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Appalachians have been characterized as a population with numerous disparities in health and limited access to medical services and infrastructures, leading to inaccurate generalizations that inhibit their healthcare progress. Appalachians face significant challenges in obtaining effective care, and the public lacks information about both their healthcare needs and about the resources communities have developed to meet those needs.

In Appalachian Health and Well-Being, editors Robert L. Ludke and Phillip J. Obermiller bring together leading researchers and practitioners to provide a much-needed compilation of data- and research-driven perspectives, broadening our understanding of strategies to decrease the health inequalities affecting both rural and urban Appalachians. The contributors propose specific recommendations for necessary research, suggest practical solutions for health policy, and present best practices models for effective health intervention. This in-depth analysis offers new insights for students, health practitioners, and policy makers, promoting a greater understanding of the factors affecting Appalachian health and effective responses to those needs.

Robert L. Ludke is a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Cincinnati. He is also a member of the Board of the Urban Appalachian Council.

Phillip J. Obermiller is a Senior Visiting Scholar in the School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati and a past president of the Appalachian Studies Association.

This volume pulls together an enormous amount of information that has been scattered in obscure publications in diverse fields. It synthesizes that information, puts it in context, and makes it available to the anyone interested in general health issues. It should be in the library of every postsecondary education institution with an Appalachian constituency. -- Wayne Meyers, M.D.

A well-written, insightful work that encompasses the breadth of this important topic. -- Baretta R. Casey, M.D., M.P.H.

Ludke and Obermiller's work goes far beyond the borders of Appalachia to document the relationship between health and economic status. It particularly emphasizes the long-term effects of poverty on health. Its usefulness is not limited to Appalachia but to all those who believe that the opportunity for good health should not be defined by income and wealth. -- William W. Philliber, author of Appalachian Migrants in Urban America

An important and much-needed book. Mountaineers, both those inside the region as well as those beyond it, will receive better care from health-care providers and more humane treatment by policy makers if both read carefully the multidisciplinary perspectives contained in this timely volume. -- Chad Berry, author of Southern Migrants, Northern Exiles

An excellent introduction to the persisting health challenges of Appalachia, where health disparities are one of the continuing markers of inequality. In this volume some of the region's leading health researchers examine the economic, environmental, behavioral and systemic causes of those disparities. -- Ronald D Eller, Distinguished Professor of History, author of Uneven Ground: Appalachia since 1945

Brings together researchers who present data addressing health disparities affecting urban and rural Appalachians and offers possible solutions. -- Kentucky Enquirer

Ludke and Obermiller summarize the state of Appalachian health. . . . An important addition to the body of work documenting the state of Appalachia. -- Kentucky Libraries

A truly exemplary book. . . . Surveys nine areas of health in the region and concludes with policy recommendations. -- Apalachian Heritage

An important addition to the body of work documenting the state of Appalachia. -- Kentucky Libraries

This medical text, the first of its kind, focuses on health of the region’s inhabitants as well as those who have moved away. -- Library Journal

While the idea of geographically-based health disparities is still evolving, this engaging resource has greatly expanded the concept in what is a remarkable volume of well-organized, well-written, evidence-based studies on health in Appalachia presented from a host of critical perspectives. This book should become required reading for policy makers, health care providers, community activists, and students everywhere. -- Elke Jones Zschaebitz, David C. Gordon, Family and Community Health

Appalachian Health and Well-being develops an enriched analytical framework for health care and creates a new, comprehensive source of knowledge that will benefit multidirectional efforts to improve Appalachian health. Authors offer informed recommendations for assessing and preventing disease and promoting health. This compilation is a pioneering work that will inform and guide readers and serve as a model for future Appalachian health research. -- Journal of Appalachian Studies

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Rural health, Rural services, Health status disparities, Appalachian Region


Medicine and Health Sciences


Edited by Robert L. Ludke and Phillip J. Obermiller

Foreword by Richard A. Couto

Appalachian Health and Well-Being
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