CORVALLIS, Ore. - Community projects ranging from healthier school meals to rabies prevention have been funded as part of a new collaboration that brings together Oregon State University researchers, OSU Extension, and local county health departments.

The Outreach Collaborative for a Healthy Oregon, or OCHO, is a new effort launched by Tammy Bray, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at OSU. Bray wanted to bring together the research arm of the college to collaborate both with Extension agents as well as county health departments to develop an innovative model of public health improvement, service and outreach.

The goal is to have community-oriented projects that will have an immediate impact both in terms of research, but also in measurable results.

"As we work toward our goal of becoming an accredited College of Public Health and Human Sciences, demonstrating our outreach mission is crucial," Bray said. "A more collaborative approach bringing together local communities with our researchers and Extension will result in public health improvements that will benefit all Oregonians."

The four grants totaling about $100,000 are funded by the College of Health and Human Sciences, Extension Family and Community Health program and 4-H Youth Development programs. The grants are:

  • Linn County: "Poder Comunitario": A community-based participatory research program designed to empower Latinos to become advocates for effective community interventions and public health services
  • Jefferson County: "Restructuring School Lunches with New Guidelines": A revision of the school lunch program to offer meals that are nutritionally sound, culturally responsive, and accepted by students
  • Jackson and Josephine Counties: "Don't Let Rabies Get Your Goat": A community-based vaccination and education program that responds to the high prevalence of rabies in these Southern Oregon counties
  • Klamath County: "Klamath Youth Harvest 4-H Club": A city-based community gardening program that teaches youth to grow and prepare healthy food using a positive youth development approach

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Sally Bowman, 541-737-1020