Michael Meit Publishes on Appalachian Diseases of Despair
Michael Meit, Director of Research and Programs for the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health’s Center for Rural Health Research, has co-authored an article in the Journal of Appalachian Health. The article, “Tracking the Impact of Diseases of Despair in Appalachia—2015 to 2018,” provides an update on mortality due to diseases of despair within the Appalachian Region, comparing 2015 to 2018.
The concept of diseases or deaths of despair originated from research by Case and Deaton that highlighted rising morbidity and mortality among white non-Hispanic Americans from three main causes: alcoholic, prescription drug, and illegal drug overdose; suicide; and alcohol liver disease/cirrhosis of the liver. The initial Case and Deaton article was published in 2015, at a time when life expectancy in the U.S. fell for the first time in decades, and many researchers began to hypothesize what may be contributing to this decline. This also marked the beginning of the surge in drug overdose deaths in the U.S., driven by rapid increases in deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. Read more...
ETSU students put Johnson City on the map in CDC mask wearing study
A team of graduate students from East Tennessee State University College of Public Health have been busy placing Johnson City on the map as they conclude four months of local observations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national MASCUP! study.
Under the direction of Dr. Sam Pettyjohn, research assistant professor, ETSU is one of 66 locations nationwide chosen to assess mask wearing behaviors at U.S. colleges and universities as part of a larger “Mask Adherence Surveillance at Colleges and Universities,” or MASCUP!. Students have collected field data gathered on and off campus.
Since February, Pettyjohn and 11 students in the Master of Public Health program have canvased ETSU and other designated locations in Johnson City where they have studied the rates mask wearing behaviors and local adherence to CDC COVID-19 prevention guidelines, and how these rates changed over time. A total of 10 sites, five on campus and five in Johnson City, such as national retail and grocery chains or other local businesses, were chosen for their high foot traffic and proximity, then observed unobtrusively throughout the course of approximately 3,000 total observations during the spring semester—one of the longest such studies in the national study. Read more...
Mike Meit Interviewed by the Atlantic
Vaccine hesitancy is now the chief focus for rural-health experts. They have an obligation to change minds, and fast. But persuasion works only with trustworthy messengers, such as local leaders, physicians, and pharmacists—people who already have relationships and friendships with community members, who share similar values, and whose children go to school together.
“Rather than have these mass-vaccination sites through government-funded health departments with the National Guard” overseeing operations, health officials need to send vaccines straight to places such as doctors’ offices, churches, and familiar local clinics, Michael Meit, the research director at East Tennessee State University’s Center for Rural Health Research, told me. “It’s those relational pieces that are so, so important in our rural communities.” Read more...
Center for Rural Health Research Faculty Assist with COVID-19 Report
Researchers at the University of Kentucky have released COVID-19 Stakeholder Experiences in Kentucky, a report that details the findings of surveys taken during the summer and fall of 2020. The survey was designed and implemented by researchers at UK, with the analysis being completed by the ETSU Center for Rural Health Research.
The survey was designed and implemented by researchers at UK, with the analysis being completed by the Center for Rural Health Research at the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health. Kentucky Homeplace community health workers assisted with getting surveys to participants in hard-to-reach, underserved populations. Dr. Sam Pettyjohn and Dr. Amy Wahlquist, ETSU faculty, led the analysis for the report. Read more...
Michael Meit Featured on Rural Health Issues Segment
On March 8, 2021, Michael Meit, Director of Research and Programs for the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health’s Center for Rural Health Research, was featured on InvestigateTV’s first segment of “Bridging the Great Health Divide.” The segment explores inadequate access to healthcare for millions of Americans.
InvestigateTV analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and numerous other federal, state and private sources and found that there are serious health disparities between Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta and the rest of the United States. Read more...
College of Public Health Faculty Publish on Global Water Safety
Drs. Bethesda O’Connell, Megan Quinn, and Phil Scheuerman, faculty in the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, are co-authors of an article recently published in Waterlines. The article, Linkage between water, sanitation, hygiene, and child health in Bugesera District, Rwanda: a cross-sectional study, assesses the connection between specific hygienic practices with the reduction of childhood diarrhea in Rwanda.
Dr. Theoneste Ntakirutimana, lead author of the article, is an environmental health expert at the University of Rwanda. Dr. Ifeoma Ozodiegwu, alumna of the ETSU College of Public Health doctoral program, is a co-author. Additional co-authors include members of WaterAid Rwanda and the University of Rwanda. Read more...
Tennessee Institute of Public Health Highlighted by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
The Tennessee Institute of Public Health, housed within the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, was recently highlighted by the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps’ County by County blog. The post, Building Roadmaps to Better Health in Tennessee, discussed the institute’s data-guided approach to community change.
Since its inception in 2011, the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps coaching program has partnered with individuals and teams in nearly every state across the United States to help them identify and work toward their health and equity goals. Over the next five months, the blog’s authors will be speaking with five CHR&R Action Learning Coaches and the communities they've coached to learn more about how they worked together to move with data to action. Read more...
