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April 27, 2004

Conference helps those who help Amish, Anabaptists

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A conference for those who serve Amish and Old Order Anabaptist groups will take place June 2-4 at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa.

The conference, Enhancing the Health and Well-Being of Plain Communities, is a collaborative effort of Purdue University's Agricultural Safety and Health Program, the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College and the Cooperative Extension Services of Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue universities. It is partially funded by an injury prevention grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The overall goal of the conference is to assist professionals who work in Amish and Plain Community cultures," said Paul Jones, manager of Purdue's Breaking New Ground Resource Center. "The conference will focus on health and safety issues, and also have speakers discussing specific topics such as agriculture and natural resources, community relations, food and water safety, transportation concerns, and health and social services."

This marks the third Plain Communities conference. The series of conferences were developed in response to an unusual number of Amish farm-related accidents in 1995. In 1997 a committee was formed to plan the first conference, which was composed of Extension professionals from Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State and the Menno-Hof Mennonite-Amish Visitors Center in Shipshewana, Ind.

Featured speakers at this year's conference include Donald Kraybill, who has studied Plain Communities from the Young Center; D. Holmes Morton from the Clinic for Special Children; William Field, an Extension safety specialist from Purdue; Pennsylvania Congressman Joseph Pitts; and Donna Doblick, an attorney with the Reed Smith law firm of Pittsburgh. The conference also features optional tours related to food safety and health, and agriculture and farm safety.

"The conference is geared towards Extension educators, health care professionals, agricultural safety leaders, law enforcement and others that work with Old Order Communities," Jones said.

Full conference registration is $165 by May 1 and $220 after May 1. Participants also can sign up for single-day registration at $90 before May 1 and $115 after May 1. For more information about the conference, visit the Amish Safety Info web page or call (800) 825-4264.

Since its inception in 1979, the Breaking New Ground Resource Center in Purdue's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering has served as a source for information and resources on rehabilitation technology for people working in agriculture.

Writer: Molly Brock, (765) 494-9558, brockml@purdue.edu

Source: Paul Jones, (765) 494-1221, jonesp@ecn.purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu
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