CDC director to attend a series of events Aug. 4-6 to talk about health issues in Appalachian Ky.; public is invited to attend

The director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will participate in four events in Eastern Kentucky next week to discuss and look for solutions to the many health issues that plague the region.

Dr. Thomas Frieden

Dr. Thomas Frieden and his team will take part in the first-ever Health Impact Series, which is part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative launched by Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of the 5th District and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

Topics of discussion will include the high rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity in Appalachian Kentucky.

“While the diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and diabetes are heartbreaking, we know that hope is abundant. We’ve made great strides in awareness and prevention, but I am eager to hear Dr. Frieden’s prescription for Eastern Kentucky and what we can do to help save lives and improve healthy living,” Rogers said in a press release. “Dr. Frieden not only plans to share information with us, but wants to hear what medical professionals and health coalition leaders are already doing to change lives. This is our chance to speak directly to an international leader in healthcare about the long-time health disparities in our small corner of the world.”

Compared to the national averages, the prevalence of heart disease is 84 percent higher in the Appalachian Kentucky. Diabetes is 47 percent higher, and obesity is 26 percent higher. from 2006 to 2010, the region had the highest number of people in the nation die from lung cancer, 67 percent higher than the national average. Kentucky as a whole has the nation’s third highest rate of deaths from drug overdoses.

Frieden said in the release, “In working to improve health, we are all in this together. The more effectively we are connected, the more effectively we can address these opportunities. This visit to Kentucky is an important step.”

Accompanying Frieden will be Dr. Judith Monroe, deputy director of the CDC, who was raised in Lawrenceburg, earned her undergraduate degree from Eastern Kentucky University and first practiced medicine in the Appalachian region.

Here is the schedule of events:
Monday, Aug. 4: 6:30 p.m. reception & 7 p.m. dinner, Center for Rural Development, Somerset.
Tuesday, Aug. 5: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hazard Community and Technical College; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Ramada Paintsville Hotel and Conference Center.
Wednesday, Aug. 6: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Morehead Convention Center.

All the events are free and open to the public, but registration is recommended to ensure meal service. To register, contact Cheryl Keaton at or 606-657-3218.

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