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;


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,

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


“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 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 @ and 859-257-9859 or Karyn Czar @ and 859-396-1224.




MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155;

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;

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


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,



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

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. 

UK's Barnes Celebrates Kentucky Nature in New Book

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) —  Thomas G. Barnes, extension professor and extension wildlife specialist in the Department of Forestry, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky, has published a new book, “Kentucky, Naturally: The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund at Work.” The book celebrates properties that have been purchased with the assistance of the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund within the first 20 years of the program.


Barnes, an award-winning Kentucky nature photographer, displays hundreds of photographs of the state’s protected lands in "Kentucky, Naturally."


"Photography is a medium that, particularly with natural resources, has great potential for teaching and for conservation. There's a long history of photography, going back to Ansel Adams, for protecting outstanding natural lands,” Barnes said. "Every time I step into the natural world I am reminded of how special it is to live in such a beautiful state, to still have places to roam the woods, to be reinvigorated by the sights and sounds of nature.”


The book also includes a little information about each site, such as directions to plan visits, and a list of rare species that may live there.


Barnes has spent three decades honing his wildlife photography skills throughout the Bluegrass and has authored more than 50 scientific research articles, 60 cooperative extension publications and 100 magazine articles.


His previous book, “Kentucky’s Last Great Places,” was nominated for the Kentucky Literary Award in nonfiction. Other published books include “Gardening of the Birds,” “The Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky,” “The Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky,” “The Gift of Creation- Images from Scripture and Earth” and “How to Find and Photograph Kentucky Wildflowers.”


Established in 1994, the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund provides funding for preserving and conserving natural areas that possess unique features such as: areas that are a habitat for rare and endangered species; areas important to migratory birds; areas that perform important natural functions that are subject to alteration or loss; and areas to be preserved in their natural state for public use, outdoor recreation and education.


"Kentucky, Naturally," published by Acclaim Press, is now available in local bookstores, Kentucky State Park gift shops, and on




MEDIA CONTACTS: Rachel Knuth,, 757-971-1503; Carl Nathe,, 859-257-3200.




Get Involved With Student Activities Board

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 23:16

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2014) — Committee chair applications for the Student Activities Board are now available. Applications can be printed off from the website or picked up in the SAB office, 204 Student Center. All applications are due Monday, Sept. 8, at noon and must be turned into the office. Applicants will also go through an interview process Sept. 10-12, during evening hours. The director of cultural arts and the director of market esearch positions are also available. Job descriptions and further information can be found on the applications.


Students can apply to be a committee chair for a variety of committees, including Promotions, Market Research, Cultural Arts and Engaging Issues. Committee chairs work closely with a number of members of the entire board, such as the executive team, the promotions team, the director of their committee, and their fellow committee chairs. Chairs will be given tasks to complete during individualized office hours that utilize their strengths and expand their knowledge of the committee they work with.


"Choosing to get involved with SAB was the best decision I have made in college. Putting on events and providing opportunities for students to have unique college experiences, such as singing along with The Lumineers, laughing with Aziz Ansari or cheering on the Cats at a Cat Watch Party, has made my time on campus feel much more valuable,” said Rachel Sloan, vice president of internal affairs. “Not only is it rewarding to be able to give back to campus this way, but SAB has allowed me to find my community on campus, and I couldn't be more grateful for the people I've met through the organization!”


Involvement is an important part of any student’s experience and growth at the University of Kentucky. The Student Activities Board provides a place for any student to become involved through a variety of positions. Committee chairs will be celebrated, utilized, and challenged through their positions on the board. They will receive hands-on experience with the diverse and engaging events the board offers.


SAB brings more than 100 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff and the greater Lexington community.


Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at or Instagram at or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.



MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

Art Therapy Drawn into the Patient Care Landscape at Markey Cancer Center, Eastern State Hospital

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 14:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2014) — More patients are benefiting from the healing effect of creative art therapies as UK HealthCare expands the presence of art and music therapy at the Markey Cancer Center and Eastern State Hospital.


This summer, a music therapist and an art therapist joined the staff at UK HealthCare to serve patients at Eastern State Hospital and the Markey Cancer Center. The two full-time employees split their time leading group art or music therapy sessions for patients with mental illness at Eastern State Hospital and oncology patients at the Markey Cancer Center.


