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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Building Environmental Health Literacy in Appalachia

Appalachia’s history of health disparities, along with potential linkages between some diseases and environmental contaminants, underscores the need for residents to have information, knowledge, and skills to protect themselves from potential environmental health threats. Local health departments and other community organizations play key roles in sharing information about these topics.

A new report from the University of Kentucky discusses the regional relevance of environmental health literacy (EHL), an emerging, multidisciplinary field that promotes understanding of how environmental exposures can affect human health knowledge and skills. The article further describes three ongoing Appalachian projects that are focused on measuring and building EHL. The authors further describe the implications of their projects for public health practice, policy, and research, noting that stakeholder-engaged approaches can increase access to better information and help build environmental health literacy in Appalachia, ultimately leading to evidence informed individual and community decisions.

Dr. Anna Goodman Hoover, assistant professor of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health in the Univeristy of Kentucky College of Public Health, is first and corresponding author of the publication, which appears in the Journal of Appalachian Health. Co-authors include Dr. W. Jay Christian, assistant professor of epidemiology, and Dr. Kimberly I. Tumlin, assistant professor of preventive medicine and environmental health, along with UK colleagues from the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment and the College of Engineering.

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