Publish Date: October 14, 2020
Suggested headline: Virtual conference is taking Midwest farm safety to the world
Subhead/Introductory paragraph (displayed in large text on the site):
This year’s Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health (MRASH) Conference is pushing back on the hardships of 2020 by “Rising to New Challenges.” The four-day virtual event (November 17-20) includes live-streaming presentations from agricultural health and safety experts. We will focus on recent challenges and important risks that persist from normal farming operations. Individuals, researchers, and students from all over the world interested in farm safety and health information are invited to visit www.i-cash.org/2020-mrash to register for this event. Registration for all four days is $50, but students, farmers, health care workers, and vocational-agriculture teachers may request a code to register for free. Registration includes the live-streaming and access to pre-recorded presentations. The virtual conference will devote time to poster presentations where you can talk to the authors. The conference will also host an online expo to talk to vendors and advocacy organizations. We have worked yoga breaks into the agenda to minimize Zoom overload.
Produced by the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health
Story: Jenn Patterson, Communications Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org; 319-594-2704)
Photography: Jenn Patterson
“MRASH gets better every year, and we are looking forward to this year’s virtual conference. We have taken the best features from many virtual conferences our team has participated in this year to take advantage of the interactive nature of this medium. We look forward to spreading the MRASH conference out over four mornings in November,” said Renée Anthony, director of the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH). The GPCAH is co-sponsoring MRASH along with Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health. “This year’s agenda brings together experts on diverse topics to discuss how to protect workers from a broad range of risks factors that farmers face.”
Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH, MBA, Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and former Assistant Surgeon General, will be the set the tone for MRASH with, “Emerging Zoonotic Diseases Impacting Agriculture: What Comes After COVID-19?”
Panel presenters are excited to share information with MRASH participants on how they have been able to continue effective and safe outreach to agricultural workers, their families, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to University of Nebraska’s CS-CASH program director, Ellen Duysen. “Many innovative training and education methods have been successfully employed along with a lot of lessons learned,” she said.
University of Iowa Professor of Community and Behavioral Health Rima Afifi, PhD, will pull together the conference with her capstone presentation entitled, “The Science of Communicating Effectively for Behavior Change.” This talk combines practical lessons from Dr. Afifi’s behavioral health research and practice that intersects mental health, refugee and immigrant wellbeing, tobacco control, and intervention evaluation.
The MRASH planning committee hopes that this online format makes it easier for those interested in farmer health and safety to attend. Last year’s two-day meeting in Marshalltown had 112 in attendance. Since we are going virtual, we have opened up free registration for students, farmers, and health care workers to bring additional safety and health advocates into the discussion. “Building a strong network is such an important part of what MRASH does. We are working hard to find new and creative ways to do that online this year,” said Gayle Olson, Assistant to the Director of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health.
Ammonia safety demonstration, MRASH 2018
Health and safety resources exhibition, MRASH 2019
Iowa Public Health Dept. exhibit, MRASH 2018
Potential pull quote(s):
“Building a strong network is such an important part of what MRASH does, and we are working hard to find new and creative ways to do that online this year,” said Gayle Olson, Assistant to the Director of Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health.
In 1990, the Iowa State Legislature identified a need for a statewide center addressing concerns in agricultural safety and health. Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health came out of that legislative session and continues to be one of the only mandated, state-funded centers for agricultural safety and health in the country.
Designated as a collaborative effort between four Iowa institutions: The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, I-CASH works to improve the health and safety of the agricultural population by developing statewide prevention and educational initiatives.
Although there have been many structural and technological changes in Iowa’s agriculture, farm-related injuries and fatalities remain higher than those in other industries. https://icash.public-health.uiowa.edu/about-us/
Public Health, Farmers, Farm Bureau, Extension, Ag-related media (written, news, and radio); State Rural Health Associations; Mental Health advocacy networks; community college networks