Campus News

SCoBIRC Research Published in the Journal of Neuroscience

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 09:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jul. 13, 2015) – Macrophages are cellular sentinels in the body, assigned to identify “attacks” from viruses, bacteria or fungi and sound the alarm when they are present. However, these cells are a “double-edged sword” in spinal cord injury, providing both neural repair-promoting properties and pathological functions that destroy neuronal tissue


“We know from previous research that macrophages are versatile, and signals at the injury site can stimulate repair or destruction—or confusingly, both,” John Gensel, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky, said. “But the mechanisms through which these signals stimulate the good and/or bad functions in macrophages are not known. So the next big question to answer in the efforts to understand and treat SCI was, ‘Why?’”


Gensel teamed up with Phillip Popovich, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair (CBSCR) at The Ohio State University, to explore the mechanisms governing the positive and negative processes that occur in macrophages following spinal cord injury.


“On the cellular level, the body’s response to spinal cord injury is similar to the immune response to attacks by bacteria or viruses,” Gensel said. “The functions that macrophages adopt in response to these stimuli were the focus of our study.” 


Gensel and Popovich looked at more than 50 animals with spinal cord injury to try to identify which macrophage receptors promoted neuronal repair and which directed the destructive process.


“We found that activating bacterial receptors boosted the macrophage response and limited damage to the spinal cord following injury, while activating fungal receptors actually contributed to pathology,” Gensel said.


While this study oversimplifies the complex process by which macrophages promote repair and destruction of neuronal tissues, it nonetheless sheds light on opportunities to modulate macrophage responses after spinal cord injury, potentially reducing – or even reversing – damage and the resulting side effects.


“The implications are exciting: we now can look for treatments targeted to the receptors that jump-start the macrophage’s restorative effects without activating the receptors that modulate the destructive processes in that same cell.”


The study has been published as a Featured Article in the most recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.


MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Dawahare,

UK Horticulture Research Farm Twilight Tour is July 28

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 15:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2015) — From traditional to organic fruit and vegetable production, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Twilight Horticulture Tour will have something to interest just about anyone.


The UK Horticultural Research Farm in south Lexington is home to dozens of projects and variety trials, many of which the tour will showcase July 28. Three concurrent tours — vegetable tour, fruit tour, and a tour for sustainable agriculture vegetables, fruits and ornamentals — will repeat twice from 6 p.m. until dark.


"We will be able to show growers our latest research and hopefully give them some ideas of things they can do themselves," said John Strang, UK extension horticulture specialist. "This is such a great opportunity to really explore all the projects on the farm."


Strang said tour participants will have a chance to learn about research involving traditional and sustainable/organic growing practices.


Vegetable tour stops include:

·         Winter squash variety trial

·         Downy mildew sentinel plot

·         Watermelon anthracnose and pollinators

·         Evaluation of new pepper accessions for capsicum

·         Glucosinolates in arugula and mustards

·         Tomato breeding for mite resistance

·         Sugar enhanced sweet corn variety trial

·         Summer cover crop demonstration

·         Trap crops for stink bugs

·         Pumpkin plasticulture demonstration

·         Muskmelon variety trial

·         Triploid watermelon cultivar trial


Fruit tour stops include:

·         Kentucky Mesonet Weather Station and prediction models

·         Apple herbicides and haskap, blueberry and dwarf sour cherry variety trials

·         Bitter rot in apples

·         Ten years of UK grape research

·         Matted row strawberry variety trial


Stops on the sustainable vegetable and fruit tour include:

·         Evaluating slow-release aluminum sulfate for blue flowers in hydrangea and drone agricultural applications

·         Organic mixed vegetables for Community Supported Agriculture

·         Organic apple production study

·         Moveable high tunnels

·         Controlling cucumber beetles and squash bugs in muskmelons and winter squash with meso tunnels

·         Furrow guidance machine system for organic vegetable production


Tours will start at the research center parking lot. Cold drinks and melons will be available for participants.


The Twilight Tour is open to the public but is aimed at fruit and vegetable growers. For more information, contact Pam Compton at 859-257-2909 or


The UK Horticultural Research Farm is located on the south side of Lexington approximately one block west of the intersection of Man o' War Boulevard and Nicholasville Road (U.S. 27). The entrance to the farm, Emmert Farm Lane, is off Man o' War Boulevard at the traffic light opposite the entrance to Lowe's and Wal-Mart.




