Extension's National Framework for Health Equity

Health Extension Comes of Age

Cooperative Extension’s National Framework for Health and Wellness (2014) greatly accelerated health ’s rise to prominence as a priority for Cooperative Extension. More specifically, a review of literature revealed numerous examples of how the framework has raised awareness of key concepts of public health practice and healthcare within the organization including the influence of social systems on human health, the triple bottom line in healthcare, and the notion of building a culture of health (Andress & Fitch, 2016; Parisi et al., 2018; Rodgers & Braun, 2015; Smathers & Lobb, 2017). Particularly noteworthy was a special issue of the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension published in 2018 devoted exclusively to programming and scholarship emanating from implementation of the framework. The framework also sparked an increased focus on six programmatic priorities identified in the original document.

Extension Engagement with the Health Care Community

Several published works also emphasized the importance of Cooperative Extension establishing closer working relationships with the health care community. New models of health extension (Dwyer et al., 2017; Kaufman et al., 2017) advanced innovative strategies for Extension to partner with academic medical centers and primary care providers. It was pointed out in these articles that Cooperative Extension has a wealth of research-based programs that can help patients implement recommendations of physicians and other healthcare practitioners. Such programs can increase self-efficacy, help people improve their self- management of chronic conditions, and enhance the daily lives of adults as they age. Another study suggested a need to grow familiarity and understanding of Cooperative Extension among practicing physicians and allied healthcare providers (Khan et al., 2020) to facilitate future clinical practice-community connections.

Engagement with Clinical and Transformational Science

The literature review also revealed a growing interest across Cooperative Extension in working with the institutions that receive Clinical and Translational Science Awards (Gutter et al., 2020; Savaiano et al.,

2017) to assist scientists in speeding up treatment innovations to reach patients sooner. Through such engagement, Cooperative Extension can leverage existing connections with academic health centers to establish new private and public partnerships for addressing large-scale national public health issues together (Rafie et al., 2019).

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Clinical and Translational Awards Program

New revenue for Cooperative Extension also looks promising as community-based programs become eligible to receive third-party reimbursement for health education (Contreras & Anderson, 2020). But Koukel et al., (2018) suggested that professional development and training for Cooperative Extension staff on clinical and translational science might be needed before the benefit of these partnerships can be realized.


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