Northeast Kentucky AHEC Director Co-Authored Recently Published Journal Article


David A. Gross, administrative director for education and research at St. Claire HealthCare and also director of the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KY AHEC), was the third author on a recently published article titled Provider Practice and Perceptions of Pediatric Obesity in Appalachian Kentucky. The article was published in the November issue of the Southern Medical Journal, the official peer-reviewed journal of the Southern Medical Association, which covers a 16-state territory, including Kentucky.

This article details a study of providers’ practices and perceived needs in Appalachian Kentucky to identify the standard of care and implementation of expert recommendations for managing pediatric obesity.

The event that lead to the conception of this article was the April 2016 Pediatric Obesity Conference, an event held in Morehead and accredited by the NE KY AHEC. The Gateway Wellness Coalition – which includes St. Claire HealthCare, the Gateway District Health Department, and Morehead State University – also was heavily involved in planning the event.

At that event, the 50 health care providers in attendance were given a questionnaire. Twenty-eight providers completed it. From this data, the article concluded there is a significant need for education and guidance regarding addressing pediatric obesity in Appalachian Kentucky. Providers reported needing multiple community resources, including improved physical education programs, access to community recreation centers, and additional referral resources for multidisciplinary care.

The article’s lead author is Timothy S. Thornberry, Jr., PhD, a former Morehead State University psychology professor (who is now at Western Kentucky University); the other co-author is Valery R. Bodziony, a recent MSU graduate.

A full abstract of the article can be accessed at:

Back to News Listing