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Play Helps Families and Caregivers See Both Sides of Alzheimer's Disease

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2014) -- Last Saturday, one family struggled to accept that their father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. 

 

This family is luckier than others, however.  They are the fictional characters in "Forget Me Not," a play written by Garrett Davis to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease and provide comfort and support for caregivers, particularly in underserved communities where health disparities exist. 

 

University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) brought the play to a full house at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington on Aug. 16.

 

We saw the play at a conference in San Diego, and we were immediately drawn to it as a resource for community outreach," said Dr. Gregory Jicha, an associate professor at Sanders-Brown.

 

"The play is not only an entertaining way to make more people aware of the disease, but also educates people about the need to take action -- and one way to do that is to participate in research."

 

 

Davis wrote the play as a tribute to his grandmother, who died of Alzheimer's disease when he was in college, and to all the family members who cared for her.

 

"She had Alzheimer's, and it was terrible watching her fade away.  When we see our loved ones at their worst, we tend to push ourselves into seclusion, out of fear or worry or both, at exactly the time when we should quit hiding and actively seek help."

 

"I wrote this play so that caregivers might recognize themselves in the characters onstage, and perhaps get ahead of the curve and develop a support network not just for their loved one, but also for themselves."

 

Alzheimer's disease is incurable and irreversible,  It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults, and more than 500.000 Americans die from AD each year.  African Americans are usually diagnosed with the disease at a later stage, limiting the effectiveness of early intervention. Blacks are about two times more likely and Hispanics are about one and a half times more likely than their white counterparts to have Alzheimer's and other dementia. Of the estimated 5.4 million people living with the disease, two-thirds are women.

 

Davis describes "Forget Me Not" as one leg of a three-legged stool. "There are three plays in the trilogy," he explains.  "'Forget Me Not' is intended to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease. 'Mama's Girls' is part two -- its focus is on caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's. And the third play -- 'A Woman's Gotta Do' -- addresses finances, which is an important but overlooked part of the disease."

 

Davis felt particularly compelled to bring his message to the African American community, whose culture embraces the concept that caring for a sick loved one is a personal -- rather than a shared -- responsibility.

 

"We need to understand that we can care for Grandma without losing our own identity or neglecting our own families," Davis says.

 

Jicha stayed after the play for a Q&A session with attendees. There, he stressed repeatedly the need for participation in medical research, particularly among African Americans. 

 

"At Sanders-Brown alone there are many, many studies exploring treatments that may prevent disease, cure disease, or at a minimum slow down its progress," Jicha says.  "But without volunteers -- both with the disease and without -- we can't get enough data to determine whether these treatments really work." 

 

"If people recognize these issues and how close we are to making tremendous strides in curing Alzheimer's, they should join the fight and make a difference."

 

 

Nominations Open for James Madison Award

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 09:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2014) — Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two of the linchpins of American democracy. The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Infomration annually recognizes a Kentuckian who has made an outstanding contribution to the First Amendment.

 

The James Madison Award, created in 2006, honors the nation’s fourth president, whose extraordinary efforts led to the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The center at the University of Kentucky is seeking nominations for its 2014 award.

 

The nomination deadline is Sept. 15. The winner will be honored at the annual First Amendment Celebration on Oct. 8. 

 

Nominees must have significant ties to Kentucky, and their efforts must have resulted in the preservation or expansion of freedom of the press and/or freedom of speech. The award recognizes a long-term commitment to these ideals.

 

The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center encourages recognition of those outside the journalism profession for their contributions to protect or expand First Amendment freedoms.  Nominees may include, for example, educators, lawyers, judges, scholars, librarians, students or ordinary citizens.

 

The Madison Award will recognize those who have labored or taken a stand in one or more of these areas: open government and open records; robust debate in the marketplace of ideas; promotion of the watchdog role of the press; defense against government or private censorship. 

 

The nominator must submit a letter identifying the nominee, listing the nominee’s address, phone number and position, and explaining why the nominee would be a worthy recipient.  The letter should detail the specific efforts taken on behalf of First Amendment rights and should discuss obstacles and difficulties as well as the impact of the nominee’s efforts.  The nominator may include up to three letters of support as well as other materials such as published or broadcast information.

 

Entries will be reviewed by a committee that will include previous winners and the director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center.  The committee will have the option of not selecting a recipient if it does not believe any candidate is deserving.

 

Past winners were Judith Clabes, founder of UK’s First Amendment Center and a strong supporter of a free press as a newspaper editor and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation; Jon Fleischaker, the Commonwealth’s foremost media law attorney; veteran Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus, who has used public records extensively to expose government corruption; David Hawpe, retired Courier-Journal reporter and editor who fought relentlessly to open records and meetings; John Nelson, managing editor of The Advocate-Messenger in Danville and executive editor of Advocate Communications Inc., who was recognized for, among other activities, organizing a statewide open records audit; veteran newsman Al Smith, whose KET public affairs program, “Comment on Kentucky,” informed the state’s citizens on government issues affecting them; retired media law attorney Kim Greene, who fought many fights for open government for media clients she represented. 

 

 The 2013 winner was Jennifer P. Brown, opinions editor of The Kentucky New Era, a tireless advocate for open government who has fostered a culture of watchdog journalism at the New Era.

 

Nominations should be sent to Mike Farrell, Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, School of Journalism and Telecommunications, 220 Grehan Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0042, or emailed to farrell@uky.edu.

 

For more information, contact Mike Farrell, director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at (859) 257-4848, or farrell@uky.edu.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu 

Parking Lot, Shuttle Changes Set for Aug. 18

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 18:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) — Over the next week, University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) will be changing the designations of several parking areas to best meet the needs of campus. These changes were previously announced, but as the implementation dates approach, PTS is issuing this reminder as well as clarifying the implementation dates.

 

Starting Monday, Aug. 18, the following changes will occur.

