April 15, 2020
Dear Montana Organic Association Members:
Mary Stein, Program Leader with the Montana State University Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems program endorsed reaching out to the Montana Organic Association to request participation in a Pilot Project funded by MSU’s Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity (CAIRHE) by Dr. Scott Monfort. I serve as the Research Assistant for the study.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating disease that leads to pain and disability. OA currently affects 30 million Americans and results in $90 billion in total costs annually. Agricultural workers are an estimated 2-10 times more likely to develop OA than non-farmers. There is a critical need address this rural health disparity and lessen the burden of OA on the 3.2 million agricultural workers in the United States. The project we are working on is a “movement analysis” study investigating the physical activity patterns of Montana farmers and ranchers in their respective high and low seasons. The hope is to characterize movements or movement patterns in these populations and elucidate the differences between the two in order to understand how they may be contributing to an increased risk for developing OA. The long-term goal of the study is to minimize the health and financial burden of OA in farmers and ranchers.
We acknowledge the current COVID-19 situation may introduce concerns from individuals regarding participating in research. In response to the COVID-19 situation, we are focusing on remote data collections, which do not involve any direct person-to-person interactions. We also have introduced sanitization and safety protocols to additionally support the health and well-being of participants and researchers. We are currently approved to continue these activities following a review from Montana State’s Office of Research Compliance. We will communicate with all participants if the situation changes in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, research participation in this study is always completely voluntary and individuals may choose to withdraw from the study at any point if they choose to do so.
Below is a summary of what the study entails and attached please find the more detailed specific aims as well as our recruitment cover letter and COVID safety memo.
What the study entails:
To complete this study, participants are asked to wear an accelerometer for a three-day period during both their low and high physically-demanding seasons as they go about normal daily activities. The accelerometers are mailed directly to the participants with a clear, short user guide. After data collection has been completed, they will simply need to mail the accelerometers back to us at MSU. Participants earn $50 in gift cards for wearing the sensor for each season (a total of $100 can be earned for completing this study). The study’s recruitment criteria are listed below.
You are eligible to participate if:
- You own, manage and/or work on a farm or ranch year-round with at least 50% of your work-related activities being affiliated with a farm/ranch.
- Your are between 18 and 70 years old.
One note, you can participate whether or not they have osteoarthritis.
Contact the Principal Investigator Dr. Scott Monfort or myself with any questions about the study or your potential interest in the study. Dr. Scott Monfort, 406-994-6294, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Thank you so much for your time and interest!
All the best,
Research Assistant, CAIRHE Ag- Biomechanics Pilot Project.