MEDIA CONTACT: Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707. 

Two UK Students Awarded Harry Barfield Scholarship

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 14:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2015) — Taylor Gadberry of Louisville, Kentucky, and Elizabeth Gabbert of Spottsville, Kentucky, were awarded the Kentucky Broadcasters Association Harry Barfield Scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year.


The Barfield scholarship is named in honor of Harry Barfield, the late president and chairman of WLEX-TV in Lexington.


The scholarship is awarded through a competitive application process, which includes academic achievement, the recommendation from a faculty member and extracurricular activities.


“The KBA is proud to be able to help these talented students pursue their higher education,” said Gary White, president and CEO of KBA.  “This year’s total of $20,000 in scholarship awards means that the KBA now has awarded a total of $225,000 in scholarships since the inception of the program in the 1992-93 academic year.  Many of these recipients have gone on to successful careers in broadcasting and other related communications fields.”


Gadberry will begin her junior year at UK in the fall. She plans on earning a degree in broadcast journalism.


“I was very grateful to receive this scholarship,” said Gadberry. “It is truly a blessing to receive this award because paying for school can be hard and taking out loans is always the last option for me."


Gabbert will also be a junior in the fall and is pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism.


“Receiving this scholarship will further push me to continue to strive to do my best because, as the letter I received said, I could continue to receive the scholarship if I keep up my accomplishments,” Gabbert said.


The scholarships are renewable for a second year provided recipients continue to meet specified criteria.

In Health Affairs, Huberfeld Analyzes Supreme Court Ruling that Undercut Medicaid

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 10:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 13, 2015) — Following the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) expansion of Medicaid eligibility, an estimated 14 to 18 million new beneficiaries will enroll in Medicaid over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. At the same time, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from March threatens the success of Medicaid and could undercut the entire program.


In this month's issue of Health Affairs, the leading journal of health policy thought and research, Nicole Huberfeld, Ashland-Spears Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law and bioethics associate at the UK College of Medicine, analyzes the Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc. ruling and its implications on Medicaid and health care reform.


In Armstrong, the Court terminated Medicaid providers’ ability to seek relief in federal courts when states fail to pay sufficient Medicaid rates. Huberfeld writes that sufficient payment for providers' services are vital to Medicaid delivery because payment rates are notoriously low.


"If providers are not being paid sufficiently to treat all of these new patients, Medicaid’s promise of medical assistance will not be very meaningful," Huberfeld said.


The court held that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not grant Medicaid providers the right to ask federal courts to force states to pay fair rates for their services, even when states violate the Medicaid Act of 1965.


In her analysis, Huberfeld writes that the ruling is a triumph for states in the cooperative federalism scheme of Medicaid.


"States have been seeking to limit private actions in federal courts to enforce the Medicaid Act for many years," Huberfeld said. "The Supreme Court has finally agreed with them that such actions are not available under the Supremacy Clause."


Given the opportunity, Huberfeld writes, states are likely to lower payment rates in the wake of Armstrong, and sufficient payment is key in equal access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries.    


Several studies have found that primary care physicians are more likely to accept new private insurance and Medicare patients than Medicaid patients, largely because of the reimbursement differential.


"Hospitals in Kentucky have complained recently that the ACA is costing them money because of the increase in Medicaid enrollment combined with the low rates Kentucky pays in the Medicaid program," Huberfeld said. "As of 2012, Kentucky paid approximately 77 perfect of what Medicare would pay for the same services."


Congress increased Medicaid fees for primary care services to Medicare levels Jan. 1, 2013, but the increase expired Dec. 31, 2014. Huberfeld writes in Health Affairs that recent studies show that this two-year increase in payment rates positively influenced physicians’ decisions to treat Medicaid patients, indicating that Medicaid enrollees’ access to primary care delivery is directly influenced by payment sufficiency.


So, how can payment sufficiency be secured now?


"HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) must provide greater oversight of states’ payment decisions," Huberfeld said. "The regulations that HHS published in draft form in 2011 must be completed so that states at least start to report and analyze the payment decisions they make in Medicaid."