 

The Sports Center Garage (PS #7) and the large Sports Center Drive lot will change permit designations. The Sports Center Garage will continue to accommodate hourly pay visitor parking, but will otherwise transition to residential (R7) parking. The Sports Center Drive lot adjacent to Cliff Hagan Stadium will change from residential (R3) parking to employee (E) parking.

 

The parking lot immediately adjacent to the Oswald Building – the Green Lot – will transition from a commuter (C6) parking lot to a mixed-use employee (E) and commuter (C6) parking lot. The lot will no longer have separately designated E spots as it has in the past. The metered spaces will remain in the lot.

 

The new Orange Lot, located at the corner of University and Alumni Drives, will open and be available for employee (E) and commuter (C2) parking starting Monday, Aug. 18. The Orange Lot, adjacent to the E.S. Good Barn will have 1,238 spaces and will accommodate park-and-ride service for UK HealthCare and VA employees.

 

The UK HealthCare Shuttle will now stop in the Orange Lot, rather than the E-Blue Lot. PTS plans to operate the same number of shuttles, despite the shorter shuttle route; this is expected to increase the frequency of the existing shuttle service while reducing wait times and the length of time employees spend riding the shuttle. Both UK HealthCare and the VA Hospital will continue to operate independent shuttle services to their various facilities, but will now do so from the same parking area.

 

The E-Red employee parking lot located on the corner of Cooper and University Drives will transition to a K designated parking area. To improve traffic flow and access between the Green and Red Lots, a connector road has been added between the two lots. VA employees previously restricted to the E-Red Lot will be moved to the new Orange Lot.

 

Employee (E) permits are now authorized to park in any K Lot, including the Red, Blue, and Black Lots, as well as the Greg Page Overflow Lot and the Soccer/Softball Complex Lots, allowing employees more flexibility if their desired parking area is at capacity. This change became effective July 1, 2014.

 

Finally, with the return of the first group of students for the academic year, valid C6, R3, R4, R7, R10 and R14 permits will be required to park in designated lots.

Visit www.uky.edu/pts/parking-info_parking-maps to view the campus parking map.

 

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Examines the Newest Residence Halls

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 18:16

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 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.  Filling in for Godell today is Josh James with the WUKY News Department.  His guest is Penny Cox, director of housing project implementation and new strategies at UK.  She discusses the new residence halls opening on campus for Fall 2014.

 

To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit http://wuky.org/post/opening-door-uks-new-residence-halls.

 

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

K Week International Orientation Begins Saturday

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 17:10
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014)  University of Kentucky students come not only from Kentucky and the United States, but from around the globe. Though their hometowns vary, they all share one thing in common; they're part of a Big Blue community that comes together during one of the most exciting times on UK's campus: K Week.

 

For international students at UK, K Week starts a week earlier, with K Week International Orientation, a series of events designed especially to support students coming to UK from abroad. The events will take place Aug. 15 through Aug. 21. The week allows them to meet and engage with other international students and to learn about important campus resources. 

 

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.

 

The week is hosted by UK International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), which provides expertise in the advising and immigration needs of the international students, faculty, staff, and exchange visitors at UK. ISSS also administers university compliance with evolving federal regulations and facilitates the well-being of all international students, faculty, staff and scholars. K Week International Orientation plays a big role in enhancing these students' well-being.

 

A full schedule of events can be found at http://www.uky.edu/international/Orientation_Week.

Questions at the Pharmacy: Why Do They Ask Me That?

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 16:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2014) -- You have just enough time to run by the pharmacy and pick up your prescription on the way to work.  When the clerk at the counter asks if you have any questions about your prescription for the pharmacist, you automatically respond "no."

 

Do you ever wonder why they ask you that every time you pick up a prescription?  And why you have to sign something when you say no?

 

State statutes and regulations require that an offer to counsel be extended to the patient or patient’s representative on matters which the pharmacist believes will optimize drug therapy with each patient or caregiver. This is to be done for both original prescriptions or refills as professional discretion dictates. Your signature formally acknowledges that you have declined counsel.

 

The goal is to assure that the patient understands the proper use of the medication. It also serves as an additional measure of safety. For example, if the pharmacist were to say, “This medication should treat your infection,” but you went to see the prescriber for treatment of back spasms, this  communication exchange has served as an effective double check to prevent medication misadventures.

 

When you say "yes" to a conversation with the pharmacist, you are likely to receive some or all of the following information:

 

  • The name and description of the drug
  • The dosage form, dose, route of administration, and duration of therapy
  • Special directions and precautions
  • Common and clinically significant adverse side effects, interactions, or contraindications that may be encountered, including how to avoid them and what to do should they occur
  • Techniques for self-monitoring of drug therapy
  • Proper storage
  • Refill information
  • What to do if you miss a dose
  • Comments relevant to the individual's therapy
  • Any other information peculiar to the specific patient or drug

 

While this offer to counsel applies to prescription medications, keep in mind that the pharmacist is a tremendous resource when you have questions about nonprescription medications and medical devices as well. You don’t need an appointment to see your pharmacist and you know exactly where pharmacists can be found – in the prescription department at the pharmacy, standing ready to answer your questions.

 

The American Pharmacists Association describes the mission of pharmacy practice as “serving society as the professional responsible for the appropriate use of medications, devices, and services to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes.” So the next time you are asked whether you have any questions for the pharmacist, make time to say "yes."  This is your chance to receive information from the professional committed to helping patients achieve maximum benefit from the use of pharmaceuticals.

 

 

Joseph L Fink is a professor of Pharmacy Law and Policy at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. 

 

This column appeared in the August 17, 2014, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

New Law Expands Role of Nurse Practitioners

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 14:50

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) – A new law that went into effect in July allows nurse practitioners in Kentucky to have an expanded role in treating patients.

