Press Releases

SOMERSET, Ky -- U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers and Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will host the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Health Impact Series. The three-day tour of Eastern Kentucky will include discussions about the region's high rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The tour includes stops in Somerset, Hazard, Paintsville and Morehead. Additional speakers include Dr. Eli Capilouto, President of the University of Kentucky; Dr. Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, Commissioner of the Kentucky Cabinet for Public Health; Dr. Judith Monroe, Deputy Director of the CDC; Dr. Nikki Stone, SOAR Health Chair and additional healthcare professionals.

Registration is recommended at each event. To RSVP contact Cheryl Keaton at or 606-657-3218.

SOAR Health Impact Series

Monday, August 4th

  • SOMERSET: 6:30 p.m. reception & 7:00 p.m. dinner at the Center for Rural Development - Download the agenda

Tuesday, August 5th

  • HAZARD: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Hazard Community and Technical College - First Federal Center - Download the agenda
  • PAINTSVILLE: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Ramada Paintsville Hotel and Conference Center - Download the agenda

Wednesday, August 6th

About the SOAR initiative

The SOAR initiative was launched by Gov. Beshear and Congressman Rogers in late 2013, after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in eastern Kentucky related to unemployment and poverty. More than 1,700 Kentuckians attended a one-day SOAR summit in Pikeville in December. SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack persistent challenges.