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Appalachian Health: Culture, Challenges, and Capacity edited by F. Douglas Scutchfield and Randy Wykoff

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Even if you hate books that collect a bunch of essays by professors apparently trying to get tenure, you may actually really appreciate this book that at first glance may look like just another of these. To begin with, it really does serve the needs both of those seeking an introduction to a new field and those who have already garnered considerable expertise. The subject is put in context, not just sprung on the reader, beginning with an essay by Ron Roach, the Director of the Appalachian Center at East Tennessee State University, providing an overview of the region so all the readers understand the context of what follows. And - get this! – Ron’s essay is the only one by a single author. Wow. No one-author wonders. I mean collaboration is the name of the game for this book, often teaming up an academic with a government or public health worker. This provides not just greater substance, but also greater perspective, to the essays. And the wrap-up essay has four authors – the co-editors, Ron Roach, and Ron Eller, the retired former Director of the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center. This book doesn’t ignore opioids, but that’s just one chapter. Others explore crucial issues like mortality, “The Social Determinants of Health,” health behaviors, health care availability, the environment, and public health. Quantitative measures abound in this book, but so does wisdom, and it even offers some evidence-based suggestions of public programs that address the problems identified. "Appalachian Health makes a significant impact on the ways that we think about health in the region and the need for upstream approaches. The framework and information provided in this text can help leaders, policymakers, and researchers in incrementally implementing needed policy, environmental, and systems changes. My hope is that all public health and social science scholars across Appalachia make use of this book and share it with their students along the way."―Adam Hege. Co-editor J. Douglas Scutchfield founded the University of Kentucky School of Public Health, and co-editor Randy Wykoff founded the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University. Overall, this book is not just a great contribution to a crucial topic itself, but also serves as a wonderful model of how somewhat similar books might become much more exemplary.

Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2022. 219 pages with an Index, a Foreword by Alonzo Plough, maps, graphs, charts, and photos. Hardback with a pictorial cover.