New music therapist Jennifer Peyton earned her master's degree in music therapy from Florida State University. In addition to owning a private practice and teaching music therapy at the University of Louisville, she has served as the medical music therapy coordinator and internship director at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Florida State. Her clinical experience includes working in medical, hospice, rehabilitation and psychiatric settings. Fran Belvin received her master's degree in expressive art therapy from the University of Louisville in 1997. In addition to teaching art therapy at UK, Belvin has worked as an art therapist for Hospice of the Bluegrass and as a substance abuse treatment prevention coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health. Belvin has also worked as an art therapist in private practice.


"I am really excited that UK has decided to increase the expression of arts therapies in their clinical care," Belvin said.


Lori Gooding, director of music therapy at UK HealthCare, said the Markey Cancer Center supported the hiring of additional art therapists for sessions with oncology patients. The integration of art and music therapy as part of the clinical experience represents UK HealthCare's emphasis on caring for the "whole" patient through psychological, emotional and physical services. Gooding said creative arts therapies, which are proven to help patients address anxiety, depression, cognitive disability, chemotherapy and other health issues, add value to the patient's health care experience and increase quality of life.


"Integrative approaches to medical care that include complementary therapies are effective and do help meet the patient's needs," Gooding said. "It speaks to the idea that there is increased collaboration across the university. You see this between two areas that might not normally be working together."


In a recent survey from the UK Center for Advanced Surgery, more than 98 percent of patients said music therapy improved their perception of the health care experience at UK. The same survey showed that 97 percent of parents reported that their child benefited from music therapy. Music therapy is associated with patient satisfaction and reimbursement for medical services. Belvin said not all patients respond to the same types of intervention, but she has seen many patients benefit from art and music therapy.


"Just getting this practice to patients is my biggest goal," Belvin said. "Give people the opportunity to express themselves, and amazing things happen."


In addition, the UK Arts in HealthCare program recently installed the first art exhibit at Eastern State Hospital. The exhibit, which includes professional pieces, is located in the common area of the building.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Researchers Discover Surprising Differences in How Teen Athletes Experience Concussion

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 14:27


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2014) – With multiple concussions between the two of them, Dan Han and Lisa Koehl's latest research interest isn't surprising.  


"I played competitive soccer through high school and continue to play recreationally," says Koehl, a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky's Department of Psychology, "so I have firsthand experience with the dynamics that come into play when a teen suffers a concussion."


As a former high school assistant principal in the Chicago public school system, Han was responsible for overseeing student-athletes' return to school after a concussion. Han left educational administration to pursue his doctorate in neuropsychology. Now director of the Multidisciplinary Concussion Program at the UK HealthCare, Han has a reputation for top-notch clinical work and research on concussion.


"There aren't many places in Kentucky where you find a true multidisciplinary concussion program," Han says. "UK HealthCare's Multidisciplinary Concussion Program embraces an interdepartmental group effort -- from neurology, from neurosurgery, sports medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, from the trauma team -- we all work together to look at how brain injury affects the cognitive, physical and emotional state of our patients."


This group effort puts the athlete's safety first. For that reason,  UK HealthCare's concussion program is the go-to for the athletics programs at Fayette County Public Schools, the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, and Kentucky State University, who all rely on the UK Multidisciplinary Concussion Program's clinical expertise in sports concussion for state-of-the-art input to help make decisions affecting an athlete's return to play.


Add to Han's clinical skills a lifelong love of full contact martial arts (Han practices kickboxing and Brazilian jujitsu), and it's easy to see how Han and Koehl are well-suited to study the symptoms of sports concussions. 


Drawing from a large UK database of patients with brain injury, Koehl and Han used a subset of 37 athletes aged 12 to 17 to explore post-concussion changes in physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms over time.


According to Koehl, 22 of the 37 study participants demonstrated post-concussive emotional symptoms. Of those, 23 percent were sensitive to light while 14 percent were sensitive to noise. In comparison, of the 15 teens without emotional symptoms, 13 percent were sensitive to light and no teens were sensitive to noise.


