Pilot: Agricultural Medicine eLearning Series for Mid-Level Health Care Providers

Principal Investigator: Nancy Simcox, MS
Director of Continuing Education Programs, Environmental and Occupational Health 
University of Washington
PNASH Pilot Project 2015-2016
The roles and numbers of mid-level providers (MLPs), such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, are increasing in rural areas that have large populations of agricultural workers. There is a need for a training program that provides a background on healthcare challenges and regional issues faced by agricultural communities. This project developed an eLearning series that integrates research results and best practices from medical and public health professionals and focuses on unique Occupational and Environmental Medicine agricultural issues in the northwest. The goal of this online continuation program is to increase competency among MLPs to recognize, diagnose, treat, prevent and provide patient education pertaining to agriculture-related occupational injuries and illnesses in the region.
This project brings together new regional partners and a program with an expert line-up of instructional and research faculty, covering basics such as workers' compensation resources and administering effective occupational and environmental health histories. More specific topics include pesticide exposures, asthma, heat-related illnesses, and lower lumbar spine injuries in agriculture. This program is being offered in a multi-media e-learning format to respond to the needs of busy clinicians. Module 1, the Introduction to Agricultural Medicine: Advancing Occupational and Environmental Health Practice in the Northwest, was launched in January 2017, with the lecture series following in February 2017. As of May 2017, 28 students have registered in the course. This program will be sustained through the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Continuing Education Program, providing a trusted continuing education channel to NW providers to share new research results and increase knowledge of agricultural medicine. The Ag Medicine Courses are currently offered for free through the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Continuing Education Program. In the future, the series will move forward as topics are developed.
Partners and Advisories
MEDEX Northwest
WA State Centers for Occupational Health and Education
Migrant Clinician’s Network