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The Healthy Appalachia Institute 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.



The Healthy Appalachia Institute (HAI) at The University of Virginia's College at Wise (UVA Wise) is a collaboration between critical thinkers, scholars, system planners and leaders in government, education, business and healthcare. Through this collaboration, HAI provides policy makers, healthcare systems, educators, the business community and the region's citizens the necessary resources, ideas and strategies to foster a healthier citizenry in Central Appalachia


The vision of the HAI is unique among university-based Appalachian programs in that it seeks to transform Central Appalachia into a leading model for rural community health throughout the world.


This vision is moved forward through the Healthy Appalachia Institute's mission to improve the health, education, and prosperity of the residents of the region. The HAI is implementing a broad series of actions including:

  • Listening to the needs of communities and their citizens;

  • Ensuring a continuous assessment of the region's health status;

  • Supporting ongoing strategic health partnerships and planning;

  • Designing and implementing innovative models of health education, workforce development and health care delivery;

  • Promoting service learning for undergraduate and graduate students on behalf of the residents;

  • Advocating community-based participatory research opportunities;

  • Providing evaluation expertise for health improvement projects in the region;

  • Developing resources to support the work of HAI and its partners;

  • Exploring the history of health in the mountains of Appalachia;

  • Fostering intellectual, artistic and emotional expressions of understanding at the interface of Appalachian culture and health; and,

  • Serving as an incubator for new ideas to ensure an improved quality of life for all residents of Central Appalachia and beyond.


The issues of energy, education, work, and health are at the center of our nation's most significant challenges. These same issues are at the heart of the HAI and its mission. While Central Appalachia has been often considered “the other America,” the HAI region is a focal point to ignite our most important national debates. To ignore the contradictions and challenges of Central Appalachia is to ignore the greatest issues facing the nation as a whole. HAI seeks to elevate the issues facing the region and the power of community-based solutions to a national level.

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