Campus News

New UK Course Explores Confidence, Creativity Through Hip-Hop Dance

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 17:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) This fall students will have the opportunity to explore hip-hop dance through a new course offered by the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Fine Arts. TAD 447-001: Hip Hop Dance, will be taught by new faculty member Anthony Alterio in the new Creative Arts Living Learning Program.


The class is multifaceted and covers a wide range of topics. "We will be covering different styles of hip-hop. From pop and locking, boogaloo, fresno, free-style to commercial, the goal will be not only for students to work on movement phrases, but to also gain a level of confidence to improv on their own," Alterio said.


When asked what he wanted students to take away from the course, Alterio shared an interesting philosophy. "We are going to move a lot, and fail a lot. Dance is about failure: failure to stand, failure to be vertical, failure to look cool. With this in mind, I hope people in this class fail so that they can learn new things about their own bodies, rhythms and the communities around them. If you succeed in all you do, how much are you really learning or pushing yourself?"


Alterio continued by adding that dance is rewarding for the mind, body and soul. By assisting students in gaining a better understanding of the techniques of hip-hop dance, Alterio aims to encourage confidence beyond just dance.


TAD 447 will be offered from 2-3:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday this fall and is open to all UK students, regardless of major or minor. And, for those who can't get in the popular course this August, the class will be offered again next spring.


Alterio earned his bachelor's degree from University of Colorado at Boulder and his master's degree from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan. He began teaching dance in 2007 and has worked with students ages 6 to 50. Alterio has experience choreographing numerous styles of dance including ballet, tap, lyrical, studio hip-hop, jazz and modern. 


The Department of Theatre and Dance at UK College of Fine Arts has played an active role in the performance scene in Central Kentucky for more than 100 years. Students in the program get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from the renowned professional theatre and dance faculty. The liberal arts focus of their bachelor's degree program is coupled with ongoing career counseling to ensure a successful transition from campus to professional life.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;


Gatton's Troske Appointed to Federal Policymaking Commission

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 15:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016)  University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Outreach Kenneth R. Troske has been appointed to serve as a member of the newly established Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, part of the executive branch of the federal government.


Troske was appointed to the 15-member commission by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Among other responsibilities, the commission is charged with conducting a comprehensive study of the data inventory, data infrastructure, database security, and statistical protocols related to federal policymaking.


"Ken is highly qualified for service on this new commission," said McConnell. "He is a well-recognized researcher in the area of evaluating the effectiveness of government programs, or lack thereof. His research and experience at the University of Kentucky and his previous work at the Census Bureau make him well suited for this commission’s mission. I look forward to monitoring the activities of the commission and know that Ken’s leadership will be a welcomed addition to the commission’s work."


Established by congressional legislation passed earlier this year and signed into law by President Barack Obama, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking is empowered to hold hearings, take testimony and receive evidence. The commission must submit a comprehensive report of its findings to the president and Congress within 15 months.


“Ken is an excellent choice,” said David Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College. “Both as an economist and as a leader on campus he promotes making important policy decisions — either by government or by the university — based on scientific evidence and good data. Further, he has examined the effectiveness or the potential impact of public policy through his academic research and as a consultant to government and industry. He is one of the leading economists in Kentucky and is very well respected across the economics discipline.”


Troske, the William B. Sturgill Endowed Professor of Economics at UK since 2005, previously served as a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel, which was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to evaluate the U.S. Department of the Treasury's efforts under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, commonly referred to as TARP.


Troske, who earned his doctoral degree in economics from the University of Chicago, has served as a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, since 2002. He also is in his seventh year as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Lexington Business Advisory Council.


"I am pleased that Sen. McConnell has chosen me to serve on this commission," Troske said. "My academic career has been focused on producing research that is designed to help policymakers make more informed decisions about the most effective ways to use taxpayer dollars. It is something I am passionate about, so I am excited to serve on a commission whose purpose is to increase the amount of policy research being conducted and to amplify the impact this research will have on government policy."


Troske's research consistently appears in leading academic journals and he is frequently quoted in the local, regional and national news media.


A 2014 recipient of the William T. Lyons Award for outstanding service to the university, the community and the Commonwealth, Troske is a member of the American Economic Association, the Southern Economics Association and the Society of Labor Economists.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACTS:  Carl Nathe,, 859-257-3200; Jay Blanton,, 859-699-0041

UK Poultry Specialist Stresses Sanitation in Combatting Salmonella Outbreaks

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 14:44

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 25, 2016)  Salmonella outbreaks associated with contact with live poultry in backyard flocks that began in early June are now affecting people in 45 states, and Kentucky appears to have the highest number of illnesses. University of Kentucky poultry specialists are stressing the importance of preventing bacteria for backyard flock owners.


“The most important thing poultry owners can do is review their sanitary measures,” said Jacqueline Jacob, UK poultry extension project manager for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Many of the cases in the current outbreak are linked to backyard flocks, so we want to remind folks of simple things they can do to protect themselves.”


In the initial outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported seven multistate outbreaks in 35 states with nearly 300 people infected. The CDC reports that now more than 600 people in 45 states are ill amid eight separate outbreaks. In Kentucky, 35 people have confirmed salmonella infections. According to the CDC, poultry handlers need to remember all chickens can carry salmonella, regardless of where owners purchase them. They can carry the bacteria even if they look clean and healthy.


The CDC emphasizes that all poultry owners should always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching live birds or anything in the area where they live. They should not bring live poultry into the house or let young children handle chicks, ducklings or other live poultry without supervision. In the current outbreaks, 88 of the ones infected are children younger than 5 years of age.


"Any contact with live poultry puts you at risk for salmonella infection," Jacob said. "Salmonella germs can be in the birds’ droppings and on their bodies and also on their cages, coops, hay, plants and the soil where they live and roam."


Anyone handling poultry should keep the birds away from their noses, mouth and eyes. Shows and fairs with birds and chicks on display should have a way for people to wash their hands or provide sanitizer with 99 percent or higher bacteria kill rate.


“Remember to be careful when you wash equipment or eggs in the kitchen sink,” Jacob said. “You don’t want to cross contaminate food. Always use a good disinfectant to clean up in the kitchen when you’re finished.”


Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. It usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, very young children, older adults, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a serious illness. Those who suspect they have been infected should contact their health care provider as soon as possible.


For more information about the current outbreak, visit the CDC website at


For more general information about raising small poultry flocks, visit the UK Poultry Extension website at



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707

Mentoring a Key Factor in Spinal Cord Researcher's Success

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 13:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) — In ivory towers all over the world, experts ponder the factors that foster career success and overall well-being in their college graduates.


Gallup tried to answer the same question. In a 2014 poll of more than 30,000 graduates, the polling juggernaut tried to find connections between the college experience and long-term career and personal "wellness." In other words: did graduates feel they had achieved personal and career success? And if so, what college experiences contributed to that?


What the poll found was that the three most powerful elements linked to long-term success for college grads were about emotional support: Did they have a professor who made them excited about learning? Did their professors care about them as a person? Did they have a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals? If graduates strongly agreed with these three things, it doubled the odds that they were engaged in their work and thriving personally.


Jenna VanRooyen knows this first-hand. In Professor Sasha Rabchevsky's lab at  the University of Kentucky's Spinal Cord and Brain Research Center (SCoBIRC), mentoring is a group affair, and Jenna – and her research – have benefitted hugely from the experience.


VanRooyen came to UK in 2011 from Texas. The UK Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Program to which she was admitted required a rotation through four different labs. Her first rotation happened to be in Rabchevsky’s lab.


"After my first rotation with Sasha, I knew that was where I wanted to be. His excitement about his work in neuroprotection and repair after spinal cord injury is infectious."


Consequently, VanRooyen was offered a graduate studentship in the Rabchevsky lab – but it came with a challenge. The research project offered her was high-risk/high reward – a tough proposition for a young graduate student.


"To my knowledge, no one else anywhere is looking into this idea for spinal cord injury," Rabchevsky said. "Students don't want to graduate based on negative data, so Jenna's willingness to work on something completely novel is a testament to her tenacity."


The project explores the therapeutic possibilities of transplanting healthy mitochondria into injured spinal cord tissue. Colonies of mitochondria reside in every one of our cells, functioning as a sort of battery to power various cellular functions.  When enough of them are damaged, the cells die. VanRooyen would be looking into whether transplanting mitochondria into the injured spinal cord could reduce or repair damage, promoting long-term functional recovery.  Put more bravely: could this help prevent paralysis?


"I was given the lead with full creative freedom to explore this hypothesis," VanRooyen said. "It was scary and exhilarating all at once."


Luckily, VanRooyen was in the right place at the right time. Rabchevsky had explored microglial transplantation into spinal cord tissue after injury and Samir Patel, a research assistant professor and a member of Rabchevsky's lab, had vast experience in mitochondrial function. VanRooyen could use their merged expertise to help complete the project. Other SCoBIRC faculty had relevant experience that further informed her work. 


"Sasha's mentoring style is based on open communication, clear expectations and a supportive environment.  He reminds me that it's OK to fail and he knows when to push and when to help me up in those situations," she said.


"There's a lot of distraction when you're not sure where the science will lead you. Each answer raises four new questions. Sasha helps rein me in and think about the logical next step in the experiment."


VanRooyen adds that Patel has done quite a bit to mentor her as well.


"I get direct mentorship from Sasha, but Samir is guiding me through a lot of the experimental aspects of my training," she said. "I credit him for much of what I've learned in that area."


According to Rabchevsky, Jenna is disciplined, patient, and willing to listen to others to gain insight into her own work, all qualities that strengthen her potential as a successful scientist.


Her efforts have recently earned her a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. The grant is intended to foster career development for young scientists.  There must be "sound science" in the grantee's application, but the grant also requires that there be resources in place to help the student learn the other skills required for success as a scientist, including hypothesis development, experimental design and analysis, manuscript/grant preparation, and presentation/defense skills. Rabchevsky's mentorship style suits the award – and VanRooyen – perfectly.


"I've always ascribed to the philosophy of 'See it. Do it. Teach it,'" Rabchevsky said.  "Sharing my learning and experience with everyone in the lab from top to bottom sparks collaboration and fosters creativity. It doesn't matter where you sit in the hierarchy. In my lab, everyone can contribute and everyone can learn."


Clearly, VanRooyen's experience in the Rabchevsky lab has paid off. Her poster, presented at the National Neurotrauma Society's (NNS) annual meeting last month, garnered the Michael Goldberger Award – the top honor in the trainee poster competition. 


Since its inception in 1982, the NNS symposium has served as the premier forum for the exchange of ideas and information related to traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. Fortuitously, this year's symposium was in Lexington, which meant that many of her colleagues were in attendance.


"There were more than 300 posters submitted, and Jenna was one of the top 20 posters selected to showcase her work. The fact that she got top honors with competition from places like Washington University, Drexel, Penn and UVA speaks volumes about her skills," said Rabchevsky. 


"It felt like forever as they read through all the awards," VanRooyen remembers.  "When they got to the last award, I thought to myself, 'well, it's all or nothing.' Then they called my name, and all the SCoBIRC people made quite a ruckus in the back."


Rabchevsky, who mentors seven students plus lab techs, is particularly impressed with Jenna's growth as a scientist.  "I think she can write her own ticket," he boasts of her. "I wish we could take more credit, but this is truly her accomplishment."


Jenna mirrors Rabchevsky's words.  "If I didn't have this time in Sasha's lab I would not be where I am today."


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307


Summer Partnership with UK CAER and Kentucky State University

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) — Kazi Javed, associate professor of chemistry at Kentucky State University (KSU), has always been committed to bringing science to life for his students. This summer, he is doing just that thanks to a unique partnership with the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER).


Javed, who teaches an analytical instrumentation class at KSU, is volunteering in the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group at CAER this summer. With a focus in the classroom on instrument design and method development, Javed is bringing KSU students to CAER’s lab this summer to introduce and train them on instrumentation not available at KSU.


Joining Javed are four students: Ma’Kaylah Garrett, a biology student from Indianapolis, Indiana; Steven Hall, a mechanical engineering student from Frankfort, Kentucky; Andrew Lentini, a mechanical engineering student from Shelbyville, Kentucky; and Siraj Ramsey, a mechanical engineering student from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The mechanical engineering students are taking part in KSU and UK’s joint program, where the students attend KSU for three years and UK for two years. Participants receive a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from KSU and a bachelor's degree in engineering from UK.


This collaborative work was made possible thanks to National Science Foundation grants titled “MRI: Acquisition of a Gas Chromatograph with Dual Detection Capabilities to be Used in Sustainable Energy Research” (award number 1531637) and “SusChEM: Promotion of Nickel Catalysts for the Conversion of Biomass-derived Oils to Fuel-like Hydrocarbons” (award number 1437604).



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;

Nominations Open for 2017 Medallion for Intellectual Achievement

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 09:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) Nominations are being sought for the 2017 University of Kentucky Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement. Nominations for the honor will be accepted through Aug. 19. 

The UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement, one of UK's most prestigious awards, was first awarded in 1990 to recognize high intellectual achievement by Kentuckians and to encourage education and promote creative thought. Final selection of the medallion recipient is determined by majority vote of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board

Individual candidates may be nominated with completion of the application and a nominating statement that describes the intellectual achievement realized in a scientific, artistic, literary, social, or humanitarian field; significance of the achievement; and endorsements or verification of the work. To be eligible, nominees must be a Kentucky native or had more than three years of study, work or residency in Kentucky.


Last year's recipient of the Medallion for Intellectual Achievement was historian James C. Klotter.

The general public is welcome to submit nominations for the UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement. More information can be found online at, along with the 2017 nomination form



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

Performing Arts Troupe High Note of Teen's 4-H Experience

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 16:38

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 22, 2016) — Music has been Halie Sawyers’ passion since she first started belting out tunes as a child. But it was not until she joined the Kentucky 4-H Performing Arts Troupe and Leadership Board that the Todd County native learned how her passion could transform her into a leader and guide her to a future career path.


“Becoming a member of the troupe was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Sawyers said. “It has helped me grow as a leader, a musician and a person.”


Sawyers was a high school freshman when Lee Ann McCuiston, Todd County 4-H agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, encouraged her to try out for the troupe in 2012.


“When Halie entered the Todd County 4-H Variety Show as a 9-year-old, she stole the show with her big voice and amazing stage presence. She won every year she entered,” McCuiston said. “When the 4-H Performing Arts Troupe was created, I knew I had to get her on the board.”


That was the first year for the Performing Arts Troupe and Leadership Board, which formed due to the popularity of the Talent Track at 4-H Teen Conference. Kentucky 4-H’ers in grades eight through 11 can apply and audition to become a member of the statewide troupe. Those selected perform at a variety of 4-H and other UK Cooperative Extension events. They also attend a music camp, advise the state 4-H staff on performing arts projects, teach younger 4-H’ers about the arts during 4-H Summit and learn about careers in the arts.


The first troupe had six members. Sawyers was the only freshman.


During the next four years, Sawyers involvement with 4-H and her community grew. Not only was she traveling with the troupe, but she also attended 4-H Issues and Teen conferences as a participant. She became the host of the Todd County 4-H Variety Show and began seeking out service opportunities to serve and better her community.


“I’ve always been interested in leadership, but being part of the troupe gave me the confidence, skills and resources I needed to become a leader in an area I’m passionate about, so I can help others discover their passion for it,” she said.


In May, Sawyers graduated as the valedictorian of Todd County High School, and in June, she ended her time with the troupe.


“People often talk about performers having ‘it.’ Halie Sawyers has ‘it,’ and she is going to use her talent to make the world a better place,” said Jennifer Tackett, 4-H youth development specialist and troupe director.


While her stint in the troupe has come to a close, she credits the troupe with helping her find her next adventure. Sawyers had always wanted to use her musical talents to impact children, particularly those with special needs. After meeting with professional musical therapists on a troupe field trip, she knew how she could combine her passions into a career. She will begin pursuing a degree in musical therapy this fall.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt,, 859-257-8774.

UK College of Dentistry’s Dental Assisting Program Will Begin in September

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 16:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2016) – According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between the years 2014 and 2024 the demand for dental assistants is expected to grow 18 percent. Beginning in September, the UK College of Dentistry (UKCD) will offer a six-month Dental Assistant Program to help interested individuals gain valuable experience and training for this vital role on the dental team.


Program Director Dr. Kenneth Nusbacher described what those who complete the program can expect in their professional lives, “The day to day work for dental assistants will vary between dental offices. It may involve various patient care tasks, office duties, or even lab functions. By completing our program, a person gains real experience in a variety of areas, helping them be better prepared for their first day at a dental office,” Nusbacher went on to say,  “I’m very proud of the unique balance our program offers in regard to overall program length, cost and the number of hours students will spend learning by working in our dental clinics.” 


Program participants will benefit from hands-on experience as approximately 70 percent of students’ time will be spent in the dental clinic assisting with procedures, working side by side UKCD dental students, clinical faculty and staff. While serving a large patient pool with a variety of needs across multiple areas of dentistry students will also get exposure to a variety of dental specialty areas. Additionally, they will gain familiarity with auxiliary dental services such as radiology, sterilization and dental labs. Program extras include certification in basic life support such as CPR, coronal polishing and radiation safety.


The UKCD Dental Assisting Program consists of lecture courses, pre-clinical courses and clinical experiences in multiple UKCD clinics. Students will train with experienced UKCD professors and staff who also train current UKCD dental students.


A minimum of high school diploma or GED is required for acceptance to the program. The next start dates for the program are Sept. 15, 2016 and Feb. 15, 2017. To learn more or apply to the program, visit our website here.     


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076

Vanderford Featured in New Issue of Science

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 14:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2016) – In a commentary published in the July 22 issue of Science, Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, describes his path to landing a nontraditional faculty position at UK. Science is one of the world’s most prestigious research journals.


Many new doctorate recipients are unaware of their nontraditional career options and of the challenges they may face when pursuing them. Vanderford, who applied for dozens of non-research jobs after earning his doctorate, knows this all too well. In his commentary, he recounts some of the obstacles he encountered during his own job search, and the realization that helped him to ultimately attain the position he holds today.


In 2009, Vanderford secured his initial opportunity at the Markey Cancer Center as a science writer and editor and, from there, he took on leadership roles that contributed to his transition into a unique tenure-track faculty position. Along the way, he made it a personal goal to help other scientists learn what some never do.


“It's important for the science community, and especially the trainees in the community, to understand all the career options available to Ph.D.s," Vanderford said. "Too often, Ph.D.s think it's a straight shot between training and landing a job, but there's usually a lot of twists and turns. If they remain vigilant, they can build rewarding careers in many different fields.”


Media Contact: Allison Perry,

Educating Kentucky's Youth on Cancer, One Child at a Time

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 13:31


Video produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.  

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2016) – Standing in front of a group of rowdy young children, eastern Kentucky native Melissa Hounshell only has to do one thing to grab their attention – bring out Mr. Gross Mouth.


Aptly named, Mr. Gross Mouth is a prop set of teeth and gums beleaguered by various medical problems caused by smoking and/or poor hygiene – rotting teeth, tongue cancer, lesions, and more. The kids excitedly voice their shock and disgust as Hounshell runs through all the bad habits that might lead to such a set of teeth in real life.


“Kids love how shockingly gross 'he' really is," Hounshell said. "Especially the tongue. They love to pass around the tongue!”


As the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Community Outreach Director, Hounshell spends her days traveling the state, partnering with businesses and programs in local communities to raise awareness and educate the public about cancer risk factors and screenings.


One of her latest endeavors is a youth outreach program called Get Fit, Be Smart, Don't Start. Using eye-catching props like Mr. Gross Mouth, it's geared toward educating young children and encouraging them to take an interest in their parents' health in addition to their own.


In a region where many adults avoid cancer screenings out of fear of what they might find, Hounshell notes the importance of getting children involved.


"We feel like it's really important to work with children in the state," Hounshell said. "What we're really trying to do is reach that younger population and change that mindset, to make them understand the importance and value of health and wellness throughout their lives, not just when they're 40, 50, 60 years old."


Overall, the youth program emphasizes a healthy lifestyle encompassing a good diet, staying active, avoiding smoking and tobacco products, and even the dangers of distracted driving. But considering Kentucky's No. 1 ranking in both cancer incidence and mortality in the country, the likelihood of these children having some connection to cancer in their family is high, and Hounshell hopes her message of prevention sinks in.


"I encourage kids many times to go and talk with their parents or grandparents about either stopping smoking or getting mammograms or colonoscopies, because so many times a child can ask someone to do something and they'll do it," Hounshell said. "Whereas if a physician says, 'It's time for your mammogram,' the patient might ignore it. But if her granddaughter comes and says, 'You know, you really need to have a mammogram,' she may listen."


Hounshell's passion for cancer education comes from a very personal place. An only child, she saw both parents suffer from cancer, with her father – a smoker – succumbing to lung cancer just 11 weeks after diagnosis. Her mother, a non-smoker, later battled breast cancer, celebrating six years of survival this month.


"This is very personal to me, it's not just a job," Hounshell said. "That's why I work at Markey. Because I understand -- I truly understand – the value of a wonderful cancer center, but I also understand how harsh cancer can be."


Markey's outreach program as a whole has one overarching goal: to reduce cancer rates in the state. Though it will take more time and a lot of data to see the program's overall success, Hounshell says every small positive anecdote that gets back to her keeps her driven: a middle-schooler who saw how much tar goes into the body from a half pack of cigarettes a day and vowed to ask her grandmother to quit; an older man who picked up a free Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) at a Markey screening event that led to the discovery and treatment of a pre-cancerous polyp; the countless young children who have pledged to ask their parents not to text and drive.


"It's not necessarily about the big numbers, but a change in mentality," Hounshell said. "It's more about the long-term impact, maybe in 10 years we look back and can say, 'These kids have helped change the way we think about cancer.'"


Much of Hounshell's travels have taken her to the eastern half of the state, where the cancer rates are particularly dire. However, with the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network growing and expanding into Western Kentucky, she's prepared to travel anywhere in Kentucky to improve cancer education and offer information on screenings to those who need it.


"I work with a lot of affiliate partners, but you don't have to be an affiliate with our screening and outreach program," she said. "I'll partner with anybody as long as they're passionate about getting Kentuckians screened for cancer."


For more information about bringing a UK Markey Cancer Center outreach program to your community or business, contact Melissa Hounshell at or 859-323-2034. 


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Highlights GEAR UP Summer Academy at UK

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 12:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2016) WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell. This week guest host Alan Lytle talks with Assistant Provost Randolph Hollingsworth and Matthew Deffendall, director of UK First Generation Initiatives, about the GEAR UP Summer Academy, a three week program that helps Kentucky high school students experience college. 


To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit


"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue

Novel Intervention Helps Adolescents Dealing with Substance Abuse

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 16:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2016) – In Kentucky, substance use by adolescents, rates of tobacco use, binge drinking and use of other drugs are higher than the national average. More concerning is that early use of these substances can quickly lead to dependence and be an indicator of lifelong use. A unique University of Kentucky program is working to help adolescents during health and recovery from substance abuse by connecting them with someone who has been in their shoes. 


In 2014, the University of Kentucky Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry received funding from the state to develop a model clinic for adolescent substance use treatment, Adolescent Health and Recovery Treatment and Training (AHARTT). Part of the spectrum of treatment provided through this clinic includes Youth Peer Support Specialists. 


Supporters provide patients with a person to talk to through the recovery process. The main difference between Youth Peer Supporters and clinicians is the fact that supporters have “lived experience.” Each supporter provides first-hand experience with both substance abuse and ongoing recovery. This experience allows the youth to more closely identify with their supporter, they understand that this person has been exactly where they have been.


This level of rapport is often unmatched by any other relationship they have encountered on their recovery journey.


Once substance use begins, it changes the biology of the brain and impacts life decisions. Specifically, more and more decisions revolve around the getting and using of the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Longer use makes biological and behavioral changes more entrenched. One change especially difficult for adolescents to deal with when beginning treatment is the feeling of hopelessness and alienation. It is easy for them to feel that no one can relate, understand or help them. Friends and family usually struggle as they are unfamiliar with the emotions and struggles the adolescent is experiencing They are also terrified by seeing the change in their friend or child and by what may lie ahead for them.



However, this is where the five Youth Peer Support Specialist in the model clinic can make a difference.  The "Supporters" — James Riggs, Kelli Fullenlove, Josh Roehrig, Aaron Pope and Brittany Poe — have all undergone rigorous training from the state of Kentucky and are certified to work with patients on a one-on-one basis. 


They receive careful supervision and are in close contact with the clinician caring for the adolescent. Their main objective is to “bridge the gap from the clinic to the community.” When a youth enters treatment, a life altering process is about to take place. 


“It is important that the adolescent in recovery learns to change attitudes, values and coping skills,” said Fullenlove. Pope states, “As peer supporters, we are able to show them, instead of tell them, exactly how to do this.”


Riggs sees the Supporter’s role as showing patients, “people can be cool without using.” He also feels “it’s our responsibility” to give back and help people who are still struggling. The stigma associated with mental illness, especially substance abuse, can be a deterrent that keeps people from seeking necessary treatment. The Supporters feel they are able “to be an avenue to recovery that bypasses this stigma.”


The youth are able to share how they’re feeling with the Supporters who, because of their lived experience, are able to empathize in a way others cannot. “We are an untapped resource for youth to enter the recovery community without having to deal with the associated stigma,” Roehrig said.


Lisa Clark, AHARTT project director, hopes the youth peer support specialist portion of the clinic will expand. As a peer support specialist herself, she knows the value they add to the clinical setting. Clark hopes to add more specialists and accommodate a more diverse patient population by adding specialists who speak other languages, including Spanish. The team also hopes to see the inclusion of youth peer support specialists in other clinics, such as Adolescent Medicine, as well as in schools and hospitals.


Dr. Catherine Martin, director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and principal investigator of the AHARTT grant, believes that Peer Support Specialists are a cutting-edge advancement in the care of adolescents dealing with substance use. She has seen them step into difficult clinical situations and be the “life-preserver” that makes a key difference.


To learn more about the work being done to address substance use, listen to Dr. Catherine Martin on UK’s Behind the Blue Podcast here.


MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


UK Athletics Hall of Fame to Induct Six New Members

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 15:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2016 has been announced, with Rich Brooks (football), Chuck Hayes (men’s basketball), James Johnson (wrestling), Molly Johnson-Belcher (softball), Bernadette Madigan-Dugan (cross country/track and field) and Wesley Woodyard (football) set to be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 23-24, in conjunction with the football home game vs. South Carolina.


Rich Brooks, Football, 2003-09

Only coach in school history to guide UK to bowl games in four consecutive years and win three straight bowls … Took over a program mired in a severe NCAA probation and by 2006 led UK to a 28-20 upset win over Clemson in the Music City Bowl … Followed with a win over Florida State in the 2007 Music City Bowl, a season which included a Top-10 ranking and victory over No. 1 (and eventual national champion) LSU … Following 2008 season, defeated East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl and completed his career at the Music City Bowl in 2009 …  Won at least seven games four years in a row, first time that had happened at UK since 1909-12 … 2009 SEC Coach of the Year by … In last four seasons, led UK to 12 fourth-quarter comeback wins.


Chuck Hayes, Men’s Basketball, 2002-05

Fan favorite for relentless defense and tenacious rebounding … Named the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year … Ranks seventh in career rebounds with 910 boards … Led the team in rebounding for three straight seasons from 2003-05 … Led UK in blocks in 2004 … Ranks eighth in career steals with 170 … Led team to the 2005 SEC regular-season championship … Also a key member on the SEC Tournament championship teams in 2003, 2004 … Member of the 1,000-point club … Appeared in the NCAA Tournament in all four of his seasons, including Elite Eight finishes in 2003 and 2005 … Two-time All-SEC honoree, including first-team honors by the AP and Coaches in 2005 … Named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2002 … 11-year NBA veteran.


James Johnson, Wrestling, 1977-80

Four-year letterman who started from 1977-80 at UK as a 190-pounder … Finished with a record of 65-21 and won the Southern Open twice … Three-time Southeastern Conference medalist, including a second-place finish at the 1980 SEC Championships … Went on to remarkable success in his post-college career as a Greco-Roman competitor … Member of the USA National Wrestling Team for 12 years, winning three national championships wrestling at 100 kilograms (220 pounds) … Named USA Wrestling’s Athlete of the Year in 1993 … Began coaching career as a graduate assistant at UK … Has coached in numerous national and international events, including the 2012 Olympics, and is on the training staff for the 2016 Olympics.


Molly Johnson-Belcher, Softball, 2007-10

Program’s first All-American … UK’s first four-time All-SEC honoree …  NFCA Scholar-Athlete … Led UK to its first NCAA Tournament berth … Ended her career owning career records in batting average (.389), doubles (56), runs (161), home runs (35), slugging percentage (.656), total bases (445); was second in assists (510) and RBI (135); third in hits (264) and stolen bases (66); fourth in triples (10) … Also set single-season records in hits (81), doubles (20), runs scored (53), on-base percentage (.498), as well as single-game records for runs (4), doubles (3), home runs (2) … Member of U.S. National team in 2009 and 2010 helping lead the Americans to gold at the 2012 ISF World Championship and the 2011 Pan Am Games … Current UK assistant coach.


Bernadette Madigan-Dugan, Cross Country/Track and Field, 1981-85

One of the greatest distance runners in Kentucky history … First UK female to win a national track championship when she won the NCAA two-mile run in 1982 … Won two Southeastern Conference titles, the 1982 3,000-meter run and the 1983 three-mile run … Earned All-America honors in five separate events – cross country, indoor two-mile, outdoor 3,000 meters, indoor 3,200-meter relay and the outdoor 10,000 meters … Competed for Great Britain in the 1985 World Student Games … Has coached collegiately at Marshall, Furman, UK and Transylvania … Currently coaching at Lexington Catholic High School … Also has been a mentor for numerous athletes in the running community.


Wesley Woodyard, Football, 2004-07

One of the best defensive players and team leaders in Kentucky history … First-team All-SEC as a junior and senior … Made 395 tackles in his career, seventh in school history … Led team in tackles three straight years, with at least 100 stops each of the three seasons … Led the SEC as a senior with 139 tackles … Unquestioned leader of the defense as the Wildcats posted eight-win seasons and won the 2006 and ’07 Music City Bowls … Led UK in tackles in both bowl triumphs … Second-team Sophomore All-America … Also a key contributor in special teams kick coverage … First-team Freshman All-SEC … SEC Academic Honor Roll … UK Athletics Society of Character … Has played eight years in the NFL with Denver and Tennessee.


The UK Athletics Hall of Fame was started in 2005 to recognize and honor persons whose participation and achievements enriched and strengthened the university’s athletics program. The charter class included 88 individuals who had previously had their jersey retired by UK.


There is a five-year waiting period after leaving UK to be eligible for inclusion into the Hall of Fame. A committee consisting of Hall of Famers, media members, campus representatives and current coaches and administrators elects new inductees each year. 



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Tony Neely,, 859-257-3838

UK Grains Center of Excellence to Strengthen Kentucky Agriculture

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 14:33

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 21, 2016) – Thanks to funding from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, the University of Kentucky Grains Center of Excellence will help advance Kentucky agriculture for decades.


The board awarded the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment a $15 million grant last week to renovate and expand the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, with particular emphasis on grain crops and forages. The university must match the award.


“Being awarded this project is a great honor,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the college. “We thank the commodity and producer organizations that inspired it. We appreciate the fact that the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board made this award from monies from a lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies. Thanks to the General Assembly, elected policy makers, Gov. Matt Bevin, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, Kentucky Farm Bureau, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Soybean Board, Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association and the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.”


Center improvements will include updated and new state-of-the-art meeting facilities, laboratories and offices, and a boost to the center’s high-speed internet capabilities so professors at the center can teach classes for students in Lexington. The improvements will enhance the college’s extension, research and teaching capabilities and give center personnel the space to host additional educational workshops and trainings. While grains are in the center’s name, all commodity areas based at Princeton, including beef cattle, forages and pastures, and horticulture, will benefit from the improvements and expansion.


“The center will benefit Kentucky producers by providing new applications and technologies resulting in increased yields, reduced inputs and higher economic returns,” said Rick Bennett, UK associate dean for research and director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. “This grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board could not have been possible without the strong support of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association and other agricultural commodity groups in the state who have been strong partners and advocates for the college’s research efforts.”


The Kentucky Corn Growers Association purchased an adjoining tract of land for the center to lease. The land will allow UK specialists to conduct large-scale research on intensive agricultural production practices, to study water quality issues and to help define the environmental footprint of intensive agriculture.


“It’s great that the Ag Development Board approved the $15 million to fund the Grain Center of Excellence, said Philip McCoun, Shelby County farmer and promotion council chairman of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association. “This will help complete the two years of work many leadership groups have put in, and will provide farmers with unbiased research.”


Farmer-leaders with the Corn Growers Association and other commodity groups first envisioned the center and have been supportive and involved with making the new center a reality.


“Princeton is centrally located to the majority of crop production in the state, and research conducted at the center has always been top notch and valuable to farmers,” said Davie Stephens, Hickman County farmer and chair of the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board. “The Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board is proud to be a part of the effort to move the center’s research to the next level.”


Pulaski County farmer and Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney said he was very pleased to see these funds allocated for the Grains Center of Excellence, a project the organization has supported since its inception, in keeping with its long-standing history of supporting agricultural research.


“Field crops contribute nearly $3 billion annually to Kentucky’s economy, and research is a critical component to that industry. This facility will take the outstanding efforts made at the UK Research and Education Center to a higher level, addressing the unique challenges of feeding a growing world population in the decades to come,” he said. “The center will not only be helpful to farm families but will be beneficial to all Kentuckians.”


Chad Lee, UK grain crops specialist, will be named the center’s director.


“While this idea began with grain farmers, we are excited that this funding will strengthen all areas of the center and renew our focus on grains and forages to positively impact at least another generation of growers,” Lee said. “I am humbled by the tremendous amount of faith the growers and state leaders have placed on us to make this center a reality.”


John Grove, director of the UK Research and Education Center, said the investment shows the trust the Kentucky agricultural stakeholders have for the center’s faculty, many of whom are new to the university and just starting their careers, and will help alleviate the limited space for research, extension and teaching.


“The center will benefit Western Kentucky farmers and the larger agricultural community within the region,” he said. “It will also create a work environment where our faculty can be fruitful, prosper intellectually and scientifically, and move grain and forage production forward in our state.”



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt,, (859) 257-8774.

VIDEO: Brent Seales Motivated by Possibilities of Seemingly Impossible Problems

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 11:56

Video produced by REVEAL Research Media. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2016) At the age of 11, Brent Seales conducted his first research project. He wanted a hang glider and without the money to buy one, he wanted to build it. He wrote to a distributor and learned a lot about flying. It was a failed project — but it was that curiosity that led Seales, now a University of Kentucky researcher, to accomplish things no one else has ever done before.


Eventually, as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Seales' curiosity became fixed on computing and the possibilities it offered.


"For me, it was a completely blank slate, in a world where a lot of things were already settled," he said. "So, I think it was the unknown potential for how I could contribute. That was really what spurred me as a graduate student to go forward with research."


Seales, chair of the UK Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering, would end up contributing significantly, answering questions that many hadn't thought to ask yet. His research has been funded by Google, the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the U.S. Army. He has received more than $10 million in funding during the past 10 years and is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications.


Today, he is known internationally for his innovations in digital imaging of antiquities. Seales has dedicated most of his career to uncovering treasures buried in old manuscripts and damaged materials.


"In the mid '90s there was a huge push, because of the internet's emergence, for us to make libraries digital," he said.


But as he began imaging books and art for the world to access digitally, Seales realized there was a more challenging problem to solve: imaging materials from centuries past that were too charred to decipher, such as ancient scrolls.


"I wanted to move quickly towards things that were much more fragile, mysterious, unknown, located in the nooks and crannies of museums and libraries," he said.


He had a vision to take the most badly damaged things — Herculaneum scrolls, items in the Dead Sea Scrolls Collection, things in Saint Catherine's Monastery — and completely unwrap them using only the imaging, never physically disturbing the artifacts. Not only would he digitally preserve the material, but he would bring back to life writings not seen for millennia. So working with students, Seales created a revolutionary virtual unwrapping tool that can help uncover text from ancient scrolls non-invasively.


His most recent breakthrough was an ancient scroll discovered inside the Holy Ark of the synagogue at Ein Gedi in Israel. He and his research team revealed within the scroll the oldest known copy of the book of Leviticus (other than the Dead Sea Scrolls), carbon dated to the 3rd century C.E. The revelation garnered worldwide attention.


"The moment that I received an email from Israel, telling me that we had discovered a text in a scroll that was 1,500 years old…that's a moment that I don't think I'll be able to replicate in my career," he said.


Seales credits his team at UK and former colleagues at the Google Cultural Institute, where he was a visiting scientist in 2012, for making discoveries like the Leviticus text possible.


"The year at Google was fantastic because of the inspiration that comes from being around people who are swinging for the fence…trying to work on a problem that everyone else thinks might be impossible," he said. "I really needed that at that point in my career, because we had come up against some really tough obstacles, and I wanted to just start thinking about those problems in a different way."


He brought that inspiration back to UK and looked to students to help him forge a path to discovery.  


"Because, honestly, we can't really get much done in a university setting without having really talented students willing to work with us on our work," Seales said.


Many of his students have gone on to work at NASA, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants after graduating from UK.


"Every time I have a student graduate, we take that photo and I see the joy," he said. "That's a moment that I love."


At the December 2015 Commencement, Seales stood by former student and Google software engineer Matt Cutts as Cutts received an honorary doctorate of engineering. Cutts has become well known as one of Google’s first 100 employees and headed the company’s Webspam group until taking leave recently to work with the U.S. Digital Service.


"That was the first time that I'd had a former student receive an honorary Ph.D.," he said. "It was a tremendous, tremendous moment for me in my career."


The success of Cutts, and other students, is no surprise to Seales though. He thinks UK is one of the most productive places a computer scientist could be. UK is one of eight universities in the U.S. that has colleges of agriculture, engineering, medicine and pharmacy on a single campus, and computer science has a role to play in each of those.


"With such a large number of opportunities at the University of Kentucky, there's space for a student to really discover who they are, what their talents are, and then to find the direction that they really need to be going while they’re here," he said. "I think, having that space, is a key part of being at the University of Kentucky."


This video feature is part of a monthly series called ‘“see discovery:” The People Behind Our Research.’ The videos, produced by UKNow and REVEAL, highlight the important work being conducted at the University of Kentucky by telling the stories of our researchers. The idea is to discover and share what motivates our faculty, staff and students to ask the questions that lead to discovery.


Since this is a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas. If you know of a researcher who you think should be featured, please email us.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

UK Emeritus Professor Named to Spanish Royal Academy

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 16:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2016)  John Jay Allen, emeritus professor of the University of Kentucky’s Department of Hispanic Studies, has been made a corresponding member of the Spanish Royal Academy of the Language (Real Academia Española de la Lengua), one of the highest academic honors in the Spanish-speaking world.

Allen taught in the UK College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Hispanic Studies (formerly Department of Spanish and Italian) from 1983 to 1999 and as emeritus professor since 2000.


Allen´s accomplishments are quite numerous, but the most salient are: National Endowement for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship for Independent Research, 1981-82; NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers, 1989; Residential Fellowship to the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, 1989-90; UK's Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize; and an honorary doctor of letters from Middlebury College, 2004. He has been honored with two journal homages in the  Bulletin of the Comediantes 53.1 (2001) and Cervantes 23.1 (2003), and one book, “Corónente tus hazañas: Studies in Honor of John Jay Allen,” edited by Michael J. McGrath and published by Juan de la Cuesta Press (2005).


Allen was a visiting professor at the Reijsuniversiteit te Utrecht in The Netherlands in 1977, Visiting Mellon Professor at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982, and visiting professor at Middlebury College in 2004. In addition, he was an honorary fellow for the Hispanic Society of America; founding editor of Cervantes, bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America (1979-85); and president of the Cervantes Society of America (1995-97). In 1989 the City Hall of Alcalá de Henares, Cervantes´ birthplace, appointed him member of the Commission on the Preservation and Reconstruction of the Teatro Cervantes to advise the Spanish government on matters of conservation.


His publications deal with two main fields of scholarship: Cervantes’ masterpiece, “Don Quijote,” and the archaeology of playhouses in Europe in the early modern period, from the late-sixteen16th to the early-18th centuries. Allen has authored major studies on “Don Quijote," "Don Quixote: Hero or Fool?” and “Don Quijote: Hero or Fool? Part II,” which were merged and published in 2008 as "Don Quixote: Hero or Fool? Remixed"; and "Don Quijote en el arte y pensamiento de Occidente," co-authored with Patricia S. Finch in 2004.


Allen is also responsible for the standard edition of “Don Quijote,” used by universities and centers of higher learning throughout the world. This publication has over 26 revised and updated editions. In a parallel fashion, his work on Spanish theaters of the Golden Age has earned him international renown. His books on the subject include two major studies: "The Reconstruction of a Spanish Golden Age Playhouse. El Corral del Príncipe, 1583-1744" (1983); "Los teatros comerciales del siglo XVII y la escenificación de la comedia," co-authored with José María Ruano de la Haza (1994); and one scholarly edition of Pedro Calderón de la Barca´s "El gran teatro del mundo" (1997). In addition, between 1962 and 2008, he published some four dozen articles, primarily on Golden Age poetry, prose and drama in top-drawer venues such as Modern Language Notes, Hispanic Review, Journal of Hispanic Philology, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Anales Cervantinos, Ínsula, Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica, Symposium, Revista Hispánica Moderna, Edad de Oro and Comparative Literature Studies, among others.


Far from being limited to scholarly publications and lectures, Allen’s accomplishments include interesting archaeological research. For instance, a model of the theater Corral del Príncipe (Madrid, 1583-1744), based upon his research design and commissioned by the Teatro Español, was placed on exhibit in the Museo Municipal de Madrid in 1986. It is now on permanent display in the Museo Nacional del Teatro in Almagro, Spain. Allen´s own model was on display in the Royal Castle, Warsaw, from July through October 2003, as part of the exhibit "Teatro y fiestas en las tierras europeas de los Austrias," directed by José María Díez Borque of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. In addition to serving as consultant for the redesign of the Casa de Cervantes in Alcalá de Henares, 2000-2001, his expertise was requested for the archival project titled "20 documentos cervantinos en el Archivo Histórico de Protocolos de Madrid," for which he also wrote the prologue (2001).


Allen has been invited to give lectures on Cervantes and on Spanish theater at more than two dozen colleges and universities in this country, including the annual Cervantes Lecture at Fordham University (1978), the annual Raimundo Lida Lecture at Harvard University (1987), and the Donald Dietz Keystone Address at the annual meeting of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater in El Paso, Texas, 2006. The list of invited lectures, as his curriculum vitae attests, is vertiginous and impossible to summarize.


Allen directed many dissertations and his superb teaching left an indelible mark on his students. He also rendered service to UK as chairman of the department. Even though he has been retired for several years now, Allen keeps up his productivity in writing and lecturing, with occasional teaching. 



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302,

Pregnancy Treated as a Moment for Recovery through UK HealthCare’s PATHways Clinic

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:27


Opioid addiction is a complex medical disorder that impacts the entire nation, but much of the problem is condensed to disparate regions of Kentucky. This is the second installment of a series of articles exploring the work of University of Kentucky researchers and UK HealthCare medical providers who are making progress toward solutions to the epidemic in our state and at large.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2016) — As she scooted around a table the UK HealthCare Polk-Dalton Clinic, Lenn’s volleyball-size baby bump knocked over a soda can.


At 38 weeks pregnant, Lenn joked about the obtrusiveness of her bump as she stepped on a weight scale at the Polk-Dalton Clinic. She was one of 16 women to join a pregnancy support group part of the Perinatal Assessment and Treatment Home (PATHways) clinic in June.


All these women were coping with the idiosyncrasies of pregnancy — the swollen feet, emotional swings, restless nights and incessant appetites. They also shared the distinctive challenge of recovering from substance abuse during this transformative time in their lives.


For Lenn, 36, the baby in her womb represented a second chance at motherhood. During her 20s, Lenn’s addiction to alcohol and pain pills disrupted her relationship with her first daughter. Unable to function or keep a job, Lenn lost custody of her daughter and connection with her family. Throughout her 15-year struggle with addiction, she attempted to get clean through rehabilitation programs twice but relapsed both times.


“I still couldn’t kick them,” she said of her addictions. “I would still get liquor and pain pills when I could. I had to have one or both — both was even better.”


Lenn found out she was pregnant for a second time in the fall of 2015. Her initial reaction was, “now what?”  With another life at stake, she was motivated to seek out addiction treatment again. But she feared judgment from health care providers because of the widespread stigmatization of substance abuse. And few addiction recovery programs were customized to accommodate the special circumstances surrounding pregnancy.


Lenn’s obstetrician referred her to PATHways, a comprehensive opioid maintenance treatment program for pregnant women recovering from addiction at the Polk-Dalton Clinic. Established about two years ago, PATHways integrates treatment for addiction with prenatal care, counseling and a supportive peer network. The program is based on the Centering Pregnancy model, which reduces negative outcomes and prepares women for labor, delivery and infant care through group counseling and peer support. PATHways achieves multiple objectives for women in recovery by treating the medical condition of opioid addiction, delivering specialized prenatal care, and giving women the skills and knowledge to fulfill their maternal roles once their babies arrive.


After coming to UK two years ago, Dr. Agatha Critchfield, the director of PATHways and an obstetrician-gynecologist at UK HealthCare Women’s Health, was overwhelmed by the cases of prenatal opioid use she saw in her practice. The program was born out of necessity to serve a large population of prenatal patients coming to UK with substance abuse disorders. Critchfield said few evidence-based opioid treatment programs were designed for pregnant women.


“I was sad and frustrated there was no outlet for viable treatment for women,” she said. “I think a lot of (pregnant) women avoid medical care, and don’t even come to receive medical care because they are afraid.”


To cover a broad range of patient needs, Critchfield and Kristin Ashford, a professor in the UK College of Nursing and an investigator on the PATHways study, assembled an interdisciplinary team comprising women’s health specialists, nurses and nursing specialists, mental health providers, social workers and counselors. Critchfield and Dr. John O’Brien provide obstetrics care and clinical consultation during PATHways clinics, which are located at the Polk-Dalton Clinic every Wednesday. Psychiatrist Dr. Michelle Lofwall consults with the program as an addiction specialist. The program includes social services support from Toni Webb, a substance abuse counselor, and Sarah Bell, a perinatal peer support specialist.


Nancy Jennings, a registered nurse and the program’s perinatal recovery facilitator, and Dianne Frankenburger, the childbirth education coordinator for UK HealthCare, counsel patients and lead Centering sessions. Dr. Lori Shook, a neonatologist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital also provides clinical consultation and prenatal education for PATHways patients. Dr. Keisa Bennett, a physician with UK Family and Community Medicine, and Dr. Michael Kindred, an addiction medicine specialist, provide long-term comprehensive medical and substance abuse care for many PATHways patients after their deliveries.


“The goal of the PATHway program is to provide a holistic approach to medication assisted therapy to increase the likelihood these women will experience long-term success in life,” Ashford said. “PATHways provides an opportunity for women to share their experiences, while building trusting relationships with an expert team using a non-judgmental approach.”


Pregnant women with a history of addiction can start the program as soon as they find out they are pregnant. The interdisciplinary team follows the patients from the early stages of pregnancy through two years post-partum. During their half-day PATHways clinics, patients join a peer group in a circle for discussions addressing common pregnancy questions, such as nutrition, stress management, labor and delivery, and infant care. Two groups are designated for pre-natal and post-partum patients.


During these casual meetings, patients also learn about prenatal challenges and risks unique to their recovery situations. Candid discussions prepare women for potential challenges, such as receiving a diagnosis of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) or having a baby sent to the neonatal intensive care unit. NAS is diagnosed in approximately 40 percent of babies whose mothers are using an opioid-maintenance therapeutic during pregnancy. Group discussions are helpful for reducing uncertainty and managing labor and delivery expectations of PATHways patients. These sessions also equip women with resources and knowledge to fulfill their maternal role, even if their addiction medication complicates their baby’s health.


“The more we can try to prepare them, the more helpful it is,” Jennings said of the group sessions. “They are so used to people not caring about them, and out of the blue getting stuff thrown at them — that’s why we work hard to say the most important things to them.”


Some of the information patients receive during group sessions is harsh and daunting, but necessary for preparing them for an optimal birthing experience. Babies born with NAS are fussy and require extended hospital stays. Babies born with NAS also require a formality of referral from Child Protective Services. Frankenburger, who works in labor and delivery at UK HealthCare, lays out expectations and realities surrounding the delivery experience for PATHways women and serves as their advocate in the unit.


Since the program’s beginnings, 70 women have participated PATHways and 45 are currently enrolled and receiving treatment. Jennings said more programs like PATHways are necessary to reach the entire population of pregnant women dealing with addiction in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Some clinics prescribe opioid-maintenance prescriptions to pregnant women, but medication alone does not address the multitude of mental, physical, emotional and social needs of patients during the dual challenge of recovery and pregnancy. Jennings reiterated that the success of the PATHways model is dependent on a collaborative, interdisciplinary group of health experts.


“The key to our program is our team, and the people we put together to manage this population,” Jennings said. “Anybody can hand out the prescription ­— and they do — but we have lots of pieces put together.”


While some patients have fallen off the program, Critchfield knows many PATHways patients are serious about motherhood and recovery. She said pregnancy is a short window of time when women are open and wiling to change behaviors, but they needed resources and support to enact permanent change. 


“I think pregnancy is sort of a teachable moment,” Critchfield said. “The goal honestly is to provide stability and treatment for patients during this critical life change and hope that actually has some long-standing impact.”


Lenn, for instance, has remained sober for the past eight months. She’s relied on her relationships with family and faith in God to beat her addictions. With a new baby on the horizon and support from her fiancé, she’s optimistic about the future. She’s reconnected with her mom and her 14-year-old daughter, who is thrilled to welcome a baby sister.


“I feel so much better — my brain is clear,” Lenn said. “It feels good to be normal and live clean.”


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,



"see blue." #selfie: Richie Simpson

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 11:25


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2016)  Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie  a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, 2016-17 Overall Chair of DanceBlue Richie Simpson.


Richie Simpson, an upcoming senior economics major from Lexingon, serves as the 2016-17 DanceBlue overall chair! We sat down with Simpson to get to know the true student leader behind the DanceBlue title! When he's not jamming to "Work from Home," Richie is spending his summer preparing for the 24-hour dance marathon, working part time at a local law firm and doing electrical contracting on campus! Get to know Simpson and his passion "For the Kids" in his "see blue." #selfie!


UKNow: What is your major and what year are you?

Richie Simpson: My major is econ and I'm a senior.


UK: Where are you from?

RS: I'm from Lexington, Kentucky.


UK: Tell me about your position in DanceBlue.

RS: So I serve as the overall chair for DanceBlue and in that position I am charged with helping each individual chair overcome any challenges on their way to achieving the goals they have set for themselves and for our organization.


UK: When did you become involved with DanceBlue?

RS: I became involved at the end of freshman year. I applied to be on committee and served on Corporate Committee my sophomore year.


UK: What are some major goals you have for DanceBlue this year? 

RS: Some major goals this year are reaching out to new parts of campus that haven't had the opportunity to explore DanceBlue and a more comprehensive thank you for students, community partners and even corporate sponsors.


UK: What does DanceBlue mean to you?

RS: DanceBlue is special because when I came to college I was like every other college student and I thought I was going to change the world. I heard about DanceBlue and wasn't able to participate the first year. I saw my friends do it and how they loved it and it was something I wanted to do. I wanted to make that impact they made. DanceBlue is special because of the fight we fight against cancer. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. It's special to be a part of something where people want to go out of their way to help people who have been put in tough situations.


UK: What else are you involved in? 

RS: I'm in Beta, I did UK101, taught it, and I did FUSION.


UK: What are you doing this summer to prepare for #DB17?

RS: This summer I have been working with chairs to talk about the big ideas and visions they have for DanceBlue and laying the groundwork and planning for that so when the year comes we have a plan we can execute to make sure everyone's ideas are implemented.


UK: What is one new initiative you'd like to start this year?

RS: One new initiative I'd like to start is better engaging the crowd at the marathon. For those in the crowd, they are the life support of the people dancing for 10 or 12 hours and they keep those dancers going. We want to direct things at the crowd to make sure they are having just as much fun as the dancers are.


UK: Was overall chair always a position that you wished to attain?

RS: Actually, no. When I was a freshman I remember someone telling me about their friend Claci that was overall chair and all the work she had to do to put together DanceBlue. I told them I couldn't imagine taking that on. As I was more involved, I thought my skills and qualities would be best for this position.


UK: What have you been doing throughout this summer that doesn't revolve around DanceBlue? Anything fun?

RS: So this summer I have been working part time at a law firm in downtown Lexington and I have had the opportunity to work on UK's campus with construction. I have been able to do the electrical contracting with the new Steak 'n Shake on campus.


UK: If you had a memoir about your life, what would the title be? 

RS: "It Is What It Is." I'm a big fan of that saying. Someone gave me a shirt with that as a little kid and I still wear it.


UK: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

RS: If I could have one super power, I would say fly.


UK: What was your first job?

RS: In high school I worked at Culver's as the drive-through attendant. I used to mess up the ice cream I made so people would get free ones.


UK: What is the longest road trip you've ever taken?

RS: I have been to Florida a few times driving. I went with my dad to a bucket truck auction so he could buy a new bucket truck for his business. It was somewhere deep in Florida. I just wanted to go to Disney World. We still have the bucket truck!


UK: So, DanceBlue has many mini-marathons throughout the year. What's one mini-marathon that was super memorable for you?

RS: Lexington Christian Academy's marathon. It was the first one I went to and being from Lexington it was good to see a hometown school take part in DanceBlue. The mini-marathon raised the most money any mini has in its first year. They got a ton of commitment that first year and didn't wait until it was cool to take part in it. They are the only ones that do their mini at night too, from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.


UK: What are the top three played songs on your iTunes list? 

RS: "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers; "7 Years" by Lukas Graham; and "Work from Home" by Fifth Harmony.


UK: If you could witness any event in history what would it be? 

RS: Man landing on the moon.


UK: What is one of your most embarrassing moments?

RS: There's so many! I feel like high school was when the really embarrassing things happened. My freshman year of college, though, I went and sat in a class and I was in the wrong class the entire class and I dind't realize until the end of class when they called roll.


UK: What is one word or phrase you're guilty of saying too often?

RS: There's a multitude. Probably "it's lit."


UK: What would you tell an incoming freshman? 

RS: Explore campus because being from Lexington I thought I had a grasp of everything that's here, but as I walk now around I find places to eat, hang out or study. I wish I would have taken the time to do that instead of now when I have limited time to appreciate those things. And read all the things your parents pick up for you about UK.


UK: You are happiest when…

RS: … I'm hanging out at the lake with my little brother.


"see blue." #selfies will appear every other Tuesday on UKNow. Know a student leader we should feature? Contact Rebecca Stratton at to nominate someone.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395 

Dry Eye is Common and Easily Treated

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 18:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016) — Our eyes can become dry and uncomfortable due to a number of things - irritants in the environment, age, gender, certain medications or medical conditions - that can leave them feeling gritty, burning, itchy, and often feeling like there is a foreign object present. 


Dry eye syndrome (DES), is one where the eye produces an insufficient amount of tears to keep the eyes well hydrated. Tears are necessary for healthy eyes and clear vision.  Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem but is easily treated.


Dry eye can be attributed to a number of factors, such as antihistamine or diuretic use, cigarette smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, and environmental factors such as air drafts and low-humidity. DES can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. In the majority of patients, the condition is not sight-threatening and is characterized by troublesome symptoms of irritation, redness and intermittently blurred vision. If these symptoms are persistent, you should see your ophthalmologist who can easily diagnose the condition with a simple external examination of the eye lids and cornea


The primary approaches used to manage and treat dry eyes include adding tears, conserving tears, increasing tear production, and treating the inflammation of the eyelids or eye surface that contributes to the dry eyes. Mild cases can be treated with artificial tears, emulsions, gels, and ointments. Moderate cases of DES can be treated with anti-inflammatory therapies such as Restasis and topical steroids may be considered. Use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements has been reported to be beneficial. Additional measures for more severe DES are oral medications such as immunosuppressives. Also, humidifying ambient air and avoiding air drafts by using shields and by changing the characteristics of airflow at work, at home, and in the car may be helpful.


Measures such as lowering the computer screen to below eye level to decrease lid aperture, scheduling regular breaks, and increasing blink frequency may decrease the discomfort associated with computer and reading activities.


Patients with Severe DES are at greater risk for contact lens intolerance and should be cautioned that refractive surgery, particularly LASIK, may worsen their dry eye condition.


Dr. Seema Capoor is associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or


College of Social Work to Offer CE Boot Camp

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 15:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016) – The University of Kentucky College of Social Work’s Office of Professional Development and Continuing Education will host the 2016 Continuing Education Boot Camp 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on July 21 and 8:30 - 4:50 p.m. on July 22, 2016 at the UK Singletary Center for the Arts.


"The College of Social Work is committed to the mission of promoting community and individual well-being through research, teaching, and community engagement. We are pleased to offer this community event to serve social workers and other behavioral health professionals across the Commonwealth. The impact of continuing education and professional development is instrumental in ensuring behavioral health professionals can meet the needs of those they serve and the College of Social Work is proud to be a committed partner in that effort,” said Interim Dean, Ann Vail.


CE Boot Camp attendees will acquire cutting-edge, evidence-based learning opportunities designed for behavioral health professionals. The array of trainings offered will enhance their knowledge and skills while at the same time meeting state licensing and regulation requirements for professional practice. Participants will have the opportunity to choose the types of workshops they will attend at this conference to meet their specific CE needs.


All workshops offered at the CE Boot Camp are approved for continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards, the Kentucky Board of Social Work, the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology, Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board, Kentucky Board of Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors, and the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board.


“The UK College of Social Work CE Boot Camp offers social workers the ability to receive all of their required continuing education trainings (HIV, DV, PAHT, Ethics & Suicide Assessment, Treatment and Management) as well as additional optional continuing education. The CE Boot Camp experience is a truly unique opportunity for social workers to receive the bulk of their CEs needed for licensure renewal in one settling, at one time, and at an incredibly affordable rate,” said Christina Gevedon, of the College of Social Work.


The CE Boot Camp is applicable to all behavioral professionals and approved by the above mentioned boards to meet continuing education state licensing and regulation requirements for professional practice. Discounts are available for groups as well as recent 2015/2016 graduates and can be applied to any registration option. For more information on group discounts, or to register a group, call Christina Gevedon at 859-257-2035.


Please visit, or contact Christina Gevedon for more information.