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Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL)
HEEL serves as a catalyst for change by bridging people, resources, ideas, and actions, using the unique model of the land grant system of outreach and education combined with university-based research and formal collaborations with long term Partnerships. The HEEL program creates innovative strategies for improving health outcomes and reducing the burden of chronic disease for all Kentuckians at the local, regional, and state levels.
The development of the HEEL program was made possible by Senator Mitch McConnell with funds earmarked for the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Lexington, KY and budgeted through the CSREES/USDA Federal Administration.
- Educate and empower individuals and families to adopt healthy behaviors and lifestyles
- Build community capacity to improve health
- Educate consumers to make informed health choices
The Healthy People 2010 goals for the nation document identified community programming as the key to increasing the quality and span of healthy life and successfully reducing health disparities.
HEEL programs are developed to be delivered by county Extension agents, who are experienced community educators, working in collaboration partnerships with their local community partners and our formal Extension volunteers, the Kentucky Extension Homemakers.
Rural and urban communities in Kentucky are experiencing a number of cultural, economic, and social changes while at the same time being bombarded with the information technology and communication filtered through sound bites and talking heads. HEEL’s mission, simply stated, is to take the University to the people through research-based education that consumers can rely on. County Extension agents serve as the link between the people in every county, specialists and faculty at the University of Kentucky, and faculty and staff located at our regional facilities. The HEEL Program resources target:
- Limited resource audiences (both urban and rural)
- Communities with limited resources
- Farm operators, agricultural and forestry workers and their families
- Health volunteers and professionals
- Infants, children, young adults, and seniors
- Special populations
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