The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH) recently released their impact report for Appalachian Community Health Days (ACHD). The UK CERH, Kentucky Homeplace, USA Drone Port and a network of community partners worked together in 2021-2023 to host 99 ACHD events across 32 Appalachian counties in both Kentucky and neighboring West Virginia to provide COVID vaccines, health screenings, education and resources.  

More than 1,300 COVID-19 vaccines were administered, along with thousands of health screenings and connections to services and resources, according to the report. 

“Collectively, we reached more than 10,000 people with this project,” said Fran Feltner, director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health. 

“We want to express our immense thanks to our community partners and recognize our community health workers for their expertise. We could not have done this without everyone working together,” Feltner said.

The diverse range of partners represented nearly every sector of the community, including local health departments, community mental health centers, community action agency programs, area development districts, faith-based leaders and churches, school systems, colleges and universities, hospitals and health care clinics, substance use disorder treatment and recovery programs, county governments, transportation services and local businesses from the respective counties. 

The primary goals of ACHD were to:

  • Provide COVID-19 education and vaccine access in remote, rural Appalachian communities.
  • Provide current, correct and positive COVID-19 messaging in remote rural communities. 
  • Provide health screenings, needs assessments and referrals to remove barriers impacting the health of rural residents.

Learn more in the attached impact report.

About the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health: The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health was established by state legislation in 1990 to address health disparities in rural Kentucky and the unique challenges faced by our communities. The mission was and still is today to improve the health and well-being of rural Kentuckians. For more than three decades, the center has partnered with communities, providers, students and individuals to provide health professions education, health policy research, health care service and community engagement toward reaching this mission.