The Women to Women Project, a support network for rural women with chronic illness, is seeking women to participate in a study group forming in January 2008.
The College of Nursing at Montana State University is in its 12th year of this program, which enhances rural women's ability to manage their chronic condition and assesses its effect on their quality of life. As one participant said, "We rural people are sometimes isolated from the real world. It was great to be part of something that not only helps yourself but others as well."
Owning a computer is not necessary, but women interested in participating in the group must be physically able to use a computer, have a basic knowledge of how to use a computer, be between the ages of 35 and 65 and be living with a chronic disease such as arthritis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes or heart disease. Participants also must reside in a rural area. That is defined as living at least 25 miles outside of a town of 12,500 people or more, in or around a town of less than 12,500, or on a farm or a ranch in Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and eastern Oregon or eastern Washington.
Women in the project are assigned to one of two groups. One group is provided with Internet access that allows them to participate in a self-help support group and gain information from health teaching units and group discussions. The second group does not use computers but provides important health-related data. All groups participate in a telephone interview and complete three written mail questionnaires.
"It was a 'Great' experience, especially for those who knew nothing of computers, as we were taught how to find information on the Web, how to judge if it was good or bad information, and how to gain knowledge on whatever subject you wanted," wrote one woman who participated in the computer group.
Women who are interested in enrolling are asked to call toll-free (888) 375-1317 at the MSU College of Nursing, or contact the program via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available on the MSU web at: www.montana.edu/cweinert.