University of Tennessee Knoxville

Baker Center

Healthy Appalachia

Research Study Information

Appalachia’s health disparities are well-documented, with the lack of oral and vision care noted as key drivers of poor health. Individuals in the Region are less likely to have seen a dentist in the last year, more likely to delay oral care until it becomes an emergency, and less likely, even when complete vision loss is threatened, to have seen an eye doctor. While the problems are known, effective and efficient solutions remain under examined.
This study will be used by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to understand health and social well-being in Appalachian communities. The conclusions of the study also will be provided to state-level leadership in the Appalachian Region, to the Appalachian Regional Commission, to non-profit organizations, and be the topic of a public forum at the Howard H. Baker Center Jr. Center for Public Policy with health researchers about policy changes that can support rural healthcare services. 
With the University of Tennessee’s research expertise we believe we will be well-positioned to share the findings from this research and use them to make actionable change that will improve the lives of Appalachians and those in rural communities nationally.
Study Funding 
This study is being partially funded by the Trinity Health Foundation. 
Study Principal Investigator and Staff
The principal investigator for this study is Dr. Katie Cahill, the Associate Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. Dr. Cahill holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University in Political Science with an emphasis on public health policy.
Dr. Cahill also is the Director of the Leadership & Governance program at the Center and holds a courtsey appointment in the Department of Political Science. She co-leads the Appalachian Leadership Institute in partnership with the Appalchian Regional Commission, Tuskgee University, and Collective Impact. 
The staff for this study consist of students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. All students involved in the study are IRB certified and have been trained regarding confidentiality, ethics, and data management. 
Contact Information
If you have questions or concerns about this study, or have experienced a research related problem or injury, contact the researcher: Dr. Katie Cahill,, 865-974-8681. You can also email us at

For questions or concerns about your rights or to speak with someone other than the research team about the study, please contact: 

Institutional Review Board
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1534 White Avenue
Blount Hall, Room 408
Knoxville, TN 37996-1529
Phone: 865-974-7697
The protocol for this study is: UTK IRB-19-05203-XM

Contact Us

Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
Twitter Facebook Instagram YouTube
This email was sent to .
Add us to your address book to continue receiving our emails.

Subscribe to our email list.