Baptist Health is first stand-alone health provider to become founding partner of Shaping our Appalachian Region effort

Baptist Health has become the first stand-alone health-care provider to sign on as a founding partner in Shaping Our Appalachian Region, an initiative to improve the economy of Eastern Kentucky.

Baptist will work with SOAR to develop and implement health and education initiatives for residents of Appalachian Kentucky and has committed $150,000 to the initiative over the next three years, the organizations said in a press release.

“Baptist Health understands Eastern Kentucky because we have a proven and time-honored commitment to the health and well-being of our people,” Stephen C. Hanson, chief executive officer of Baptist Health, said in the press release. “Our participation in SOAR reflects this pledge. Besides Richmond, we’ve also got hospitals in Corbin and Lexington, along with outpatient facilities, doctors’ offices and other services all over Eastern Kentucky, the rest of the commonwealth and indeed throughout the region.”

The University of Kentucky was the first founding sponsor of SOAR, pledging $300,000 over the next three years and winning the right to use the UK HealthCare brand on SOAR materials as well as the university’s general logo.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers formed SOAR in the fall of 2013 to create strategic plans to improve Eastern Kentucky’s economy and quality of life.

“Our primary objective is creating and maintaining jobs across eastern Kentucky, and in order to do that, we need a healthy and well-educated workforce,” Beshear said in the release. “I’m pleased that Baptist Health understands the key connections among our efforts and the critical role that health will play in the future of this region.”

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