 

Nurse practitioners who meet certain requirements can now prescribe some medications without having a collaborative agreement with a physician, which previously was required. Supporters of the law say it will remove the barrier nurse practioners face when they wante to open their own practices. With their own practices, they can prescribe blood pressure and cholesterol medicines, antibiotics and some antidepressants, for example.

 

“Expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners in Kentucky is absolutely critical to close the gap in tremendous health care needs of Kentuckians," said Janie Heath, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. "For decades NPs have demonstrated their ability to increase access to care, increase quality of care and at the same time decrease costs. Having this level of regulatory authority speaks volumes about our legislators’ commitment to improve health and wellness in Kentucky.” 

 

A state-commissioned study last year said Kentucky is approximately 4,000 physicians short in meeting the current demand for health care providers. With the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act, more than 420,000 Kentuckians have health insurance, many of whom have coverage for the first time in their lives.

 

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu 

 

 

Move-In 2014 to Impact Campus Traffic, Some Parking

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 13:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) — Move-In is an exciting time for the Univesity of Kentucky campus community and an important time to begin fostering student success — a top priority at all levels at the university.

 

This year, UK will welcome students and their families during four major Move-In days over the next week:

·         Saturday, Aug. 16

·         Wednesday, Aug. 20

·         Friday, Aug. 22

·         Saturday, Aug. 23

 

Move-In — combined with current construction occurring on campus — will impact parking, transit, and transportation routes throughout the campus at various times. Among the more than 6,000 students moving to campus housing, about 1,100 students are expected to arrive on both Saturdays, Aug. 16 and 23; 1,700 are expected on Wednesday, Aug. 20; and another 2,200 on Friday, Aug. 22.

 

Safety is always a priority at UK and especially now when thousands of new students are transitioning to campus at a time when vehicle and pedestrian traffic are heavy and streets are re-routed. UK Police will be out in full force to assist with Move-In, and everyone is urged to be patient and travel safely.

 

Below is information regarding student move-in traffic flow and parking and bus schedule impacts over the next week, including important information about one-way streets, no parking areas, alternate bus routes and high traffic locations.

 

ONE-WAY STREETS:  (see map)

  • One-way southbound:  MLK Blvd. between Good Samaritan parking lot and Avenue of Champions
  • One-way southbound:  Lexington Ave. between Maxwell St. and Avenue of Champions
  • One-way westbound:  Avenue of Champions between Lexington Ave. and Limestone
  • One-way westbound:  Huguelet Dr. between University Dr. and Rose St.
  • One-way northbound:  Rose Street between Huguelet Drive and Washington Ave.
  • One-way eastbound:  Hilltop Ave. between University Dr. and Woodland Ave.
  • One-way northbound:  Woodland Ave. between Hilltop Ave. and Columbia Ave.

 

NO PARKING AREAS:

Due to the need to quickly unload vehicles near residence halls, several areas of campus will be NO PARKING zones from 12:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. on each of the Move-In days. Additionally, several streets on and bordering campus will have closures or other changes to traffic flow to accommodate Move-In. Watch for NO PARKING signs and bagged meters in these areas.

Vehicles parked in the NO PARKING areas listed below will be TOWED.  Owners will be responsible for all tow-related charges.

 

Saturday, Aug. 16:

  • COMPLEX DRIVE (BOTH SIDES):  between University Drive and Sports Center Drive
  • UNIVERSITY DRIVE (BOTH SIDES):  from Cooper Drive to Hilltop Avenue
  • SPORTS CENTER DRIVE:  the 21 Hall Director spaces behind Ingels Hall
  • AVENUE OF CHAMPIONS:  Metered parking in front of Roselle Hall
  • MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD.:  between Maxwell Street and Avenue of Champions
  • LEXINGTON AVE.:  Area between the E lot entrance and Avenue of Champions
  • E LOT BETWEEN KELLEY BUILDING and MED CENTER ANNEX #5:  the 5 spots in the lane just north of Medical Center Annex #5

 

Wednesday, Aug. 20:

  • UNIVERSITY DRIVE (BOTH SIDES):  from Cooper Drive to Hilltop Avenue
  • SPORTS CENTER DRIVE:  the 21 Hall Director spaces behind Ingels Hall
  • AVENUE OF CHAMPIONS:  Metered parking in front of Roselle Hall
  • MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD.:  between Maxwell Street and Avenue of Champions
  • LEXINGTON AVE.:  Area between the E lot entrance and Avenue of Champions
  • E LOT BETWEEN KELLEY BUILDING and MED CENTER ANNEX #5:  the 5 spots in the lane just north of Medical Center Annex #5

 

Friday, Aug. 22:

  • COMPLEX DRIVE (BOTH SIDES):  between University Drive and Sports Center Drive
  • UNIVERSITY DRIVE (BOTH SIDES):  from Cooper Drive to Hilltop Avenue
  • SPORTS CENTER DRIVE:  the 21 Hall Director spaces behind Ingels Hall
  • AVENUE OF CHAMPIONS:  Metered parking in front of Roselle Hall
  • MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD.:  between Maxwell Street and Avenue of Champions
  • LEXINGTON AVE.:  Area between the E lot entrance and Avenue of Champions
  • E LOT BETWEEN KELLEY BUILDING and MED CENTER ANNEX #5:  the 5 spots in the lane just north of Medical Center Annex #5

 

Saturday, Aug. 23:

  • UNIVERSITY DRIVE (BOTH SIDES):  from Cooper Drive to Hilltop Avenue
  • SPORTS CENTER DRIVE:  the 21 Hall Director spaces behind Ingels Hall
  • AVENUE OF CHAMPIONS:  Metered parking in front of Roselle Hall
  • MARTIN LUTHER KING BLVD.:  between Maxwell Street and Avenue of Champions
  • LEXINGTON AVE.:  Area between the E lot entrance and Avenue of Champions
  • E LOT BETWEEN KELLEY BUILDING and MED CENTER ANNEX #5:  the 5 spots in the lane just north of Medical Center Annex #5

