Restoring Health Through Community

The Healthy Appalachia Institute’s is working to improve the health, education, environment and prosperity for residents of central Appalachia by collaborating across communities and organizations, generating and implementing new ideas, and engaging the social, economic and scientific issues that exist at the interface of health and the Appalachian culture.

UVA Student Explores Policy Options to Decrease Tobacco Use in Southwest Virginia


This past semester Healthy Appalachia Institute worked with UVA student (and recent graduate) Alyssa Smith from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy (UVA) as she explored Virginia's current tobacco policies and recommended evidence based policy options to decrease adult tobacco use in Southwest Virginia.

"Virginia’s current tobacco control policies are relaxed, even when compared to other southern tobacco-growing states. This report attempts to strengthen current policies and programs using best practices from throughout the U.S. Virginia operate under the Dillon Rule, which means no locality may impose a law stronger than state law. Therefore, all tobacco control policies proposed herein will apply statewide. This report specifically analyzes (1) maintaining the status quo (2) increasing the tobacco excise tax (3) giving free cessation drugs to Medicaid and uninsured populations (4) a more comprehensive Clean Indoor Air Act (5) and an extension of the Tips From Former Smokers campaign. To evaluate each option I used the following criteria: cost-effectiveness, efficacy, equity, financial capability, and political feasibility."

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Mountain Empire Older Citizens Receives Accessible Mobility Innovations Grant


CONTACT: Mitch Elliott - Innovations in Transit Mobility 276-523-7433-

Big Stone Gap, Virginia —Today, Mountain Empire Older Citizens is pleased to announce that Big Stone Gap is one of six communities nationwide to receive an Innovations in Accessible Mobility grant from the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC). The grant award of 47,215 dollars will be used to create a one-call center to assist the people in our area that have diabetes or a chronic illness to be able to access transportation and find help in navigating the health care system.

One hundred and thirty organizations representing thirty-seven states and two Tribal nations competed for these FTA cooperative agreement funds, which are managed by the NADTC. Grantees located in six communities in five states – Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Virginia – will work to expand mobility opportunities that enable older adults and people with disabilities to better connect to employment, health care and other needed community services.

This grant will help us focus on four areas of concern in our region. Those with Diabetes that are on Dialysis .The veterans that need to travel from our area for specialized care. Those who have been diagnosed with cancer and those with a disability.

This is a joint effort with the Junction Center for Independent Living and Developmental Services operated by Frontier Health and local transportation board (MERTAC) and its members.

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Strengthening Connections with Cervical Cancer Specialists: A UVA Telemedicine Pilot Project


Dr. Timothy Showalter is a certified Radiation Oncologist at the University of Virginia's Health System. He provides radiation treatment for patients with genitourinary, gynecologic, and pediatric cancers, melanoma and sarcoma. As a clinical researcher Dr. Showalter is focused on developing more effective radiation therapy schedules and evaluating advanced technologies for brachytherapy and external beam radiation therapy.

Dr. Showalter is looking forward to working in Southwest Virginia on this cervical cancer pilot project. If you are interested in partnering with Dr. Showalter or have follow up questions and want to learn more about this opportunity, please complete this short survey.

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