Statement of Purpose Extension Educators within Cooperative Extension Offices are a promising partner in extending the reach of injury and violence prevention programs to rural areas, but they have been underutilized for public health efforts. Cooperative Extension is a partnership of the US Department of Agriculture, land-grant universities, and local extension offices. Translating academic research into community-based health education is central to its mission. The purpose of this study is to inform future partnerships with Extension Educators by understanding their current practices, assessing partnership feasibility, and identifying potential barriers and facilitators.
Methods/Approach We conducted qualitative interviews with 10 Extension Educators in rural Indiana counties. Guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, the interviews focused on characteristics of individual, Extension Office, and community factors that may influence future partnerships and chosen interventions.
Results Overall, Extension Educators were enthusiastic about many aspects of partnerships with injury and violence researchers, including access to evidence-based programs, partnerships with new areas of health, and opportunities to collaborate on funded projects. However, many viewed unintentional injury outcomes as a low priority in their communities.
Conclusion Although Extension Educators are uniquely positioned to increase the reach of injury and violence prevention efforts to rural areas, partnership efforts may be challenged by limited awareness of the impact of these outcomes in their local communities.
Significance Although many injury and violence outcomes disproportionately impact rural communities, Extension Educators were less enthusiastic about these health outcomes compared with chronic disease. Education about the impact of injuries and violence on community health may be a critical step to developing partnerships.
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