February 2008 // Volume 46 // Number 1
JOE by the Numbers 2007
In JOE by the Numbers I report on the 2007 submission and readership rates, and announce JOE's current acceptance rate. I also call your attention yet again to one of the most interesting features of the JOE site, the Top 50 Most Read Articles lists. In February JOE I cite five excellent articles and mention the topics discussed in many more.
Building Extension's Capacity Through Knowledge of Global Aging Issues
A willingness to explore the global stage can improve and embellish Extension program development, implementation, and evaluation methods. Understanding various models of aging from around the world builds capacity and invites the cultivation of innovative responses in local communities. China is instructive to those interested in expanding their perspectives of older adult programming due to its large population, aging society, culture, and political reforms. Insight into Chinese efforts and the possible applicability of that response to Extension programming is shared through observations from the Seminar in Aging conducted by the American Society on Aging in Beijing in May 2007.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Building Extension's Capacity Through Knowledge of Global Aging Issues
USDA CSREES' Role in Broadening Support for an Aging Nation
The aging of America is of major public concern and has far-reaching implications for the nation and for rural communities. In particular, older Americans in rural areas face a wide array of challenges that negatively affect their health and quality of life. Working with its land-grant university and the Cooperative Extension System partners, USDA CSREES is strategically directed and uniquely positioned to address many of these challenges through effective research, education, and Extension activities.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "USDA CSREES' Role in Broadening Support for an Aging Nation
Meeting the Needs of Rural Caregivers: The Development and Evaluation of an Alzheimer's Caregiving Series
Caregiving for a chronically ill person is challenging. On a daily basis, managing chronic illness requires balancing illness needs with day-to-day tasks. Informal caregivers such as friends and family members often disregard their own health needs, focusing on the loved one for whom they are caring. Additionally, caregivers generally begin caregiving without any information or training. To meet the needs of caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, Family and Consumer Science specialists developed a 5-week caregiving series. Evaluation data found that the caregivers gained more knowledge about caregiving and felt more comfortable in their caregiving roles after participating in the series.
Research-Based Outreach: Albert Bandura's Model
Knowledge based on research is the most distinctive resource that universities have to share. The traditional approach has been simply communicating the results of research. The psychologist Albert Bandura has participated in a far more sophisticated and efficacious form of outreach in which his pathbreaking research on influencing human behavior is reinforced by multi-disciplinary and multi-investigator research in aid of writers, actors, and communication specialists. Research identifies critical issues and illuminates the causes and conditions surrounding them, guides the planning of responses, and tests their efficacy. Research-based outreach requires the theoretical and methodological tools of a multi-disciplinary team.
Now Is the Time for Change: Reframing Diversity Planning at Land-Grant Universities
Using policy discourse analysis, the author analyzed 21 diversity action plans issued at 20 U.S. land-grant universities over a 5-year period to identify images of diversity and the problems and solutions represented in these documents. Dominant discourses of access, disadvantage, the marketplace, and democracy were most prominent in conveying images of diverse individuals. These discourses shape individuals' ways of thinking and acting, meaning these discursive practices produce (at times competing) possibilities and constrain, even conceal, alternatives. These findings are discussed and recommendations are delineated for how Extension personnel might reframe diversity efforts.
Relax! It's Just a Dandelion: Perceived Benefits and Barriers to Urban Integrated Pest Management
Pesticide misuse in urban gardens contributes to pollution of lakes and rivers, ill health of humans and other organisms, and disruptions of ecological balances. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been successfully used in agriculture for over 20 years, but its adoption by landscaping professionals has been slow. The 2-year project described here undertook baseline research into attitudes about IPM in the Lake Monona watershed, Wisconsin. Resulting data led to a social marketing strategy including prototype materials to assist professional landscapers in discussing IPM with clients. Materials were piloted on a Web site <http://www.askaboutipm.info> and with watershed groups.
