to get high on prescription drugs rather than illegal substances. Post-test results revealed that only nine students still responded that it was safer to get high on prescription drugs than illegal substances after participating in the event. Additionally, only six responded that sharing or selling your prescription medication is legal since your doctor prescribed them and they are your property. 100% of the students indicated that it is not okay to give away your prescriptions to a friend if they are having the same symptoms that you are having.
The Mental Health and Aging Curriculum has used in multiple community meetings. Agents report these meetings were not only for family members facing the issues with themselves or a loved one who is aging, but also open to agency personnel in professions with the responsibility to help the aging population. Agents report that as a direct result of these meetings and the curriculum 100% of those attended stated that they felt that their fears were relieved a little and that they have had some of their concerns alleviated through knowledge. Not only has there been a direct change in participant behavior, there has been a change in delivery method of education about mental health and aging.
Two counties reported having a "Healthy Aging Celebration." Partnering with the local hospital dietitian and with other community resource agencies to provide topics that would benefit the aging population. One hundred twenty-one people participated in this event and reported that the event addressed their needs and questions regarding healthy aging. A random research survey showed a significant difference in the positive responses of residents being able to support aging community members with mental health issues from counties receiving a mental healthiness intervention compared to groups of counties receiving a social media program only, and control counties receiving no intervention.
115 counties reported 30,000 participants in the annual 2nd Sunday event using 115 miles of roads and community infrastructure to bring attention to the build environment for physical activity. Nineteen (19) counties reported some form of policy change including utilizing the built environment, proposing plans for an addition to the environment (park, walking trail, etc.), grant awards, and advocating for policy change. More than $65,000 of local and corporate funds we recontributed to this effort.
One hundred and fifty organizational leaders, CEOs, and key decision makers participated in the 1st Kentucky Health Literacy Summit. The outcome was the establishment of the Health Literacy KY state coalition of university, government, corporate, and nonprofit leaders given the mandate to develop a state action plan for health literacy. HEEL has provided key leadership for this effort.