There were no differences between the two groups in factors such as what percentage experienced loss of consciousness, amnesia, nausea and/or headaches, indicating that the groups were likely comparable in the level of severity of concussion.


"We discovered a bidirectional relationship between both emotional symptoms developing in conjunction with physical symptoms, and also emotional symptoms developing because of the physical symptoms," said Koehl. 


In other words, said Koehl, "This research gives us a better understanding of the interaction between physical and emotional symptoms in concussion and will allow us to explore ways to help adolescents recover in a more timely fashion."


According to Han, teens in the study who reported anxiety were 55 percent more likely to experience attention difficulties than those without anxiety, while teens with irritability/aggression were 35 percent more likely to self-report problems with attention than teens without irritability.


"While these findings are preliminary and require a larger sample size to predict outcomes with more confidence, we are intrigued by the potential these data offer in terms of providing teens with a better treatment plan based on their unique cognitive, physical and emotional response to concussion," Han said.


"Identifying factors that affect a teen's experience after concussion may help in planning for the appropriate treatment and in making decisions about when to return to play and what accommodations are needed at school during recovery.”



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UK Musicians Score Rave from Saxophone Today

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2014) — The musical talents of University of Kentucky students in the UK Mega-Sax, UK Saxophone Quartet and UK Wind Symphony, as well as Miles Osland, UK School of Music saxophone professor and director of UK Jazz Studies, were recently praised in a review by Saxophone Today. Performances critiqued by the magazine were part of the new CD, "Mega Mega Saxophone at the University of Kentucky."


"Mega Mega" is a collection of new recordings by UK student ensembles and faculty groups, the Osland/Dailey Duo and the Osland Saxophone Quartet, produced by Osland. The CD first features a UK Wind Symphony and Osland Quartet piece commissioned by UK. Billy Kerr of Saxophone Today describes the piece as, “The wonderful sound of the Wind Symphony belies the fact that the musicians are students. The quartet’s performance is flawless, exhibiting a great ability to pass the musical line from one voice to the other, with a lovely ensemble sound.”


The CD also includes UK Mega-Sax performing Thelonious Monk’s great ballad, “Crepuscule with Nellie,” arranged by saxophonist and arranger Greg Yaskinitsky, as well as an adaptation of band leader/arranger Gordon Goodwin’s piece, “Gordon’s Goodies.” “Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano” composed by Raleigh Dailey, UK associate professor of jazz studies and piano, and Osland follows.


The UK Saxophone Quartet, under the direction of Lisa Osland, adjunct saxophone professor at UK, is showcased in two pieces, “Saxophone Quartet #1,” by John Carisi, and “Escape to the Center,” by Dana Wilson.


The closing piece “…Who Needs Enemies?,” by Russell Peterson, features members of UK Mega-Sax and the UK Wind Symphony, which is directed by John Cody Birdwell, director of UK Bands. The composition is described by Kerr as “a frenetic romp, showcasing the quartet as a traditional sax section, with all the members improvising as well. A fitting high-energy conclusion to this action packed CD.”


"Mega Mega" isn’t the first artistic work by Miles Osland, who has been a major force in saxophone and saxophone education for two decades. He is the author of a two-volume "Scale Anthology" and several analytical transcription books. Noting his success, Saxophone Today called him “the organizer of one of the best saxophone studios in North America.”


"Mega Mega" CD is available from Amazon, CD Universe, and


The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.



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

Subba Reddy Palli Named Fellow of Entomological Society of America

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 08:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2014) — An entomologist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment was recently named a fellow of the Entomological Society of America. Society members bestow this distinction on colleagues who have made outstanding contributions in research, teaching, extension and/or administration.



Professor Subba Reddy Palli is best known for developing RNA interference technology that kills insect pests and fights resistance to insecticides, particularly in beetles and bed bugs.


While his work is based in developing environmentally sound pest management tactics, it also could have tremendous public health implications. He played a key role in developing a gene-switch technology that is in clinical trials to determine if it will regulate cancer-fighting genes in humans. The technology is also being used to regulate genes in plants.


Palli also serves as co-director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies, a recently established National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.


Within the Entomological Society, Palli has served as president of the Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology Section and received its 2013 Recognition Award for his research accomplishments.