To view the abstract of Huberfeld's analysis, "The Supreme Court Ruling That Blocked Providers From Seeking Higher Medicaid Payments Also Undercut The Entire Program," visit   




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

Migrant Youth Explore Career Possibilities at UK

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 17:30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2015) – At an early age, Jaime Hernandez was drawn to science. While other children started reading Dr. Seuss books, Hernandez gravitated toward books about rain cycles and nature.


Now 15 years old and contemplating his future, Hernandez believes his passion for science will eventually translate to a career in health care. But he’s hesitant to commit to a future in the medical profession without first talking to real health care providers and exploring all career opportunities within the medical industry.


“I want to make sure, at a young age, that having a medical career is something for me,” Hernandez said. “I can keep talking about how I want to be a doctor or nurse, but someone learning to be in that profession has to be very dedicated and ambitious. Even though I have those qualities, there could be something that I don’t like – I want to find out now rather than 10 years later.”


Hernandez, a native of Mexico who lives with his family in Paris, Kentucky, was one of 47 students to participate in the first Northeastern Kentucky Migrant Education Program hosted at the University of Kentucky in partnership with the Area Health Education Center (AHEC). During the 2015 camp held June 15-18, high school students from Eastern Kentucky visited UK’s campus to explore career options in health care, engineering, law enforcement, business and more. Throughout the week, faculty members from the UK College of Nursing, UK College of Engineering, the UK Gatton College of Business, the UK Graduate School and UK College of Medicine presented information about academic programs and career possibilities at the University of Kentucky.


For the past eight years, the Northeastern Kentucky Migrant Education Program has provided educational support programs for migrant students from 37 Eastern Kentucky counties. A similar program has operated solely in Fleming County for 20 years. In accordance with the recently revised College and Career Readiness requirements in Kentucky, the program prepares children of migrant families to pursue post-secondary education or alternative career paths. In recent years, summer camps camps have taken place at two regional universities. This year marks the first time students and parents selected the University of Kentucky as the host site. The AHEC program at UK developed a curriculum and schedule for the students based on input from parents and areas of interest identified by students.


“This summer, the University of Kentucky played a major role in guiding Kentucky’s migrant youth toward rewarding career paths,” Carlos Marin, assistant dean for community and cultural engagement at AHEC, said. “It’s our hope that students left their camp experience with greater knowledge and awareness of career possibilities in health care, as well as other professions.”


Highlights of the camp included a live minimally invasive surgery performed by Kentucky Children’s Hospital pediatric surgeon Dr. Joseph Iocono, a tour of Bluegrass Community and Technical College Campus and a chemistry lab experiment. Hernandez was most excited about looking inside a real trauma center during the group’s tour of the UK Chandler Hospital. He was encouraged by an inspirational talk from UK Provost Timothy Tracy given the final day of the camp.


“He talked about never giving up and to always go the extra mile because it would pay at the end,” Hernandez said. “It was a really awesome experience hearing him talk, and I will never forget it.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Zhang to Lead New Institute of Biomedical Informatics

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 16:36



LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2015) – A new Institute of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Kentucky will integrate and leverage large data systems across the academic and medical enterprise to improve patient care, research and education. GQ Zhang, Ph.D., will join UK Aug. 1 as director of the institute. He will also serve as chief of the newly established biomedical informatics division in the UK College of Medicine and co-director of the biomedical informatics core of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science.


The establishment of the institute and recruitment of Zhang and his research team reflect an enhanced investment in biomedical informatics across the UK campus and health care system.


"Dr. Zhang is an outstanding researcher with a long history of very innovative research, and he is able to bridge between basic science, translational science, and clinical science," said UK Provost Tim Tracy. "As universities look at clinical and translational science, they must have a strong biomedical informatics infrastructure to ensure that they can collect data and interface data systems across health care, research, and academic enterprises to find solutions to intractable problems that have been difficult to solve without adequate informatics capabilities."


Most recently the division chief of medical informatics and professor of computer science at Case Western Reserve University, Zhang brings to UK not only his extensive experience in integrating engineering, computer science, and medicine, but also an expert research team actively working on two national center grants from the National Institutes of Health.  Under his leadership, the UK Institute of Biomedical Informatics will facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration to integrate and utilize data that supports a learning health system and improved patient care. A primary asset is UK's Enterprise Data Trust (EDT), which holds massive and complicated data sets of institutional, state, and third-party payer health information requiring innovative approaches to unlock the knowledge embedded within.


