By Selena Stevens
people of Central Appalachia have higher rates of
chronic disease when compared to the rest of the nation.
Many health care groups have begun community-based
programs to encourage preventative care and improve
healthcare. We hope this alliance and conference can
help identify successful models and build on those
UK Appalachian Center
13, 2001 (Lexington, Ky.) -- On
Dec. 14 and 15, the University of Kentucky will host
the first meeting since 1992 between the Kentucky
and West Virginia commissioners of health during the
new Appalachian Health Alliance conference focusing
on the special needs of the two Appalachian states.
begins at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in the Hardymon
Building, located at the corner of Rose and Maxwell
streets on the UK campus.
coordinated by the UK Appalachian Center, is the result
of efforts by Gordon Garrett, UK Appalachian Center,
and Betsy Taylor, UK anthropology. Working with various
public, private, academic and non-profit agencies,
they have helped establish the Appalachian Health
Alliance, a consortium of 16 members. Most members
are health oriented and have individually served the
region for many years.
said the goal of the Appalachian Center, a multidisciplinary
research center that works for a positive, equitable
and sustainable future in Appalachian communities,
is to cultivate a climate of collaboration which leads
to improved health in Central Appalachia.
of Central Appalachia have higher rates of chronic
disease when compared to the rest of the nation,"
Garrett said. "Many health care groups have begun
community-based programs to encourage preventative
care and improve healthcare. We hope this alliance
and conference can help identify successful models
and build on those models."
to success has been a lack of familiarity with the
Appalachian context. The collaboration between the
Appalachian Center and health sciences is one way
of fostering greater awareness of Appalachia and improving
the overall health people living in the region.
said another goal of the alliance is to recognize
Appalachians as a special-needs population. This could
open up new avenues of funding, he noted.
said he hopes the alliance will focus on the unique
characteristics of Appalachia as the alliance moves
ahead with health research and service. The first
day of the conference will feature development of
a joint statement that will provide direction for
sessions, the members will evaluate and refine proposals
for action. Chronic health issues will be discussed
including tobacco use, cancer, over self-medication
and abuse of prescription drugs, environmental and
economic contributors, risk behaviors special needs
of youth and the elderly, and inequality in access
to health care.
of the Appalachian Health Alliance are the West Virginia
Bureau for Public Health; the West Virginia University
Prevention Research Center; the West Virginia Department
of Community Health; the Kentucky Department of Public
Health; the UK Appalachian Center; the Common Knowledge
Network of the UK Appalachian Center; the UK Prevention
Research Center; the Appalachian Cancer Network; the
UK Rural Health Center in Hazard, Ky.; the UK School
of Public Health; the UK College of Agriculture Cooperative
Extension Service; the Charleston Area Medical Center
in Charleston, W.Va.; the Pikeville College School
of Osteopathic Medicine in Pikeville, Ky.; the UK
College of Dentistry Department of Oral Health; Appalachian
Regional Healthcare based in Lexington; and Mud Creek
Clinic in Grethal, Ky.