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Urbana students drive rural health project

A $3,900 grant from the Illinois Nurses Foundation, via the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is allowing Urbana faculty and students to work with the Vermilion County Health Department on three targeted rural health priorities: emergency preparedness, mental health stigma and pregnancy/STD prevention.

The rural county east of Urbana-Champaign is ranked last of Illinois’ 102 counties in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings.

Students are driving the grant, says principal investigator and Urbana campus director Krista Jones, DNP ’11, MSN ’07, PHNA-BC, RN. They are distributing a mental health survey to area providers, educating the community on the stigma associated with mental illness and promoting referrals with a mental health brochure, a radio ad and newspaper editorials. They are also creating an educational video on teen pregnancy prevention geared toward male responsibility and developing male empowerment videos, shared with young men in community programs.

In fall 2019, students are planning to create an emergency preparedness survey to evaluate the community’s level of readiness for crisis situations.