Monday, February 2, 2015

Johnson foundation, Appalachian commission, Foundation for a Healthy Ky. to examine bright and dark spots in Appalachia

The Appalachian Regional Commission, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky are working on a three-year health-research project to determine factors that can support a culture of health in Appalachia and whether that knowledge can be translated into actions that address the region's health disparities.

“Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots,” will run through the end of 2017. The project will identify “bright spots” where health outcomes are better than indicated by unemployment, poverty rates and other community factors. Experts will try to figure out why, and will likewise examine why health outcomes in some communities are not as good as would be expected. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is providing $750,000 for the project, and ARC will contribute $250,000. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will administer the project.

“This groundbreaking effort will provide a deeper understanding of factors that contribute to or undermine community health,” said Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the foundation.

The project will produce a database with county-level health and economic data; hold discussions with local leaders to help explain the findings; develop policy-based user tools, including a Web site featuring data sets and a GIS-based tool to help visualize research outcomes and community profiles; and examine policy implications and make recommendations.

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