 

MOVE-IN PARKING AREAS:  (see map)

  • Students and parents participating in Move-In will be permitted to park in the following designated parking areas:
  • Rose Street Garage (PS #2):  On Saturday 8/16 & Saturday 8/23 only
  • South Limestone Garage (PS #5):  all 4 move-in dates listed above; 3-hour maximum
  • Sports Center Garage (PS #7):  all 4 move-in dates listed above; 3-hour maximum
  • R3 lot on Sports Center Drive, near Cooper Drive:  all 4 move-in dates listed above
  • R10 lot on Woodland Avenue:  all 4 move-in dates listed above; 3-hour maximum
  • K lots at Commonwealth Stadium:  all 4 move-in dates listed above   

 

As a result of the road closures, the CATS Summer/Break Route will run a modified route on Wednesday, August 20 and Friday, August 22. On those days, the bus will operate the route normally used by the campus Lextran Stadium-Greg Page Route throughout the academic year.

 

Move-In 2014 map is attached below.

UK HealthCare Divisions Unite to Perform Rare Procedure on 12-Year-Old Trauma Patient

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) — The hold of a seatbelt prevented 12-year-old Kaitlin Caldwell from being ejected from her seat when a jeep slammed into the side of her family's vehicle at 65 miles per hour.

 

But a tight squeeze from the life-saving restraint caused serious damage to her midsection. After being airlifted from a hospital in Somerset, Kaitlin arrived at Kentucky Children's Hospital on Jan. 2 suffering from a severed pancreas, transected bowel, a separated bile duct and a host of other abdominal injuries.

 

The UK HealthCare trauma team tasked with rerouting Kaitlin's abdominal organs conducted emergency surgery to control her injuries. After surgeons stopped some bleeding and repaired immediate injuries during the first surgery, they placed a temporary vacuum dressing over an open abdominal incision. Pediatric surgeon Dr. Sean Skinner, in collaboration with a team of specialists representing UK HealthCare divisions of transplant, oncology and vascular surgery, then mapped out a reconstructive procedure to essentially rework the organs that allow Kaitlin to digest food. On Jan. 3, the team conducted a second surgery to assess the full extent of the injuries and their surgical options.  

 

The surgeons deliberated about the most technically efficient way to reroute her digestive tract. But they also discussed the long-term implications of the surgery for Kaitlin, now and in the future. They wanted to preserve her ability to eat different types of food, as well as reduce her risk for diabetes and other complications down the road.

 

"She was 12, and she had how many years to live with this?" Skinner said. "We wanted to give her the best results that were going to last the longest."

 

Skinner and transplant surgeon Dr. Erin Maynard performed a Whipple procedure, a reconstructive surgery most commonly performed on patients with pancreatic cancer and sometimes complications from pancreatitis. Skinner said the procedure is uncommon in a trauma setting, but even rarer in pediatric patients. According to his research, only a small fraction of a percent of all pediatric cases involving blunt trauma to the pancreas resulted in a Whipple procedure. A published article available to Skinner identified 18 cases of children receiving the surgery in the past 14 years. Skinner turned to a multidisciplinary team of UK HealthCare specialists, including Maynard, vascular surgeon Dr. Eric Endean, adult trauma surgeon Dr. Paul Kearney and oncology surgeon Dr. Patrick McGrath, to prepare for the procedure.

 

"This was a big team effort of everyone coming in to help this girl," Skinner said. "Having those specialists around me made it even better and safer for her."

 

Typically during a Whipple procedure, surgeons remove the portion of the pancreas where a tumor is present. In Kaitlin, the pancreas was already transected from the force of the seatbelt, so surgeons removed one portion of the pancreas. The pancreas serves an important role of producing chemicals that help break down sugars and carbohydrates before those foods travel to the small intestine, so even a small portion of the organ will help reduce the risk of diabetes. After removing portions of the stomach, the duodenum and the head of the pancreas, Skinner and his team attached the remaining portion of the pancreas to the small intestine. They also sewed the bile duct to the small intestine and brought a loop of the intestines up to be attached to the stomach.

 

In total, Kaitlin went through five abdominal surgeries before she was released from the hospital on Jan. 24. Skinner was encouraged that Kaitlin encountered few complications post-surgery. He advised her to minimize foods high in sugar, like her favorite soda Mountain Dew, to prevent dumping syndrome, a sickness caused by too much sugar dumping into the small intestine that affects gastric bypass and Whipple surgery patients. The long-legged middle schooler has adjusted to her new diet constraints, avoiding Taco Bell, a restaurant she once loved.

 

"She loves sweets, but now with the modifications, she knows her limits," Kathy Caldwell, Kaitlin's mom, said. "It amazes me, because she won't touch it."

 

With her turquoise braces and narrow framed glasses, pre-teen Kaitlin will get a fresh start at a new school in Middlesboro later this month. She is trying out for the the basketball team. A scar on her abdomen is the only visible sign of the accident. Kathy Caldwell hopes her daughter will remember the diligence and team work of the doctors who put her stomach back together when she looks at the scar.

 

"I laugh when people say she didn't get hurt real bad. I don't want her to be ashamed of that scar. That's your scar — a testament to what you've been through," Kathy Caldwell said.

 

Kathy Caldwell said she tells everyone she knows about the high level of care she received from Skinner and them multidisciplinary team. She feels grateful her family was sent to UK HealthCare after the accident.

 

"We knew the Lord would always put good people in our path for our good," she said. "They were just so good to us."

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

UK Grad Student Receives Grant to Study Racial Disparities in Nation's High Schools

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) — The Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) recently awarded University of Kentucky Family Sciences doctoral student Albert Ksinan with a Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) Emerging Scholars Grant to analyze data from the United States Department of Education (ED).

