In January 2006 the Appalachian Institute of Wheeling Jesuit University inaugurated a photographic exhibit documenting coal community health issues over the last 60 years. Recent multiple mine tragedies in West Virginia have dramatically highlighted the life-threatening mine conditions. But there is a long history of concern for health in coal communities. In 1946, the United Mine Workers of America threatened to strike coal producers, in part to obtain better safety and health conditions. Because this threatened to destabilize the economy, President Truman seized the mines to insure continued production. He then assigned a naval medical survey team, headed by Rear Admiral Joel T. Boone, to collect data and to document health conditions in coal mining areas. This online version of the Appalachian Institute exhibit allows people all over the world to compare life in coal communities in 1946, recorded in the Boone report, with today's conditions, captured by photojournalist Earl Dotter.
Coal Mining Fatalities and Injuries
Coal Miner's Lung Health
Coalfield Health Clinics
Coalfield Nutrition Issues
West Virginia Healthy People 2010
Coalfield Roadblocks to Health
Coalfield Housing Issues
Coalfield Water Quality
Coalfield Health Gains and Challenges
About the Clifford M. Lewis, S.J. Appalachian Institute
Photographer's Statement from Earl Dotter
Primary Exhibit Data Sources

To learn more about the Sago Mine disaster, and other mine related issues visit the United Mine Workers of America, International Coal Group, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration web sites. To find out how to make a donation to the Sago Mine Fund, visit the WV Council of Churches web site.

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