About Economics of Prevention

The current Economics of Prevention Project is the culmination of over a decade of work by agricultural health and safety researchers at the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health & Injury Prevention at the University of Kentucky. The project grew out of the Kentucky ROPS Project  (1994-2000), Henry P. Cole, Principal Investigator, funded by the NIOSH Community Partners for Agricultural Safety & Heath program.

In, 1998, at a meeting at the SCAHIP offices in Lexington, our ROPS Project group was meeting along with colleagues from NIOSH in Cincinnati, Ted Scharf and others. We were discussing the interactive multimedia version of one of the simulations – Kayle’s Difficult Decision and also the development of  accompanying materials that would show the individual and social costs of farm injury and fatality – and how we might better distribute these safety materials to teenagers, who are at high risk for farm injury.  Mel Myers, cost engineer and retired NIOSH public health service captain was engaging with us on submitting a grant to develop and field test these materials.

We began planning their use in high school agricultural education classes. The grant funded for that purpose was the Preventing Farm Injury to Rural Youth project (PFIRY).  Joan Mazur, the PI on the current EOP project, then a senior researcher on KY ROPS2, relayed her experiences living on a farm in rural Washington County, KY.  All the teenagers that got off the bus on her ridge were not in agricultural education classes. Rather they were general education students, some in AP courses on track for college entrance. Yet, they got right off that bus and on to tractors on their farms.  She suggested to reach a larger population of rural kids exposed to farm hazards that the simulation materials be linked to the required state core content standards in social studies (economics), math, physics, and English (interview assignments and portfolio writings).   So thus the strategy to integrate important agricultural safety materials into required high school curriculum was born. Mazur, a professor in Curriculum & Instruction had years of experience working in public schools and took the lead on developing those collaborations.