Appalachian “innovators” offer new ideas for the region.

Appalachian “innovators” offer new ideas for the region.

Three hundred and fifty community activists from around Appalachia, which includes thirteen states from southern New York to northern Mississippi, gathered in Pittsburgh this week for a conference about transforming the region. While nationally Appalachia is often portrayed as a poor, rural region suffering from the loss of coal jobs, Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which sponsored the two-day conference, says there is also a lot of excitement about new ways to grow the region’s economy. “Appalachia has a whole variety of opportunities and assets, and as we grow and we move forward, you’re going to see that develop,” he says.

LISTEN: “Appalachian “Innovators” Offer New Ideas for the Region”

The conference opened with a discussion about the opioid epidemic, and other health problems, and explored why and how the region can address health as part of a stronger, sustainable future. Gohl says Pittsburgh is

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