 

Ksinan, from Ostravice, Czech Republic, and a member of UK's Graduate Student Congress, will use the CRDC datasets to conduct an extensive study under the guidance of Alexander T. Vazsonyi, John I. and Patricia J. Buster Endowed Professor of Family Sciences in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and professor of psychology. The study will assess racial disparities among American high schools with a particular emphasis on potential similarities or differences in rural versus non-rural school settings.

 

"I am very happy to be given the wonderful opportunity to work with the national data set on all American schools," Ksinan said. "However, our work is just beginning. At the end of it, we hope to shed some light on prevailing racial disparities in school discipline measures and to see which districts are affected the most."

 

The grant was made possible with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

 

"Based mostly on his own initiative, this is a tremendous opportunity for Albert in terms of the research process and experience to work with this national data set," said Vazsonyi. "I am also humbled that he received such an important international recognition, though he is very deserving of it. Albert will undoubtedly benefit greatly from both the experience and the exposure moving forward at the University of Kentucky and beyond."

 

The U.S. Dept. of Education directs the CRDC to collect data on key education and civil rights issues in our nation's public schools. The agency collects a variety of information including student enrollment and educational programs, disaggregated by race/ethnicity, sex, limited English proficiency and disability. The CRDC is a longstanding and important aspect of the department's Office for Civil Rights' overall strategy for administering and enforcing civil rights statues for which it's responsible.

 

Founded in 1984, the SRA is widely considered the premier research organization focused on theoretical, empirical and policy research issues of adolescence. Through its biennial meetings and publications, SRA promotes the distribution of research on adolescents and serves as a network and forum for its members.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACTS: Darius Owens, darius.owens@uky.edu, 757-270-3685; Carl Nathe, carl.nathe@uky.edu, 859-257-3200.

 

 

 

UK-UofL Joint Executive MBA Off to Strong Start

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) — Twenty students are taking their first classes this week in the new University of Kentucky-University of Louisville joint master of business administration program for executives, and the early returns are excellent.

 

The University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics and the University of Louisville College of Business have teamed up on the executive MBA program (EMBA) aimed at preparing mid-level executives at profit, non-profit and government organizations for senior leadership positions.

 

Seven women and 13 men are in this inaugural cohort. The average age of the students is 42, and the average work experience is 18 years. Four vice presidents and two doctors are among the students in the class.

 

(To see a video from one of this week's first classes, please click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS9YOpjmKfY&feature=youtu.be).

 

The schedule, which kicked off with a full week of classes while the students are in residence, calls for a 17-month program. After this week, students will attend classes every other weekend, allowing them to keep their existing jobs, while preparing for more senior roles. About half of the classes will take place in Louisville and half in Lexington, with courses offered in three- to four-week terms that alternate between the two campuses.

 

The program’s 46-credit-hour curriculum includes 22 course hours on management, six on current business issues, four each on accounting, economics, finance and marketing and two on quantitative methods. Total program tuition is $67,500.

 

"We're very excited about this initial cohort that we have assembled for the EMBA," said Joe Labianca, Gatton Endowed Chair in Management and director of the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center and the Executive MBA Program. "These 20 executives are all excellent, averaging 18 years of workplace experience at high levels of a wide variety of industries and functions. They will set a very high standard for this program."

 

Rohan Christie-David, interim dean of UofL's College of Business, agreed.

 

"The EMBA program is getting off to a good start," he said. “It's wonderful to see the interest and enthusiasm for this degree.”

 

UofL and UK officials have said the program will allow students to learn from the best business educators in the state and will boost Kentucky’s business climate by providing an advanced education to emerging leaders who might otherwise leave the area.

 

The recruiting process already is underway for the next cohort, which will begin the program in August 2015.

 

For more details, see http://execmba.biz/ or contact Vernon Foster, UofL's executive director of MBA programs and career management, at 502-852-2855 or Labianca at 859-257-3741.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; carl.nathe@uky.edu.

 

 

 

Champions Court Opens its Doors Today

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 15:49

 

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. (Aug. 14, 2014) Champions Court I, one of the five new residence halls opening at the University of Kentucky this fall, will open its doors today.

 

The community is invited to tour the facility from 3-6 p.m. today, Thursday August 14. Those who attend will see much more than a place to sleep.

 

Champions Court I and II, Woodland Glen I and II and the new Haggin Hall represent the latest chapter in a new era of student housing. Forged through an unprecedented public-private partnership with Education Realty Trust (EdR) — a $348.3 million investment in high-tech living and learning spaces — the residence halls are designed to bolster and support student success throughout the institution.

 

In addition to the two-bedroom suites, in which each student has his or her own private bedroom, the residence halls also provide common areas designed for building community within the hall. Study spaces, in which faculty members can plan programming, as well as classrooms within the residence halls also provide areas for students to learn where they live.

 

“Our effort in housing is to build community for a new generation. The spaces that are coming to life across campus are places for people to gather, collaborate and create,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The comprehensive redevelopment of our residence halls and the growth of the living-learning programs we offer are about the social and intellectual development of our students; it’s about inspiring human transformation through community.”

 

UK is assessing the potential of building up to 9,000 new residence hall beds over the next five to seven years, and up to $500 million in private equity investment to transform living and learning space on the campus. Over the last two years, at the direction of Capilouto and the Board of Trustees, the university has initiated ― or is about to begin ― more than $600 million in construction of new campus living, learning, research and quality of life spaces.

 

Last fall, the university celebrated the completion of the first phase of campus transformation, with 601 beds opening in Central Halls I and II — a $25.2 million investment.