"We want to consolidate and coordinate campus-wide efforts in the area of data science and informatics. We are increasingly facing large volumes of complex data that are more challenging to manage and take advantage of. The challenges are technological as well as cultural and regulatory," said Zhang.


According to Zhang, the era of "big data" and the complexity of modern health problems necessitate a new paradigm in how clinicians and investigators conduct research, deliver health care services, and provide education. A primary challenge in managing and leveraging biomedical data is that it's collected across contexts such as research versus clinical care, points in time (current versus past), and technology systems with different designs and terminologies. Zhang and his team have a nationally visible track record of addressing these challenges through innovations in computer science, such as knowledge representation, machine learning, and cloud computing. Specifically, they translate software engineering methodology and advanced computational algorithms into robust tools that enable data collection, integration, and exploration across the spectrum of the data life cycle.


"To be able to take advantage of the information generated during patient care, and to be able to achieve a learning health system and provide precision medicine, we need to take full advantage of the information generated through the entire process and link all types of information together. This has been one of the grand challenges in the clinical and biomedical enterprises," Zhang said.


Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs at UK, recognizes the need for an innovative biomedical informatics enterprise that informs and supports the highest quality patient care.


"At UK we provide care to Kentuckians and others throughout their lives. If we want to understand health experiences across the lifespan, improve patient outcomes, and deliver care most efficiently, we need to be able to utilize all the relevant information available to us. Only with objective data on effectiveness, outcomes, and research can we make the most informed decisions for improving people's lives, " he said.


Zhang will also guide the expansion of biomedical informatics education and training at UK, including the development of new graduate programs in the College of Engineering. Since biomedical informatics is an emerging and rapidly changing field, integrated training programs must consider dynamic and expanding workforce needs. Zhang plans to address both the supply and demand challenges of the biomedical informatics workforce by training of the next generation of informaticians here at UK.


"We need to be training the biomedical informaticians of the future. To be able to use complicated data sets for research and clinical purpose requires significant computer science knowledge and innovation," said Dr. Philip Kern, director of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), an interdisciplinary research center funded by the NIH to accelerate discoveries for human health.


While the biomedical informatics graduate program will be housed in the College of Engineering, students will work directly with physicians in the medical center and researchers in the academic domain to gain real-world experience in health data science and communicating across disciplines.


"This is a change from the traditional approach. The students will graduate more market ready than they would otherwise be if they only trained in the classroom," said Zhang.


In his role as co-director of the biomedical informatics core of the CCTS, Zhang will oversee provision of informatics services and resources to researchers across specialties.


"This is never a one-man effort," said Zhang. "Particularly in the informatics domain, it's team work including a spectrum of people, from regulatory to information technology to domain experts and staff and students."



MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,




WUKY Survey Underway

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 15:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2015) — WUKY, the University of Kentucky's NPR station, is seeking information from radio listeners and the general public. You are invited to participate in an online survey explaining how you use radio, along with social media, smartphones, tablets, streaming and the Web to stay connected to news, entertainment and updates from WUKY and other sources.



Responses will be confidential, no personal information will be shared with other organizations. Information will only be used to enhance WUKY's service to its listeners and the community.


The survey may take as long as 15-20 minutes to complete, but participants can stop, save their work and resume at any time. The survey can be accessed here:   


The survey closes July 15.

Taylor County Teacher Receives First Earle C. Clements Award

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 13:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2015) — The National Archives, in conjunction with the University of Kentucky Libraries Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, presented the inaugural Earle C. Clements Innovation in Education Award for Civics and History Teachers yesterday, July 8. The recipient of the Clements Award is Timothy A. Peterson, who teaches social studies at Taylor County High School in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Peterson graduated from UK College of Education twice: with a bachelor’s degree in 1988, and again with a master’s degree in 1996.


Peterson began teaching in 1989 at Jessamine County High School. He also taught at Marion County High School before moving to Taylor County High School in 2010. He is certified to teach advanced placement courses in European history, world history, U.S. history, and human geography. In July 2014, Taylor County Schools selected Peterson as one of six advisors for the Taylor County High School Cardinal Academy.


