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Cooperative Extension as a Framework for Health Extension: The Michigan State University Model

Dwyer, Jeffrey W. PhD; Contreras, Dawn PhD; Eschbach, Cheryl L. PhD; Tiret, Holly MA Ed; Newkirk, Cathy MS; Carter, Erin MS; Cronk, Linda MA

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001640
Innovation Reports

Problem: The Affordable Care Act charged the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to create the Primary Care Extension Program, but did not fund this effort. The idea to work through health extension agents to support health care delivery systems was based on the nationally known Cooperative Extension System (CES). Instead of creating new infrastructure in health care, the CES is an ideal vehicle for increasing health-related research and primary care delivery.

Approach: The CES, a long-standing component of the land-grant university system, features a sustained infrastructure for providing education to communities. The Michigan State University (MSU) Model of Health Extension offers another means of developing a National Primary Care Extension Program that is replicable in part because of the presence of the CES throughout the United States. A partnership between the MSU College of Human Medicine and MSU Extension formed in 2014, emphasizing the promotion and support of human health research. The MSU Model of Health Extension includes the following strategies: building partnerships, preparing MSU Extension educators for participation in research, increasing primary care patient referrals and enrollment in health programs, and exploring innovative funding.

Outcomes: Since the formation of the MSU Model of Health Extension, researchers and extension professionals have made 200+ connections, and grants have afforded savings in salary costs.

Next Steps: The MSU College of Human Medicine and MSU Extension partnership can serve as a model to promote health partnerships nationwide between CES services within land-grant universities and academic health centers or community-based medical schools.

J.W. Dwyer is director, Michigan State University Extension, professor, Department of Family Medicine, College of Human Medicine, and professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

D. Contreras is director, Health and Nutrition Institute, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

C.L. Eschbach is Extension specialist, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

H. Tiret is senior Extension educator, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

C. Newkirk is Extension educator, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University, Flint, Michigan.

E. Carter is Extension educator, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University, Marquette, Michigan.

L. Cronk is Extension educator, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University, Traverse City, Michigan.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as none.

Correspondence should be addressed to Cheryl L. Eschbach, Michigan State University Extension, 446 W. Circle Dr., Room 11, East Lansing, MI 48824; telephone: (517) 353-1898; e-mail: cheryl@anr.msu.edu; Twitter: @MSUExtension.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

© 2017 by the Association of American Medical Colleges