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Marietta College’s McDonough Center for Leadership & Business has been selected to participate in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative (ACRI) and awarded a grant to fund the project “Assessing Rural Healthcare Workforce Needs.”

The project aims to address socioeconomic gaps in healthcare access and employment in the Appalachian region.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission,” said Dr. Alexandra Perry, Dean of McDonough. “This vital funding will allow our students to conduct meaningful research into the healthcare workforce needs of our rural communities. By understanding these needs, Marietta College can tailor our educational programs to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals for our region.”

The project has two key components: deploying pop-up clinics to bring healthcare services directly to residents, eliminating transportation barriers; and researching the specific healthcare roles needed locally to inform future curriculum development. Students will present their findings in Washington, D.C., in December.

“This grant, and the programs it is funding, is an example of what makes a Marietta College experience so special,” said Dr. Amy Elliott, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies. “We are right-sized to have real relationships within our community that make collaborative partnerships where students can learn while doing. The work creates a win for the students, a win for the community, and a win for rural health.”

A portion of the grant funds a partnership with the Ely Chapman Education Foundation, a community organization located in Marietta. Marietta students will organize a pop-up clinic and health programming at their site, serving school-aged children and underrepresented groups.

“This project exemplifies Marietta College’s commitment to the Appalachian region,” Perry said. “Not only are we investing in research to understand local needs, but we’re taking direct action through our community partnership to deliver critical health services where they’re needed most.”

Marietta is one of 13 colleges and universities, and one of three in Ohio, participating in this ARC research initiative focused on building a robust workforce ecosystem across Appalachia.