On February 29th, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation partnered with Campbell University’s Public Health program by sponsoring their event, the Rural Behavioral Health Summit. The sponsorship was done as an effort to continue to engage students interested in Sullivan activities on Campbell’s campus in Buies Creek, North Carolina.
Over the past several years, Campbell University and the Sullivan Foundation have created an increasingly strong partnership. Campbell has awarded many Sullivan Scholarships and Awards, and has sent students to the Ignite Retreats for over five years. In an effort to continue strengthening this relationship and engaging students on campus, the Sullivan Foundation’s liaison at Campbell, Dan Maynard, facilitated the sponsoring of the Rural Behavioral Health Summit hosted by Campbell’s Department of Public Health.
Each year, Campbell University’s Public Health program puts on a day-long conference highlighting an area of rural health. This year was the third time this event had taken place, and focused on behavioral health in farmers and farmworkers. Previous topics for the summit include oral health and food access in rural areas. Speakers came in from across the United States who were experts in areas related to behavioral health in the field of agriculture. Included in this list were professors who had conducted research in this area, directors of local non-profits creating innovative solutions, and counselors working with patients involved in agriculture. Those in attendance included graduate and undergraduate students at Campbell, members of Campbell’s faculty and staff, members of the community, and students from other schools.
David Tillman, chair of Campbell’s Department of Public Health and organizer of this event, explains that oftentimes the conversations about the health of farmers and farmworkers are held separately. This event, though, was designed to focus on just how connected the groups are, not only to each other but also to the communities they serve. Tillman adds that, “Earning a living in a rapidly changing industry, in the midst of trade instability and seismic macroeconomic shifts, these agricultural communities and the families that work so hard to sustain us all…they need complex and effective solutions for a variety of wicked problems affecting their health.” The speakers did a wonderful job highlighting the problem alongside innovative solutions that improve the behavioral health of those in agriculture.
The Sullivan Foundation’s goal is to encourage and equip college students to address the problems in their community, from education reform to food deserts. They have partnered with schools across the American Southeast to put on retreats, study abroad trips, immersion experiences, and other programs that educate and equip undergraduate students and faculty to develop their capacities for service, especially through the means of social entrepreneurship and other innovative approaches. This sponsorship worked to encourage Sullivan-minded activities on campus, and to engage Sullivan students after they returned from the Ignite Retreats. Additionally, this event served to broaden the awareness of the foundation, recruit new students who were interested in Sullivan, and allow the foundation’s presence at Campbell to grow in their network with both faculty, staff, and attendees.
In response to the event, Maynard states, “I knew the Summit would be a wonderful networking event, which it was. On a much deeper level, I gained fresh insights about the rural communities Campbell University serves, specifically, about the lives of farmers and farm workers, and the behavioral health professions that serve them.” Maynard was excited about the turnout, and hopes to continue forming similar partnerships with organizations on campus to continue growing Sullivan’s influence and making a positive impact on the local community.
For more information on the Sullivan Foundation’s role at Campbell University, contact Dan Maynard at firstname.lastname@example.org.