For more than a decade, the University of Kentucky has maintained a research presence in Letcher County and six neighboring counties. Over that time, researchers from the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Behavioral Science have worked closely with community members to decide which health problems should be tackled and how best to address them. A storefront property in Whitesburg has housed community-engaged research studies on an array of topics, including cervical cancer prevention, respiratory disease, and improving diabetic outcomes — all with the goal of reducing health disparities in Appalachia.
The UK Community-Based Research Office is now located at 1203 US Hwy 119 N. This former residence, now converted to office space, serves as the home collaborative UK research projects in Appalachia.
“The new location is simply providing us a better space to serve our research participants,” said Tiffany Scott, Project Manager. “We definitely don’t want the community to think UK has abandoned their research efforts in eastern Kentucky. Even though we loved our Main Street location, the new space will provide easier parking, ramps for loading and unloading, adequate space for training sessions, and a more private atmosphere for one on one interviews.”
Currently, the new office houses the Faith Moves Mountains-Appalachians In Control (AIC) Diabetes Research Study. The study was launched in 2017 to help improve diabetic outcomes through self-management skills and promoting regular medical care. But according to Scott, there is room to grow.
“We are excited about opportunities that this property affords us. We already have a space set up for visiting researchers, faculty, or even students from the university to work, should the need arise. In fact, we have already partnered with the College of Nursing on a COVID-19 study that examines the effects the virus has had on church attenders.”
“ The work we do in Appalachia is vitally important.” stated Dr. Nancy Schoenberg, UK’s associate vice president for research that focuses health disparities. “We are committed to continuing and expanding those efforts moving forward. We love Letcher County and have been working with local residents for 16 years. We hope to be here for a long, long time.”
For more information about the current research study, contact project manager Tiffany B. Scott at 606-505-7717 or contact the project office at 606-633-3339. Due to COVID-19, office hours may be limited.