Wednesday, May 12, 2021,
– Thursday, May 13, 2021,
Virtually held on Zoom
Attend the IU Center for Rural Engagement's virtual two-day conference focused on the issues of greatest importance to Indiana’s rural communities.
Connect with leaders from across Indiana, Indiana University researchers, and colleagues from a variety of fields as you learn and share your perspective on the opportunities and needs facing rural Indiana. The conference is designed for community leaders, residents, and professionals who seek to create a stronger Indiana.
Register to attend
Registration includes all sessions and materials. The full conference rate is $15 per person. The rate to attend only one day is $10 per person. Scholarships are available; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This morning session will bring all participants together to learn more about recent initiatives and hear from our guest keynote speaker.
Lauren Robel, IU Executive Vice President and Provost
Breanca Merritt, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Chief Health Equity and ADA Officer
Breakout 1: Addressing Adversity in Rural Communities: The Effects of Maternal Trauma on Childhood Outcomes
Learn more about the prevalence and impact of adverse experiences among low socio-economic status mothers on the outcomes of their children based on survey data. During the session, we will examine the analyses of this recent survey, including impact of specific types of maternal adversity and trauma on the outcomes of children, namely their level of mother-child attachment and behavior (emotional reactivity, anxious/depressed and/or withdrawn behavior and attentional problems). We will discuss relationship-based community supports and the use of trauma-informed care that can foster growth and resilience that can potentially assist in mitigating the effects of maternal trauma.
Presenters: John M. Keesler, Ph.D., LMSW, IU School of Social Work; Jen Thomas-Giyer, M.S.W.
Breakout 2: Rural Indiana's Drinking Water: Problems and Responses
We will discuss challenges facing rural Indiana's drinking water and opportunities to address them. Panelists will speak to variation in natural water quality, access to potable water, presence of arsenic and trace elements, and water consumption among rural Hoosiers, and we will conclude with Q&A and discussion.
Presenters: Tracy Branam, Indiana Geological and Water Survey; Lee Florea, Ph.D., Indiana Geological and Water Survey; Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, Ph.D., School of Public Health-Bloomington; Amina Salamova, Ph.D., O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Julia Valliant, Ph.D., Ostrom Workshop; Chen Zhu, Ph.D, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Breakout 3: Complex Food Provisioning Strategies and Food Insecurity among Low-Income Older Americans
Food insecurity is all too common among older adults age 65+ in the U.S. and is highest in rural places. One in five food insecure households includes an older adult. In this session, we will examine recent findings from surveys, focus groups, and diet modeling in rural Indiana communities and discuss the impacts of the pandemic on food provisioning routines of older Americans in Orange, Greene, Lawrence, and Crawford counties.
Presenters: Angela Babb, Mecca Burris, Dan Knudsen, and Phil Stafford, IU Sustainable Food Systems Science
Breakout 4: Holding Hands: Bridging Outsider-Insider Dynamics when Conducting Community-Based Participatory Research with Rural Communities
Building rapport with a community that one is not part of in order to conduct Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is not easy and the onset of the COVID pandemic introduces additional challenges. This presentation will focus on the factors involved when attempting to develop relationships and build rapport with rural communities; the crucial role of a community liaison; building trust within and with communities; and strategies to minimize dissonance with community members for successful and mutually beneficial CBPR.
Presenters: Michaella Ward, M.S.W., M.P.H., Frederica Jackson, M.A., M.P.H., Dechen Sangmo, B.S.N., M.P.H., Lauren Baney, MPH, Susan Kavaya, M.A., MSC, Alison Greene, Ph.D., Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, Ph.D., Lisa Greathouse;, Jonathon Beckmeyer, Ph.D., School of Public Health-Bloomington; Brandy Terrell, Thrive Orange County
Breakout 1: Students & Communities Tackling Tough Topics: Community Engagement to End Child Sexual Exploitation
The number of identified sexually exploited youth in Indiana has risen in recent years, increasing since COVID-19 started. Community Engagement to End Child Sexual Exploitation (CEECSE) presents a pilot assessment of Indiana’s current anti-human trafficking capacity, facilitates multidisciplinary alliances and develops action plans guiding cohesive efforts to end trafficking and other exploitation. Partnering with the non-profit Alliance for Freedom, Restoration, and Justice, the team works together to combat child sexual exploitation and forced labor on the fronts of Prevention, Identification, Exit, Restoration and Reformations. Join us to learn about preliminary findings, immediate impacts, a strategic SWOT analysis, IU’s multidisciplinary collaborations and student involvement.
