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A weekly email from the Appalachian Regional Commission
In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  August 23, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 33

ARC SPOTLIGHT

A map created on healthinappalachia.org, part of the "Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia" project, shows that diabetes among Appalachian adults is most prevalent in central Appalachia.

Understanding Diabetes in Appalachia


Nearly 12 percent of Appalachian residents aged 20 and older have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the mortality rate for diabetes in Appalachia is 11 percent higher than the nation as a whole. The diabetes mortality rate in Appalachia’s economically distressed counties is 33 percent higher than in those counties classified as not economically distressed. This is according to Health Disparities in Appalachia, an element of "Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots," a research initiative sponsored by ARC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. With the American Diabetes Association noting that diabetes accounts for $90 billion in reduced productivity nationwide, diabetes’ economic toll in Appalachia is presumably significant.

Since 2000, the Appalachian Diabetes Control and Translation Project (ADCTP)—a partnership between ARC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health at Marshall University—has worked with 90 community-based health coalitions in ten Appalachian states using local action to prevent and control diabetes in the Region’s economically distressed counties. Five of these coalitions are in counties profiled in Exploring Bright Spots in Appalachian Health: Case Studies which describes local perceptions of practices that may be associated with better-than-expected health outcomes. The case studies found all of these counties share several common themes as they approach local health issues including diabetes. These themes, which are also relevant to rural health coalitions, include community engagement, cross-sector collaboration, health care provider leadership in public health initiatives, and faith community partnerships. For example, in Hale County, Alabama, coalition members have organized diabetes public education and outreach events. Mississippi’s Noxubee County diabetes coalition works with the faith-based community to distribute diabetes educational materials. In McCreary County, Kentucky, coalition members have created wellness programs targeting senior citizens who are at risk for diabetes 

As the ADCTP continues to mature, ARC is inviting proposals from qualified research teams to review the history and impact of the program, and to assess the various performance metrics used by individual coalitions and the network as a whole. ARC in partnership with RWJF and Foundation for A Healthy Kentucky has also released another request for proposals to synthesize findings found through the "Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia" project into a report recommending practical strategies and actions to address health challenges. Together, these efforts will offer greater insight on how Appalachia’s counties which are rural and/or distressed are meeting public health challenges. 

INVESTMENTS IN ACTION

Image: Appalachian Regional Port
The forthcoming Murray South Industrial Park will serve the Appalachian Regional Port, which opened this week in Murray County, Georgia.

Infrastructure Opens Economic Expansion in Georgia


Yesterday, Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal, state officials, and more than 350 business and civic leaders were in Chatsworth, Georgia, to officially open the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) . The state-of-the-art facility, located in Murray County, will create a more efficient cargo route between North Georgia, Northeast Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Port of Savannah. It will also expand market access, and help the area diversify its economy beyond the textile industry. Murray County, the Murray County Industrial Development Authority, and the Chatsworth Water Works Commission are developing the nearby Murray South Industrial Park (MSIP) to expand the port’s infrastructure. A $600,000 ARC investment will be used to construct 19,000 linter feet of force main sewer line, enabling MSIP to house at least 10 new businesses which will use the port’s facility.

Investing in the Region’s transportation infrastructure is part of ARC’s strategic plan. “For ARC, a robust infrastructure system includes riverways and rail systems, in addition to roads. It includes a commitment to developing a working, effective, and profitable intermodal transportation network allowing us to capitalize on our Region’s assets and meet our economic potential. It means helping our region’s communities find additional economic opportunity in an ever-evolving transportation industry,” ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas told an audience at a conference on regional waterway infrastructure development this week. “Most important, however, it includes a responsibility to ensure that the Region’s transportation network benefits every local resident and business."

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

ARC Seeks Candidates for Two Management Positions


ARC is recruiting for two new management positions: director of information technology to lead ARC's existing IT team and manage all IT operations, and director of business and talent development investment to manage, plan, develop, and evaluate ARC investments in accordance with the agency's strategic plan. Learn more about these positions and other job opportunities at ARC.

POWER INITIATIVE

POWER Application Deadline 


Applications for ARC’s POWER Initiative to diversify the economy in the Region’s coal-impacted communities are due August 29, 2018 

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

ARC Seeks Proposals for Research Studies on Access and Traffic Safety in Appalachia


ARC is soliciting proposals for two new research studies: one that will analyze traffic safety in Appalachia to foster an improved understanding of traffic safety issues and outcomes in the Region compared with the rest of the nation; and one that will examine access in the Region as the first phase of a larger study on access, isolation, and mobility that aims to help align economic development priorities and transportation investments in Appalachia. Proposals are due August 31. See the requests for proposals.

APPALACHIA IN THE NEWS

Jeff State receives funds for biomedical training program, Birmingham Business Journal, Birmingham, Alabama
 
Startup helps others start up, Altoona Mirror, Altoona, Pennsylvania
 
Incubator grant brings 3-D tech to more companies, WYTV, Youngstown, Ohio
 
A Love of Farming Keeps WNC’s small dairy producers going, Mountain Xpress, Asheville, North Carolina
 
New Economic Report: Appalachia is Starting to Rebound, But in W.Va., That’s Not the Case, West Virginia Public Radio

UPCOMING EVENTS

Regional Economic Diversification Summit
Marietta, Ohio
August 30

SOAR Summit 2018
Pikeville, Kentucky
August 30–31

Appalachia Works: ARC Annual Conference
Tupleo, Mississippi
September 12–14

Brushy Fork Annual Institute
Berea, Kentucky
September 18–20

National Brownfields Leadership Summit
Washington, DC
September 25–26

EntreEd Forum
Pittsburgh, PA
September 28–30

7th TransTech Energy (TTE) Business Development Conference
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
October 23–24
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.
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