Making a big impact
I grew up on a small farm in Iowa. I liked living on a farm. But, as a boy, I really knew very little about the world outside of our community.
One day, a man pulled into our driveway in a pickup truck. He was from the Iowa State Extension Office. He explained to me and my parents that he was there to aid us in becoming better farmers.
I remember my parents reaction to this man being somewhat mixed. However, I was amazed that there was someone at the university who knew who we were, let alone cared about us.
From corn to kids – Growing healthy communities
There are a lot of things that get in the way of growing healthy corn. Soil conditions have to be right. You have to cultivate the seeds. You have to apply fertilizer at the right time, and you need to have some luck with the weather.
Flashforward forty years and I’m no longer living on a farm growing corn. I’m practicing urology in Muskegon, Michigan, with Michigan Medicine West Shore Urology. As part of our mission, I’m interested in cultivating healthy, high yield communities.
The power of extension
Earlier this week, I boarded a bus with thirty other faculty from the University of Michigan for the Michigan Road Scholars program. I was full of anticipation.
This unique program is a week-long opportunity for a diverse group of facility to spend time off their respective campuses and take a deep dive into communities around the State of Michigan.
Together, we are learning about the many challenges that face these communities, including the health of Michigan public schools, the condition of our infrastructure, the lack of skilled labor for employers, and the ongoing trauma caused by poverty, homelessness, and racism.
The magic of seeing healing at work – Visit to Coalition for Temporary Shelter- C.O.T.S – Detroit, Michigan @COTSDetroit (Monday April 30th) – #MIRoadScholars @Michroadscholar @umich https://t.co/bU8wzWcvZK
— Corey Seeman (@cseeman) April 30, 2018
Michigan Road Scholars – Sending the right message
When you live on a farm, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the variables you can’t control. Similarly, I’ve found it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the challenges our state and our country are facing right now. Sometimes, it’s tempting to just stay in our own respective silos. But that’s not how you grow corn, and it’s definitely not how you start to grow healthy communities.
I’m hoping that this week – and every week – I can help be part of the solution, rather than part of an ongoing problem. Much like when I was a young boy and saw the Iowa State representative drive up to our farm, I hope people see the Michigan Road Scholars bus and find that we care. I not only care, but if I can, I’m here to help.
Follow our Michigan Road Scholars journey on Twitter this week via the hashtag #MIRoadScholars.
Photo credits: Corey Seeman, University of Michigan