Roger D. Cook, superintendent of Taylor County Schools, nominated Peterson for the Clements Award.


"Peterson daily demonstrates outstanding leadership in and out of the classroom by promoting and strengthening high-quality civics education…he seeks to improve not only students, but himself through rigorous exploration of information and continuing education," Cook said.


"Timothy Peterson, or as we call him, 'Coach P.,' was my social studies teacher each year of high school," said Kassie Miller, a recent student of Peterson at Taylor County High School.


"In addition to learning about American history, ancient civilizations and world geography, Coach P. taught me what it means to be a globally minded citizen. Throughout his classes, he incorporated practical applications about how our actions affect our next-door neighbors, fellow Kentuckians, and even those living across the ocean. His courses developed in me a hard work ethic and a service-oriented heart," Miller said.


Peterson received the award in a presentation at Margaret I. King Library Building on the UK campus, home to the Ford Public Policy Research Center as well as the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center. David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, presented the award to Peterson. UK Provost Tim Tracy also spoke, along with Deirdre Scaggs, associate dean of UK Libraries for the Special Collections Research Center and co-director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, and Bess Clements Abell, daughter of Earle C. Clements and a member of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board.


"This partnership between UK Libraries and the National Archives represents our shared commitment to fostering education on public policy and civics for the next generation of Kentuckians. We are pleased to honor an outstanding Kentucky teacher, Mr. Timothy Peterson, with the inaugural Clements Award," Scaggs said.


"Mr. Peterson represents the very best in teaching. His students are well-prepared academically and with the life skills to be successful. They leave his classroom with a real sense of civic responsibility, a greater understanding of diversity, and the confidence in their own abilities to analyze and help solve critical issues in their local and global communities," said Mary John O’Hair, dean of the UK College of Education.


The Clements Award honors the life and career of the late Earle C. Clements and his lifelong commitment to education and public service. Clements’s political career included service as a county sheriff, clerk, and judge; in the state senate and as governor; and in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, where he was a close colleague to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Bess Clements Abell, Clements’s daughter, is a board member of the National Archives Foundation, a member of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board, and a UK alumna.


"We are pleased to partner with the University of Kentucky Libraries to recognize Kentucky’s finest educators," said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. "We are grateful to the National Archives Foundation and especially to longtime supporter Bess Clements Abell and her family for making these awards possible."


Nominations for the Clements Award come from throughout Kentucky. An independent review panel selects up to three teachers per year to receive the Clements Award and $1,000 each. The award criteria include the following:


Teacher’s knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the subject and commitment to increasing student awareness of the importance of public service.

• Demonstrates expertise in civics and history content and the ability to share it with students

• Conveys enthusiasm for teaching civics and history and motivates students to learn and achieve

• Employs active learning techniques and inspires students to be informed and active citizens


Impact on student success

•  Motivates students to achieve high standards

•  Initiates critical thinking and fosters informed student discussion

•  Promotes academic success and cultivates a love of learning in students of all abilities and backgrounds


Evidence of creativity and innovation

•  Improves learning by using creative, original and effective teaching methods

•  Uses technology in innovative ways to improve learning outcomes

•  Incorporates primary sources in innovative lessons that improve student achievement


For more information on the Clements Award, see the call for nominations or email Deirdre Scaggs, associate dean of UK Libraries for the Special Collections Research Center, at (put Clements Award in the subject line).


The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, so people can discover, use and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at


UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian collection and the digital library, ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



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

UK Student Interning at Metropolitan Museum

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2015) — University of Kentucky student Elizabeth Glass is participating in a highly competitive internship at the Cloisters Museum and Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City this summer.


A native of Lexington, the art history and visual studies/museum studies senior who is also working toward a minor in German, began applying for summer internships over the past winter break. She applied to such museums as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Guggenheim in New York City, and the Seattle Art Museum. Glass didn't let the competitiveness of these internships keep her from applying, and to her surprise was granted an interview to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the one that she wanted most. She interviewed with the museum's senior medieval research associate in March and was offered an internship in the medieval department of the Cloisters Museum soon after.


