Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Appendix 2: Invitation to Forum Attendees from the Dean of the Col lege of Agr iculture and Natural Resources and the Associate Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension, 2018/2019

Join us for the first Health and Farm Vitality Forum in September 2018

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and its partners are inviting those with a stake in assuring healthy farm families and prosperous farms in Delaware to the state's first Health and Farm Vitality Forum , September 20, 2018, 9am-3:30pm at the Duncan Center in Dover. Results of a 2017 USDA-funded study highlighted issues that are affecting the health and well- being of the farming population. These issues are also pertinent to farming families in Delaware. The study reported that among farmers: • 64 percent reported having pre-existing health conditions and were not confident they could pay the costs of a major illness or injury • 45 percent were concerned that they would have to sell some or all their farm to address health-related costs • 73 percent report that health insurance is an important risk management strategy • 72 percent carried secondary off-farm jobs for health insurance and financial stability • 48 percent didn’t think they had enough information to make decisions Also, the increased use of opioids to handle pain and the uptick in suicides among farming families and supporting professions, such as veterinarians, raise additional concerns and contribute to heightened stress among the farming population. Focusing on the health and overall well- being of Delaware’ s farming community is a critical and timely dimension of the broader efforts in Delaware to drive comprehensive, systemic health care transformation to achieve better care, healthier populations, lower cost and spending, and a better provider and patient experience. Delaware’s agricultural community is a unique and vital part of the state’s economy, culture, and history. It is also a population faced with increased issues regarding access to health care - geographic and financial access – and the resulting consequences that are associated with lack of access to care. These issues affect not only this special population, but also the viability of farm operations, and the overall health of the State. Also, the farming community is asking for guidance and education to achieve better access to care and overall better health. They are calling us to action, and we are responding to that call by initiating a dialogue among invested parties to better understand the meaning of the study’s findings and the applicability to Delaware, all toward fostering greater communication, and community partnering and sharing of resources to drive concerted actions to improve the health of the farm community and to ensure the viability of Delaware’s farms. The Health and Farm Vitality Forum will bring interested and invested parties together to develop a greater understanding of the issues, increase connections across diverse but interested, parties in the public/private sectors and enable the achievement of significant short and long-term outcomes that will impact the priority issues affecting the health and vitality of the farming community and businesses.

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