In 1991, Carle Foundation Hospital recognized the need to provide education on agricultural safety and health. This came after the devastating loss of Clifford and Dean Roberts, a father and son who lost their lives in separate farming incidents. The Roberts Family, in conjunction with Bernice and Zelma Holl, established the Roberts Memorial Fund to help support the Center.
The Center was established with three primary aims:
- To promote agricultural safety and health among the agricultural population.
- To provide in-service training and serve as a technical resource for rural health care and rescue professionals in the Carle service area.
- To be engaged in applied agricultural safety and health research.
1999 saw the completion of The Forum at Carle, a major new addition that included both an office for the Center and the Roberts Memorial Library. In 2005, the Center was placed under Regional Outreach Services.
In 2007, the Center became part of Carle Advertising and Marketing Communications and in 2010, part of Public Relations. We are located at 901 W. University Avenue. Our current focus is on community outreach and education through programs such as Progressive Ag Safety Days®, school assemblies, CPR/First Aid and farm family emergency response classes for the public. The Center also plays an important role in preparing pre-hospital and emergency providers to respond quickly and effectively to farming incidents and illnesses.
In 2008, land donated by Bernice and Zelma Holl to Carle in memory of Clifford and Dean Roberts was sold. Funds from the sale were earmarked for rural health and farm safety efforts. Among many initiatives, a tractor was purchased for use in extrication training. The tractor and a field cultivator were recently donated to the Illinois Fire Service Institute.
Today the Center continues to add to its programs, reaching thousands of people each year with a healthier outlook for the Illinois countryside.