Michael Meit Quoted in 100daysinappalachia Article
In 2017 and 2018, the U.S. experienced a decline in drug-overdose deaths, and the overall mortality rates declined in both Appalachia and beyond. But Mike Meit warns that the COVID-19 pandemic places those encouraging trends in peril.
The results of subsequent research indicate the extent to which Appalachia has suffered such deaths. In November, the Appalachian Regional Commission released a report titled “Appalachian Diseases of Despair,” from research conducted by the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at the University of Chicago and the Center for Rural Health Research at East Tennessee State University.
MPH Student Justin Kearley Co-Authors Textbook Chapter
Justin Kearley, epidemiology student in East Tennessee State University College of Public Health Master of Public Health program, has co-authored a chapter in the textbook, Bridging the Family Care Gap. The chapter, “Public health perspectives on the family care gap,” discusses the anticipated shortfall between the number of people who will need care or assistance because of chronic conditions or disability and the number of family members and friends in the community available to provide that care.
The author of the book, Joseph Gaugler, is a Professor in the School of Nursing and Center on Aging at The University of Minnesota. Authors of the chapter include members of Appalachian State University, Oregon Health & Science University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more...
Michael Meit Elected to NRHA Rural Health Congress
Michael Meit, Director of Research and Programs for the East Tennessee State University
Center for Rural Health Research, has been elected by the National Rural Health Association’s
Rural Health Congress. The Rural Health Congress is the policy-making body of the
National Rural Health Association, responsible for developing the association's positions
on public policy. Elected representatives from the association's constituency groups,
State Association Council, State Office Council, issue groups, and officers serve
on the Congress, giving broad grassroots representation that reflects the expertise
and passion of NRHA's membership.
“It has been an honor to serve NRHA in a variety of capacities over the years, and I look forward to serving on the Rural Health Congress”, stated Meit. “Throughout my over 20 years of membership, I continue to be impressed by the association’s commitment to serving rural communities, and their bipartisan approach to making sure the needs of rural residents are front and center with policy makers and agency leaders.” Read more...
Center for Rural Health Research Authors Article on COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorders
Kate Beatty and Michael Meit, faculty in the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health’s Center for Rural Health Research, have co-authored an article in the Journal of Appalachian Health. The article, Rural Appalachia Battling the Intersection of Two Crises: COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorders, discusses rural Appalachia’s great risk of unforeseen side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased mortality from substance use disorders.
Margaret Miller, alumna of East Tennessee State University’s MD/MPH program, is lead author of the article. Rebekah Rollston, co-author, is also an alumna of this joint degree between the College of Public Health and the Quillen College of Medicine. Read more...
Appalachia's Diseases of Despair mortality rates higher than rest of the nation
Appalachian Diseases of Despair, a new report from the Appalachian Regional Commission
finds that despite overall declining mortality rates from diseases of despair (overdose,
suicide, and liver disease) between 2017-2018, the Region’s diseases of despair mortality
rate in 2018 was still 36 percent higher than the rate for the non-Appalachian United
States. Moreover, among Appalachians in the prime working ages of 25-54, the diseases
of despair mortality rate was 43 percent higher in the Region than the rest of the
country. The report also found that for women, the diseases of despair mortality rate
was 46 percent higher in the Appalachian Region than in the rest of the country; while
for men, the diseases of despair mortality rate was 31 percent higher in the Region
versus the rest of the country.
“The ongoing disparities within Appalachia related to diseases of despair have broad impacts on our Region’s children, families, and our communities,” says Michael Meit, director of research and programs for ETSU’s Center for Rural Health Research and NORC senior fellow, who led the research study. “While mortality rates declined in 2018, we know that COVID-19 has created new stressors that are once again resulting in spikes in deaths due to diseases of despair. We need to leverage the strength, resilience, and creativity of our Appalachian people to make sure that progress made in 2018 is not fleeting.”
ETSU College of Public Health COVID-19 videos surpass 25,000 views
Throughout the pandemic, East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health has mobilized its expertise and resources, posting almost 100 COVID-19 educational videos, updates, and public service announcements, which have surpassed 25,000 views.
“Our goal is to share useful information about the pandemic as widely as possible,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of the College of Public Health. “Since COVID-19 is the dominant public health concern currently facing our nation, we knew the videos would get attention. But when we decided to look at the numbers, we were excited to see how many times these videos have been viewed.” Read more...
Tennessee Institute of Public Health Awarded Appalachian Regional Commission Grant
The Tennessee Institute of Public Health at the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health has been awarded a second grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to further expand the “Correctional Career Pathways” program in Appalachian Tennessee. The first of its kind in the state, and possibly nationally, the Correctional Career Pathways program began in the Greene County, Tennessee Workhouse in 2015. The program gives non-violent offenders in local jails the opportunity to break the cycle of arrest and incarceration and transition into the workforce.