The specific qualifications required for the Metropolitan's medieval internship are a working knowledge of the German language and graphic design skills. Glass, who possessed these skills, was a great fit. Before moving to Lexington to finish her undergraduate degree, she lived in New York City for five years working various jobs and attending various schools. Her knowledge of the city likely worked to her advantage as well.


At the Metropolitan, Glass will mainly work at the Cloisters giving tours focusing on reliquaries (containers for holy relics) that are currently on display, as well as helping maintain and expand the department’s collection database. She is also hoping to have the opportunity to spend time with some of the works that are not on display to do some research of her own for next semester’s courses. This will be her first real experience as a tour guide.


"Even though I am so excited for my internship this summer, I am more excited about the opportunities that will be available for me after my time at the Met is finished," Glass said. "I started out only applying so I could say that I did, not expecting anything to come of it and ended up with the opportunity of a lifetime. This just goes to show that nothing bad can come from taking a chance and reaching for something you believe to be out of your reach, because you never know what will happen in the end."


The art history/museum studies student interned at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky with curator Janie Welker during the spring semester. She did everything from writing labels and formatting checklists to helping install the "Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky" exhibition on display now and decorating the museum for its annual fundraiser Art in Bloom.


The UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, and art education.  


Also part of the UK College of Fine Arts, the mission of the Art Museum at UK is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,500 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection.


UK Alumna Hopes to Break Record, do Environmental Work While 'Paddling On' the Mississippi

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 09:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2015) — University of Kentucky alumna Alyssum Pohl, a 2004 biology graduate and former Gaines Fellow, has embarked on a journey from source to sea kayaking the Mississippi River while documenting water pollution. The journey is a self-motivated effort to increase awareness about the health of our rivers and oceans. 


The trip will take Pohl an estimated three months. She started her trek June 27, in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, the base of the Mississippi River, and will end it in the Gulf of Mexico near New Orleans, 2,552 miles downstream. Pohl is calling the project "Paddle On!" which references her verve to continue making a positive difference in the world, despite constant challenges. 


Video from Alyssum Pohl's first day on the Mississippi River. Video courtesy of Pohl. 


"This is an adventure, but my goal is to make it a meaningful one," Pohl said. "This is not a vacation. I will be working hard every day. I will be collecting water quality samples, photographing plastic waste, doing beach clean-ups with local river conservation groups, speaking with school children and legislators along the way about the environmental state of their waterways. I believe it is important that I share my experience and the visible and chemical health of our nation’s largest river."


While this expedition involves setting up camp nightly, portaging her vessel around 29 locks and dams, avoiding the fast-moving barges and ships in the lower Mississippi and paddling against the wind, Pohl goes beyond simple exploration with this project. With degrees and work experience in science and policy, Pohl will be recording both qualitative (story, photos, video) and quantitative (such as pH, temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen) water quality measures, and will share her process and results for educational purposes. John Sullivan, a retired water quality biologist from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, paddled the Mississippi recording water quality, and Pohl will be repeating his methodology.


Pohl will keep the public updated with findings from her trip via her blog. She has already written about the first few days of her trip describing the weather conditions, as well as the people she has met along the way and what they have contributed to her journey.


"The first day was marked by shallow water and lots of mud. I had to walk my boat through some of the areas where it was just too shallow, and I almost lost my Teva several times because the mud was stronger than the Velcro on it. I ended up going barefoot most of the way."


Over the past two years, Pohl, who earned her master's degree in international environmental policy, worked on coastal resiliency issues as one of three National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Digital Coast Fellows. This background provided her with rare insight into understanding what local, state and federal elected officials, and natural resource manager's deal with, and their level of understanding the environmental problems they face.


"What I really enjoyed in that position was working across disciplines, using storytelling as a means to educate diverse stakeholders about best practices," Pohl said.


Pohl has arranged collaboration with artists, scientists and legislators to ensure that "Paddle On!" is worthwhile to a variety of communities and interests. For instance, Lindsey Wohlman, a sculptor from Lafayette, Colorado, looks forward to receiving some of the plastic waste that Pohl cleans from the river, with which she will create ocean-inspired sculptures.


