Multidisciplinary Research Team Receives National Library of Medicine Grant to Improve Environmental Health Information and Literacy in Eastern Kentucky

October 20, 2019


In a new National Library of Medicine-funded study, "Integrating Information Resources to Promote Environmental Health Literacy in Appalachian Kentucky", a multidisciplinary research team from the UK Colleges of Public Health (CPH) and Engineering (CoE), the School of Human Environmental Sciences (HES), and the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (KWRRI) will engage Eastern Kentucky residents in evaluating, synthesizing, and improving existing environmental health information for the region. The study also will test and disseminate new resources, with a goal of improving environmental health literacy (EHL) in this population. EHL is an emerging field focused on assessing and building the knowledge and skills people need to make sense of and protect themselves from potential environmental health threats. Improving EHL requires successful transmission of accessible, evidence-based, usable, and culturally-appropriate scientific, technical, and regulatory information.


“The University of Kentucky has a wealth of researchers, centers, and institutes studying environmental health issues,” noted Dr. Anna Hoover, the study’s principal investigator and an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health in the UK College of Public Health. “Many of these studies regularly share findings with lay audiences through risk maps, websites, fact sheets, and other materials. This grant will allow us to work with residents in Appalachian counties to ensure the real-world understandability and utility of these materials in hopes of increasing their impact across the region.”


In addition to Dr. Hoover, the research team includes Drs. Jay Christian and Kimberly Tumlin (CPH), Dr. Dawn Brewer (HES), and Dr. Kelly Pennell (CoE), with technical support from Steve Evans and Malissa McAlister (KWRRI). The new study builds on ongoing EHL research funded by a pilot grant to Dr. Hoover from the UK Center for Appalachian Research in the Environmental Sciences (UK-CARES), along with more than a decade of research translation and community engagement activities supported by the UK Superfund Research Center (UK-SRC), for which Drs. Hoover, Brewer, and Pennell are co-investigators.


UK researchers who are interested in having their translational products considered for inclusion in the study are encouraged to contact Hoover at



The University of Kentucky College of Public Health is a catalyst of positive change for population health, with a mission to develop health champions, conduct multidisciplinary and applied research, and collaborate with partners to improve health in Kentucky and beyond.