Presenters: Rohan Crawley, TiAura Jackson, and Deb Getz, Re.D., School of Public Health-Bloomington; Eli Konwest, Ph.D., and Teresa Nichols, Ph.D., Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies
Breakout 2: One is the Loneliest Number: Loneliness and Activity Engagement in Rural Homebound Older Adults
A study completed (pre-COVID) showed rural homebound older adults in parts of south central Indiana have higher depression and loneliness rates compared to the national average. Respondents with self-reported depression had a significantly higher degree of loneliness and lower level of activity engagement than respondents without self-reported depression, particularly in self-care, leisure, and socializing activities. Join us to explore how we as neighbors, health care providers, policy makers, and volunteers can assist in decreasing depression rates and loneliness, creating a better quality of life for these older adults.
Presenters: Alissia Garabrant, O.T.D., M.S., OTR, Department of Occupational Therapy
Breakout 3: Community Conversations: Substance Use Disorder Resources
Community Conversations is an interactive discussion about resources and topics that impact rural Indiana communities. Join us for this session where we will discuss challenges and innovative local approaches. We will learn about the role of stigma in substance use disorder and explore initiatives and resources that are tailored to reduce harm in collaboration with rural communities, including a community-based sharps disposal initiative. This session will have additional time for discussion and will conclude by 1 p.m.
Presenters: Deborah Nichols, M.P.H., Indiana Department of Health; Brea Perry, Ph.D., Department of Sociology; Antonia Sawyer, M.S., #ShipHappens; April Toler, IU Research; Debi Wallick, United Way of Miami County; Kass Botts, Indiana Recovery Alliance; Lavender Timmons, Evansville Recovery Alliance
Join us for a poster session featuring a variety of recent projects and initiatives focused on rural collaborations. Drop in during the hour to learn more about the topics that interest you.
Discovery Cafe: A Programming Partnership with Public Libraries
Discovery Café is an Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement initiative created in partnership with public libraries across Indiana. The Center for Rural Engagement facilitates access to Indiana University’s faculty, students, and staff to explore diverse topics and interests in collaboration with local librarians and library patrons. Through this initiative, librarians help communities discover topics of interest ranging from nutrition and wellness, to scam protection, to creative arts, to local history, to tutoring of students.
Presenters: Todd Burkhardt, Jack Hockemeyer, James Owen, Whitney Schlegel
Hoosier National Forest Light Pollution Monitoring
This project is a partnership between the Hoosier National Forest and the IU Intelligent Systems Engineering Department. Learn more about how the Hoosier National Forest is working to obtain International Dark Sky Park Designation. The goal of the project is to create a light sensing sensor for the monitoring required by this designation.
Presenter: Bryce Himebaugh
Juvenile Justice Centers & CMHCs: A Closer Look at Mental Health Referrals & Treatment for Youth in Rural Areas
Learn about preliminary findings from mixed-method studies operating in several Indiana counties. These studies examine the relationship between local juvenile justice centers and community mental health centers and their organizational readiness for Agile Implementation and system change. In addition to exploration of treatment gaps in these communities, we will also report qualitative data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has effected arrests, diversion, and substance use treatment referrals for youth.
Presenters: Maddie Alton, MacKenzie Whitener
Motivation and Satisfaction of Young Adult Volunteers in the Rural Areas
Learn about three common factors that motivated active engagement in a local volunteering program. Findings were in line with the Model of Sustained Volunteerism for rural volunteer organizations, matching volunteers' needs, building group integration, and helping volunteers develop their role identities are beneficial for fulfilling volunteers' motivation and intention.
Presenter: Shuhan Yuan
Reimagining Opera for Kids: Reimagining Community Engagement through Performing Arts
Reimagining Opera for Kids is a non-profit community arts and education organization based in Bloomington, Indiana. Since 2007, ROK has commissioned and sourced a unique repertoire of opera designed for young audiences. Our goals are to introduce children and youth to opera through free or accessibly subsidized performances and curriculum guides, and to give musicians the opportunity to hone and share their performance skills through community engagement.
