Southeast Professor Roy Silver Published in Academic Journal
Published on Jan 16, 2020
Cumberland, KY – Dr. Roy Silver, Professor of Sociology at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC), recently co-authored the article “Hollows as Sampling Units for Community-Based Participatory Research in Appalachia: The Mountain Air Project.”
Appearing in the fourth quarter issue of Progress in Community Health Partnerships, an academic journal published by Johns Hopkins University Press, the article was a part of a five-year study funded by the National Institute of Health.
According to Dr. Silver, who serves as chair of the Mountain Air Project, the research was intended to serve multiple purposes. First, the team collected data on the respiratory health of residents in Harlan and Letcher counties in order to identify public health issues that need to be addressed and remedied. Second, the groundbreaking method of data collection itself was studied.
“Appalachian communities are organized into hollows, and the research team took care to consider this structure when collecting data” said Silver. “The article primarily describes the challenges the team encountered and the role played by the community health workers and community advisory boards in data collection.”
An extremely high percentage of the target population participated in the study, a number well above the norm, and provided valuable information about Appalachian respiratory health. Dr. Silver credits his UK team members and their sensitivity to the needs of their subjects. He also praises their willingness to partner with community organizations, like Faith Moves Mountains based in Letcher County, to increase their knowledge and understanding of our communities. As stated in the article, “In communities that have historically been predisposed to social, economic, and environmental challenges, this community capacity building is particularly salient.”
The final step in the project is revisiting the people surveyed and developing a plan of action with regards to personal habits, as well as household and working environments—mold, toxins, cleaners, and secondhand smoke, to name a few.
Dr. Silver says that this project has been gratifying on many levels. “We have already begun to follow up,” said Silver. “Our ultimate goal is not simply to conduct scientific research, but to help give these hard-working people in our communities the tools to live a better quality of life.”
PHOTO CAPTION 1
(Dr. Roy Silver, Professor of Sociology at SKCTC, recently co-authored an article about Appalachian respiratory health.)