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ISU Extension and Outreach provides resources for families impacted by avian influenza

pdf fileAgDM Newsletter
July 2015

In response to the recent avian influenza outbreak, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has launched a multi-state approach to providing research-based information and resources to families.

"By leveraging our resources and strategically sharing information with families throughout Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, we are able to provide daily updates and recommendations," said Debra Sellers, director of Human Sciences Extension and Outreach and associate dean in Iowa State’s College of Human Sciences. ISU Extension and Outreach is cooperating on the project with South Dakota State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension.

Together, extension staff from the three land-grant universities will provide families with information on everything from food safety education and stretching food dollars as the cost of eggs and poultry increases to implementing strategies to manage a family’s finances and stress during tough times.

Iowans will find links to helpful resources on the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach web­site.

"Avian influenza has had a very real impact on families," Sellers explained. "Our counterparts in ISU Extension and Outreach’s Agriculture and Natural Resources program are working to address producer issues. However, this group will focus on the families struggling with the human challenges brought on by avian influenza, whether that is ensuring families are implementing the proper food safety techniques when preparing eggs and poultry, the loss of employment or dealing with seeing their food budget increase, as eggs, which are traditionally an inexpensive protein source, have more than doubled in price."


Sharing resources and information between university extension groups is not a new concept. Outreach has been the focus of extension since its establishment within land-grant universities across the U.S. more than a century ago. And, in this case, Sellers said collaboration is imperative. "Alone, we simply do not have the staff or resources to ensure families receive all the information they need."

The outreach effort will include a strong social media presence, public relations campaign and online resources. To learn more, follow #AvianFluImpact on social media and visit


Debra Sellers, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, 515-294-2312,
Kristin Taylor, ISU Extension and Outreach Creative Projects Specialist, 515-294-8538,
Laura Sternweis, Organizational Advancement, 515-294-0775,