On December 6–7, 2019, IUP joined 13 other Appalachian-based colleges and universities at the 19th annual Appalachian Teaching Project Symposium in Washington, DC to present the Opioid and Work Project.
IUP students collaborated with the Armstrong-Indiana Drug and Alcohol Commission to identify the occupations and industries that have the highest prevalence of opioid use by workers in that sector and create data-informed recommendations for various labor stakeholders. This project is a multi-method approach that engaged both qualitative and quantitative data to better understand the landscape of the opioid epidemic in Indiana County and its impact on the local workforce.
To prepare for the ATP Symposium, students enrolled Abigail Adams’ Medical Anthropology (ANTH 444), Amanda Poole’s Applied Anthropology (ANTH 360), and Brandon Vick’s Labor Economics (ECON 330) courses designed and led an ethnographically-based research project called “The Opioid Epidemic's Impact on a Northern Appalachian Workforce.”
Each ATP project focuses on one of five themes: outdoor recreation and tourism development; workforce barriers, community health, and the opioid crisis; community development through cultural heritage and the arts; community planning and asset development; and Appalachian waterways and parks. As a capstone for the coursework, students and their faculty sponsors travel to Washington, DC to present their work to other student delegations, Appalachian Regional Commission leadership, and community leaders at the Symposium.
“I am very proud of the students representing IUP as they continue their important coursework toward building a better future for their communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “These students are engaged in work that benefits an entire region, and represent an institution that has worked consistently within our region to prepare our next generation of leaders.”
Photo: IUP student delegates to the Appalachian Teaching Project 2019 Symposium
Since 2001, over 2,350 college and graduate students from across Appalachia have participated in the Appalachian Teaching Project. A recent survey of past participants found that 65 percent of ATP alumni still live in the Appalachian region and credit their participation in the ATP as either moderately or highly influencing their decision to stay. Over 85 percent of ATP alumni are employed, and they report that ATP had a lasting impact on their career.
ATP is a partnership between ARC and the Consortium of Appalachian Centers and Institutes and is administered by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University.