Morehead State, UK and Morehead hospital sign agreement to form Appalachian Health and Research Center

State University
, St. Claire Regional Medical Center and the University of
‘s Institute for Rural Health Policy signed a memorandum of
understanding April 30 to form the Appalachian Health and Research

“The primary mission of the AHRC is to increase the capacity for innovative, collaborative research based out of Morehead, which directly addresses health issues faced by residents of Appalachian Kentucky and beyond,” said Dr. Michael Henson, Morehead State’s associate vice president for research and graduate-school dean. “AHRC will seek to improve local educational opportunities related to health research and to facilitate the translation of research findings into local health policy.”

From left: Reynolds, Andrews and hospital CEO Mark Neff

Dr. Brady Reynolds, UK’s Foundation
for a Healthy Kentucky
Endowed Chair in Rural Health Policy and co-director of the Institute for Rural Health Policy, said, “This partnership stands to greatly increase capacity for health-related research in the Morehead area and northeastern Kentucky, with the ultimate aim of improving health and health policy in the region. Through this partnership we will be able to accomplish research and community health goals that may not otherwise be possible.”

Morehead President Wayne Andrews said the agreement will “allow us to
focus on some areas of research that will help us improve the lives of the
citizens in East Kentucky.” The specific AHRC goals are to:

  • Create new and
    productive research partnerships with regional colleagues at the two universities and the hospital in the areas of health and wellness;
  • Increase infrastructure for health research in Morehead and the surrounding area;
  • Enhance opportunities
    for faculty, students, and medical residents to participate in cutting-edge
    biomedical research;
  • Streamline
    the required review process for collaborative projects and increase the number of
    behavioral and clinical trials into which local residents and patients may be
  • Promote dialogue with
    the public about health, wellness and biomedical research; and
  • Actively work to
    identify and translate specific research findings to local health policy to
    improve health in the region.

The research center will be housed in Morehead State’s Center for Health, Education
and Research
, which was created in 2010 as the first such partnership involving a
regional public university, a land-grant research university and a nonprofit
hospital corporation. The $30 million, 90,000-square-foot facility is the largest construction
project in the history of Morehead State, according to a university press release

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