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Cooperative Extension: Happy to be Your Boots on the Ground

Oct 20, 2017
By: Pam Daniels, MA
Diabetes Educator LV1, Michigan State University Extension Program
What is Cooperative Extension?

Unless you’ve worked alongside your local County Cooperative Extension office you may not be aware of just how large of an “animal” Cooperative Extension truly is. Cooperative Extension is in every state, and local Extension offices are in almost all counties within those states. This list includes: Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia. 

University Based 

All universities engage in research and teaching, but the nation's more than 100 land-grant colleges and universities have a third, critical mission — extension. Through extension, land-grant colleges and universities bring vital, practical information to agricultural producers, small business owners, consumers, families, and young people. https://nifa.usda.gov/extension

Cooperative Extension Service offices are conveniently located in courthouses, post offices, or other local government buildings to improve the quality of people's lives by providing research-based knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of families, communities and agriculture enterprises. Extension experts focus on, among other subjects, food safety and quality, plight of young children, revitalizing rural America, sustainable agriculture, and waste management.

Short list of our partners 

  • The Cooperative Extension System (CES), in partnership with the National Institute of Food & Agriculture, is translating research into action: bringing cutting-edge discoveries from research laboratories to those who can put knowledge into practice.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture
  • Cooperative Extension + Robert Wood Johnson Foundation = Building a Culture of Health
  • Food Corps national service Farm to School Program 
  • Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) grant, titled “Sustainable Growth of Urban Agriculture in Metropolitan Flint” 

Cooperative Extension: A vital part of the healthcare team!

I’d be preaching to the choir if I came to tell you that the whole framework of the healthcare team & system is ever-changing. Redesigning the healthcare team is proving to secure better health outcomes for everyone. More specifically, evidence programs surrounding CDSME & DSME, which exist to bridge the gap and extend traditional health care education out into underserved communities. Cooperative Extension offices nationwide are filling this gap. 

Our boundary of knowledge is sought after

  • Organized Leadership: Cooperative Extension educators hold a variety of health-disciplined Masters degrees— many are Registered Dietitians MS, and diabetes educators. 
  • Program Instructors (PIs) are also highly qualified and trained in numerous nutrition programs. 
  • Experts in identifying community health gaps: Chronic Disease & Diabetes: Our research reveals that in almost every community there is a need for “tagged-on” diabetes education. 
  • Experts in basic nutrition, food skills, health literacy ease, help to fight hunger and food insecurity in vulnerable populations, offer grocery store educational tours, and family programs that enhance health and wellness, and evidence programs that enhance self-management proficiency. These are just a few of the (almost all free) programs that are offered through your local Cooperative Extension office.

I implore you to make a connection with your local Cooperative Extension office. You won’t be sorry. Cooperative Extension exits solely to support communities through knowledge and research. We have the links, the staff and resources to help you.

Together we can improve lives one community at a time.


Pam Daniels, MA is an AADE member and a Diabetes Educator LV1 for the Michigan State University Extension Program.

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