CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 335-8034
UI College of Medicine to participate in program to protect farm youths
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Agricultural health and safety specialists at the University
of Iowa College of Medicine will seek to participate in a $5 million national
research program to protect farm youths from illness, injury and death.
Details of the program were announced today by the National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at a town meeting at the National Farm
Medicine Center in Marshfield, Wis. The initiative builds on previous NIOSH-supported
research and on recommendations from a national action plan for child agriculture
safety and health released last year by a broad-based coalition of farmers,
rural groups, health professionals and government officials.
The UI's Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, part of the UI Institute
for Rural and Environmental Health (IREH), is one of eight NIOSH-funded centers
around the United States that will submit proposals to NIOSH for research
projects on farm health and safety for children. This includes studies of
factors that contribute to preventable illnesses or injuries on the farm,
intervention strategies, and the evaluation of education and training projects
for farm children.
"This initiative will enable researchers to develop ways to ensure safer
farms for current and future generations of Iowans," says Dr. James Merchant,
UI professor of preventive and internal medicine and director of the IREH.
"Learning more about the factors that contribute to health risks on the
farm will lead to a culture of prevention, educational programs for children
and safer agricultural work practices for young people."
While most of the NIOSH funding will go toward supporting such projects,
plans also include establishing a national center to facilitate activities
designed for childhood agriculture injury prevention. NIOSH issued a call
for research grants applications last month and will distribute a request
in late April for applications to establish a national center.
According to NIOSH, at least 100 people under the age of 20 are killed on
farms each year and more than 100,000 are injured in agriculture-related activities.
Tractors and farm machinery, livestock, grain bins and other farm structures
are leading factors in these incidents.
Established in 1990, the UI's Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health
has supported research and outreach activities in a several key areas, including
studies on exposure to grain dust, the ongoing Keokuk County Rural Health
Study and the Tractor Risk Abatement and Control (TRAC-SAFE) program. The
center also supports Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, a grass-roots organization with
60 chapters and 2,500 members across the U.S. and Canada promoting farm safety
awareness and education for children.
NOTE TO TV NEWS DIRECTORS: A satellite news feed of the announcement
of this initiative on April 21 will be available from 9:30 - 10 a.m. and 1:00
- 1:30 p.m. CST. The coordinates are: 9:30 - 10 a.m., Galaxy C4, Transponder
14, and 1:00 - 1:30 p.m., Galaxy C4, Transponder 22. The feed will consist
of videos of a farm family that lost a child to a farming fatality, spokespersons
for farm safety and sound bits from Health and Human Services Secretary Donna
Shalala and NIOSH director Linda Rosenstock. For technical questions during
the feed, call 1-800-666-7882.