Presenters: Kimberly Carballo, Amy Williams
The Rural-Urban Divide Across Hoosier Climate Change Attitudes
Climate change presents serious threats to Indiana residents. How or if Hoosiers prepare for these threats will be at least in part shaped by their attitudes about climate change and its causes. From past work, we know that rural and urban residency shapes individuals attitudes in key ways, yet there is limited research on this division in regard to climate change attitudes. This research both establishes that place matters for climate change attitudes, and explores causes and possible solutions with a specific focus on information and educational values within the state of Indiana.
Presenters: Molly Burhans, Matthew House
Day 2: Thursday, May 13
This morning session will bring all participants together to learn more about recent initiatives and hear from our guest keynote speaker.
Kerry Thomson, IU Center for Rural Engagement Executive Director
Alison Davis, University of Kentucky Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky Executive Director
Breakout 1: Bridging the Rural Education Gap with High Quality, Low-Tech Arts-based Outreach
Learn about innovative approaches to arts-education outreach and creative solutions to bridge the rural broadband gap for K-12 students. We will examine the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s re-envisioned outreach model, the Look Club, and exploratory low-tech distance learning tool, the Look Book. Gain insight into the process used for developing this flexible, scalable and sustainable approach to outreach.
Presenter: Kelly Jordan, M.F.A., Eskenazi Museum of Art
Breakout 2: The Value of Caves to the Natural Environment of Indiana
The Indiana Uplands host thousands of caves, sinkholes, and springs; all part of an iconic karst landscape that hosts important groundwater resources, ecosystems for rare and endangered species, and unique mineral formations. These caves are important to the movement of sediments and nutrients, and are an archive for our changing climate. We will discuss the three pillars of cave studies: exploration, research, and conservation. We will track our individual pathways into caving and how that has influenced our personal and professional life. Join us and celebrate the International Year of Caves and Karst with this virtual journey into what lies beneath the region's surface.
Presenters: Lee Florea, Ph.D., and Sarah Burgess, Indiana Geological and Water Survey; Laura Demarest, Watershed Coordinator at Sullivan Co. Soil and Water Conservation District; Danyele Green, Bloomington Indiana Grotto
Breakout 3: Indiana's Heritage Trails: Mapping Our (Untold) History
Discuss the ways we as a region and state can tell a comprehensive story of our history through the development of a heritage trail that is inclusive to all backgrounds, with a focus on typically underrepresented heritage. Join us as we consider opportunities to connect Indiana heritage-related sites with each other in ways that support the vibrance and sustainability of our communities.
Presenter: Gabriel Piser, Ph.D., IU Center for Rural Engagement; Matt Crouch, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs; Misty Weisensteiner, Indiana Destination Development Corporation
Breakout 4: Teen Food Insecurity in Southern Indiana
Learn about the results of a recent study of local teen food insecurity, highlighting the prevalence, experiences, coping mechanisms, and teens' ideas for solutions in their communities. Ensuring teens have access to safe and nutritious foods benefits the entire community and region. Be a part of addressing this issue as we look ahead to solution design and implementation.
Presenters: Mecca Burris, M.A., and MacKenzie DiMarco, Department of Anthropology
Breakout 1: Creative Arts for Vets
Explore the development of a new initiative, Creative Arts for Vets (CAV), a partnership between the Eskenazi Museum of Art and the Center for Rural Engagement. Learn more about the background behind the project, takeaways from our first pilot program, and next steps for expansion of the project into other rural Indiana communities.
Presenters: Lauren Daugherty, M.A.; Eskenazi Museum of Art, Todd Burkhardt, Ph.D., IU Center for Rural Engagement; Melissa Bellanceau, M.S.W.
Breakout 2: Hitting the Streets: Getting Started with the Uplands Maker Mobile
The Uplands Maker Mobile brings maker ideas, pedagogical knowledge, materials and tools out to schools and organizations in the Uplands Region, including primarily rural communities. Learn how we are connecting with youth and educators in a number of different ways to try to infuse this type of learning throughout educational experiences. Join us to discuss ways you think this vehicle can be used to further its mission.
