We all live in glass houses

Life expectancy has gone down in the United States for each of the last three years.  After decades of steady increases in lifespan, this is the first such period of sustained decline in longevity since World War I.  The primary culprit is the opioid epidemic that has been sweeping the country in the last 25 years, or so.  The number […]

Rural Success Stories. We could be one, too

Klamath County, Oregon.  Algoma, Wisconsin.  Allen County, Kansas.  Williamson, West Virginia.  Garrett County, Maryland. What, you might ask, do these places have in common?  What they have in common is that they are all rural communities that have been recognized as Culture of Health Prize winners by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health-related philanthropic organization in the United […]

Be The Change You Want to See

Something wonderful happened in Madisonville a few months ago.  After 16 years, the Salvation Army re-opened their homeless shelter in their McCoy Avenue building. In the previous articles I’ve written about community health, I’ve stressed that one of the reasons why we can, if we so choose, change the future of our region and everyone who lives in it, is […]

Planning the Way Forward

I’ve written a good bit on rural community health, social determinants of health, how health and individual and community prosperity are linked and how our ARCH community health coalition is designed to help deal with those health issues. The ARCH coalition exists to bring together organizations in the community to work collectively to help individuals and families deal with the […]

We, The People of Hopkins County

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that […]

My Neighbor, Myself

“There is a patient in the Emergency Department/clinic who is seeking pain medication.”  I wonder how many times a day that phrase, or something similar, is spoken, just in Kentucky.  I would guess that the answer is “thousands” if not “tens of thousands”.  Most of us have heard of the opioid crisis.  We’ve actually been pretty lucky around here, in […]

The Golden Rule Applies to Community Health, Too

A community is like an organism, composed of multiple parts.  When those parts are healthy and well, the whole organism is healthy and well.  When some of those parts are not well, it impacts the health of the whole organism.  This is why community health is important, and it is why I have been trying to explain my proposal for […]

A Better Future is Just a Matter of Will and Resources

Kentucky ranks 50th in the country for cancer deaths.  Our cancer death rate is about 19% above the national average.  That means that, for every four people that die of cancer nationally, five will die in Kentucky.  Kentucky is 49th in the number of adults who smoke.  Everyone knows the link between cancer and smoking.  We are 44th in deaths […]

Why Your Health Matters To Everyone

In my two previous blogs “Starting our Journey to a Healthier, More Prosperous Future in Western Kentucky” and “How to Begin”, I tried to lay out a proposal for building a better future in rural western Kentucky by first creating an improved environment for community health. In this post, I’ll try to explain a bit about what community health is, […]

How to Begin

Alrighty, then. In my previous blog post, “Starting our Journey to a healthier, more prosperous future in western Kentucky“, I tried to introduce an idea about community health and creating a better future for our families, our communities and our region. In this post, I’ll start trying to explain how I think we can go about that. Let me start […]