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ETSU College of Public Health tackles some of Appalachia’s most pressing health concerns

Contributed To The Press • May 10, 2019 at 11:42 PM

Several members of East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health have contributed to a series of issue briefs that address some of the most important health concerns affecting Appalachia.

The briefs were released last month by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They were developed as part of a health research initiative called “Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots.”

“These briefs are the final product of an important effort by ARC to not only define the health disparities in Appalachia but to find the positive examples and practices that communities, policymakers and funders can take and implement to combat the most pressing issues facing the region — opioids, obesity and smoking,” said Dr. Kate Beatty, assistant professor in the ETSU College of Public Health and co-director of the Center for Rural and Appalachian Health. “These briefs were designed to provide stakeholders with the tools to find the best solutions for their community.”

Working with researchers at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago’s Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, Beatty and Dr. Nathan Hale, associate professor in ETSU’s College of Public Health, led the research teams that authored the briefs.

The three briefs focus on opioid misuse, smoking and obesity, and contain strategies, resources and recommendations to help Appalachian communities tackle each issue.

In addition to Beatty and Hale, other ETSU College of Public Health contributors included Dr. Bill Brooks, assistant professor; Angela Hagaman, operations director for the Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment; Ginny Kidwell, executive director of the Tennessee Institute of Public Health; Dr. Hadii Mamudu, associate professor; Dr. Stephanie Mathis, assistant professor; Dr. Rob Pack, associate dean for academic affairs and professor; and Sam Pettyjohn, a doctoral student.

“Helping communities understand and effectively deal with these health concerns aligns with the mission of ETSU, which is rooted in improving the lives of those who live in our region,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of ETSU’s College of Public Health. “It is imperative that we take an active role through research and education, and I am proud that ETSU played a leading role in the development of these issue briefs.”

To learn more about ETSU’s College of Public Health, visit www.etsu.edu/cph/.

Health Disparities Related to Opioid Misuse in Appalachia
Health Disparities Related to Obesity in Appalachia
Health Disparities Related to Smoking in Appalachia 

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