Presenters: Adam Maltese, Ph.D., Ed.D., School of Education; Michi McClaine, MSEd., Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc.; Andew Woodward, Uplands Maker Mobile
Breakout 3: Community Conversations: Strengthening Arts and Culture to Enhance Quality of Place
Community Conversations is an interactive discussion about resources and topics that impact rural Indiana communities. Join us for this session where we will discuss challenges and innovative local approaches to enhancing quality of place through local arts and culture initiatives. This session will introduce the new Community Arts and Culture Guide, an interactive, step-by-step tool for residents interested in creating a strategy that integrates the arts and local assets for an inclusive and thriving community. This session will have additional time for discussion and will conclude by 1 p.m.
Presenter: Adrian Starnes, M.A., Jazmyn Gideon, M.A., Eric Ashby
Breakout 4: Regionalism and the Recovery Act
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides a unique opportunity for governments, regional organizations, and nonprofits to infuse new resources into their priority initiatives. But the plan includes many programs across many different federal agencies, so determining how best to engage with ARP programs can be intimidating. This interactive session will break down approaches for pursuing and investing ARP funds and discuss how new state and federal programs could advance regional initiatives.
Presenters: Joe Carley, IU Center for Rural Engagement; Andrea Kern, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs; Tina Peterson, Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc.; Robert Yaro, University of Pennsylvania
Join us for a roundtable discussion—small, informal conversations about topics of interest.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Join people from across rural Indiana who are thinking about how issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion relate to Indiana’s rural communities. We will discuss current work and both our successes and challenges. This will be a space to explore difficult or uncomfortable questions, and to strategize with others about how we can cultivate justice and healing through our collective work.
Presenters: Gabriel Piser, Jacob Simpson
Get started with START: Student Agile Response Team
Do you have community projects that could use a boost? Join IU Corps' Cassi Winslow-Edmonson and Suzanne Allen for a conversation about the IU Student Agile Response Team and the ways the team can help you and your organization get things done. Drawing from expertise from the entire IU Bloomington campus, START pairs passionate students with projects and initiatives across Indiana.
Presenters: Suzanne Allen, Cassi Winslow-Edmonson
iSTEAM: Integrating Art into STEM
Join this discussion with Adam Scribner, who is an expert on the design of K-12 STEM curricular resources as well as teacher education and professional development around the integration of multiple STEM disciplines. Learn more about the iSTEAM initiative launched in schools across the Indiana Uplands region, ask questions about STEAM education, and share ideas for new possibilities.
Presenter: Adam Scribner
Reviving a Harm Reduction Program: Leveraging Community Support for Successful Implementation
Connect with Alison Greene and Charmin Gabbard for a discussion on Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Explore why they are a key component in combatting the opioid epidemic and how rural Indiana communities have garnered support for SSPs through a collaborative approach.
Presenters: Alison Greene, Charmin Gabbard
Rural Seniors and Food Security
The Center for Rural Engagement has partnered with the IU Food Institute to better understand the scope and character of food insecurity among rural older adults in four of the catchment area counties (Lawrence, Orange, Greene and Crawford). Using a variety of research methods, the Food Institute team has connected with hundreds of seniors in the area to employ community-based research that can lead to the co-design of small changes to enhance food security and quality of community life. This interactive roundtable will engage participants in this exploration.
Presenter: Phil Stafford
Solving Broadband Accessibility in Rural Indiana
Solving the rural broadband accessibility problem in Indiana is an effort with untold benefits--from improving the tax base, to supporting education, telehealth, agriculture, business and economic growth. Yet, it is also a complex issue with economic, technological, and tactical challenges. Ron Holcomb, who leads Wintek—fiber internet service from Tipmont REMC—will illustrates the problem and facilitate a discussion on what's needed to solve it in rural Indiana.
Presenters: Ron Holcomb, Jennifer Rufatto, Diane Willis
The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, School of Social Work, and Center for Rural Engagement recently launched a Trauma-Informed Care Professional Development Certificate, which is designed for anyone interested in learning how the prevalence and pervasive impact of trauma across the human experience. Join John Keesler, Alex Purcell, and Jennifer Thomas-Giyer for a conversation about trauma-informed care and the ways you and your organization can implement these principles into your work and your community.
Presenters: John Keesler, Alex Purcell, Jen Thomas-Giyer
The conference schedule and sessions are subject to change.
Technology requirements and support
We will use Zoom to conduct virtual sessions for the IU Rural Conference. If you need help installing or getting started with Zoom, please visit their help center.