Roundtable: Stress Programs in NC Region

Collaborative Extension Efforts to Deliver Farm Stress Programs in the North Central Region

Convener:  David N. Brown, Ph.D., LMFT, CFLE, Iowa State University,


  • Josie Rudophi, Ph.D, University of Illinois; Courtney Cuthbertson, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Tammy Jacobs, Iowa State University
  • Karen Funkenbusch, M.A., B.S.E.
  • Athena Ramos, Ph.D., MBA, M.S., CPM.

Dr. David N. Brown, is a licensed marital and family therapist and currently serves as the Behavioral Health State Specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (ISUEO). Brown leads various grant-funded projects involving stress assistance programming to farmers, ranchers and their advocates, mental health literacy, suicide prevention, and crisis counseling and outreach services related to the COVID-19 pandemic.    Dr. Josie M. Rudolphi is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Rudolphi’s research and outreach focuses on farm stress and mental health, agricultural safety and health, and child agricultural injury prevention. She is the project director of the USDA funded North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center, a 15 organization collaborative to expand and create farm stress resources and services in the 12 north central region states.   Dr. Courtney Cuthbertson is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois, and co-directs the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center efforts. Their research and outreach are about social determinants of mental health and substance use, and community mental health literacy.   Tammy Jacobs is the Hotline Manager for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Jacobs leads work with various partners and funders supporting the Teen Line, Iowa Healthy Families line, Answerline, Iowa 2-1-1 services and Iowa Concern.    Karen Funkenbusch has statewide agricultural health and safety responsibilities for Human Environmental Sciences Extension and teaches agricultural safety and health courses within the Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering at the University of Missouri. Funkenbusch also serves as statewide Director/Principal Investigator on various grant-funded projects that include farmers and ranchers with disabilities; farmers and ranchers who experience stress, anxiety and depression; beginning farmers and ranchers; underserved, socially disadvantaged minority farmers/ranchers; women in agriculture; and suicide prevention among rural service members, veterans and their families.    Dr. Athena Ramos is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and is affiliated with the Center for Reducing Health Dis¬parities and the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha, Nebraska. She leads a Latino outreach and engagement team and serves as principal investigator for a number of community-based health and social research and education initiatives in such areas as agricultural health and safety, immigrant integration, and community well-being.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the rational for advocates to engage farmers or ranchers who may be in distress or suicidal.
  2. Participants will be able to identify one key benefit of the provision of telepsychology service to farmers, ranchers and their families.
  3. Participants will be able to describe one objective of the Bienvenido program and its application with the farmworker population.
  4. Participants will understand one key feature of the Iowa Concern Hotline that serves the rural population in the North Central Region

The regional USDA/NIFA funded farm and ranch stress assistance networks (FRSAN) were established to initiate, expand, or sustain programs that provided professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance. Such assistance could include farm telephone helplines and websites, training programs and workshops, support groups, and outreach services. This roundtable will explore the collaborative efforts of the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center that is administered by the University of Illinois. The program presenters will describe the expansion of stress counseling and referral hotline and the development of a regional farm stress website, explain the rationale and results from training programs in mental health literacy and suicide prevention and highlight the development of support groups to Latinx farm workers and counseling and telehealth services to farmers and ranchers.

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