The Kentucky River Area Development District (KRADD) will conduct an HIA to examine how regional economic development strategies can improve health in eight counties— Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry, and Wolfe—in southeastern Kentucky. Economic development efforts can improve the stability of communities through job creation, a broader tax base, and better access to goods and services. All eight counties rank in the bottom 20 out of 120 counties ranked by social and economic factors that drive health. Compared to the state overall, the region suffers from twice the state rates of unemployment, child poverty, and fatalities from accidents and firearms. Economic development can improve household income and, in turn, health outcomes such as stress, chronic disease, and mental health.
KRADD is a quasi-governmental agency based in Hazard that works with city and county governments to improve the quality of life for residents. It has 39 board members comprised of elected county and city officials and citizens from the region.