Tennessee, Virginia health commissioners to discuss county health rankings

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JOHNSON CITY (May 30, 2014) – Tennessee Commissioner of Health Dr. John Dreyzehner and Dr. Marissa Levine, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, will meet on the states’ borderline to discuss ways to improve health factors and outcomes in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“The State Street Project: Health Across Borders” will be held on Thursday, June 12, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at The Foundation Event Center, located at 620 State Street in Bristol.

The event will bring together multi-sector community leaders and comes on the heels of the recent release of the “County Health Rankings” which found the rural counties of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia to be among the least healthy in the nation.

Attendees will spend the morning analyzing the “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps” data and discussing ways the two states can work together to increase public awareness, drive health policy and coordinate community and individual action.

Joining commissioners Dreyzehner and Levine as keynote speakers will be Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of public health at East Tennessee State University, and Kate Konkle, engagement specialist with “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.”

The rankings found that health factors such as obesity, diabetes, tobacco and prescription drug abuse, cardiovascular disease and high mortality rates from cancer were of particular concern in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

The event is hosted by the Tennessee Institute of Public Health, the Healthy Appalachia Institute, ETSU and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, with support from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Registration is required, and a limited number of spaces will be available.  To register, visit http://www.healthyappalachia.org/state-street-project-health-across-borders. For more information or to request special accommodations for persons with disabilities, call (423) 439-4651.

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