ETSU among hosts of free community health forum


JOHNSON CITY (Jan. 27, 2015) – Leading business, health care and civic officials will hold a Tri-Cities Community Health Forum on Friday, Feb. 6, focused on the chronically poor health condition of the Tri-Cities region and Tennessee residents.

 The summit will highlight how Tennessee’s decades-long position as one of the nation’s unhealthiest states poses risk to the economic potential and quality of life of the Tri-Cities, and will also identify state- and community-led initiatives to improve health outcomes. 

The forum will be held at the Millennium Centre, 2001 Millennium Place, from 8-10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public. Registration and continental breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m.

Hosts include East Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Business Roundtable.

Speakers and panelists include ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland; Alan Levine, CEO, Mountain States Health Alliance; Jerry Caldwell, general manager and executive vice president, Bristol Motor Speedway; Mitch Miller, CEO, Washington County Economic Development Council; Rick Johnson, CEO, Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness; Richard Venable, Sullivan County mayor; and Dr. Teresa Kidd, president and CEO, Frontier Health; Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean, ETSU College of Public Health; Dr. Amanda Dove, physician, Wellmont Health System; Mark Kinser, executive vice president, General Shale; and Perry Stuckey, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Eastman Chemical Company. 

“Tennesseans may not fully understand the depth of the problem and the consequences,” Rick Johnson, CEO of the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness said. “The cost, year after year, in human suffering and massive amounts of capital cannot – and should not – be sustained. However, if we can come together and commit to addressing this important issue, we can help people change their unhealthy behaviors and ultimately improve our quality of life, reduce health care costs and the cost of doing business in Tennessee.”

Noland said he is looking forward to the opportunity to have an open conversation about the state of health in our region.

“East Tennessee State University is intricately involved with health care services for the people of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia,” Noland said. “It is crucial that we, as a university, continue to take an active role in addressing and improving the health of our citizens.”

The 2014 America’s Health Rankings, an annual report published by UnitedHealth Foundation, ranks Tennessee No. 45 among all states in health status. A number of the state’s most troubling indicators are even worse – diabetes (No. 46), obesity (47), physical inactivity (49), poor physical health days (49) and smoking (46).

The forum will focus on three key areas:

  • A statistical snapshot of the health of the state, including the Tri-Cities counties of Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington;
  • A panel of leaders who will discuss how the area’s poor health status poses a threat to future economic opportunity, quality of life and to state and local financial resources;
  • Improving the area’s health profile via local solutions involving health, business, political and civic leadership, innovative policies and increased access to care.

To register for the event, visit

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