Year of Publication

2017

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

F. Douglas Scutchfield, MD

Committee Member

Sarah Wackerbarth, PhD

Committee Member

Richard C. Ingram, DrPH

Abstract

Introduction

Appalachian Kentucky has been and is currently facing difficult times including low employment rates, low education rates and less-than-favorable healthcare and health status for the people of the region (Estep, 2014). There have been multiple government and non-government agencies who have implemented interventions with the purpose of lifting up the region. Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, is a bipartisan organization which began in 2013, and was established for the purpose of caring for the region.

Methods

A qualitative data analysis using confidential interviews with six people involved with SOAR was used for this project. Using the deductive approach and qualitative content analysis, common and recurrent themes from each interview were identified and used to determine whether or not SOAR Health had met its mission.

Results

As the result of SOAR Health, much work done has been to build healthier communities through reducing the physical and economic impact of obesity, diabetes and substance abuse while building many partnerships in the Appalachian Kentucky region.

Conclusion

Through the last three years, SOAR has brought connectedness to the region by implementing many new programs and procedures, which have facilitated the coming together of Eastern Kentuckians from all different sectors to work simultaneously for the greater good of the community. SOAR Health has supported goals of the community, all while intensely listening to the people of Appalachian Kentucky and also by acting on the needs of the community.

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