Funding for the oral history and photography project titled “Drowning in Dust: The Burden of Black Lung Disease in Central Appalachia” is from the University of Kentucky's Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center. In addition to supporting ongoing work of the Healthy Appalachia Institute, the project will support Margie Tomann's work in Appalachian Studies at Radford University.
The project will pursue factors associated with a reported dramatic increase in black lung cases. Black lung is prolonged exposure to coal dust experienced by coal miners. The project will examine challenges associated with prevention, early detection, screening, benefits applications and long term impact on families and communities.
“ ‘Drowning in Dust’ represents Margie’s unwavering dedication to public health and demonstrates her desire to give voice to the coal miners, their family members and associated support systems," said Theresa Burriss, Tomann's faculty adviser at Radford. "The potential for effective change as a result of this project is real."