Ailing in Place: Environmental Inequities and Health Disparities in Appalachia

In Ailing in Place, Michele Morrone explores the relationship between environmental conditions in Appalachia and health outcomes that are too often ascribed to individual choices only. She applies quantitative data to observations from environmental health professionals to frame the ways in which the environment, as a social determinant of health, leads to health disparities in Appalachian communities. These examples–these stories of place–trace the impacts of water quality, waste disposal, and natural resource extraction on the health and quality of life of Appalachian people. Public Health is inextricably linked to place. Environmental conditions such as contaminated water, unsafe food, and polluted air are as important as culture, community, and landscape in characterizing a place and determining the health outcomes of the people who live there. In some places, the state of the environment is a consequence of historical activities related to natural resources and cultural practices. In others, political decisions to achieve short-term economic objectives are made with little consideration of long-term public health consequences.

Meet the Author

Michele Morrone

Dr. Morrone is a Professor of Environmental Health at Ohio University, Chair of the Department of Social and Public Health, and the Director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute. She earned a Ph.D. in environmental planning from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in forest resources from the University of New Hampshire, and a B.S. in natural resources from The Ohio State University. Dr. Morrone previously served as the Chief of the Office of Environmental Education at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. She is the author of numerous papers on environmental topics including the community impacts of hydraulic fracturing, environmental health disparities in Appalachia, and environmental justice. She has published four books and her fifth and current book project, Ailing in Place: Environmental Inequities and Health Disparities in Appalachia, will be published in Spring 2020. She was the 2012 Fulbright Research Scholar in Science and the Environment at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and was a member of a group to present Appalachian-related research in Ukraine in 2014. Her research focuses on Appalachian health issues, specifically the relationship between environmental conditions and health outcomes.

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