Research Up-To-Date

The Newsletter of the Urban Appalachian Council Research Committee

Volume 3, Number 4

Editor:  Roberta M. Campbell

Contributors: Phillip Obermiller, Rhonda Pettit, Louise Spiegel

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The Research Committee was created at the founding of the Urban Appalachian Council more than thirty years ago and has always informed the council through active research. To be notified of future research committee meetings, which are open to all, please contact or phone 251-0202.

Please send your article, announcement, or website link to Roberta Campbell at Also, feel free to forward this newsletter to interested parties.

Editorial: UAC and Research Committee Ready to Engage Community

By Louise Spiegel

For too long UAC’s Research Committee’s work has been treasured beyond our city— at conferences and meetings held elsewhere, exporting our local talent and information while creating a unique regional data base shared by many in the heart of Appalachia. This has been a proud and productive history of inquiry and experience.

As one of the “originals” at the UAC “talking table” many years ago (1974), I have come back to the committee to join its conversations and to help expand its role in the city as new commitments are being made in a number of areas beyond the reach of UAC presently.

And UAC is ready to take this step and new direction. The strategic plan is now in place and ready to begin the shift to broader engagement with the community and its initiatives. A clear directive for the research arm of UAC will focus on community collaboration; with other researchers and data collectors, new relationships to nurture, and linkages with other advocates who share UAC’s core mission.

Extending and expanding UAC into other networks locally will broaden the discussion now taking place within the boundaries of Agenda 360 and STRIVE. Much can be gained by dissemination of current data developed by members of the UAC research teams.

But beyond the specific contributions of reliable research investigation on topics of enormous concern such as employment, health, youth and education, UAC, in many areas carries the capacity to shift the current civic conversation to understanding the role of culture, not institutions, as the framework for a renewal of civic energy. We need to practice “kinship” values in our public interactions, share our experiences in a personal way, and animate our social encounters with enthusiasm for new experience with people we hardly know— so that we can feel renewed and refreshed and ready to find new pathways for living successfully together in our city.

As it is said in the Strategic Plan-2015, the Appalachian community embraces its cultural heritage, history, values and strengths, using its power (culture) to effect positive change for Appalachians and their neighbors in the larger community. Let’s get started.

(Louise Spiegel is the one of the founding members of the Urban Appalachian Council and the original chair of the Research Committee. She is also the 1995 recipient of UAC’s Kinship Award.)

Call for Papers on James Baker Hall

The Journal of Kentucky Studies will devote part or all of its next issue to author James Baker Hall (1935-2009). Hall was born and raised in Lexington and most of his work is set in Kentucky. Papers that explore his poetry, fiction, or film should be submitted by February 1, 2010.

Contact Dr. Gary Walton, Editor, Journal of Kentucky Studies, (Department of English, Northern Kentucky University, Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, Kentucky 41099, or 606-572-5619 or for submission details. Or you may also contact Rhonda Pettit at

Book on Appalachian Health Nears Completion

Robert Ludke and Phillip Obermiller are nearing completion on the book-length manuscript on Appalachian health. It will be ready for peer review later this year. Each article in the book concludes with policy and research suggestions. A conference on Appalachian health is also in the planning.

Reminder: 2010 Appalachian Studies Conference

North Georgia College and State University will host the thirty-third Annual Appalachian Studies Association conference on March 19-21 in Dahlonega, Georgia. This year’s theme is “Engaging Communities”. For conference details visit

Research Notes
(From the Research Committee: Robert Ludke, Chair)

Minutes of September 18, 2009:


Louise Spiegel, original chair of the committee, explained that she was glad to be back at the table. She wanted to explore how the committee can make connections to the community, particularly through cultural strengths of urban Appalachians. Michael Maloney referred to Louise as a “master practitioner of social networking”. Maureen Sullivan introduced Desirae Hosley as an Americorps volunteer and her assistant. Rebecca Lee will speak to Roberta Campbell’s Integrative Studies seminar in November. Ann McCracken informed the committee that the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati has posted health reform information on the web at

Strategic Plan and Greater Cincinnati Survey:

The committee discussed whether to participate in the 2010 Greater Cincinnati Survey and, if so, what questions do we need.

The committee seeks connections by means other than lectures, presentations, and old-style Face to Face. UAC raises the question, “Who needs to know and what UAC wants to know?” Finding a strategic style that fits with the UAC core mission should guide future interactions. The next meeting will focus on dissemination opportunities looking again at strategic possibilities- where data can be found, collaborations to join, relationships to nurture. Committee members are already engaged in each of these avenues. Questions regarding efficient uses of information followed with significant strong use of electronic mechanisms pointing the way. Additionally, UAC must explore connection more widely with youth and their social networking methods. Linking with established sites saves time and carries messages faster than going alone. The next Research Committee meeting will focus on ways/ means to disseminate the Appalachian story; the culture, the people telling their stories, the “connection” and how its history has been carried to the city. Louise noted that the strong possibility that the city would flourish if Appalachian values under girded our future (See Spiegel’s editorial in this issue.)

Minutes of November 19, 2009:


Roberta Campbell presented on “The Myth of Appalachian Whiteness” to the Humanist Sociologist Association in New Orleans in November. Michael Maloney shared a publication by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on the common experience of immigrants that will be distributed to schools. Kay Russ was asked to write a chapter for a textbook on how to teach Appalachian students. She also reported on a presentation on counseling Appalachian clients at the National Counseling Association. Appalachians show high rates of somaticization, depression, and self-medication. Phil Obermiller noted that the Greater Cincinnati United Way no longer has a geographic focus on neighborhoods.

Strategic Plan and Greater Cincinnati Survey:

Bob Ludke noted that the University of Cincinnati is looking to cut questions to spring Greater Cincinnati Survey. The committee discussed which questions we would like to include, particularly those that identify Appalachians. Also, Phil suggested that Phyllis should be involved in the discussion regarding questions about substance abuse and mental health.


Mike said the Episcopal Church wants to address Native American poverty. The tribal counsel had concerns about “help” that actually destroyed culture.

Next Meeting:

The next research committee meeting will be January 22 at 10 am at UAC headquarters.

Additional Links:

Center for the Study of Gender and Ethnicity in Appalachia

The Appalachian Connection (newspaper)

Appalachian Studies Association

Social Areas Report of Cincinnati

Appalachian Women’s Alliance

Appalachian Studies at Miami University-Hamilton

Oral History of Appalachia Program, Marshall University

Appalachian Regional Commission

Highlander Research and Education Center

Appalachian Centers:

East Tennessee State University Center for Appalachian Studies and Services

The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center

Berea College Appalachian Center

Appalachian State University, The Center for Appalachian Studies
Eastern Kentucky University Center for Appalachian Studies

The Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education

Radford University Appalachian Regional Studies Center

Emory and Henry College Appalachian Center for Community Service

Morehead State University Institute for Regional Analysis and Public Policy

North Georgia College and State University Appalachian Studies Center

Sinclair Community College Appalachian Outreach and Studies program

Southeast Community College Appalachian Center

Western Carolina University Mountain Heritage Center

West Virginia University Regional Research Institute

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