Stage Two Expansion of the Didactic Farm Readers' Theater

  • Reed, Deborah (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Family farms constitute 96% of the United States’ two million farms and ranches, yet production of food and fiber consistently carries the burden of one of the highest injury and fatality rates of any industry, and one of the highest suicide rates. Family farms use a “cradle to grave” workforce, primarily household members who begin farm work at an early age and who rarely retire. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has funded research to address these issues since 1990, yet rates continue to surpass other occupations. The new Didactic Farm Dinner Readers’ Theater, a nurse-led arts based program funded through a NIOSH R01 grant, has proven to be an acceptable and affordable format that creates individual and community change in health and worksite behaviors. Our partnership with USDA Cooperative Extension Agents at the local county level sensitized the local community to aspects of health and safety that lasted beyond the actual theater performance date. After the nine theaters in our research project (n=659), 60% of the participants reported significant positive changes in work safety and health behaviors in just two weeks, surpassing those in the comparison group that received a mailed packet of educational information (p=.001). Additional changes were reported two months after the theater. Diffusion of the information received during the theater also led to behavior changes for others engaged in farm work. The theater concept has become increasingly popular, but our current resources preclude us from meeting demands for instruction and materials. Trainings for Extension Agents in Kentucky and Tennessee, using the toolkit developed during the project, have been successful in launching community-based theaters. Behavior changes similar to those with the research- based theaters were found. We now face increased requests for theaters outside our geographic area and need support for regional spread as we enter Stage Two. Funding is requested to train three new regional theater experts, further refine the toolkit and develop a data based tracking system, expand and test new ways of delivering theater training, and develop succession plans for the longer life and further expansion of the intervention. The theater concept may be adapted for use with those in other occupations or to address other life or work situations.
Effective start/end date1/1/206/30/21


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