 

Phase Two will progress accordingly:

  • Phase 2-A: 2,381 beds in the new Haggin Hall, Woodland Glen I and II; Champions Court I and II; a $138 million investment; opening fall 2014
  • Phase 2-B: 1,610 beds in Woodland Glen III, IV, V; a $101.2 million investment will open fall 2015

 

Highlights of the new residence halls include:

  • Supportive technology for modern student living, including Ethernet and wireless connection and satellite connection throughout
  • Rooms equipped with a microwave-fridge combination unit, generous storage areas, high-tech study areas and other amenities
  • Tempur-Pedic mattresses
  • Granite countertops
  • High-tech laundry facilities that will alert students to machine availability and status of their wash load via their computer or cell phone
  • Works by Kentucky artists in the lobbies

 

The University of Kentucky also recently negotiated a 15-year, nearly $250 million contract with Aramark, creating another public-private partnership that will transform dinging services for the campus community. The partnership provides opportunities to provide healthier food at lower cost to students, enhance service, invest millions in modern facilities and boost the university's commitment to locally sourced food.

 

New brands coming to UK's campus in 2014 as a result of this partnership include Burger Studio, Common Grounds, Einstein Bros., Greens to Go, Rising Roll Gourmet and Taco Bell Express.

 

Parking for guests touring Champions Court is available in the Student Center parking lot, off of the Avenue of Champions.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

 

VIDEO: Community-Based Rural Cancer Prevention Program Provides Free At-Home Screening Kit for Colorectal Cancer

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:28

 

Video by UK Research Media

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) — The University of Kentucky announced in July a $3.75 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a community-based colorectal cancer prevention initiative designed to promote better screening for the disease in rural areas.

 

The funding will provide free FIT kits, new at-home colorectal cancer screening tools, to local health departments and support outreach through UK's Rural Cancer Prevention Center over the next five years.

 

A new video by UK Research Media features cancer survivors, community leaders and medical experts discussing the project. 

  

 

 

 

MRI Used to Study Possible Therapies for Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2014) — Studies show that adults who received corrective surgery for the most common serious form of congenital heart disease as infants are susceptible to heart failure in adulthood.

 

Researchers at the University of Kentucky are using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to better understand the cause of heart failure in these patients, with the goal of eventually developing new therapies to reduce mortality. The team, led by University of Kentucky professor Dr. Brandon Fornwalt, recently published their findings in an article appearing in the European Heart Journal titled, "Patients with Repaired Tetralogy of Fallot Suffer From Intra- and Inter-Ventricular Cardiac Dyssynchrony: A Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Study."  

 

The most common type of birth defect, congenital heart disease describes a problem with the structure of the heart that is present at birth. Many patients who are born with congenital heart disease receive surgeries as infants that will allow them to grow into adulthood. Adults living with congenital heart disease are now a growing population with complex medical problems. About two million adults in the United States are living with congenital heart disease, which accounts for more than double the years of life lost compared with that of all forms of childhood cancer combined. Hospital costs for congenital heart disease have quadrupled in the past seven years.

 

Tetralogy of Fallot is the most common serious form of congenital heart disease. The mortality rate of patients with tetralogy of Fallot triples 25 years after the initial surgery, and heart failure accounts for two-thirds of those deaths. In most cases, the surgical repair of tetralology of Fallot creates a disruption in the electrical system of the heart known as a right bundle branch block. This right bundle branch block could contribute to the development of an uncoordinated, or “dys-sychronous,” contraction in the heart. Dyssynchrony may play a role in the development of heart failure in these patients, and could potentially be treated with a pacemaker. However, significant research needs to will be required to investigate the pacemaker as a potential treatment option.

 

The University of Kentucky collaborated with several academic institutions to determine whether patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot suffer from cardiac dyssynchrony. Through advanced cardiac MRI technology available at UK, a research team quantified the location and extent of dyssychrony in the hearts of healthy control subjects and patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot. By observing patterns of contraction in the hearts using MRI, the researchers were able to identify dyssychrony in specific regions of the heart in the patients with tetralogy of Fallot. Their goal is to ultimately understand whether this dyssynchrony leads to cardiac failure long-term, and whether a pacemaker could potentially be used as a way to reverse the dyssynchrony and ultimately improve mortality in patients with tetralogy of Fallot.

 

"The goal of our research is to use imaging to change the way we practice medicine and ultimately improve lives," said Fornwalt, an assistant professor and researcher in the departments of pediatrics, biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, physiology and cardiology at UK. "This study represents a small step in that direction, but we have lots more work to do to truly understand whether patients with tetralogy of Fallot might benefit from a pacemaker long-term."

 

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health through the Director’s Early Independence Award Program and a grant to the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science from the National Center for Research Resources and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

WUKY Radio to Host Mayoral Forum One Week Before November Election

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 16:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) — Lexington mayoral candidates Jim Gray and Anthany Beatty will meet face-to-face in a town hall style forum on the University of Kentucky campus one week before Election Day. They have agreed to participate in WUKY's "town and gown" forum from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, in Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center.

 

WUKY will broadcast the debate live at 91.3 FM and on wuky.org.

 

“We have been in the planning stages since early summer and will be gathering questions directly from the community," WUKY News Director Alan Lytle said.  "We’re also happy to be working with several other groups that have helped get this project off the ground.” 

 

The Citizen Kentucky Project of UK's Scripps Howard First Amendment Center and the UK Gaines Center for the Humanities are among those partnering with WUKY for this event.

 

“We are pleased to be leading this effort at WUKY and to give these two distinguished candidates the opportunity to share with all of us their vision for the future of Lexington,” said WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.

 

The staff at WUKY, and others, will gather video and written questions from the voting public over the next two months in preparation for the forum and submissions will also be taken online via email to wuky@wuky.org. Emmy-winning journalist and news anchor Nancy Cox of WLEX-18 will moderate. 

 

“We are excited to bring this opportunity to citizens, the campus community, and most of all voters, who will have an important decision to make in early November,” Lytle said.

