June 16, 2023 –The mission of Appalachian Regional Healthcare is to improve health and promote well-being of all people in Central Appalachia in partnership with our communities. The Community Development Department of the health system was created to further that mission. The team conducts health needs assessments, plans health and wellness programming, and works to build strong partnerships with schools, non-profits, public health, and other organizations.
For National Community Health Improvement Week (June 12-16), the Community Development team is recognizing some of our best community partners with ARH Partner in Health Awards. These awards, which will be given annually, recognize those who have greatly assisted in community betterment or health programming in 2023. Awardees have worked to help those in most need, collaborate in innovative ways, and have been drivers in healthy community development. 2023 Healthy Community Partner Award Recipients are:
Kentucky Cancer Program provides a variety of cancer prevention programs throughout the state of Kentucky, including cancer screenings, care resources for cancer patients, prevention education, and survivors’ programs. In 2023, KCP’s Ashley Teague covered two regions and assisted ARH in more than 10 programs and events over the past six months. Partnerships with the health system have included Love Your Lungs, an educational program for middle school students, colon cancer screening events, program webinars, and cancer education throughout the community with the Mega Lung and Incredible Colon inflatables.
The Raleigh County Commission on Aging dba the Commission on Aging, Raleigh County, is an agency dedicated to serving the needs of senior citizens in southern West Virginia, particularly those in Raleigh County. With the mission “Helping Older People Hold On to The Most Valuable Thing They Own, Their Independence,” it is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of senior citizens in every facet of life. Beckley ARH partners with the Commission to provide monthly Lunch and Learns, Diabetes Support Groups, and other senior programming throughout the year.
The Kentucky Nutrition Education Program (KYNEP) encompasses two separate USDA programs: The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed). Both programs are administered by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and target low-income families and individuals by providing nutrition education. Throughout the year, ARH has partnered with staff from Johnson, Leslie, Pike, Floyd, Harlan, and Letcher counties to host healthy cooking classes, diabetes support groups, stroke presentations, and farmers market outreach events.
Tara Vostad, a Health Promotion Specialist with the Kentucky River District Health Department, has a passion for promoting tobacco and vaping cessation. Tara is an advocate for stricter laws surrounding youth vaping and tobacco advertising. One of ARH’s strategic initiatives for 2023 is to decrease lung cancer in Appalachia through education, preventative screenings, and partnerships. Tara has helped with much of this work by providing education and planning assistance with ARH’s Love Your Lungs
program, Prayer and Prevention, school health fairs, and several other events. Recently ARH Pharmacy partnered with Tara to provide vaccinations at the “Healthy Heroes” event she spearheaded.
The mission of the Regional Prevention Center is to plan, promote, and coordinate comprehensive alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse prevention services in Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike Counties. The Center also focuses heavily on mental health education, community prevention coalitions, youth programming and prevention strategies. Recently, ARH partnered with the center to begin offering Mental Health First Aid certifications to ARH staff across the system. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a nationally recognized training that teaches participants to recognize and assist patients, caregivers, coworkers, or their own families that may be experiencing challenges due to mental distress or substance use disorders. The Regional Prevention Center is the recipient of a MHFA grant covering 23 counties. ARH will continue to work with Mountain Regional Prevention Center as part of its commitment to certify staff in Mental Health First Aid.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, West Liberty, Whitesburg, and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 6,500 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.