HomeFrom the MayorAppalachian Regional Commission – May 17, 2018

Appalachian Regional Commission – May 17, 2018


Professor Richard Crespo (center), of Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia, along with community health workers led a session on an ARC POWER project, which is building a workforce to support high-risk patients.

Rural Health Challenges and Opportunities in Appalachia Addressed at Conference

ARC partners, grantees, and staff recently attended the National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA) annual Rural Health Conference in New Orleans to discuss Appalachian health in a rural economic development context. The nation’s largest rural health conference includes rural health practitioners, hospital administrators, clinic directors and health workers, social workers, state and federal health employees, academics, community members and more. Professor Richard Crespo, of Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia, led a session on an ARC POWER project which is building a community health worker (CHW) workforce in coal-impacted communities. A panel of Appalachian CHWs, clinicians, and funders was on hand to describe how CHWs are supporting high-risk patients with diabetes, COPD, and heart disease. As the project documents the health benefits and cost savings generated by CHWs, health insurance payers will begin to invest in these local healthcare jobs. To date, ARC’s grant has helped deploy 15 CHWs and leveraged more than $1.8 million from five private foundations.

ARC Senior Economist Julie Marshall, Ph.D., also presented at the NRHA conference on “Social Capital and Health Outcomes in Appalachia.” This topic is motivated by findings from ARC’s innovative research series, “Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots,” with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Michael Meit, Senior Public Health Systems Researcher for NORC at the University of Chicago, also spoke about the Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool, released by NORC in partnership with ARC. The tool can support rural planning and implementation efforts using overdose mortality rates and social determinants of health data. Meit hosted an additional conference session on NORC’s research for ARC on the so-called “diseases of despair” in Appalachia.


The high school in Franklin, Georgia (pictured) is a broadband hub in rural Heard County.

Investments in Infrastructure Serving Rural Communities in Georgia

From water and wastewater systems to rural internet access, strengthening infrastructure is one of ARC’s ongoing strategic investment goals. In fiscal year 2017, ARC invested over $55.5 million in Appalachia’s critical infrastructure development. ARC investments in infrastructure have helped reduce the Region’s isolation, spur economic activity, and improve public health and safety. May 14-21 is National Infrastructure Week.

For example, in Appalachian Georgia, an investment from ARC in partnership with Dalton Utilities, the small town of Cohutta is completing an extension of sewer from nearby Dalton to provide sewer service to its residents and businesses for the first time. The extension will help spur economic development efforts by serving existing and new businesses, and will also provide a clean, safe environment for students of Cohutta Elementary School. In Heard County, Georgia, ARC is investing in the extension of a wireless broadband option for the rural community. Currently, broadband fiber service is available only in the public schools, library, and courthouse in downtown Franklin, the county seat. This project will use a series of wired connections and broadcast points to create a broadband-powered cloud throughout the unincorporated county.


Program aids area businessesAltoona Mirror, Altoona, Pennsylvania

Report looks for ways to expand livestock industryHerald-Dispatch, Huntington, West Virginia

WMCHealth telepsychiatry reaches rural studentsPoughkeepsie Journal, Poughkeepsie, New York

Kentucky Launching Culinary Trail at 9 State ParksAssociated Press

The Crooked Road announces Mountains of Music HomecomingMiddlesboro Daily News, Abingdon, Virginia



Save the date for ARC’s Annual Summit!
Appalachia Works: Expanding Opportunities for our Region’s Future
Tupelo, Mississippi
September 12-14


ARC is now accepting applications for 2018 POWER Initiative funding submitted in response to the POWER request for proposals issued on February 1. ARC will review applications on a competitive basis. Cycle 1 of the application process is now closed. The Cycle 2 application deadline has been extended to August 29, 2018 11:59 pm ET.


ARC is currently recruiting candidates for two positions: a financial manager who will oversee the development, maintenance, and integrity of the agency’s accounting systems, and an intermodal transportation program analyst who will manage projects and initiatives that complement the success of the Appalachian Development Highway System and local access road program.

Complete position and application information is available on the ARC Job Opportunities page.

Map of the Appalachian Region
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.