Assessment of Producer Implementation of Pork Quality Assurance Good Production Practices
The study reported here was undertaken to measure the implementation rate of best management practices recommended by the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program. Data were collected via face-to-face interviews and observations with 78 pork producers in four states. The level of compliance regarding physical activities required by the PQA program was about 88%. But only about 48% of producers maintain adequate continuing education and documentation of production practices. We conclude that a sizable majority of producers perform the physical tasks needed to produce wholesome pork, but there are opportunities for improvement in regard to documentation of medication administration.
Improving the Reputation of Cooperative Extension as a Source of Prevention Education for Youth and Families: The Effects of the PROSPER Model
Has the reputation of the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) changed over time as a result of its involvement in PROSPER, a community-based partnership designed to provide evidence-based prevention education programs? With deficits facing federal and state governments, budget cuts continue to threaten the viability and growth of CES. Moreover, changing legislative priorities make it easy for CES youth and family programs to be forgotten by policy makers. Thus, increasing the positive reputation of CES as an important and effective force in making the lives of youth and families better is essential for growing CES's stakeholder advocate base.
The Earned Income Tax Credit: Experiences from and Implications of the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program in Georgia
The study reported here used data collected from participants in a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to better understand how families anticipated using their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refunds and their use of direct deposit. Data were collected over 3 years. The most common use for a refund by participants was paying bills or debts. One-third of participants planned to use their refund for savings or asset accumulation. Direct deposit participation was not significantly associated with using the EITC refund for savings or asset accumulation, with the exception of one asset, which was a house.
Research in Brief
Determining the Needs of American Indian Audiences for Cooperative Extension Programs
American Indians have been in North America for centuries. However, there is limited Cooperative Extension programming on American Indian Reservations due to limited funding and lack of knowledge of the population by Cooperative Extension. The study reported here on the Walker River Indian Reservation in Nevada sought to identify the demographic characteristics, risk factors, and community concerns of the population in order to develop Cooperative Extension programs that address quality of life on the reservation. Similar efforts are recommended for other Cooperative Extension workers responsible for American Indian and other indigenous populations in the United States and around the world.
Public Perceptions on the Ideal Balance between Natural Resource Protection and Use in the Western USA
Attitudes of Western residents of the USA toward natural resources have been changing due to changes in demographics and rapid population growth in the region. The objective of the study reported here was to determine how residents in 15 Western states view the balance between natural resource exploitation and protection. In general, natural resource protection was more important than resource use for people having the following demographic characteristics: (1) female, (2) younger than 60, (3) more formally educated, and (4) residing in communities larger than 25,000.
Designing a Bone Health and Soy Focus Group Discussion Guide Based on the Health Belief Model
Focus groups were used to assess the knowledge and skills of women in order to support curricula development. The Health Belief Model was applied to the discussion guide to enhance focus group findings and applications. Constructs related to perceived susceptibility, severity, benefits, and barriers; cues to action; and self-efficacy were probed. Focus group findings revealed that women may have a limited understanding of osteoporosis risk. Perceived barriers such as negative perceptions to soy consumption were also noted. Cues to action were identified and integrated. Basing focus group discussion guides on model constructs may enhance focus group results and their applications.
Pots, Pans, and Kitchen Equipment: Do Low-Income Clients Have Adequate Tools for Cooking?
The survey reported here described and summarized the kitchen equipment and tools present in low-income homes and summarized interests for nutrition education and recipes. Food Stamp applicants in three Oklahoma counties (rural, suburban, and urban) completed a pictorial survey of 24 household items related to cooking and answered questions about nutrition education. Over 97% homes surveyed had adequate equipment for cooking. Respondents were willing to spend 30 or more minutes preparing food and wanted help with planning meals and food budgets. Most desired recipes were for meats, vegetables, and casseroles. Forty-six percent of respondents used the Internet.
State 4-H Council: A Look Back on What It Meant to Serve
An ex-post facto evaluation design was implemented to Texas 4-H Council Members from 1987-2006 to seek the perceived impact of life skill development as a result of serving on council. Former Texas 4-H Council members (n = 38) noted that the life skills that were enhanced the most from serving on the council were: development of oral communication skills, ability to relate to others, working in teams, and building self-esteem. In summary, data presented in this article indicate that Texas 4-H Council is an excellent promoter of youth through various aspects of youth development.
