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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

East Tennessee/NORC Team Receives Grant to Study Childhood Obesity and Chronic Disease in Central Appalachia

Dr. Kate Beatty, from the department of health services management and policy in the ETSU College of Public Health is the Principal Investigator for a newly awarded grant from the Appalachia Funders Network to address childhood obesity and chronic disease in central Appalachia. Dr. Beatty’s partners in the grant include Mr. Michael Meit, co-director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, in Bethesda, Maryland, who is supported by Ms. Tess Gilbert and Ms. Megan Heffernan, both from NORC at the University of Chicago. The team from the ETSU College of Public Health, includes Dr. Deb Slawson, Chair, Department of Community and Behavior Health, Ms. Paula Masters, Director, LIFEPATH Public Health Training Center, Ms. Ginny Kidwell, director, Tennessee Institute of Public Health, and Dean Randy Wykoff. ETSU and NORC have previously worked together on a project to address mental health and substance abuse disparities in Appalachia.


The grant is titled “Reducing Childhood Obesity and Chronic Disease in Central Appalachia—Data Analysis and Planning to Support Promising Practices and Strategies.” There will be four main tasks:

  1. Creating a report on the extent of  childhood obesity in  Appalachia
  2. Developing a list of current programs in Appalachia that address childhood obesity
  3. Identifying those childhood obesity programs in Appalachia that have been most effective
  4. Recommendations for strategies to reduce childhood obesity the region

The grant  was written in response to an RFP from the Health Working Group of the Appalachia Funders Network. “The Appalachia Funders Network is a group of 80 public and private grantmakers who envision an Appalachian economy that provides opportunity for all while sustaining the environmental and cultural assets of our region.”

NORC at the University of Chicago conducts a wide range of objective social science research. The mission of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, part of NORC’s public health research department, is to “conduct timely policy analysis, research, and evaluation that address the needs of policy makers, the health care workforce, and the public on issues that affect health care and public health in rural America.”