Palli has received numerous UK awards since joining the Department of Entomology faculty in 2002. He has published 130 peer-reviewed journal articles, 20 book chapters and has co-edited a book. He is a co-inventor on 28 patents.


In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of 10 journals and has served on the grant review panels of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Research Initiative, National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Palli will be recognized along with the nine other recipients during the society’s annual meeting Nov. 16-19 in Portland, Oregon.


Palli is the fifth UK entomologist to be named a fellow of the society. Additional fellows include current UK professors Dan Potter and Ken Yeargan. Professor emeritus Fred Knapp and the late Bobby Pass also received the distinction.




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

WUKY, WMKY Form News Partnership Covering Central and Eastern Kentucky

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 23:21


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2014) — WUKY and Morehead State Public Radio (MSPR) team up to provide better news coverage of Central and Eastern Kentucky.


WUKY (91.3 FM), Kentucky’s oldest public radio station at the University of Kentucky has reached an agreement with Morehead State Public Radio’s WMKY (90.3 FM), to exclusively exchange news stories and features produced in their respective newsrooms.


The partnership, which officially began July 21, is expected to enhance coverage of Central and Eastern Kentucky issues. 


“When you talk about Eastern Kentucky, no station does a better job of covering the region than WMKY in Morehead,” said WUKY News Director Alan Lytle. “I’m elated to bring the award-winning reporting of MSPR to our regional audience.”


“Our goal for the past several years has been to expand and extend the WUKY newsroom,” said WUKY General Manager Tom Godell. “By forging this historic partnership, we’re able to add two more seasoned broadcast journalists — Dan Conti and Chuck Mraz — to our team and provide exceptional coverage of news from Eastern Kentucky to our Lexington audience.”


"WUKY has a long history of providing the highest quality of news and information to the people of Central Kentucky,” said Paul Hitchcock, MSPR general manager.  "WMKY is excited to partner with WUKY to expand on our ability to serve the listeners in Eastern Kentucky."


Godell said comprehensive coverage of Eastern Kentucky’s unique challenges is an essential part of moving the entire state forward. 


“The recent 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty has focused increased national attention on Appalachia," Godell said. "WUKY’s partnership with WMKY will enable both stations to report more thoroughly on this region, and we hope over time to be joined by other public radio stations in Kentucky and West Virginia who care about the many issues facing the people of Appalachia.”


“As the SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region) discussions develop, the partnership between WMKY and WUKY will enhance our resources to focus on the key issues of Appalachia including education, employment, environment, health and wellness, tourism and transportation,” Hitchcock said.


The WUKY-WMKY partnership includes a variety of broadcast and online news content including daily spot news stories and in-depth feature reporting.

Talking Tuition on Today's 'UK Perspectives' on WUKY

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 22:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 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. On today's show, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday explains how UK is keeping tuition affordable for Kentuckians. 


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.

Inaugural Class Begins Joint Executive MBA Program

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 16:13

Lexington, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2014) — This weekend, Kentucky’s two largest business schools will welcome the inaugural class of students for the state’s first joint master of business administration program for executives.


The University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics and the University of Louisville College of Business are teaming up on the executive MBA program (EMBA) aimed at preparing mid-level executives at profit, non-profit and government organizations for senior leadership positions. Orientation takes place tomorrow (Aug. 9) at the Louisville Crowne Plaza Hotel and the PNC Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is scheduled to address the group.


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.


Classes begin this coming week in the 17-month program, with students attending 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 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;



UK Study Shows Promise for New Nerve Repair Technique

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 15:16

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2014) ­– A multicenter study including University of Kentucky researchers found that a new nerve repair technique yields better results and fewer side effects than other existing techniques.


Traumatic nerve injuries are common, and when nerves are severed, they do not heal on their own and must be repaired surgically. Injuries that are not clean-cut – such as saw injuries, farm equipment injuries, and gunshot wounds – may result in a gap in the nerve.


To fill these gaps, surgeons have traditionally used two methods: a nerve autograft (bridging the gap with a patient's own nerve taken from elsewhere in the body), which leads to a nerve deficit at the donor site; or nerve conduits (synthetic tubes), which can cause foreign body reactions or infections.


