By George Lewis
believe that all Kentuckians, whether they live in
a small town or a big city, should have access to
basic health care information. I worked hard to bring
this funding home, and I am excited that UK students
and researchers will be leading the fight to improve
the quality of health of all Kentuckians."
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
11, 2002 (Frankfort, Ky.) --
University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. today
announced a significant increase in the scope and
impact of health education in Kentucky, which ranks
near the bottom in nearly all health-status indicators.
Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL)
represents a new partnership between the UK College
of Medicine and its Kentucky School of Public Health,
and the College of Agriculture and its Cooperative
Extension Service, which provides professional staff
in all 120 Kentucky counties.
is made possible, in part, through earmarked funds
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. HEEL will
be funded at the level of $800,000 for fiscal year
2001-2002. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, senior member
of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led the effort
to secure this funding.
funding would not have come to UK or to the state
had it not been for Sen. McConnell directing it to
us," Todd said.
that all Kentuckians, whether they live in a small
town or a big city, should have access to basic health
care information," Sen. McConnell said. "I worked
hard to bring this funding home, and I am excited
that UK students and researchers will be leading the
fight to improve the quality of health of all Kentuckians."
in combination with current programs in rural health
services and wellness education programs, is meant
to enhance Cooperative Extension agents' capacity
to deliver health education statewide.
agents throughout the state are in daily contact with
individuals and families. They have tremendous credibility
and a forum to mobilize communities to improve their
health," Todd said.
will function through health education specialists
who will collaborate with extension agents, health
departments, school systems and community organizations
throughout the state to take basic health education
to the public. The specialists and extension agents
will apply the latest science-based strategy, technology
and programs that have shown evidence of effectiveness
in producing health behavior change and mobilizing
communities to improve their health.
search is under way for HEEL faculty administrators,
who will be jointly appointed in the Kentucky School
of Public Health and the College of Agriculture.
HEEL is an example of the way he likes to see the
university combine academics and outreach to serve
the entire commonwealth.
a new beginning and a new partnership," he said. "We're
going to provide a link that's been missing between
the research and academics of the university and the
health issues of the people of the commonwealth. What
has been lacking is the availability of health education
specialists to work with extension agents to modify
citizens' health behaviors, both individually and
on a community-wide basis."
statistics that show Kentucky with abnormally high
incidences of death related to cancers, heart disease,
diabetes and respiratory disease. For example: Kentucky's
cancer mortality rate for 1994 through 1998 was 12
percent higher than the national rate. Kentucky's
lung cancer incidence rate is about 50 percent higher
than the national rate. Kentucky's invasive cervical
cancer incidence rate is about 40 percent higher than
the national rate (source: UK Markey Cancer Center).