Rural Health Initiative Receives $5,000 AT&T Contribution to Support Efforts to Improve Health of Rural Farm Workers

 AT&T Funding to Support Efforts to Combat Rise of Obesity, Diabetes


SHAWANO, Thursday, December 14, 2017 – The Rural Health Initiative, Inc. received a $5,000 AT&T Innovation Award today to support its efforts to improve the health of rural farm workers.

The $5,000 AT&T contribution will support the Rural Health Initiative’s (RHI) efforts to combat the rise of adult obesity and type 2 diabetes within Northeast Wisconsin rural farm workers.  Specifically, the funding will support “Operation Sugar Knockout” – a program with the goal of keeping farm families healthy by reducing the number of servings of sweetened beverages that individuals in the agricultural industry consume on a daily basis.

“We are thrilled to receive this contribution from AT&T to support our efforts to improve the health of rural farm workers in our area,” said Rhonda Strebel, Executive Director of the Rural Health Initiative.  “By focusing on sweetened beverages, we hope to help reduce obesity and diabetes and improve the overall health of our farm families.”

Operation Sugar Knockout will include the following activities during on-site health screenings at farms and agribusinesses by a trained healthcare professional: a pre-survey to assess sweetened beverage consumption; educational messages; visual educational display illustrating the amount of sugar in sweetened beverages versus water; and a post-survey to assess behavior modification.

“The Rural Health Initiative is a wonderful organization that brings wellness services and information directly to farmers,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin.  “We are proud to help support this nonprofit’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of our farm families.”

Pictured L-R: Rhonda Strebel, Executive Director of the Rural Health Initiative; State Rep. Gary Tauchen; and Robyn Gruner of AT&T Wisconsin.

The mission of the Rural Health Initiative is to improve and sustain the health and safety of the local agricultural community within Northeast Wisconsin.  The organization launched in 2004 in Shawano County and expanded into Outagamie and Waupaca counties in 2012, due to expressed need and community interest.

RHI is a 100% community-funded organization with proven success establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships with funders.  The organization provides preventative healthcare screenings to individuals who have otherwise been underserved by healthcare facilities with traditional delivery models.  Trained RHI healthcare professionals travel directly to farms and agribusinesses to provide complimentary, convenient and confidential health screenings with immediate test results.

“The Rural Health Initiative truly is a bridge to help improve and sustain the health and safety of our farm families,” said State Rep. Gary Tauchen.  “It is wonderful to see companies like AT&T helping support our local farmers and agricultural workers.”

The AT&T Wisconsin Innovation & Investment Award program provides funding to local organizations that enhance and give back to their communities. The program is focused on awarding grants to organizations and programs that improve the community by advancing education, enhancing the environment, promoting economic development or delivering other community services.

For more information, contact:              

Jessica Erickson, AT&T
[email protected]