The prospective, randomized study, conducted by UK Medical Director of Hand Surgery Service Dr. Brian Rinker and others, compared the nerve conduit to a newer technique called a nerve allograft. The nerve allograft uses human nerves harvested from cadavers. The nerves are processed to remove all cellular material, preserving their architecture while preventing disease transmission or allergic reactions.


Participants with nerve injuries were randomized into either conduit or allograft repair groups. Following the surgeries, independent blind observers performed standardized assessments at set time points to determine the degree of sensory or motor recovery.


The results of the study suggested that nerve allografts had more consistent results and produced better outcomes than nerve conduits, while avoiding the donor site morbidity of a nerve autograft.


Rinker, a principal investigator of the study, describes it as a "game-changer."


"Nerve grafting has remained relatively unchanged for nearly 100 years, and both of the existing nerve repair options had serious drawbacks," Rinker said. "Our study showed that the new technique processed nerve allograft ­– provides a better, more predictable and safer nerve gap repair compared to the previous techniques."


Rinker also noted that work is underway to engineer nerve allografts with growth factors which would guide and promote nerve regeneration, theoretically leading to even faster recoveries and better results.


Other medical centers participating in the trial included the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center in Indianapolis, Georgia Hand, Shoulder and Elbow in Atlanta, and the Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore.


The study was funded by Axogen, Inc. Results were presented at the Annual Combined Meeting of the American Association for Hand Surgery, American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and the American Society of the Peripheral Nerve. Rinker's paper was voted Outstanding Paper of the Joint Session. 


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

UK Discovery Has Silver Lining

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 12:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2014) — In today's smartphone society, it is hard to imagine a world where people took an hour each day to reflect and enjoy a spot of tea, especially busy college students. But a recent discovery at University of Kentucky's Keeneland Hall suggests that wasn't such a far-fetched notion years ago.


Last January, as UK Residence Life staff prepared the residence hall for the return of students for the spring semester, they decided it was time to find out what was behind the doors of a metal safe housed at Keeneland. Current staff had no information on what the storage was being used for or a key to investigate. After conferring with UK Auxiliary Services a locksmith was called in to drill the door open, so the staff could decide if the cabinet was needed or could be used for another purpose.


To their surprise, UK Residence Life staff hit the mother lode, literally. Behind the metal doors was an abundance of silver, 93 pieces of silver serveware to be exact and a crystal ladle. The silver collection included three platters, two punch bowls and three ladles, three sugar and creamer sets, three coffee pot sets, a set of candleholders, a water pitcher, a percolator, an eight-piece tea set and 61 spoons.


To say the staff was excited by the discovery is an understatement. "It’s not every day you find treasures," said Sarah Nikirk, associate director of UK Auxiliary Services.


In addition to the silver, staff also found an inventory list and an envelope containing negatives of the portrait of Sarah Blanding, a former UK Dean of Women from 1924 to 1941 for whom Blanding Tower and its affiliated low-lying building in the Commons Complex are named.


The punch bowl shows a direct connection to the relationship between the residence hall and the historic Kentucky racetrack of the same name. Keeneland Hall was named after the racetrack's Keeneland Foundation, which donated $200,000 toward the building of a dormitory for women (more recently co-ed). Engraved with Miss Keeneland, the bowl's inscription notes the presentation of the bowl by the Keeneland Racing Association to former residents, who carried the title from 1962 to 1979. A photo of the punch bowl being presented to the first Miss Keeneland, Mary Ann Tobin, can be found in the 1963 Kentuckian yearbook. The award was presented at the residence hall's Christmas formal held at Lafayette Hotel. In addition to her name being inscribed on the bowl, Tobin received a small bowl to keep herself.


After the discovery of silver at Keeneland Hall, Residence Life boxed the treasures and sent them off to UK Special Collections Research Center and UK archivist Ruth Bryan to both research for any record of the collection and to also catalogue its breadth. While Bryan and Monica Stoch, of Auxiliary Services, could not find any concrete record of the collection, its future may shine on like the polished silver it is created from. UK Archives will retain the punch bowl celebrating the university's Miss Keenelands. 




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