Join Dr. Burton Webb, UPIKE’s president, as he interviews leaders in Appalachia who are impacting the region’s narrative and creating positive change.

Appalachia Rising Audio Stream

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Show Notes

On this episode of Appalachia Rising, join our host Dr. Burton Webb as he sits down with Donovan Blackburn, CEO of Pikeville Medical Center. Dr. Webb and Blackburn discuss the many changes to the healthcare industry in Eastern Kentucky, plans for growth at Pikeville Medical Center and how to bring healthcare into rural communities in Appalachia.

This week’s topics:

  • The announcement of Pikeville Medical Center Children’s Hospital
  • Opportunities to create more jobs for physicians and nurses
  • Benefits of having on-campus facilities
  • Expansion of services at PMC’s Leonard Lawson Cancer Center
  • The importance of primary care facilities
  • The new $32 million expansion of the Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Investments for state-of-the-art equipment
  • The growth of rural healthcare
On this episode of Appalachia Rising, join our host Dr. Burton Webb as he sits down with Chuck Sexton, President and CEO of One East Kentucky. Dr. Webb and Chuck discuss economic development in the mountains of Appalachia and what innovative ideas lie ahead.
This week’s topics:
  1. Chuck’s journey from growing up in Western Kentucky and what brought him to Eastern Kentucky
  2. The focus of One East Kentucky and the example they’re setting for other economic development areas
  3. Aerospace industry in Eastern Kentucky
  4. The importance of professional relationships and partnerships
  5. How education plays a critical role in economic growth
  6. Navigating outdated perceptions and how we can share an accurate story of the region
  7. How reclaimed mine land can be used for new industry
  8. Targeted recruiting to bring well-matched industry to Appalachia
On this episode of Appalachia Rising, Dr. Burton Webb sits down with Paul Patton, former two-term Governor of Kentucky and University of Pikeville Chancellor. Listen this week as Dr. Webb and Governor Patton talk about education reform during his terms as Governor, his early career in the coal business and the growth he has seen in Appalachia.
This Week’s Topics:
  1. Governor Patton’s early years growing up in Eastern Kentucky
  2. How changes in the coal industry inspired Patton
  3. Patton’s start in politics as Pike County Judge-Executive
  4. Challenges Patton faced as Governor
  5. Education reform in Kentucky
  6. Juvenile justice reform
  7. Innovation behind the KEES scholarships
  8. Patton’s role in bringing a medical school to Eastern Kentucky

On this episode of Appalachia Rising, Dr. Burton Webb sits down with Shawne Wells. In addition to being an experienced educator, Wells’ most recent role as assistant principal at Pikeville High School has given her the opportunity to continue modeling leadership and tenacity for the next generation of change agents in eastern Kentucky.


This Week’s Topics:

  • Shawne’s early years in Appalachia
  • Helping students find their own path
  • The beauty and culture of the mountains
  • How she uniquely connects with students
  • The importance of experiencing the world
  • Wells’ family motto of “You can’t just hope for it, you have to work for it.”
  • The selfless gift of organ donation
  • How teachers have cultivated a culture of success


This Week’s Links:

On this episode of Appalachia Rising, Dr. Burton Webb chats with regional entrepreneur and innovative problem solver Rusty Justice. Justice is co-founder and managing member of both Bit Source LLC, a web development company, and an engineering company Jigsaw Enterprises LLC, both of which are headquartered in eastern Kentucky. With diverse experience and a passion for seeing growth in Appalachia, Justice is an advocate for both the economy and culture of the region he calls home.


This Week’s Topics:

  • Rusty’s history with the creation of Bit Source
  • Loss of workforce in Eastern Kentucky
  • Partnership with SOAR
  • Training for out-of-work coal miners in tech industry
  • Saving lives with a mobile application.
  • Appalachian dialect
  • Former coal camp plans
  • The “placed” and the “placeless”
  • Challenges of local entrepreneurs


Social Media and Links:

On the first episode of Appalachia Rising, our host, UPIKE President Dr. Burton Webb, chats with Jared Arnett about his work with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR). Topics range from innovation programs to health care initiatives in rural Appalachia. SOAR was created as a platform for the people of Appalachia Kentucky to be engaged, embrace new ideas, leverage resources and build capacity to create a 21st Century Appalachia. Jared has served as SOAR’s executive director since its inception in 2013.

This Week’s Topics:

  • Jared’s experience in Eastern Kentucky and with SOAR
  • Finding common ground on community growth in Kentucky
  • Blueprint for 21st Century Appalachia
  • High-speed broadband in rural communities
  • Partnerships
  • Remote work opportunities
  • Addiction Recovery Care (ARC)
  • Local farmer support
  • Tourism development

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