At UK, Pohl was a member of the Honors Program and participated in the Emerging Leader Institute. As part of her Gaines Fellowship, the magna cum laude graduate completed a thesis titled "Girning and its cultural relevance."


By completing this project, Pohl, 35, will set a world record as the youngest woman to solo kayak the Mississippi River. In order for this project to become reality, Pohl set up a Kickstarter. Through this website not only did people share their support, but Pohl hopes to share her progress. Pohl also has a blog and Facebook page set up to chronicle her experience.  


A native of Lexington, Pohl currently resides in Mount Rainier, Maryland.



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


Palli Named Chair of UK Entomology Department

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 16:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2015) — A professor with a passion for developing environmentally sound pest control methods is the new chair of the Department of Entomology in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.


Reddy Palli is no stranger to the department, having served as a faculty member since 2002. He assumed his new role July 1 and will also serve as the state entomologist.


A native of India, Palli developed his passion for entomology as a child while watching his father farm. It was in India that he saw the impact improper use of pesticides could have on people’s health. He has spent his career trying to find innovative ways to control troublesome insects.


“Reddy is an outstanding scientist who has made many contributions to the entomology department already,” said Nancy Cox, college dean. “He has support of his colleagues to be their new leader, and there will be a seamless transition between him and former chair John Obrycki.”


Within the entomology profession, Palli is best known for developing RNA interference technology that kills insect pests and fights resistance to insecticides, particularly in beetles and bed bugs. A gene switch technology he developed may have important human health implications and is in phase 3 clinical trials to fight cancer in humans.


Palli is the co-director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies, a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.


He has received numerous awards for his research and in 2014, was named a fellow of the Entomological Society of America for his outstanding contributions to the field. He has published 130 peer-reviewed journal articles, 20 book chapters, co-edited a book and is a co-inventor on 28 patents.




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


Seven UK Students Named Fulbright Recipients

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 15:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2015) — University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that a seventh UK student has been named a recipient of Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships. The UK recipients are among more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2015-2016 academic year through the prestigious program.


The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the U.S. also provide direct and indirect support.


Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.


The UK students awarded 2015 Fulbright grants for graduate study, research or teaching assistantships are:

Brittany Cook Barrineau, the daughter of Karen Cook, of Manassas, Virginia, and Glenn Cook, of Baltimore, Maryland, received her bachelor's degree from University of Mary Washington and a master's degree from University of South Carolina.


The UK geography doctoral student will use her Fulbright grant to study media and colloquial Arabic in Jordan, as well as begin her dissertation research in which small-scale olive producers engage in and respond to the global olive oil market.


"Specifically, I will focus on efforts in Jordan that have suggested using organic production, fair trade and even tourism to bring greater profits to farmers," Barrineau said.


Barrineau's interest in geography started during her undergraduate years. "I took a world regional geography class as an elective and fell in love with the way in which geography brings together so many different topics such as the environment, politics, culture and economics. Over the years, I've found geography to be an important way to examine the ways in which people, goods and ideas move across the world and affect each other."


Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Barrineau plans on applying for academic jobs.


"I enjoy teaching undergraduates because I think that work in geography helps students think differently and challenge assumptions about their place in and relationship to the world," the Fulbright Scholar said.


Donavyn Coffey, the daughter of Allison and Troy Coffey, of Russell Springs, Kentucky, received her bachelor's degree in agricultural biotechnology from UK on May 9. While at UK, Coffey participated in undergraduate research with Bluegrass Advanced Materials and was a member of the Ag Biotech Club. She also participated in internships with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Alltech.


Coffey will use her Fulbright grant to do graduate study in molecular nutrition and food technology at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, while also experiencing how another culture approaches food and health.


"I will get to be immersed in Danish culture and have the opportunity to better understand what sets their public health apart from that of the United States. It is sure to be a fantastic, two-fold approach to education," Coffey said.


The Fulbright Scholar's life experiences heavily influenced Coffey's areas of study. Growing up on a farm and seeing the hard work her parents put in led her to her degree in agricultural biotechnology. Coffey's own diagnosis of epilepsy helped influence her new studies. "The fact that I was able to manage my own epilepsy with dietary changes is definitely what convinced me of the power of nutrition and made me want to study molecular nutrition with my Fulbright."