Understanding Basis Risk Associated with Fed Cattle Livestock Risk Protection Insurance
The research reported here identified factors explaining variability in weekly fed cattle Livestock Protection Insurance (LRP) basis for five cattle feeding regions in the United States. A Seemingly Unrelated Regressions (SUR) system of five futures and five LRP basis equations was estimated using weekly data from 1995 to 2004. Results indicated that market fundamentals, including the Choice-to-Select spread, slaughter level, corn price, and cattle imports, were significant determinants of both futures and LRP basis variability. Results have implications for cattle feeders and Extension educators who forecast LRP basis for hedging purposes.
Ideas at Work
Eat Smart. Play Hard™ San Luis Obispo: A Nutrition and Fitness Pilot Program for Young Children and Their Adult Buddies
Eat Smart. Play Hard™. San Luis Obispo!, a multi-component primary prevention program targeting low-income, Hispanic children 6-8 years, focuses on promoting healthy dietary and physical activity behaviors using an innovative child-adult buddy system approach. The child-adult buddies participate in multiple activities to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and level of physical activity and decrease their consumption of sweetened beverages. The results of the pilot program show high program satisfaction and improvements in dietary and physical activity behaviors. Such programs provide an opportunity to establish and promote healthy behaviors among young children and ultimately prevent overweight development.
Families and Community Partners Learning Together to Prevent Obesity
Reducing adult and childhood obesity is a shared community responsibility. Extension professionals can play an important role in developing collaborative, interdisciplinary partnerships with multiple community members to help reduce obesity and related chronic disease that disproportionately affect people with limited resources. This article describes how community partners learned to work together in implementing a family intervention pilot program in a low-income urban population at high risk for obesity and related chronic disease. Healthy Weigh/El camino saludable, a successful community-campus partnership, helps families learn to adopt healthy eating and physical activity patterns.
Connecting Local Food Systems to Youth
Youth with few farming experiences have little understanding of where foods originate. The camp objective was to provide an opportunity for youth to understand food systems and associated jobs. The Food Products workshop focused around trail mix production. Town maps were drawn for each ingredient starting with the farm, then adding processing businesses, and ending with the consumer. Participants wrote down the jobs involved at each step of the food system and reported to their peers after receiving training. Benefits from the program included a better understanding of food systems in communities and agricultural careers and development of life skills.
Strengthening 4-H Youth Consumer Decision-Making Skills: Contest to Community Service
The University of Minnesota Extension 4-H Consumer Decision Making program strengthens youth consumer decision-making skills by connecting the contest to service learning. The program uses experiential learning to teach youth to make wise consumer decisions. Youth participate in a judging contest where they rank consumer items based on criteria. Youth gain experience in organizing thoughts and defending decisions with oral reasons. Youth also participate in a "group process" activity where they gain experience with decision making as a team member. Participants are also involved in an educational activity with a community service-learning component that allows more in-depth learning.
Building Community Support for a County-Wide Trail and Green Space Plan
The article describes how one rural community responded to citizen requests to develop a plan for the creation of a countywide parks department and additional recreational opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and equestrian use. Rails to Trails Conservancy data indicate the positive outcomes, related to both economic and community development, as a result of trails and green space. Throughout the planning process, this community has come together to discuss these issues, identified projects, and set in motion a group of volunteers to carry out the plan.
Re-Homing Exotic Species--A Pilot Program to Prevent Release of Exotic Aquatic Pet Species
An educational poster program designed to inform pet owners of the dangers of releasing exotic species and provide a re-homing mechanism was evaluated as a means to reduce unwanted environmental releases. The poster provided a URL to the program partners' Web site, which listed participating re-homing pet shops in Maryland. Survey results revealed that 201 aquatic animals were re-homed.1 Survey respondents rated the poster at 94% and 92% percent for educating consumers of the potential of re-homing and benefits to the pet industry, respectively. The program provides a proactive opportunity and alternative to environmental release of exotic species.
