Research Up-To-Date

The Newsletter of the Urban Appalachian Council Research Committee

Volume 4, Number 4

Editor:  Roberta M. Campbell

Contributors: Gail Myers

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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. To learn more about UAC visit or join us on Facebook.

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

From the Editor:
Urban Appalachian Council Executive Director Retires

On January 14, 2011, family, friends, and colleagues gathered at the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati to honor Maureen Sullivan, retiring Executive Director the Urban Appalachian Council. 

Maureen SullivanMaureen Sullivan addresses guests at her January 21st retirement party.  Debbie Zorn is in the background.

At the reception, several individuals spoke about Maureen, including the outgoing Board President, Debbie Zorn, and the new Board President, Sharon McFarland. Michael Maloney, Carol Baugh, and I presented Maureen with a certificate of recognition from the Appalachian Studies Association.  Additional awards and gifts were made, there were accolades, there was music, there was food.

Barbara Childers had created a memory book for Maureen.  Guests were asked to write down our favorite memory on one of the pages.  I took a page to write on with the intent of returning it later.  When I had a moment to reflect, I started writing.

As I began to write, I realized that I had more to say than just listing memories.  There needed to be context.  Since I am the editor of this newsletter, and since Maureen has been the staff representative to the Research Committee since 1996, I thought I’d write something a little more public.

The first time I met Maureen was when I was invited by Phillip Obermiller to present my doctoral dissertation findings on Appalachian Identity to the Research Committee.  I was nervous.  I hadn’t finished my degree and some of the committee members were my intellectual idols.  This one woman asked me several questions.  I had no idea who she was although I’m sure I’d been introduced.  It was some time later, at a UAC community pot luck that I figured out that she was the Executive Director.

I eventually joined UAC’s Board of Directors, even chaired the Research Committee briefly.  And over the years I got to know Maureen as a colleague, mentor, friend, and – and, although she often denies that she is – a researcher. 

Granted, Maureen seldom gathers original data and spends hours analyzing like some of us do (or would like to do).  But she is a facilitator, consumer, and implementer of research.  She understands research and how to use it.  We have actually collaborated on a piece of research and presented it at professional meetings.  And Maureen has often presented the stories and concerns of Urban Appalachians at the Appalachian Studies Association Conference as a community activist.  Maureen is many things – what good director isn’t – and knows how to incorporate and integrate the knowledge provided by the research committee. 

She is also someone that I treasure and that I thank God for bringing into my life.

UAC Welcomes New Executive Director

The new leader of the UAC, Greg Howard, who joined the organization in January, comes from the Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center of Eastern Kentucky.  Greg has been involved in non-profit/advocacy work for a long time.  He was an intern for the Citizen’s Coal Council while still an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky.  He also clerked for two years with the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund when studying law.  After a few years teaching Philosophy in Colorado and researching for the UK Appalachian Center, Greg joined Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky, eventually becoming its director.   

(A more extensive introduction of Greg Howard will be forthcoming in the next UAC Research Newsletter.)

Research Committee Participating in ASA Conference

The 34th annual Appalachian Studies Conference will be held March 11-13, 2011, at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.  The theme of the conference is "River of Earth: Action, Scholarship, Reflection, and Renewal".  Alan Banks, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at EKU, is the current president. 

Several members of the Research Committee are on the conference program. Phillip Obermiller, former ASA President, and Michael Maloney will hold a discussion on the Uses and Misuses of Appalachian Culture.  Obermiller will also convene a session on New Insights From and About Urban Appalachia. Robert Ludke will present a paper on “The Social and Health Status of Black Appalachian Migrants in the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area.”  And Roberta Campbell, ASA Steering Committee Member-at-Large, will convene two sessions: Socio-Economic Status in Education and Drama and Storytelling

To view the conference program and/or learn more about ASA visit

Greater Health Foundation Community Health Survey Analyses Continue

The Greater Cincinnati Community Health Status Survey (GCCHSS) gives an in-depth look at the self-reported health of tri-state residents. Through comparisons, the 2010 GCCHSS shows how the tri-state area stacks up to the rest of the country and how our health is changing over time. Information specific to the Appalachian community is available in the data tables.

The GCCHSS is a project of The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and is conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. Analyses so far reveal the extent to which adults misuse prescription and over-the- counter drugs, binge drink and drive drunk, are overweight or obese, and use tobacco. Data highlights with more details and data tables are available on the survey site:

Research Notes
(From the Research Committee:  Robert Ludke, Chair)
October 11, 2010:


Maureen Sullivan asked the committee to help with information for a grant application that would help expand the efforts of the community schools and the AmeriCorps projects. 

Jessica Valenzuela reported on the status of the diabetes initiative in Lower Price Hill. She and Bob Ludke reported that the “town hall” meeting that is part of the Diabetes CTSA project that includes UAC and Ohio State University had taken place and that another one was planned.  Now the members of the project are developing an action plan and pilot work based on the qualitative data gleaned from these meetings.  Maureen noted that this kind of approach built on the work that Katie Brown led with the Lower Price Hill Women’s Health Initiative. 

Phil attended the Canadian Association of American Studies conference in Windsor, Ontario, for a presentation on Appalachian health he developed with Bob Ludke.  Information learned at that meeting will inform the final version of the Appalachian health book Phil and Bob are editing.

Phillip Obermiller and Michael Maloney Presentation:

Phillip Obermiller and Michael Maloney continued to lead a discussion on “The Uses and Misuses of Appalachian Culture,” based on a draft of their UAC Working Paper 20.  Phil stated that what often was called Appalachian culture was more accurately associated with rurality and/or social class. 

Bob noted that we might need to revisit the strategic plan.  Debbie Zorn concluded that it was important to apply an “intelligent” definition of culture in carrying out UAC’s mission and that the values associated with the Kinship Award should be refined. Mike urged a specific focus on the arts (Appalachian dance, music, storytelling, literature, etc.) rather than a general appeal to culture. Discussion of this important issue will continue in subsequent meetings.

November 12, 2010:

The committee met to review its role with regard to the UAC’s strategic plan. In looking at milestones within the strategic plan:


Bob reported that the diabetes study continues.  A follow-up meeting of about 30 residents identified actions needed.  Additional follow-up with individuals involved in diabetes will take place.  The study personnel with participate in a conference call with Ohio State University with a plan to identify a pilot project.  Ways to sustain a project will also be explored.

Additional Links:

Community Research Collaborative Blog

Center for the Study of Gender and Ethnicity in Appalachia

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

Cincinnati, a City of Immigrants

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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