Margaret Carey

CSW, Doctoral Candidate

If These Mountains Could Speak: What Healthcare Providers Need to Know in Order to Deliver Culturally Competent Care to the Appalachian Region


The Center for Disease Control (2023) defines health care disparities as “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.” The Appalachian region has long since been recognized for poor health outcomes. While Appalachia is diverse and expansive, there is commonality amongst the region’s health care disparities. This presentation will focus on the unique features, culture, and challenges experienced by the region as it pertains to healthcare delivery. Ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse populations bring unique needs to health care interactions. Regarding healthcare social workers and other healthcare providers, it can be difficult to conceptualize why health care disparities within the region persist. Research that sheds light on the implications of understanding a region’s culture while delivering healthcare services to the region, could lead to interventions that promote healthcare equity. To understand healthcare disparities and make impactful change in healthcare delivery, the role of culture, environment/geography, and community will be explored throughout the presentation.


Throughout her career, Margaret E. Carey, CSW has devoted herself to serving patients, families, and the communities in which they reside.

Margaret has 10 years of healthcare related experience working with Trauma Surgery and Emergency General Surgery patients. Shortly after graduating from Northern Kentucky University with her Masters Degree, she began her career at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where she assisted patients transitioning back into their lives after traumatic accidents. At present, Margaret works for the University of Kentucky Medical Center where she continues serving patients who have been impacted by traumatic accidents and injuries.

While at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Margaret assisted in facilitating University of Kentucky Medical Center’s partnership with Fayette County Government’s ONE Lexington: a program to mobilize city government and community resources to reduce gun violence in the city of Lexington. Margaret continues to work diligently to apply research, theory, and policy to improve the lives of Kentuckians within the healthcare system.

As a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky, Margaret has centered her research studies on delivering culturally competent healthcare services to the Appalachian region. Margaret is passionate about removing barriers to healthcare access and eliminating healthcare inequities. In the future, she hopes to continue her work in ensuring that healthcare is not only accessible, but meets the individualized needs of patients across the Commonwealth.