On November 13 and 14, a cross-disciplinary team of IUP student researchers participated in the 20th annual Appalachian Teaching Project virtual symposium, a regional economic development conference sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The Community Vulnerability and Resilience Project is a collaboration between Indiana University of Pennsylvania students and our community partner, the Chevy Chase Community Center.

IUP's Community Vulnerability and Resilience Project is a multi-method project that engages both qualitative and quantitative data to better understand the landscape of the opioid epidemic in our region and how it has been impacted by COVID-19. Select students from Abigail Adams' Anthropology of Food (ANTH 430) and Amanda Poole's Environmental Anthropology (ANTH 420) courses utilize the anthropological method of ethnographic interviews to understand the nature of the opioid epidemic in our tri-county area and the multitude of ways that opioid use disorder (OUD) recovery has been impacted by COVID-19. Our qualitative investigation will analyze the ways in which the dual health disasters of OUD and COVID-19 have impacted people's food security, recovery resources, economic participation, and social integration.

Drawing from applied anthropology methods, this exploratory project utilizes semi-structured interviews via cyberethnography (due to COVID). For a quantitative perspective, students from Brandon Vick'sAnalysis of Social Data(ECON 862) graduate course analyzed data on national, regional, and local food insecurity.

The ATP is design to support student-led research projects in Appalachian communities to address regional challenges. As a capstone to this work, students usually travel to Washington, DC to present their work to other student delegations from other ATP participating institutions, ARC leadership, and community leaders in a formal peer-to-peer conference setting hosted by ARC. This year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the ATP Symposium will be held online, and the virtual poster symposium will open on December 11.

Since 2001, over 2,500 college and graduate students from across Appalachia have participated in the Appalachian Teaching Project. This is the eighth year a student delegation from IUP has participated in ATP.

"Students have had to face unprecedented obstacles this year, and I am pleased that so many have participated in this important program that focuses on benefiting the people of the Appalachian Region by designing innovative economic development projects," said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. "IUP is a key partner developing the next generation of Appalachian leaders."

IUP is one of 14 Appalachian colleges and universities participating in this year's Appalachian Teaching Project.

Department of Anthropology