Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots is a health research initiative to identify and explore Appalachian communities with better-than-expected health outcomes.

Launched in 2015, this multi-part initiative

  • documents health disparities between the Appalachian Region and the nation as a whole, as well as health disparities within the Region;
  • identifies Bright Spot communities, or Appalachian counties with better-than-expected health outcomes;
  • presents case studies of Bright Spot communities to learn about activities, programs, and values that may have helped these communities achieve better-than-expected health outcomes;
  • offers practical strategies and recommendations to community leaders, funders, and policymakers pursuing health equity and improved health in their communities.

The research initiative is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and administered by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

About the Partners

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation logo

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated to health. For more than 40 years, RWJF has supported research and programs targeting some of the nation’s most pressing health issues.

RWJF provided funding for this research as part of its Culture of Health Initiative.

Appalachian Regional Commission logo

Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission provided funding, leadership, and project management for the initiative.

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.

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky logo

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky served as the grantee and fiscal agent for the initiative.

Funded by an endowment, the nonpartisan Foundation’s mission is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $27 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth.