UK Awarded $1.9 Million to Improve Retention of STEM Majors

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2014) — The University of Kentucky has been awarded a $1.9 million grant to improve retention of students in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics, through a collection of initiatives dubbed "STEMCats."


UK is one of 37 research institutions selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to receive an award, from among 170 institutions competing for a share of $60 million in total funding. The five-year awards, ranging from $1.2 to $2.4 million, are intended to enable schools to focus on "significant and sustained improvement in retaining students" in the STEM disciplines.


Although the need for STEM graduates is growing nationally, fewer than half of all students who enter college with the intention of majoring in a STEM field leave with a STEM degree. Nationwide, STEM matriculation rates hover around 40 percent, but the rate is only half that, roughly 20 percent, among historically underrepresented ethnic groups.


Part of the challenge for educators is that many first-year students arrive on college campuses without adequate preparation for the rigors of college-level science and math, said Professor Vincent Cassone, chair of the UK Department of Biology and STEMCats project director. 


"They have no idea what to expect, and I think it comes as a shock to some of them just how much work is actually involved in passing an introductory-level STEM class," Cassone said. "By the time they realize it, they may already be in trouble. It's not that they can't do the work. They just are not mentally and psychologically prepared for the challenges they face at the university level. The STEMCats initiatives are designed to help students get ready to succeed."


UK is partnering on these initiatives with colleagues from Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). Tammy Liles, BCTC's associate dean for natural science, is associate STEMCats project director.


"BCTC is excited to be a partner in this very innovative STEMCats program," Liles said. "With both institutions working together to increase and retain students in the STEM pipeline, STEM students at BCTC will have opportunities to work in UK research facilities, live in STEM-designated communities at UK, and be part of a FastTrack student cohort designed to remove barriers of success while enhancing STEM opportunities and knowledge."


Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, dean of the UK College of Arts and Sciences, said that collaboration is a core strength of the STEMCats project.


"The strong collaborative relationship of this grant is a hallmark to the initiative, and will serve the program well in its multi-layered approach to improving student success, diversity and retention in STEM education," Kornbluh said. "The grant’s attention to all areas of instruction — in-class pedagogy, co-curricular research experience, preparatory training, residential life experience, among others — demonstrates the thoughtful commitment the university as a whole has to the success of STEM education at UK."


UK President Eli Capilouto said the HHMI award provides critical support for the future of university research, which will in turn produce dividends for the Commonwealth and the nation as a whole.


"The twenty-first century economy, and Kentucky’s future economic readiness, will be built upon innovative solutions to complex challenges," Capilouto said. "At the leading edge of the innovation-based economy is the American research university, the faculty who create new knowledge through research and discovery, and the students we teach. The grant support from HHMI we are announcing today will bolster our effort — in partnership with BCTC — to improve retention rates in STEM education, to create a talented workforce for Kentucky, and to prepare the next generation of creative scholars."


The STEMCats project has five key components, each aimed at improving the recruitment, preparation and retention of STEM majors.


1.     'FastTrack' Courses for Math, Biology, Chemistry and Physics
To improve preparation of incoming students, two residential FastTrack courses, in biology and chemistry, will be offered preceding their fall admission, in addition to the successful math FastTrack courses already being offered. Similarly, a physics FastTrack course will be offered preceding the start of the physics curriculum in the sophomore year. Each course will be one week in duration.


2.     STEMCats Living Learning Community
Based on the successful model of the "Wired" Arts and Sciences freshman residential college, students enrolled in the STEMCats program will be immersed in a community of learners within one of the residence halls on campus. There, they will engage in constant community-based academic and social activities. STEMCats from underrepresented minorities will have additional support from sophomore mentors from minority backgrounds, who will also reside in the community.


3.     Freshman STEM Research Course
A new, multidisciplinary and inquiry-based research course — containing discussions, seminars, workshops, discovery-based wet-lab activities, and scientific and professional development activities — will be piloted in a year-round course that meets weekly. Course meetings will be conducted by a Community of Scholars, comprising research faculty from across campus and by invited external experts.


4.     Team-based Summer Research Experience
During the summer session at the end of their freshman year, groups of eight to 10 STEMCats will join a research project in a laboratory of a faculty member in the Community of Scholars. STEM faculty across campus will be recruited as mentors for a cohort of 200-250 students each summer. The research experience will be enriched by research-related educational and professional activities, including students' presentation of their work in science forums.


5.     Improving Introductory STEM Curriculum
Following the successful model of the current, two-part "Calculus for Life Sciences" series, new introductory chemistry and physics courses will be developed, with an interdisciplinary focus and a life-sciences orientation. Biology-enriched chemistry introductory courses are already underway.


These contact-intensive initiatives are being developed alongside vast advances in instructional technology, such as MOOCs (massive online open courses), which enable thousands of students to share a virtual classroom with a virtually unlimited seating capacity. Incorporating digital texts, video-based lectures, interactive virtual demonstrations, online discussion, and self-administered quizzes, MOOCs can be a cost-effective way to provide standardized instruction to many students at once.

UK launched its own successful Advanced Chemistry MOOC this spring, developed by UK faculty in partnership with the educational technology company Coursera. Some 10,000 registered for the eight-week, college-preparatory course, far exceeding the university's expectations.

While advances in instructional technology are helping instructors to be more effective, Cassone says there is still a real need for direct interaction between students and teachers.


"While the inclusion of instructional technology is a very exciting addition to the lexicon of educational tools in higher education, engaging students by committed professors and instructors, and exposing students to scientific research early in their academic lives will be critical in improving retention in diverse STEM majors and future careers," he said. "This is what STEMCats is all about — technology and scientific research with a human touch." 


MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396;

UK Pharmacy Student Lands Prestigious National Internship

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:50
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2014) — Caroline Beaulieu, a second-year Pharm.D. student from Rimouski, Quebec, has been named the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) summer intern. Only one student across the nation is selected for this program each year.


The ASHP summer internship is a 10-week training program for a Pharm.D. student, with one week conducted at the ASHP Summer Meeting and the remaining nine weeks being conducted at the ASHP Headquarters in Bethesda, Md.


A native of Canada, Beaulieu first arrived in the United States in August 2008 to play tennis for the University of Tulsa, in Oklahoma. After completing her undergraduate degree in biochemistry, she enrolled at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.


The ASHP Summer Internship program is designed to provide a pharmacy student with “an opportunity to gain association experience in the specific areas of membership development and membership marketing at a national association headquarters.”


The program also seeks to help the intern understand the importance associations provide to the profession, while grasping a better understanding the value of remaining engaged in local, state and national pharmacy organizations.

Reed to Lead Core Program on Renewal of $5 Million Appalachian Research Grant

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 14:19


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2014) - Deborah Reed, professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, will lead one of five CORE programs of the Central Appalachian Regional Education Research Center (ERC) after a successful re-competition for a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health grant. The original grant was awarded in 2012 for two years.


The Central Appalachian ERC, an occupational safety and health training program, led by Wayne Sanderson, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the UK College of Public Health, consists of five programs: Occupational Health/Environmental Nursing, Professional Safety (a joint effort with Eastern Kentucky University), Mining Safety, Agricultural Safety, and Occupational Epidemiology. All five programs were renewed for $990,000 per year over the next five years for a total of $5 million in funding.   


Reed leads the Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing (OEHN) core which is geared specifically toward doctoral students in the college’s Doctoral (PhD) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. The goal of the OEHN program is to equip doctorally-prepared nurses to conduct interdisciplinary occupational- and environmental-focused research in rural and Appalachian areas that will inform and influence nursing practice, research and education in those regions.


“We have too few nurses who are specifically trained in occupational health and safety," said Reed, director of the Central Appalachian Regional ERC's Nursing Program. "We hope this training will benefit workers and employers in the Commonwealth and beyond."


Media Contact: Ann Blackvord at 859-312-3587 or 

UK AdvoCats Encourage Literacy by Supplying New Books to Family Care Center

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 12:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2014) - A storybook serves as a healthy distraction for children during doctor's visits at the University of Kentucky Family Care Center located on Red Mile Road.


The 19 UK medical residents who provide pediatric care at the center offer children ages 6 months to 5 years a book to take home as part of a routine check-up. Statistics show that when a doctor encourages reading, children and parents are more likely to sit down together with a book. As an added benefit, the gift of a book leaves children with a positive impression of the clinical experience.


"They're just delighted - their faces light up and it changes the tone of the visit from something frightening to welcoming," said Dr. Susan Robbins, medical director at the Family Care Center, said of the children.


Earlier this year, members of AdvoCats, a patient advocacy group comprised of UK attendings, residents and lawyers, raised $1,800 to refurbish the library at the Family Care Center. The AdvoCats sold 276 t-shirts to raise funds, which will be used to purchase books for both single mothers and children who attend the daycare at the Family Care Center. 


Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Family Care Center provides a place for teen mothers to complete their high school education while their children attend daycare at the same location. More than 30 pregnant and parenting teens from the Lexington area receive support through the center. With recent renovations to the library, many old and outdated books were discarded, leaving the shelves sparse.


Joanna Rodes, director of the Family Care Center, said the AdvoCats stepped in to help stock the library with new and relevant books for children as well as high school-age mothers. Members of the AdvoCats surprised Rodes with a check for new books after a group tour of the Family Care Center on May 8. Rodes said she was impressed with the high dollar amount the group raised for books and the group's genuine enthusiasm for the program.


"I was astounded by the size of the check, but what was even more surprising was that the residents were so excited," Rodes said. "That was a validation that we have a nice partnerships with the clinic, which is an essential part of the center."


Rodes is working with Holly Von Gruenigen, president of the AdvoCats, to purchase $1,300 worth of children and young adult books for the library and $500 worth of children’s books to be given out when the medical residents host literacy sessions with young mothers in the future. The donation to support literacy coincides with the American Academy of Pediatrics national advocacy theme for 2014.


"It's nice to be able to give extra books to the Family Care Center," Von Gruenigen said. "If you educate parents on the importance of reading, it makes a huge difference."


The AdvoCats plan to coordinate group literacy sessions with mothers and children at the Family Care Center later this year. Sessions will aim to instill an appreciation for reading in both mothers and children.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams;

UK Libraries Seeks More Information on Hazard Photo Album

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 11:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2014) — The public is invited to visit an online collection of historical photographs of people from Hazard, Ky. University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections has recently uploaded a vintage photo album on the Hazard Ice and Storage Co. Flickr page in hopes that citizens within the Hazard community can help identify the people in the photos.


The album is part of a collection that also includes copies of the incorporation and dissolution papers of the Hazard Ice and Storage Co. After outreach to the community, the collection will be available on UK's Special Collections digital library, Explore UK.


The Hazard Ice and Storage Co. was incorporated in Hazard County in 1921 by J. A. Roan, W. F. Ficklen Jr. and W. H. Oliver Jr. The company manufactured and sold artificial ice, ice cream and soft drinks. Additionally, the company operated cold storage plants and leased houses to its employees. The board of directors during the company's lifespan included V.C. Ficklen, D.H. Goodlette, Reta Gustat and Willis W. Reeves. The company was dissolved in 1944.


Though a small part of the collection relates to the business, the album of more than 130 pictures features mostly unidentified photos of everyday people and life in the community. UK Special Collections needs your help to give these photographs more meaning. If you have information on any of the individuals or places in the photographs, all you'll need to do is visit the album's Flickr page, click on a photo, and use the commenting feature to describe who or where the people are.


UK Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


For more information on the Hazard Ice and Storage Co. project, contact UK Special Collections at 859-257-8611 or




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

Historian Named Next Gaines Center Director

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 10:50

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2014) — The next director of the University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has been named subject to approval by the Board of Trustees. If approved, historian and Distinguished Service Professor Phil Harling, who was selected from a national field of candidates, will take over the directorship and the position of John R. Gaines Endowed Chair in the Humanities on Aug. 15.


"It is a combination of recognized excellence in research and teaching, combined with his extensive service to UK and his knowledge of the administrative workings of our university that makes Dr. Harling an ideal director for the Gaines Center," said Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Ben Withers. "He will help us all make sure that the Gaines Center remains one of UK’s defining features, providing an unparalleled opportunity for undergraduates to explore ideas, discover their own voices, and learn from UK’s best faculty and staff."


Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK's campus. Devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty, the center embraces varied paths of knowledge, and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.


The new director is looking forward to take over the leadership position of such a prestigious program. "From my perspective, the Gaines directorship must surely be one of the best jobs on campus. So, I feel very fortunate and deeply honored to have been selected. Like all jobs worth having, it will present its share of challenges, but it will surely be very good fun, too," Harling said.


The Gaines Center is also designed to provide a link, intellectual as well as geographic, between the campus and town communities. It sponsors an array of public events, seminars and workshops that bring rich and varied resources of the Lexington community and UK together.


As part of its curriculum, the center provides an intensive education for approximately 25 third- and fourth-year undergraduate students. The main components of the center’s pedagogical program include an annual Gaines seminar taught by multiple faculty and a senior thesis under the direction of a faculty advisor.


An admirer of the center's goals of providing extraordinary learning and leadership experiences, fostering the discussion of timely ideas, and advancing town-and-gown relations, Harling hopes to bring more campus awareness to the great work the center is doing and develop even more opportunities for its fellows.  


"First and foremost, I’d like to see the Gaines Center reach out and build even stronger ties with the broader UK campus," Harling said. "The center needs to work in especially close cooperation with the other units in UK’s Academy for Undergraduate Excellence — the Honors Program, the Chellgren Center, the offices of Undergraduate Research and of External Scholarships. UK is enrolling more high-achieving students than ever before, so it’s crucial that we collaborate to create synergies that will optimize the success of those students."


In addition, Harling will look for new ways to be an advocate for the importance of studies in the humanities. "I think it will be important for the center to articulate and to champion the value of a humanistic education at a time when that value is, alas, no longer quite as taken-for-granted as it once was, even by many well-educated citizens. It seems to me that this goal is best advanced in tandem with yet another: to promote the Gaines program as an excellent opportunity for especially promising students across all of UK’s colleges, and to try to recruit the strongest applicants whether they aspire to be humanities professors, doctors, engineers or biotech researchers."


Harling has been a faculty member at UK for over 20 years. He grew up in Evanston, Ill., and received his bachelor's degree from Grinnell College in 1986 and his doctoral degree in history from Princeton University in 1993. A specialist in the history of modern Britain and the British Empire, he is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has authored two books and numerous articles.


Harling is the recipient of several teaching awards at UK, notably the Provost Award for Outstanding Teaching, as well as research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society. A Distinguished Service Professor at UK, for several years he served as associate dean of faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, and was interim dean of the college for the 2008-09 academic year.


Harling's wife, Bettina Morrish, is a veteran history teacher and department chair at the Sayre Upper School. The couple live in the Bell Court neighborhood of downtown Lexington with their sons Nate and Nick, and their two dogs, Sally and Mason.     




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

Cooper Drive Resurfacing Begins Monday

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 23:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2014) — The section of Cooper Drive between Sports Center Drive and Nicholasville Road will be impacted by road work beginning Monday, June 2. The work includes road resurfacing and restriping, resulting in enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Vehicle through traffic will be maintained, but motorists should expect delays.


Anyone who normally travels in the vicinity should allow extra time for their commute. Drivers and pedestrians are encouraged to use caution as they navigate the area.


The project is scheduled to conclude by Friday, July 11.

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Offers a Preview of Grand Night for Singing

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 23:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2014) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Today's program features UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey giving a preview of the upcoming It's a Grand Night for Singing. 


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


"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.

UK to Jazz Up China's Music Scene

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 18:23


Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2014) — Before embarking on a two-week tour of China, the University of Kentucky’s Jazz Ensemble will take a Bluegrass stage to present a preview concert of music they plan to perform on tour. The free public concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 2, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.


The concert, featuring everything from big band swing music to more contemporary jazz performed by the UK Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Miles Osland, is designed to showcase the tremendous breadth of the American art form for Chinese audiences, who have become major fans of the genre but rarely get to hear live American performances. 


UK is serving as an ambassador for the American music genre. "We're one of the first American university jazz ensembles ever to play in China. So the programming that I have is wide and varied, doing some Count Basie, Duke Ellington, but then doing a lot more contemporary, more updated things too," said Miles Osland, director of UK Jazz Studies and a professor of saxophone at UK School of Music.

The ensemble will also play some hip versions of popular tunes like the theme song to "The Flinstones," as well as a jazz version of "My Old Kentucky Home."


UK Jazz Ensemble, composed of 17 undergraduate and graduate students, will pack up their instruments and depart for Beijing June 4. During their 14-day stay, the group will perform at the Beijing Contemporary Music Institute in Beijing, the Xi’an Conservatory of Music in Xi’an, and the JZ Club and Shanghai University in Shanghai. At the last concert, the ensemble will even perform with students from Shanghai University’s music program during UK Week at the institution.


Based on the popularity of jazz in China the ensemble is looking forward to playing for the Asian audience. "I think the crowds are really going to enjoy it. They will probably come out to hear an American ensemble playing a variety of different types of big band music. I think we are going to be rock stars over there," said Carlos Espinosa, a saxophone player and doctoral candidate from Fort Worth, Texas.


In addition to playing concerts for audiences abroad, the UK students and Osland will also open their rehearsals and present seminars and master classes in jazz for the Chinese music students and educators where they hope to also learn from the local artists.


"We're actually going to be working with students form Shanghai University. I am really excited to see not only how they play jazz, but how they approach it, how the ensemble works together and in the back of my mind compare it to how we do things here and hopefully take something back from that," said UK Honors Program member and Singletary Scholar Drew Burke, a trumpet player and music education and music performance freshman from Pikeville, Ky.


Osland is also interested in hearing the Chinese musicians. "It will be real interesting to see how they feel and play jazz. I am not saying that you have to be American, but it is America's indigenous art form. Hopefully they'll learn a lot from us, but it will be interesting to hear how they foresee or pursue their jazz interests also."


While they aren’t rehearsing, teaching and performing, the UK students will get to visit such popular and important historic sites as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and the Bird’s Nest. The UK Jazz Ensemble Tour is made possible by support of the China Jazz Association and the UK Confucius Institute.


For many of the students this will be their first trip abroad. "This experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. We get to travel halfway across the world and play jazz," said Colleen Wagoner, a saxophone player and music education senior from Lexington. "I know I am going to be overwhelmed with the amount of people and the size of the buildings. I am just excited to just experience China because I have no idea what to expect and know I will be in disbelief."


"Personally, I just want to share my love of this music and show them individually the things I have to offer as a musician. I want to speak basically from my heart, my soul, my mind in music and I want to put that out there for other people to see. And collectively as a group, I think we can really showcase how much fun it is to be in an ensemble like this, the camaraderie that's built, not just through music but personally. And just bring them a taste of Kentucky," Espinosa said.


Even after the students head back to the United States, Osland will remain to participate as one of a group of 15 UK faculty members teaching at Shanghai University during the inaugural UK Week at the school. He will present a jazz appreciation course during his time at the university. Osland will also perform in the week’s opening ceremony to be held June 20.


"I get to impart not only the music with the ensemble performing, but also the knowledge, a little bit of our history and what it really is," said Osland. "What's nice is that I've got recordings, I've got videos, and I plan on personally playing in class a lot because the music says it all. I can talk all day about it, but when you hear it, that says it all."


Osland has made appearances throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia as a guest conductor, performer and clinician for Selmer Saxophones, Jody Jazz mouthpieces and D'Addario Woodwinds, Osland’s compositions and arrangements have been recognized and supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council and by numerous other art foundations.


Under Osland, the UK Jazz Ensemble has received invitations to perform at the Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference three times, most recently in 2013, and the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference.  In July 2011, UK Jazz Ensemble, along with the Osland/Dailey Jazztet, toured France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, performing at two of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals.


Recipient of the Outstanding Jazz Ensemble certificate at the Annual Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, and winner of “Downbeat Magazine’s” DeeBee award for Best Jazz Instrumental Studio Orchestra, UK Jazz Ensemble has been featured with many national touring artists, including David Liebman, Tom Harrell and Mel Torme.


UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has achieved awards and national and international recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as for music education, composition, theory and music history.



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

Kentucky Office of Rural Health Hosts State's First Rural Health Clinic Summit

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 17:16

HAZARD, Ky. (May 30, 2014) – More than 100 participants came to Kentucky’s first Rural Health Clinic (RHC) Summit, hosted by the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH) on May 16, 2014. Attendees from 28 Kentucky counties, along with a few from Tennessee and North Carolina, traveled to Hazard for a full day of networking and learning at the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH).


Bill Finerfrock, executive director of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics in Washington D.C., delivered the opening keynote and provided a legislative update.  New sequester-related cuts are not expected for Medicare, though the 1.6 percent reduction in provider payment is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, said Finerfrock.


Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage to the levels identified in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to 138 percent of poverty level, new and proposed rules affecting regulatory requirements and independent contractor status of mid-level practitioners, and a delay in the ICD-10 implementation to Oct. 1, 2015, were among Finerfrock’s updates.


Robin Rowe, with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office of Inspector General Division of Health Care, presented on the licensure and certification process for RHCs.  Panel presentations and breakout sessions throughout the day offered participants a wide range of educational topics including, patient centered medical home, Medicaid managed care, community health workers, electronic health records, revenue cycle and more.


Kentucky is home to 175 RHCs, which are certified to receive special Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to help improve access to primary health care in underserved rural areas. RHCs operate with a team approach of physicians and mid-level providers for staffing.


“The many recent changes in health care have created significant challenges for RHCs from a number of angles,” said Ernie Scott, director of the KORH.  “We surveyed attendees to ask what they would like to see happen as a result of the RHC Summit.  Establishing an RHC network, concern about the future of RHCs, patient centered medical homes, and rural health access and growth were among the excellent feedback we can use to chart our course for a stronger future for rural health,” Scott said.


“We are thrilled with the level of participation and interest at this inaugural RHC Summit.  An RHC Advisory Board is in the process of being developed and KORH is optimistic about the potential of the RHC Summit continuing as an annual event,” said Scott.


Shelia Bowling, billing supervisor at Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky, attended the summit and said it was “informative and helpful in topics that we are currently facing.”


The UK CERH serves as the federally designated Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), which was established in 1991 as a framework to link small rural communities with local, state and federal resources while working toward long-term solutions to rural health issues. The KORH assists clinicians, administrators and consumers to find ways to improve communications, finances and access to quality health care while insuring that funding agencies and policy makers are made aware of the needs of rural communities.


Some of the programs available at the KORH include Kentucky’s Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex), a grant established to assist rural hospitals and improve access through critical access hospital (CAH) designation. Since the majority of CAHs have been converted, the Flex grant has evolved to support quality and performance improvement activities, financial improvement activities and the integration of emergency medical services (EMS) into rural healthcare systems.  


Other services of the KORH include the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant (SHIP), which provides funding to support quality improvement initiatives in small hospitals, and the Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program, which is a 50/50 matching program that increases availability of primary health care services through repayment of education loans to eligible health professionals practicing in health professional shortage areas.


To learn more about KORH services and technical assistance, visit, or call 606-439-3557, or toll-free 855-859-2374.


MEDIA CONTACT: Beth Bowling,, 606-439-3557, ext. 83545


UK Equine Farm and Facilities Expo is June 3

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 15:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs will host the 6th Annual Equine Farm and Facilities Expo from 4 to 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 3, at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Nicholasville, Ky. The event is free and open to the public and a meal will be provided.


“The expo is a great opportunity for any equine owner on any size farm to learn some of the latest information from all of the various equine industry companies and UK specialists,” said Nick Carter, Fayette County agriculture and natural resources extension agent.


UK specialists will provide hands-on instruction and lead informal demonstrations on parasite control, equine digestion, fencing options and sampling techniques for soil fertility and hay quality. Other highlights include weed control, vaccination protocol, nutrition, pasture management and farm safety.


“The expo will provide equine enthusiasts the chance to learn practical information that can be used on their own farms,” said Ray Smith, professor and forage extension specialist within the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “It’s a great way to learn about multiple topics in a single day.”


The Kentucky Equine Humane Center, 1713 Catnip Hill Road, provides treatment and shelter for unwanted equines, regardless of breed. Directions to the center are available at




MEDIA CONTACT:  Jackson Wells, 859-257-5164.

Four UK Students Receive Scholarships to Study Critical Languages

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 14:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 2, 2014) — Three University of Kentucky students and an alumnus have been awarded Critical Language Scholarships to study the Arabic, Japanese and Turkish languages abroad.


The Critical Language Scholarship Program, a program of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will offer intensive summer language institutes overseas in 13 critical need foreign languages during the summer of 2014. The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.


The four UK recipients of Critical Language Scholarships are:

· marketing and media arts and studies sophomore Jordie Gamble, who will travel to Morocco for Arabic language studies;

· biology senior Naomi Hayes, who will travel to Japan for Japanese language studies;

· anthropology doctoral student Lydia Roll, who will return to Turkey for her second consecutive year of language coursework in Turkish; and

· 2013 Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce graduate Wade Wilson, who will travel to Jordan to study Arabic.


Honors Program member Jordie Gamble, a 2012 graduate of Christian Academy of Louisville, is the daughter of Lisa and Shannon Gamble of Louisville, Ky.


Gamble, who also plans to study abroad in Spain next fall, will use her Critical Language Scholarship in Arabic to strengthen her conversational skills and learn more about the culture. "I will bring my Arabic skills up to a fully conversational level that will increasingly open up the opportunities available to me. I will also gain valuable experience about living abroad and how to assimilate to new cultures gracefully, a lesson that will come in handy if I'm to become a viable player in the global marketplace."


The Global Scholar credits Nada Majzoub, her Arabic teacher in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages Literatures and Cultures, for her love of Arabic. "She helped inspire in me a love for the language while breaking it down into manageable portions. I'm so grateful to her," Gamble said.


Upon completion of her bachelor's degree, Gamble would like to work with a global nonprofit on marketing and promotional materials.

Honors Program member Naomi Hayes, a 2011 graduate of Louisville Male High School, is the daughter of Hiromi and Peter Hayes, of Louisville.


Hayes, who is also working on a Japanese minor at UK with her biology major, will use her Critical Language Scholarship to take intensive language classes in Himeji, Japan.


The choice to study Japanese is a very personal one for Hayes, who is president of the Japanese Culture in Kentucky Society. "I decided to study Japanese because even though my mother is Japanese herself, I am not able to speak the language fluently. I hope to reclaim some of my heritage by learning the language and culture. I also in general have an interest in Japan and its modern entertainment industry.  


Hayes hopes to one day be fluent in Japanese. Upon completion of her bachelor's degree, she would like to pursue graduate school in Japan.


This is the second Critical Language Scholarship awarded to Lydia Roll, daughter of Darla and Roger Pitman of Bloomington, Ind., and Michael and Cheryl Roll of Marathon, Fla. She will use the second scholarship to help prepare her for a year of living in Istanbul to complete her dissertation.  


"I conducted three weeks of preliminary dissertation fieldwork in Istanbul during May 2013. Additionally, I will conduct 12 months of dissertation research in Turkey, beginning in 2015. While there, I will engage in participant observation and ethnographic interviews with university students. For this reason, conversational Turkish language skills are essential. Participation in the Critical Language Scholarship Program will provide the opportunity to strengthen my Turkish language skills, thereby enabling me to conduct my research."

Roll, who holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana University, became interested in studying Turkish after living in the International House at the University of Chicago while she was a master’s student at Loyola University. "At I-House, I was able to make friends from around the world, including a group of Turkish students, who over countless cups of tea and conversation, inspired my initial interest in studying Turkish."


At UK, Roll credits her advisor in anthropology, Diane E. King, with providing invaluable guidance, including the process of narrowing her research focus and crafting the application for the Critical Language Scholarship program.


Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Roll plans to become a university professor.


Wade Wilson, the son of Bill and Nancy Wilson of Owensboro, Ky., holds multiple degrees from UK. He earned his bachelor's degrees in accounting and economics and most recently received his master's degree from the UK Patterson School in December 2013. He will use the Critical Language Scholarship to advance his language skills in Arabic in Amman, Jordan.  


Studying a language critical to national security makes sense for an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who has seen U.S. foreign policy at work on the front line. "International relations and the American foreign policies that frame those relations have always been very interesting to me, especially after joining the military and experiencing the effects of our policies first hand," Wilson said.


Last year, Wilson studied Arabic at Yemeni College of Middle Eastern Studies in Sanaa, Yemen, with partial funding from the Patterson School. He hopes to continue his Arabic education after finishing his Critical Language Scholarship program, as well as studies in other foreign languages.


The Critical Language Scholarship Program provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and cultural enrichment experiences for seven to 10 weeks for U.S. citizens who are undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students. During the summer program, participants will cover approximately one academic year of university-level language coursework. The application for the 2015 summer program will be available in the fall on the program website,


Students interested in applying for the Critical Language Scholarship and/or Boren Scholarships should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of External Scholarships (OES). Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, OES assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with OES well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



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

UK Playing a Role in 'Pitch' Competitions

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 14:37

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 30, 2014)  Imagine having five minutes to pitch your business idea to a group of investors who could make your dream come true. Sound like a reality show? It is reality, right here in Kentucky. And the University of Kentucky's Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, part of the Gatton College of Business and Economics, is playing a key role.


Earlier this week, Governor Steve Beshear announced the state will host eight regional pitch competitions this summer. Similar to the hit television show “Shark Tank,” these competitions will feature Kentucky entrepreneurs presenting their business ideas to a group of local angel investors, individuals who provide capital for startup companies. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their business plans to the entire Kentucky Angel Investors Network (Kentucky Angels) in Frankfort.


“The next great idea can come from anyone,” said Gov. Beshear. “As a state, we need to support these visionaries and provide them the tools to turn their vision into a reality, including the financial means to get started. I look forward to seeing more small businesses and new jobs come to life as a result of these competitions.”


The competition is sponsored by the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with the Kentucky Angels Network and the Kentucky Innovation Network. The events will take place in Ashland, Pikeville, Murray, Elizabethtown, Richmond, Covington, Lexington and Louisville.


“These regional events help form the foundation for a statewide network of entrepreneurs and investors working together to create new businesses and jobs across the Commonwealth,” said Dean Harvey, executive director of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship.


“Small businesses are job creators and the backbone of Kentucky’s economy,” said Mandy Lambert, acting commissioner of business development at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to network with potential investors and get their businesses off the ground. We want to expose more people to investment opportunities right here in the Commonwealth.”


The pitch competitions will make the following appearances:


Ashland: June 3, 2014, Ignite Accelerator, 1100 Greenup Avenue, 5-7 p.m.


Pikeville: June 10, 2014, Coleman College of Business, UPIKE, 5-7 p.m.


Murray: June 17, 2014, Heritage Hall, Murray State University, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


Elizabethtown: June 19, 2014, Brown-Pusey House, 128 North Main Street, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


Richmond: June 20, 2014, Central Bank Community Room, 350 West Main Street, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


Louisville: July 23, 2014, Greater Louisville Inc., 614 West Main St., Suite 6000, 4-5:30 p.m.


Lexington: Sept. 24, 2014, Commerce Lexington, 330 East Main St., Suite 100, 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Covington: TBD.


For more information on the competition, visit


Last year, the cabinet successfully launched the Kentucky Angels Network. Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Commonwealth companies. To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit


Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at




MEDIA CONTACT:  Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200.

UK Google+ Ranked Fifth

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2014) — The University of Kentucky's Google+ account has been ranked fifth on the Most Influential Colleges on Google+ list created by published May 28. evaluated the social media efforts of major U.S. colleges and universities. The 2014 rankings focused on each school’s activity, reach and engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram.  


"We were pleased to see an unusually broad set of colleges emerge as top performers in our social media rankings," said Branden Neish, general manager of "These schools offer immersive collegiate experiences and fervent alumni groups that positively impact students throughout their lives. Social media helps us measure these difficult-to-quantify, yet important, aspects of higher education."


Using a data set, ranging from the number of Facebook likes to tweeting frequency, developed proprietary algorithms to generate top 20 lists for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as Google+. From those lists the website also developed at top 30 list for the social media platforms combined. teamed up with Shawndra Russell, a writer and social media educator for businesses, professionals and graduate students at Armstrong Atlantic State University, to analyze the top-performing colleges. Their findings are published as "A Study of Social Media in Higher Education."


The website anticipates its findings will be used by a wide variety of organizations to further develop their social media strategies, as well as by prospective students looking for colleges that offer tight-knit and supportive communities., which describes itself as the encyclopedia of higher education, aims to provide comprehensive and unbiased information about universities, degrees and academic programs. publishes rankings that help students make important higher education decisions. For nearly a decade, has been helping aspiring students and education-minded professionals make more informed choices by providing up-to-date information about college and higher education opportunities. More information is available at


Other colleges joining UK in top five of the Google+ list are Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University and Columbia University.


To connect with UK online, visit the following social media outlets:



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


UK Arts Administration Group to Launch Kickstarter to Support Community Art Initiative

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 11:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2014) — A group of University of Kentucky arts administration students has taken a course project from the classroom to the community, launching an effort to bring art to Lexingtonians who need it the most. The group will begin seeking community support this weekend as they launch their own Kickstarter campaign June 1.


Art in Unlikely Places was founded by 17 students in an arts administration spring 2014 class under the guidance of UK Arts Administration Director of Undergraduate Studies Mark Rabideau. What began as a class project has grown into a fully functioning arts organization. Driven by the belief that creativity is the seed of hope, Art in Unlikely Places connects artists to those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts.


To support the development of the organization, the students were awarded a grant from the Michael Braun Endowment Fund, which awards projects and activities that enrich student knowledge of the arts administration profession and field.


The organization’s first project is Future Doors, launched with the belief that art by definition challenges the mind and emotions and refocuses our perspective of the world.


For the project, local artists were commissioned to create works of art on doors that reflect the mission of eight partner nonprofit organizations. These artworks serve as reminders of hope for the underserved of Lexington. Each door is on display at its respective nonprofit until June 25, at which time they will be auctioned off at the historic Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center. Proceeds from the auction will go to the artists and nonprofit organizations.


To help further support the Future Doors project and auction, Art in Unlikely Places will launch a Kickstarter campaign beginning June 1. Funding received through the campaign will be used for supporting the efforts of Art in Unlikely Places partner charitable organizations and future cultural and social entrepreneurial projects.


"For me, the real investment through Future Doors is empowering young people to see themselves as change-agents, leveraging their skills, knowledge, experience and passion toward providing hope for those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts," Rabideau said.


The Future Doors participating nonprofits and artists, including current UK students and alumni, are:

For more information about Art in Unlikely Places, visit the organization’s Facebook page,​, or contact Mark Rabideau, at


The Arts Administration Program at UK College of Fine Arts offers one of the most comprehensive curriculums in the country and the first online master's degree in the field at a public university. The program is designed to teach students the concepts, technologies and skills necessary to successfully direct an arts organization in a competitive and changing environment.




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

Lung Cancer Patients May Benefit from Innovative Informatics Project

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 11:15


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2014) -- A multidisciplinary team of doctors, researchers, and informaticists the University of Kentucky is working to improve identification of lung cancer patients who are eligible to participate in clinical trials for novel treatments.


Clinical trials are critical for advancing research into new and better treatments for patients, and the need for improved treatment of lung cancer is dire: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Its burden is especially significant in the Commonwealth, where rates of lung cancer incidence and mortality are the highest in the country. In Appalachian Kentucky, the situation is even worse, with incidence rates nearly twice the national rate.


Despite high rates of lung cancer, less than 1 percent of lung cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. This is partly due to the difficult and tedious business of identifying and recruiting patients who are eligible for trials, a task currently conducted by research staff who manually reviews patient information for a multitude of (often complex) eligibility factors. The process is time consuming and inefficient, with studies showing that manual identification can overlook up to 60 percent of eligible patients. Furthermore, patient eligibility can vary by study and change over time.


And, unfortunately, the severity of the disease also contributes to the exceptionally low rates of lung cancer patient enrollment in clinical trials. Lung cancer is often diagnosed so late that the median survival time is only eight months, leaving little time for patients to explore treatment options or for doctors to identify patients who are eligible for novel therapeutic interventions offered through clinical trials.


The combination of the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky and the urgency of identifying patients who are eligible for clinical trials motivated Dr. Eric Durbin and his team to devise a more efficient method for screening patient eligibility. Durbin, an assistant professor in the division of biomedical informatics at the UK College of Public Health, is the director of the Cancer Research Informatics Shared Resource Facility at the UK Markey Cancer Center and director of cancer informatics at the Kentucky Cancer Registry.


With pilot funding from the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program (KLCRP), Durbin and his team are leveraging the rich and unique electronic data sources managed by the UK Center Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), the UK Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy (IPOP), the Markey Cancer Center,  and the Kentucky Cancer Registry (KCR), which is housed at UK, to design, develop, pilot, and evaluate an innovative, electronic informatics system to automatically identify patients who are eligible for clinical trials. The outcomes of the automated identification system will then be compared to those of the manual identification methods. If successful, the automated system could dramatically increase the speed, completeness, and efficiency of identifying patients for lung cancer clinical trials.


"The need for improvement was pretty obvious, and my colleagues and I thought it would be an ideal project for KLCRP pilot funding," said Durbin, who is the principal investigator on the project. "We're trying to leverage existing and new electronic data sources to improve the efficiency of the identification and recruitment process."


The pilot project will specifically focus on identification of eligible patients at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Due to its designation as National Cancer Institute, Markey offers unique clinical trials that are only available through NCI centers.


"Clinical trial recruitment is critically important to the Markey Cancer Center if we're going to get lifesaving therapeutics to our patients," said Dr. Susanne Arnold, associate professor in medical oncology and radiation medicine at the Markey Cancer Center and member of the project team. “It’s also how we make progress in cancer treatment.”


It is particularly important to identify and recruit clinical trial participants from the entire pool of eligible patients in order to remove any potential bias from the study results and to ensure that the findings are applicable to the general population. Additionally, under-recruitment in underserved populations, such as Kentucky's Appalachian residents, can be perceived as unequal access to the most cutting-edge treatments and technologies.


"We want to ensure that all patients have the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials," said Durbin.


The two-year project is currently in its seventh month, and the team is in the discovery phase of evaluating the multiple data sources and testing different query methods. In addition to using discrete data elements, such as lab values, the team is utilizing natural language processing methodology to incorporate more conceptual data, such as patient performance status, from the qualitative notes that doctors make in their medical records.


"We are combining discrete data elements with natural language processing approaches to extract complete information," said Durbin. "This is a very important area of informatics."


The objectives of the project align perfectly with the mission of the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program, who funded the project and whose mission is to reduce the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky.  


"A critical component to reducing this burden is clinical research," said Dr. Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the Markey Cancer Center and the center's liaison to the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program.


"The potential to greatly improve enrollment in studies will ultimately translate into improved lung cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment in the future."


Vanderford recognizes the distinctive capacity of Durbin's team to capitalize on the robust data, expertise, and technology available at UK. In addition to the wealth of electronic health data at UK, the Kentucky Cancer Registry (KCR) is housed at the university by legislative mandate.  The KCR operates a population-based electronic pathology reporting system that captures 90 percent of all histologically confirmed cancer cases in Kentucky within days of diagnosis.


"We are very uniquely situated in terms of the data sources and technology we have at UK. And this team is uniquely skilled to do this project. They have a significant number of years of experience and are very familiar with all the data sources. We're very cutting edge in being able to apply all these different data sources to achieve our objective in a much better way," he said.


While the pilot project focuses specifically on lung cancer patients at Markey Cancer Center, the automated identification system could be easily applied to a broad range of cancers and other disease conditions in the future.


"What's really exciting about Dr. Durbin's study is that it has the potential to greatly improve clinical research not only in lung cancer but in other cancers and disease conditions as well," said Vanderford.



MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,


Book on Violence Against Women Examines Legislative Reforms and True Stories Behind Them

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 10:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 2, 2014) — For more than a century, Kentucky women have fought for the right to vote, to own property, to earn and control their wages, and to be safe at home and in the workplace. Tragically, many of them have been silenced by abuse and violence.


In "Violence Against Women in Kentucky: A History of U.S. and State Legislative Reform," Carol E. Jordan, executive director of University of Kentucky's Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women, gives Kentucky women — specifically victims of rape, domestic violence and stalking — a voice. Their stories punctuate her account of the struggles of advocates and legislators to bring legal protections to these Kentuckians. Written for those engaged in the anti-rape and domestic violence movements, legislators and policy makers, criminal justice and health care professionals, and anyone interested in the fight for women’s rights, "Violence Against Women in Kentucky" documents the legislative reform made, but also outlines the work yet to be done.


For local audiences wanting to hear more about the book, Jordan will be the featured guest on WUKY's "Curtains @ 8" beginning 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, on 91.3 FM.


In the book published by University Press of Kentucky, Jordan sets the stage with the suffrage and temperance movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From the passage of the 23rd amendment in 1920 granting women the vote, it was more than 40 years before a second women's reform movement began with a focus on economic justice and other freedoms. It was from that second wave of reform that the nation’s attention was first riveted on rape and domestic violence.


Jordan provides a decade-by-decade account, examining more than 100 bills covering rape, domestic violence and stalking that were passed by the Kentucky General Assembly. She begins with the creation of the Kentucky Commission on Women in 1970, passage of the rape shield law, marital rape, domestic violence reforms, and the state’s first anti-stalking legislation; and goes to recent legislation, including the 2010 passage of Amanda’s Law, which expanded the use of GPS tracking devices to protect victims of domestic violence. She also places Kentucky in a broader context by examining violence against women-related reform efforts across the nation.


More than just an explanation of legislation, however, "Violence Against Women in Kentucky" gives voice to Kentucky women and their advocates. Jordan recounts the story of Myrtle Whitaker, who was shot and paralyzed by her husband, who then killed their two sons before turning the gun on himself. She also tells the stories of advocates like Louisville lawyer Bonnie Brown, who was key to the passage of laws recognizing marital rape in Kentucky. At the heart of the book are elected officials like State Senators Georgia Davis Powers and Marshall Long; State Representatives Gerta Bendland Joni Jenkins; and many more, who championed reform, sometimes in the face of formidable opposition.


"Violence Against Women in Kentucky," however, is not merely a descriptive account of progress; it also serves as a guide for advocates throughout the nation. Policy makers in other states can learn from Kentucky’s successes and failures, and Jordan outlines specific legislative strategies that can be used. In addition, she notes work yet to be done, including an amendment of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Act to extend protective orders to cover dating couples. With an understanding of where we have been and where we need to go, victims of rape, domestic violence and stalking will hopefully have an even stronger voice in the future.


Carol E. Jordan is the executive director of the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women at UK College of Arts and Sciences and holds appointments in the departments of psychology and psychiatry. She is co-author of "Intimate Partner Violence: A Clinical Training Guide for Mental Health Professionals" and "Women and Victimization: Contributing Factors, Interventions, and Implications." She has also published more than 35 peer-reviewed articles on violence against women, heavily focused on civil and criminal justice reforms.


UK’s Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women (OPSVAW) works to shape the creation, implementation and evaluation of public policy to improve the lives of women harmed by violence and abuse. It is based in the UK College of Arts and Sciences and is affiliated with the Department of Psychology and the Department of Political Science. In addition to its policy work, the OPSVAW provides student support through the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship, the Mary Byron Graduate Fellowship, and other assistantships.


"Violence Against Women in Kentucky" is a Thomas D. Clark Medallion winner. The medallion is presented by the Thomas D. Clark Foundation, which was established in 1994 in honor of Thomas Clark, Kentucky’s historian laureate and founder of the University Press of Kentucky. Since 2012, the foundation has chosen one book that highlights Kentucky history and culture to be honored with a Clark Medallion. Previous medallion recipients are "Kentucky Government, Politics and Public Policy" and "The Hills Remember: The Complete Short Stories of James Still."


The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing an association that now includes all state universities, five private colleges, and two historical societies. Led by Director Stephen Wrinn, its editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.   



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

UK Connections Motivate Dr. and Dr. Dawson to Care for Kentuckians

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 14:36


Video Produced by UK Public Relations and 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 the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2014) — There are many families across campus, around the state and throughout the world that share deep University of Kentucky connections. 


Point of Care Ultrasound Director and Assistant Emergency Medicine Program Director Dr. Matthew Dawson and his wife Dr. Kristin Dawson, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow, are no exception.   The couple met at the William T. Young Library and married while attending the UK College of Medicine.  


But their connections run deeper still.  Watch the “Big Blue Family” video above to discover how their ties to UK were strengthened when their infant daughter Avery battled a sudden illness at Kentucky Children's Hospital and why they both have renewed motivation to serve their fellow Kentuckians. 


This video feature is part of a special new series produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community.   There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields.   The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday. 


Since the "Big Blue Family" series is now a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas.  If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us.  Who knows?  We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!


VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones, 859-257-1754, ext. 257, OR Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,



UK Faculty Chosen to Present at SEC Symposium

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 14:02

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2014) -- University of Kentucky faculty members Lisa Cassis, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and interim UK vice president for research, and Alison Gustafson, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, are among the chosen participants for the the 2014 SEC Symposium in Atlanta, Sept. 21-23.  All 14 member universities of the Southeastern Conference will be represented by faculty and administrators at the symposium entitled Prevention of Obesity: Overcoming a 21st Century Public Health Challenge.


Obesity prevention and treatment are popular topics among media, lawmakers, health care professionals and others. And, while the subjects have gained attention during the past decade, the U.S. has not seen a significant reduction in population-level obesity rates over the same 10-year span. As a result, researchers at the SEC Symposium hope to identify ways to markedly reduce America’s obese and overweight populations, through prevention.


This year’s topics range from genetics, to technology and media, to environmental influences. The symposium is divided into eight sessions of formal presentations and includes informal breakout sessions intended to foster interaction and discussion among participants.


In addition to university presenters, there will also be two keynote speakers. Sunday, Sept. 21, Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association, will open the event. A second keynote address by Dr. Michael Lauer, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, will be held Monday, Sept. 22.


Established by SEC presidents and chancellors, the annual SEC Symposium is led by an SEC university and focuses on an issue of global interest. It also showcases the academic excellence and underscores the educational and economic contributions of the SEC’s members to the vitality of the Southeast region, nation and world.


The SEC Symposium is an academic conference-type event that also includes the SEC Presidents, Chancellors and Provosts Reception, poster exhibitions, and SEC University Showcase. To learn more about the 2014 SEC Symposium, go to SEC Symposium.


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

Seasoned by Fire: UK Fire Cats Wrap Up Their First Wildfire Season

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 23:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2014) — On any given weekend, when smoke curled over the mountains, the University of Kentucky Fire Cats could get the call. That call to fight some of the state’s wildfires during the recent spring fire hazard season came pretty regularly this year. The Fire Cats’ inaugural fire season turned out to be a bad one.


Over the past 14 years, Kentucky has averaged about 1,500 fires and almost 56,000 acres burned each year. The state has two fire hazard seasons — spring and fall. This year’s spring fire hazard season alone, which ran from Feb. 15 through April 30, saw 1,171 fires burn 35,613 acres. There were plenty of opportunities for the young firefighters to learn the ropes.


Andrew Nielsen, one of the three Fire Cats squad leaders, came into the new program with more experience than most. For the past six years, he has battled blazes in Oregon, where the Kentucky native lived for awhile. But for many of the Cats, this season was their first. Trained by the U.S. Forest Service and employed by the Kentucky Division of Forestry, the students are receiving “a brilliant opportunity,” according to UK Department of Forestry Chair Terrell “Red” Baker.


“Not only do they get in a few extra hours and earn some money, but they get excellent hands-on training that enables them to find jobs in the summer that could ultimately lead to career opportunities,” Baker said.


Chris Osborne, manager of UK’s Robinson Forest in the southeastern part of the state, is the Fire Cats’ crew leader and the unofficial liaison between the group, the Kentucky Division of Forestry and the Daniel Boone National Forest, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. He explained that wildland fires in this part of the country are different than western fires, which often spread rapidly through the canopy, fueled by evergreens. In hardwood-dominated Eastern Kentucky, fires usually run across the ground’s surface, fueled by leaf litter or logging slash.


“That being said, there are conditions and times that fire activity in Eastern Kentucky can be extreme. There are fires where you’ll have one- to two-foot flame heights, but we do have some grass fires and other fuel types that can create some extreme fire activity with much higher flame fronts,” Osborne said.


One of the fires Nielsen and his squad helped extinguish was a slow 15-acre fire burning in mixed hardwood and leaf litter in Lee County.


“It had been skulking around on the ground for a day or so,” Nielsen said. “Out west that fire would have taken at least a day to get control of, where here, you get two people on a blower blowing all the leaves away and people burning behind it, and you’re pretty much around it…. It took maybe an hour and a half. It was that quick, which is amazing to me.”


MacKenzie Schaeffer, another squad leader, has been interested in fighting wildfires for a long time.


“I always thought it would be really cool to go out west and fight the big wildfires, but that’s a big step to take,” she said. “When they started offering this program, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to find out if it’s something I really like or want to do when I graduate and make a career out of it. It’s been an awesome opportunity, and I’ve loved it.


Schaeffer recalled her first fire.


“We did a mop-up, which is where you walk back through and check the line to make sure nothing’s blown into it or across it to start a fire,” she said. “When you go through the training, there’s no actual fire, so we got to see things in action.”


To prevent a trailer backed up to grass from catching fire, Schaeffer’s squad got to dig the line and then set a backfire to run the flames away from the trailer and towards what had already burned.


“I like using the drip torch,” Schaeffer said and laughed.


The idea for the Fire Cats grew out of the Department of Forestry’s long relationship with the Daniel Boone National Forest, said E.J. Bunzendahl, forest assistant fire manager officer for the Daniel Boone. Since 2011, UK forestry students have had to take fire training as a mandatory course for their degree. The U.S. Forest Service, through Bunzendahl and her staff, facilitate the online version of the wildland firefighter training. Students spend between 40 and 60 hours completing the online portion of the class, which culminates in an eight-hour required field day that the Daniel Boone National Forest hosts.


“We have a participating agreement signed between the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and the Daniel Boone National Forest that says we’ll help each other; we’ll provide the class and they offer consultation assistance to us,” Bunzendahl said.


Alabama A&M University and Virginia Tech both field teams of student firefighters, so when Baker saw how interested his students were in taking the mandatory course, he considered fielding a team. He spoke with Dan Olsen, who at the time was director of fire and aviation management for the Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service. Olsen brought Bunzendahl on board, who called the Kentucky Division of Forestry.


“On the Daniel Boone, we average less than 100 fires a year, and the Kentucky Division of Forestry averages about 1,500 or 1,600 fires a year,” Bunzendahl said. “If you want to get some experience, you’ll have a little more opportunity working for them than you will right here on the Boone. KDF was instrumental in getting this program off the ground.”


Leah MacSwords, state forester and director of KDF, gave the idea her approval and Mike Harp, assistant fire chief with the division, started making the arrangements to work with the UK students. KDF employs the students and has provided all their equipment. Both Harp and his supervisor, Luke Saunier, are graduates of the UK Department of Forestry, and they immediately saw the benefit to the students.


“When we both came into the Kentucky Division of Forestry, we were not prepared for the firefighting aspect,” said Harp, who graduated in 1996. “If I would have had this back in school, it could have really helped me understand things a bit better. I would have been ahead of the curve.”


The Fire Cats have helped KDF, too. Harp accompanied one of the squads on what he called a “somewhat complicated small 10-acre fire.”


“When I say complicated, it was because of the terrain,” he explained. “If I would have let the crews they had on-site at the time fight that fire, it probably would have taken two or two and a half hours to put it out. But with the UK Fire Cats there, with that added personnel, we knocked it out in probably half the time. They really made a difference up there.”


In Osborne’s eyes, it’s a win-win situation.


“So far, there’s been really positive interaction with these kids. They’ve asked really good questions, and they’re engaged, and they’ve been hardworking,” he said. “So far it’s been a great success.”


The 2014 UK Fire Cats include James Baunach, Andrew Hagerty and Andrew Nielsen, all from Louisville; Christopher Bullock from Winchester; Lexingtonians Austin Combs, William Ellis, Kristian Elswick and Taylor York; David Corr from Fort Thomas; Sam Cox from Riverside, Illinois; Tyler Frame, from Maysville; William McCormick from Inez; Cody Pyles from Monticello; Josh Robinson from Elizabethtown; MacKenzie Schaeffer, Derwood, Maryland; and Richard Tamer from Shelbyville, who was the third squad leader.