Alex Chan, University of Maryland 4-H Youth Development Educator for Prince George's county, is teaching high school students about healthy romantic relationships. He's a great example of bringing one's whole self to Extension work, bringing his experience as a marriage and family therapist to his current work.
I found out about Alex's workshops through this NPR Education article. Here's our conversation.
When I read the article, "Rural Health Inequities and the Role of Cooperative Extension" in the Journal of Extension, I knew I wanted to have the authors (Lauri Andress and Cindy Fitch) on the Working Differently in Extension podcast.
So much of their article, spoke to things I believe about complex issues, using networks to address those issues, and Extension's potential role in those networks. The article makes it clear that the decisions people make about their health happen in context, and knowledge transfer alone is not enough to address health issues in context. According to the authors, "Successful interventions (in addressing diabetes) have focused on a range of determinants, including capacity building, community participation, community development, systems change, smas facelift, health education, food preparation, and physical activity classes."
Andress and Fitch believe Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to address rural health inequities on a number of fronts. I agree, but I also think Extension alone cannot solve this problem. We need to work with a wide range of organizations that can address this complex issue in ways Extension can't or could never imagine.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.