 

For more information contact or Alan Lytle @ aflytle@uky.edu and 859-257-9859 or Karyn Czar @ karyn.czar@uky.edu and 859-396-1224.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155; kathy.johnson@uky.edu

Healy to Serve as Academic Ombud for 2014-2015

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 16:44
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) Michael P. Healy, Wendell H. Ford Professor of Law, will assume the role of University of Kentucky academic ombud for 2014-2015.

 

The Office of Academic Ombud Services at the University of Kentucky, is responsible for assisting students and instructors in resolving academic related problems and conflicts. The office ensures that fair policies, processes and procedures are equitably implemented.

Healy's term began Aug 1, 2014 and will continue through June 20, 2015.

 

"I want to extend sincere thanks to Dr. Sonja Feist-Price for her excellent service during the past three years," said UK Provost Christine Riordan. "We look forward to watching the office continue to excel under Dr. Healy's leadership."

 

Click here for the Office of Academic Obmbud Services website.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

Regeneration Bonus: Jeramiah Smith

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 16:42

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) — University of Kentucky biologist Jeramiah Smith studies salamanders and sea lamprey to find genetic clues to regeneration. Smith works closely with colleague Randal Voss on sequencing the salamander genome. Both are in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. "It’s 10 times bigger than the human genome, even though it probably contains essentially the same genes as the human genome," he said. "So there are lessons that can be learned about how organisms deal with all the DNA they have by looking at sort of this extreme example in salamanders. It can provide an important perspective on what the ancestral genome looked like."
Like salamanders, sea lamprey can regenerate their spinal cord.

"They’ll repair their spinal cord, and in five weeks the animal can swim perfectly," Smith says. "We think that this unique biology of lamprey can allow us a handle into identifying those specific cell types that are maybe set aside that permit regeneration.
"The overarching goal is to begin to bring some of what we learn to application — human healing or human injury repair. Now that’s sort of always been the goal for probably close to a century. We know these animals heal, and we’d like to figure out how so we can heal better. You can think of this as several baby steps, too, in terms of identifying some of the factors that allow cells to create these special undifferentiated cell types that promote regeneration. "You have billions of cell divisions and all the cells, sort of by and large, do what they’re supposed to do. Understanding that complexity of life is really motivating to me to be able to appreciate how life does what it does.
"One of the reasons why I like these genomes is that I just love the paleontology of it. If I had my choice of a career and didn’t have to think about paying for my kids’ school and all that stuff, I would probably be a paleontologist and dig for fossils. But really, genomics is almost as pleasing, if not more pleasing than that because by accessing the genomes of these animals, describing them, and then comparing them with other genomes that have been sequenced, you’re often the first person to know what was going on half a billion years ago. It’s sort of like the kid-in-the-dinosaur-museum thing." Learn more about UK's "regeneration cluster" at http://reveal.uky.edu/regeneration.
 

 

Research Investigates Another "Kentucky Ugly": Mental Health Disparities

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 15:38

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) -- From the New York Times to visits from the director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, health disparities in Appalachia are receiving a lot of attention, and for good reason. The list is sadly familiar: life expectancy in the region is about five years lower than national averages; rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and unintentional injury are among the very worst in the country; and myriad socioeconomic and geographic barriers limit access to health insurance and care.  Former University of Kentucky President Lee Todd Jr. famously referred to these measures as the "Kentucky uglies."

 

Kentucky has yet another "ugly," equally serious but less cited than the rest:  Kentucky is ranked third in the U.S. for incidence of depression, with 23.5 percent of adults experiencing depression at some point during their lives, compared to 18 percent nationally.

 

And, as with the other "uglies," the problem is worse in Southeastern Ky., where more than 29 percent of adults have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Rates of depression are even higher among low-income women in Kentucky, 34 percent of whom have a lifetime incidence of depression compared with 22 percent of those who are not poor.

 

According to Claire Snell-Rood, a postdoctoral fellow in the UK College of Medicine's Department of Behavioral Science, understanding how women in the region conceptualize the experience of depression is critical to addressing the problem. Following doctoral work at the University of Virginia — including a Fulbright grant to study the social strategies of women in an Indian slum to promote health — she is currently the leading a grant from UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science to study social and cultural factors that limit women in Appalachia from seeking treatment for depression.  Carl Leukefeld, chair of the  Department of Behavioral Science, is the principal investigator. 

 

"This study comes from the fact that we know that Eastern Kentucky has extremely high rates of depression. By county, sometimes it's twice or three times the national rate. And we know it's a mental health professional shortage area. But we don’t really know much about the experience of the women in the region who suffer from depression," she said.

 

The study is also motivated by the decades of research showing that mental health is fundamental to all aspects of health and health behavior, a consideration that can't be overlooked in a region with many of the worst health challenges in the country.

 

"Mental health is really crucial in shaping people's elemental health behavior," she explains. "Who you believe you are and how you feel about yourself is sometimes more important than what you think is the best thing for your physical health. And those things are really shaped by our culture. "

 

She is particularly interested in why women in Appalachia do and don't seek treatment for depression. Compared to people outside the region, residents of Appalachia are more likely not to receive treatment for depression because they don't feel the need or fear stigma. Snell-Rood is exploring this through in-depth interviews with 28 women who all have symptoms of depression but haven't all sought treatment.  

 

Fran Feltner, director of the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health (CERH), and CERH staff provided guidance to Snell-Rood from the very beginning of the study, offering suggestions on research methods, outreach, and some of the social and cultural factors that were likely involved in the problem. An enthusiastic research assistant from CERH, Keisha Hudson, coordinated with community health workers to identify women and arrange interviews.  When the research team was challenged by repeated no-shows to interviews, CERH staff offered suggestions for alternatives and solutions.

 

"Their infrastructure and drive were essential in making this research happen," she said.

 

According to Feltner, major challenges to mental health care in Appalachia continue to be centered around access to care, including transportation and shortages of mental health professionals, despite positive impacts from the Affordable Care Act and Kynect. Barriers such as stigma, however, aren't necessarily resolved by insurance or transportation.

