A major donation last week will see the development of a mobile unit for rural health and wellness. 

The Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health located at the University of Saskatchewan has received an anonymous donation of $1.5 million.

Director Shelley Kirychuk says the gift is an incredible boost for the centre.

"I think what's also unique about this donation is that it not only equips, but it operationalizes. That means there's that operational support so that we have additional resources to get our boots on the ground to be out there in the rural areas. And that to us as a Centre is foundational to making the real impact. It's not just about the mobile unit, it's about having the personnel to run that mobile unit."

RN Kendra Ulmer is the manager of the Agricultural Health and Safety Network.

She says this funding will really help to expand their Agricultural Health and Safety Network program.

"I'm really looking forward to hearing from our partners and other researchers in terms of the various screenings that could be included in this mobile unit. Right now our current focus is on respiratory health and hearing health through the 'One to One Health Clinics', so getting your lungs tested and hearing tested, but address a variety of health concerns that do come up."

She notes a simple test, but one of the exclusion criteria for doing a lung function test is measuring blood pressure. 

"Some people haven't had their blood pressure checked in many years, or not followed up with an annual physical. We have that opportunity to do that screening and talk about the importance of managing that. I often use the scenario of the importance of preventive maintenance on our equipment, and how important that is to do as farmers in terms of keeping ourselves safe and healthy."

Kirychuk says they hope to have the mobile unit ready in the next six to 12 months.

The announcement also coincides with the name change from the Centre for Agricultural Medicine to the Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health.

Farmers may remember it as the Centre for Agricultural Medicine which was first established in 1986 in June of this year they made the decision to add "Rural" to the name to better reflect its work in rural communities as well.