Comment Coordinators: Connecting Stakeholders and Regulatory Agencies
The Western Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center uses a new approach to provide effective and timely stakeholder input to USDA and EPA regarding pesticide use. The Western IPM Center has funded two positions, termed "Comment Coordinators," to gather regional information to address use questions that arise as pesticides undergo re-registration review. Through this process, growers and Extension agents also become aware of potential issues with their crop-protection tools. Providing a voice for stakeholders within regulatory agencies strengthens existing Extension efforts. The concept of a dedicated interface between stakeholders and regulators is valuable in situations where stakeholder input is desired.
Tools of the Trade
With One Stroke of the Pen: How Can Extension Professionals Involve Developers and Policymakers in Creating Sustainable Communities?
Residential developments have a huge impact on natural resources, and sustainable or "green" communities are beginning to be built throughout the United States. Ultimately, with one stroke of a pen, developers, planners, and policymakers determine how a community will look and feel for many years to come. To interface with this non-traditional audience, we have created a new program called the Program for Resource Efficient Communities (PREC <http://energy.ufl.edu>) at the University of Florida. Through our experiences, we discuss the importance of partnering with developers, planners, and policymakers, and techniques to create resource-efficient communities.
Key Facts and Key Resources for Program Evaluation
Extension educators have been more and more involved in program evaluation. This article gives some tips on different ways to create evaluation, which formats are best, how to ask questions, and how to communicate the results to the stakeholders. This article indicates also several helpful resources to learn more about program evaluation.
A User-Friendly Evaluation Resource Kit for Extension Agents Delivering Financial Education Programs
Inadequate evaluation tools and limited evaluation capacity prevent many Extension agents from effectively assessing program impact. A user-friendly and reliable resource kit is now available to help agents evaluate their financial education programs. This resource kit has an online evaluation manual and a database. The manual is available to help educators understand basic evaluation concepts and learn how to use the database. The database is available to help agents design customized evaluation instruments based on their specific program needs. A reliable evaluation instrument can be created within about 10 minutes.
Calculating the Economic Impact of Health Education Programs: Five Tools for Extension Educators
Evaluation of Extension health/wellness programming often focuses on positive changes in participants' health practices and changed health status. Increasingly, stakeholders and funders are also requesting analyses of the economic impact of health education programs. In an era of heightened accountability, there is also pressure to compare program costs and benefits. Unlike financial management programs that have built-in economic indicators, health education program impacts must often be calculated indirectly. This article describes five methods to quantify the economic impact of health education programs: participant surveys, time value of money analyses, extrapolation from published cost estimates, cost-benefit analyses, and return on investment.
Food Safety Education as a Risk Management Strategy
What would the consequences be if food at an Extension event caused a food borne illness outbreak? Programs and activities involving the service or preparation of food are common in Extension programs and provide inherent risks that, if not managed, could lead to potential financial loss or harm to people, property, or organizational goodwill. Ohio State University Extension has taken a proactive approach to food safety risk management by adopted Food Preparation/Service Policy and Procedures, requiring training, using The Original Safe Food Handling for Occasional Quantity Cooks curriculum, for all Extension staff and volunteers involved with food programs or events.
Facilitating Best Practices When Youth Aren't Displaying Their Best Behavior
Behavior and discipline problems in schools and other settings serving youth continue to concern educators, counselors, parents, government, and law enforcement. This article highlights specific behavior management strategies that can be employed by a wide range of professionals who work with youth.
Mobilizing Extension for Youth Suicide Prevention Using the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Program
From 2000 to 2004 (the latest year for available data), the number of 11-19 year olds taking their own lives across the U.S was equivalent to five suicides each and every day. While youth suicide prevention has not been a traditional purview of Extension, Extension has a unique and powerful opportunity to help prevent youth suicides by working with schools to implement an evidenced-based program called the "Signs of Suicide" (SOS) program. While school counselors, nurses, and/or social workers present the actual SOS program to students, Extension specialists and agents can help schools facilitate SOS program planning and implementation.