Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots

Appalachian Regional Commission map of ARC countiesCreating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots” is an innovative research initiative that aims to identify factors that support a culture of health in Appalachian communities.

This multi-part health research project will produce a series of reports. The first report  measures population health and documents disparities in health outcomes within the Appalachian Region and compared to the United States as a whole. The second report will identify “Bright Spots,” communities that exhibit better-than-expected health outcomes given their resources. The third report will explore a sample of the Bright Spot communities through in-depth, field-based case studies. Taken together, these reports will provide a basis for understanding and addressing health issues in the Appalachian Region. This work will help others explore activities, programs and policies that encourage better-than-expected health outcomes and translate these ideas into actions that other communities can replicate.

This initiative is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and is administered by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The Sheps Center is performing this work in collaboration with PDA, Inc.


Sheps Staff: Mark Holmes, Randy Randolph, Sharita Thomas
Sheps Contact: Mark Holmes, 919-966-7100,
Press contact: Wendy Wasserman, ARC Communications Director, 202-884-7771


Health Disparities in Appalachia Report CoverReports:

Health Disparities in Appalachia (August 2017)


Work in Progress

Bright Spots: Quantitative Analysis (Fall 2017)

Bright Spots: Case Studies (Fall 2017)


Previous work in Appalachia by the Sheps Center:

Health Care Costs and Access Disparities in Appalachia (July 2012)