 

“In many cases, culturally, people do not look at depression the same way they might view heart disease or diabetes.  There are stigmas associated with depression and people are often reluctant to seek help for fear that they will be viewed as weak and unable to take care of their own problems,” said Feltner.

 

Also key to the project is Dr. Nancy Schoenberg, a fellow medical anthropologist with expertise in community-based participatory interventions, chronic disease prevention and management, self-care, and qualitative and complementary methodology.

 

"Dr. Schoenberg has extensive experience in taking understandings about culture and health problems and translating them into relevant interventions," Snell-Rood said.

 

Snell-Rood and her team are beginning to analyze their findings in order to understanding how women feel about their depressive symptoms, the origins of the illness, the impact on daily life and general health, help-seeking and self-management strategies for depression, and the degree to which they face stigma from their family and community.

 

This goal parallels National Institute of Mental Health's stated priority on the investigation of "mechanisms by which culturally associated beliefs about mental illness and is treatability impact the early development and interpretation of symptoms as well as timely referral for evaluation and intervention."  The hope is that findings from this pilot study will lead to further funding from the NIMH to inform family- and community-based solutions for regional and rural mental health disparities. 

 

The project is also raising complicated questions about the intersection of mental health, characteristics of the Appalachian region, and logistics and ethics of research: What does it mean to be depressed in a depressed area? How might mental health contribute to high substance abuse rates in the region? How do you conduct participatory research about something people don't want to talk about, and how do you develop interventions that are community-based when you're dealing with sensitive issues and privacy concerns?

 

Snell-Rood knows that these questions won't be answered in the course of a single study, but she hopes to contribute to the solutions. While analysis of the interviews are ongoing, a few themes are already emerging. About half of the women interviewed had never sought treatment; those who had sought treatment reported mixed impressions, frequent use of pharmacology, and limited time with their providers.

 

Perhaps most strikingly, everyone talked about fear of judgment. Stigma related to mental illness is potentially more severe in a region characterized by values of family reliance and cohesion that might disincentivize people to share emotional difficulties, especially if they relate to private histories.

 

Two studies have furthermore shown that communities in the region don't rank mental health as a priority health concern. Snell-Rood suspects that even this finding is related to stigma.


"It's often just not as easy to talk about mental health as it as about heart health," she says.

 

Knowing this, she is especially grateful to the women who agreed to be interviewed, even though it meant opening up about things that are often considered private.

 

"So many women said 'I'll share this with you because I want to help. I want to make sure there's are more resources here in the future than there are now.' They were giving us something that was extremely valuable."

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, mallory.powell@uky.edu

 

 

UK Named One of Top Hospitals with Great Oncology Programs

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 15:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) – Becker’s Hospital Review magazine has listed the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital among the nation’s “100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Oncology Programs” in its recently released compilation of leading cancer care providers in the United States. The UK Markey Cancer Center, whose clinical programs are integrated with Chandler, received a National Cancer Institute cancer center designation in July 2013.

 

According to the health care industry trade publication, organizations included on the 2014 list are “leading the way in terms of quality of patient care, patient outcomes and research.” Becker’s noted Markey's recent NCI designation, its 29 percent patient growth over the past five years, and its status as a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers for 10 cancer types.

 

The Becker's Hospital Review editorial team selected hospitals for inclusion based on rankings and awards they have received from a variety of reputable sources. The following awards were considered as part of the criteria for inclusion on the list: U.S. News & World Report cancer rankings, Truven Health Analytics, CareChex cancer care rankings, National Cancer Institute designations, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accreditations, American Nurses Credentialing Center designations, and awards and Blue Distinction Center recognition from the BlueCross BlueShield Association.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or allison.perry@uky.edu

Collaborative Research Expands Knowledge of Space

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 13:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2014) — Research at the University of Kentucky expands well beyond campus, and thanks to  Professor Gary Ferland in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, we can measure the distance in light years instead of miles.

 

Ferland’s research focuses on theoretical atomic and molecular physics and how matter in space produces the light we see. Unlike other scientists, astronomers cannot perform experiments. They can’t reach out and touch another galaxy. But they can look into the universe's distant past by observing galaxies far from Earth. It’s a science driven by observation and analysis. For this reason, Ferland and his colleagues are experts in remote sensing.

 

“We take the light that we can receive here on Earth and figure out what’s happening out there,” Ferland said. “Our computers here on the Earth allow us to run simulations to see how matter in space emits light, and what that light tells us about the galaxy.”

 

In May, Ferland was awarded a Lererhulme Trust Professorship at Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland. There, Ferland continues his research with one of the world’s leading teams on atomic and molecular physics. These visiting professorships are one component of an increasingly collaborative astronomy field.

 

“Astronomy today is so expensive that entire countries can’t afford to purchase an instrument, like a deep space telescope, so researchers must be fiercely collaborative,” Ferland said. “It’s very liberating to be in Lexington and be able to telecommute with my colleagues across the globe.”

 

In the past six months, Ferland’s team has also been awarded two high-profile research grants, from the National Science Foundation and NASA’s Theoretical Astrophysics program that will support their endeavors. These awards, amounting to more than $1 million, contribute to the theoretical calculations Ferland’s group conducts here at UK.

 

Ferland’s no stranger to these computer simulations, especially considering he built the industry standard. Ferland developed a computer program, Cloudy, to simulate and understand these processes. Cloudy is now one of the more widely used theory code in all of astrophysics. Cloudy was open source from its birth, allowing the astronomy community to improve and maintain it.

 

“I started Cloudy in 1978 at Cambridge and my work on it has continued ever since,” Ferland said. “It’s completely open-source. As the atomic theory gets better, computers get faster, Cloudy gets better and is able to tell us what is happening at the edge of the universe.”

 

To learn more about Ferland's research listen to this A&S podcast from 2013. 

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