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​July 22, 2015


Pictured (L-R): Brian Gumness, Executive Director of BA & Esther Greenheck Foundation; Pamela Jackson, Program Associate of BA & Esther Greenheck Foundation; Gail Kell, Project Manager of Rural Health Initiative – Marathon

Grant Awards $15,650 to fund start-up costs for Rural Health Initiative – Marathon
The B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation awarded $15,650 to the Rural Health Initiative to financially support the program during its pilot phase.
The Rural Health Initiative officially launched in Marathon County in May 2014 in partnership with local health systems — Marshfield Clinic, Aspirus and Ministry Health Care — and additional collaborative partners including the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Marathon County Public Health Department and United FCS. The program’s focus is on improving and sustaining the health and safety of farm families by providing professional, complimentary on-site preventive healthcare services to farmers and agribusiness. 
Rhonda Strebel, executive director of the Rural Health Initiative, stressed the value of local support. 
“The B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation’s support is key to the success of our newly formed initiative for Marathon County farm families,” she said, “It helps us grow the number of participants who find value in our program and also assists us in finding other funding partners.”
The B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation was established in 1998 by Bernie and Esther Greenheck, and is currently managed by their son-in-law, Executive Director Brian Gumness. The Foundation’s purpose to provide financial support for meaningful projects in Central Wisconsin that enhances the area’s arts, education, health, economic and social development resources. 
The Rural Health Initiative is a proud award recipient because of the direct impact it has on Marathon County’s agricultural community. 
“The Foundation’s impact through financial support will ensure that approximately 100 agricultural workers in Marathon County will be screened for preventable health conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and cholesterol conditions that can lead to heart disease. RHI staff will go directly to the farms to provide these services,” Strebel said.
The Rural Health Initiative provides on-site Kitchen Wellness directly at a farmer’s kitchen table or agribusiness conference room. A trained healthcare professional, called an Outreach Health Coordinator, brings portable medical equipment to perform preventive health screenings, provides practical health education and shares critical referral services for mental health and substance abuse treatment providers, social service agencies, and healthcare specialists, as needed. Before the end of the visit, the participant knows the results of his or her blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose (sugar), height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) and knows what next steps to take to maintain or improve health — at no cost to the farmer. 
To date, more than 150 individuals have accessed and benefited from Rural Health Initiative services. If you or someone you know is interested in Rural Health Initiative services, contact Outreach Health Coordinator Brittany Schreiber, RN, ([email protected] or 715-612-3349) to schedule a visit.
Rural Health Initiative is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to be “A Bridge to Improve and Sustain the Health and Safety of Farm Families.”  For more information, visit or call our main office at 715-524-1488. 
Members of the media may contact Gail Kell, Project Manager for Rural Health Initiative – Marathon, at [email protected] or (715) 675-5280.