Development

Commitment to
providing the information communities need to build successful futures

Pat Snodgrass shakes hands with a client at a meeting

Pat Snodgrass, left, Crawford County program director and housing and environmental design specialist, offers cleanup and rebuilding advice after winter floods.

To successfully meet the diverse needs of Missourians, MU Extension must first understand their scope and complexity. That’s where the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA) comes in. This community development unit works to provide crucial background information about societal challenges Missourians want to address. Whether exploring issues as diverse as community health or economic development, the office provides the information needed to develop workable, forward-looking solutions.

"Please accept our sincerest appreciation for your willingness to assist with our outreach initiatives and the sharing of critical disaster-related information. All of you have made it possible to disseminate vital disaster recovery information to a vast number of survivors in a very quick and effective manner.”

—Chad McCormick, assistant external affairs officer, FEMA

Take the issue of health care in rural and underserved regions of Missouri, where distance from facilities and quality care affects people’s quality of life. OSEDA partners with the MU School of Medicine’s Office of Rural Medicine to develop tools and databases for health care enterprises. With more and better tools at their disposal, health care organizations serving rural and underserved populations will be better able to identify gaps in quality of care and access.

ECHO is evaluated on cost-reduction in care, and the project realized $1.5 million in savings to MO HealthNet in its first year of operation.

This year, for instance, OSEDA initiated a program evaluation of Missouri Project ECHO, a continuing education initiative that uses video-conferencing tools. ECHO trains health care providers in rural and underserved areas how to provide the most current standard of care for chronic diseases like autism and childhood asthma. ECHO is evaluated on cost reduction in care, and the project realized $1.5 million in savings to MO HealthNet in its first year of operation.

Extension’s community development effort helps build resilient, thriving communities through advising, support and direct action. In the case of the communities affected by the major flooding events last year, much of that response took advantage of groundwork laid beforehand to prepare for just such a disaster.

Before federal aid was available to those affected by the summer and winter floods, MU Extension was part of Missouri’s Emergency Human Services' response to both events. Some communities took advantage of pre-existing Multi-Agency Resource Centers, which concentrate support and resources in a one-stop shop for those needing aid, whereas others organized impromptu resource fairs and other community meetings with MU Extension’s help.

MU Extension’s involvement even caught the attention of a regional Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representative, who opened the door for a collaborative relationship between extension and the federal agency. For two months, FEMA sent information to MU Extension to disseminate to those in need across the state, taking advantage of our existing statewide network and experience.

With systems, experience and expertise, MU Extension can help Missouri communities harness their own strengths to build capacity.

 

MU Extension business development specialists help EnCircle Technologies develop its plan to train and place young adults with autism in tech jobs.