Home » ARH and AppHarvest launch partnership for a Healthier Appalachia

ARH and AppHarvest launch partnership for a Healthier Appalachia

WEST LIBERTY AND MOREHEAD, Ky. — Multi-hospital healthcare system Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) and AppHarvest, a Morehead, Ky., sustainable food company building some of the world’s largest indoor farms, have launched a mission-aligned partnership focused on improving the health and well-being of their employees in Central Appalachia.

ARH President and CEO Hollie Phillips and AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb discussed the partnership Wednesday during an event at the Morgan County ARH Hospital in West Liberty, Ky.

Following the announcement, ARH providers offered free diabetes screenings for AppHarvest employees at the company’s flagship 60-acre high-tech farm in Morehead. These screenings follow free cardiac evaluations ARH provided to more than 50 AppHarvest employees in February.

ARH currently employs 6,000 people, while AppHarvest employs 500 people, scaling to about 1,000 employees by the end of 2022 when its three additional indoor farms in Kentucky are expected to be operational. Together, the organizations make up one of the largest employee populations in the region, with combined workforces that are expected to exceed 10,000 people in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia over the next three years.

ARH and AppHarvest are now building resources and collaboration opportunities for health and wellness initiatives. Further plans for the partnership include:

  • Administering onsite preventive health screenings, nutritional education, and other healthcare services
  • Providing nutritious produce to the hospital and staff
  • Establishing an employee-led joint Healthcare Steering Committee
  • Developing regional leaders through participation in the ARH Leadership Academy’s 2022 cohort
  • Sharing access to health education, pharmacy services, and workplace telemedicine
  • Providing joint support at public health and wellness events
  • Sharing best practices for workforce development in the region

ARH and AppHarvest first connected around activities for 2021 Earth Day and World Food Day events to increase awareness about the effects that diet and food production have on both people and the planet and the ability of increased vegetable consumption to drive better health outcomes. AppHarvest donated vine-ripened tomatoes from their flagship 60-acre high-tech indoor farm in Morehead to ARH communities and nursing staff in Hazard, Prestonsburg, and West Liberty.

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