TNIPH was successful during 2018-2019 in developing a framework to provide a well-defined roadmap and technical assistance to replicate the program in Grundy and Scott counties, two “distressed” Appalachian Tennessee counties. Read more...
Michael Meit Publishes Book Chapter on Appalachian Addiction
Michael Meit, Director of Research and Programs for the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health’s Center for Rural Health Research, has authored a chapter in the recently released book, From the Front Lines of the Appalachian Addiction Crisis. The chapter, “Data Make You Credible, but Stories Make You Memorable,” discusses the importance of remembering the lives and families of those affected by the addiction crisis.
Meit’s journey with exploring substance misuse in the Appalachia resulted in a 2008 report for the Appalachian Regional Commission that analyzed mental health and substance use disparities, and access to treatment in the region. The NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, co-directed by Meit at the time, found that communities impacted by methamphetamine were actually even more affected by prescription drug use and illicit opioids. Read more...
ETSU awarded one of seven Rural Health Research Centers by HRSA
East Tennessee State University received one of seven Rural Health Research Center grants, awarded by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, to create the Rural Health Equity Research Center.
The $2.77 million award, which ETSU won in collaboration with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, part of NORC at the University of Chicago, spans four years.
According to HRSA, the goal of the Rural Health Research Center program is “to conduct rural research to assist providers and policy-makers at the federal, state and local levels to better understand problems faced by rural communities. This research informs population health improvement efforts, including health care access and delivery.” Read more...
ETSU, Virginia Tech awarded $2.6 million grant for opioids research
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently awarded a $2.6 million grant to researchers at East Tennessee State University and Virginia Tech to develop studies on how best to provide support services for individuals being treated for opioid use disorder.
The Studies To Advance Recovery Support (STARS) Network, which will involve researchers across multiple universities and health care systems, will center on the urgent need for research to advance recovery support services in Central Appalachia. The goal of the partnership is to build research networks and capacity around addiction recovery support services in general and specifically around those people who are using medications to treat their opioid use disorder in combination with counseling and other support services. Read more...
ETSU Health experts assist with plans to protect safety and health of campus, clinics
A team of experts from East Tennessee State University’s health sciences colleges is helping the university navigate important decisions and policies to protect the health and safety of the campus community and ETSU Health clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Created in response to the pandemic, the Medical Response Team meets regularly to analyze disease trends, craft medical suggestions and aid in decisions and considerations regarding the safe return to campus.
“In addition to following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and local and state health officials, ETSU is fortunate to have an abundance of medical and public health experts who are carefully monitoring our local trends, as well as the resources and facilities we have here on our campus to ensure that we develop protocols and policies that protect our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Dr. Bill Block, vice president for clinical affairs and dean of Quillen College of Medicine. Read more...
Michael Meit featured on American Journal of Public Health podcast
Michael Meit, director of research and programs at the East Tennessee State University Center for Rural Health Research, will be featured on a national podcast focusing on rural public health.
The podcast is hosted by Dr. Alfredo Morabia, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). It will be available beginning Aug. 5 at ajph.aphapublications.org.
“In this podcast, we discussed the implications of framing rural America as ‘older, poorer, sicker’ and ways that we could instead leverage rural strengths and assets to improve rural health and well-being,” Meit said. “The podcast will support an upcoming issue of AJPH on rural public health, where ETSU is front and center.” Read more...
Meit to join ETSU Center for Rural Health Research
East Tennessee State University has named Michael Meit, a nationally respected leader in rural health, as the director of research and programs at the ETSU Center for Rural Health Research.
Meit will step down as co-director of the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at the non-partisan and objective research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, but he will retain his senior fellow role at NORC, creating opportunities to leverage synergies and expand partnerships between the two organizations.
“Michael Meit is one of the nation’s most respected leaders in rural health,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, founding director of the ETSU Center for Rural Health Research and dean of the College of Public Health. “Through his work with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the National Rural Health Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and many other organizations, Michael has become one of the most recognized voices advocating for real improvements in rural health in America.” Read more...
ETSU Establishes Center for Rural Health Research
Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of the ETSU College of Public Health, was named the founding director of the new Center for Rural Health Research that will be housed within the college.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the creation of the new center on Tuesday, July 16. According to Gov. Lee, ETSU will receive a $1.5 million first-year grant for the implementation of the center, and then a recurring $750,000 annual investment to support the ongoing operations. These appropriations were recommended by Gov. Lee and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 111th legislative session.
In addition, Alan Levine, chairman and CEO of Ballad Health, announced the system would contribute more than $15 million to the center over the course of the next 10 years. The gift is the largest in ETSU history and the largest to date for the $120 million capital “Campaign for ETSU” launched in April.
The goal of the center will be to work with Ballad Health, local health care delivery partners, national experts, and the leadership of ETSU Health to identify new mechanisms to improve health in rural and nonurban communities. Specific emphasis will be placed on strategies that disrupt inter-generational cycles of behaviors that contribute to poor health outcomes, which ultimately can affect college- and career-readiness. Read more...