Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Environmental, Agricultural & Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Aaron Yoder, PhD, MS

Second Committee Member

Athena Ramos, PhD, MS, MBA, CPM

Third Committee Member

Ellen Duysen, MPH


In the U.S., significant health disparities exist among rural populations compared to their urban counterparts. These disparities can be compounded in agricultural workers due to the dangerous and unpredictable nature of their work. Agricultural producers who are also military Veterans may experience additional health pressures that are often overlooked in the healthcare setting. Over 2.5 million Veteran Health Administration (VHA) patients reside in rural areas and the healthcare infrastructure to care for these Veterans may not include an agricultural occupational approach. To address healthcare disparities in Veteran farmers and ranchers, this study, in collaboration with AgriSafe Network, will be used to develop a health risk assessment (HRA) that is specifically designed to be used by Veterans working in agriculture. The current AgriSafe AgHRA is an efficient tool in the clinical setting and provides basic responses to individual health risks. The AgHRA does not provide diagnoses and is not meant to replace visits to healthcare provider or screening exams; rather, it alerts the user on how to take risk-appropriate prevention steps. Qualitative interviews with rural health professionals were conducted to 1) gain a better understanding, from the perspective of rural healthcare professionals, regarding the healthcare needs of Veterans working in agriculture and 2) use information gained to create questions for an HRA tool that can be used by Veteran farmers and ranchers. Analysis of the interview data revealed the overarching themes to be healthcare accessibility, mental health conditions and chronic health conditions. Using these data and information from a literature search of Veteran-specific health questionnaires, AgriSafe Network will create a tailored HRA tool that will be accessible on their website.

Available for download on Saturday, December 11, 2021