Community Health Nursing and Cooperative Extension: A Natural Partnership

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Community health nursing and cooperative extension represent two influential and respected disciplines in rural and frontier communities. The history and philosophy of the two disciplines reveal commonalities related to community-based health promotion and dissemination of research. A review of the extension and health sciences literature revealed some evidence of collaboration between extension and health science professionals, however very little documentation specifically of nurses' involvement with extension professionals. An exemplar of a highly effective ongoing cooperation between rural public health nurses and extension educators in one Idaho county is provided. This local interdisciplinary effort has resulted in enhanced community health promotion services, positive interprofessional relationships, and maximization of scarce resources. Nursing-extension collaboration presents creative opportunities for interdisciplinary practice, research, and educational innovations to enhance the health of rural and frontier communities.