Dean Randy Wykoff provided the keynote address at the 3rd annual State of Public Health Conference sponsored by the University of Georgia. The conference brought together almost 300 faculty, working professionals, and public health students to hear a range of presentations of cutting edge topics.
Dr. Wykoff spoke about Understanding and Improving Health: Lessons from Central Appalachia. Using Georgia-specific data, he explained to the audience the importance of understanding that economic development, poverty, and educational non-achievement all have a strongly negative impact on health. He called on public health professionals in Georgia to reach beyond their usual partners in the healthcare sector and to develop partnerships with people working in economic development and in education. These are areas where we have worked together, effectively, for a number of years in central Appalachia. said Wykoff. I believe that this is part of the reason that we are seeing improving health statistics in our region. While the specific challenges that they face in Georgia are slightly different than those we face in our region, the general concepts and approaches are similar.
I was honored to be invited to speak at their conference, and, especially honored by the large and enthusiastic audience. Wykoff added. Whether in Georgia, central Appalachia, or in the developing world, there has probably not been a more important time for effective public health leadership.