Dr. Margo Riggs and Megan Williams, employees of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assigned to Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) attended the fifth-annual Appalachian Research Day in Hazard.
This event is a unique forum to “come sit on the porch” to join the discussion and learn more about findings of health disparities research as it is delivered directly to the community where the research is conducted. The event is hosted by University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health with presentations describing successes in improving health outcomes and leveraging strengths and assets to improve health and well-being in in Appalachia Kentucky by Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean of the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University, Dr. Mike Meir, Co-Director of NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, and SOAR partner, Scott Lockard, Director of Kentucky River District Health Department, along with a keynote address from the new Health Commissioner at the Kentucky Department for Public Health Dr Angela Dearinger, who grew up in Paintsville.
Community Health Workers shared the important work they do at the local level with personal success stories from the field. Researchers disseminated their findings in a poster session that included topics ranging from understanding how environmental factors contribute to asthma; identifying facilitators to and barriers of physical activity in rural trail towns; addressing barriers to cervical cancer screening, seeing how high school students assist with air and radon screening in Appalachian households; AAA screening in Appalachia; and recommendations from a Health Impact Assessment of the Elkhorn Lake Improvement Project.
The day ended with a moderated panel discussion about health improvements in women who participated in a nationally recognized community-based program for women with arthritis or limited mobility, “Operation Change.” It teaches healthy choices and that “movement is medicine” over 18 weeks and was launched for the first time in a rural community in the nation in Perry County.