Lexington's Christiana Holsapple earned her bachelor's degree in international studies from UK in 2012. Holsapple received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), which will allow her to teach English in Moldova for one year.


"Growing up, I always dreamed of traveling the world and dedicating my career to having some sort of meaningful impact on an international level. I believe strongly in the importance of international education and its effectiveness in promoting open-mindedness and broadening world views, which led me to complete a BA in international studies and pursue job opportunities in international education," Holsapple said.


While at UK, Holsapple participated in and contributed to a number of programs with international ties. She had an article on study/work abroad experiences published in International Educator; was an American delegate to the 2013 Preparing Global Leaders Institute in Struga, Macedonia; received a Holocaust Studies Research Grant that funded research and travel throughout Poland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and France; presented research on refugee integration to Kentucky state legislators in the Capitol Undergraduate Research Showcase in Frankfort, Kentucky; and was a member and leader of Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society. In addition, Holsapple previously was awarded a Boren Scholarship for a year of study in Ukrainian and Russian languages in Kiev, Ukraine.


Upon completion of her Fulbright ETA, Holsapple plans to pursue a master's degree in Russian and Eurasian studies and continue work in international education.


Zachary Laux, the son of Becky and Charlie Laux, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, received his bachelor's degrees in mathematical economics and international studies in May. His Fulbright ETA will fund a year of teaching English in Malaysia.


A member of the Honors Program, Laux participated in undergraduate research at UK. He studied the economic, public health and environmental benefits of informal waste pickers (IWPs) in Kampala, Uganda, to attempt to attach a monetary value to the work that IWPs do day in and day out. "Through this research, I determined that cooperatives improve the income levels of IWPs through the transmission of collection techniques and selling recyclable materials in bulk."


Study abroad in Kampala piqued Laux's interest in development economics and international development. It was trips to Atlanta, Nicaragua and Ghana with UK Alternative Service Breaks that solidified a passion for serving others. Laux hopes that passion for service and his quantitative abilities is what will make him a success in the international development field.


Upon completion of his Fulbright ETA, Laux plans to pursue a master's degree in international affairs or international economics.


Breauna Oldham, the daughter of Savella Hardin of Louisville, Kentucky, received her bachelor's degree in international studies and a certificate in global studies in May from UK. Her Fulbright ETA will fund a year of teaching English to elementary school students in South Korea.


"The Fulbright will afford me with the opportunity to increase my language ability, learn about the culture, learn how to teach English effectively, and become familiar with the education system in Korea," Oldham said.


Oldham already has some experience working with native speakers during an exchange program in South Korea. She worked in the English Lounge at Chung Ang University and would have conversations with native Korean students who wanted to practice speaking English with a native English speaker. "During my time working there, I realized how much students strived to learn English and how it could affect the school they go to, or job they get, after graduating college."


Interested in learning about other cultures since middle school, Oldham decided to study international studies at college. Though she has an interest in all countries, she specialized in Asia studies in her major and wrote her capstone paper on the Kwangju Uprising in Kwangju, South Korea, in 1980.


Upon completion of her Fulbright ETA, Oldham plans to pursue Korean studies at a graduate school in South Korea.


Brittney Woodrum, the daughter of Jim and Sherry Woodrum of Winchester, Kentucky, received her bachelor's degrees in arts administration and Spanish in May.


"I selected arts administration because it offers the perfect blend of arts entrepreneurship mixed with mission based nonprofit efforts. I chose Spanish because of my love for languages and my deep desire to further my understanding of the world and different cultures around us," said Woodrum, who believes her studies will be an asset as she uses her Fulbright ETA to fund a year of teaching English in Mexico.


At UK, Woodrum was quite active. She studied abroad in Spain and participated in the Disney College Program. She also has had the privilege of presenting art history research at the Arts in Society conference in Rome, Italy.



Woodrum's majors have become gateways in which she can fulfill her passion for philanthropy and the arts, as well as her desire to learn about everything around her. She also believes her work with the Governor's Scholars Program for the past three years has been a huge influence on her love for learning. The program has given her opportunities to work with students of different backgrounds and given her hands on experience with teaching and tutoring, which should also come in handy during her time in Mexico.


Upon completion of her Fulbright ETA, Woodrum plans to apply for the Peace Corps and hopefully work for nonprofit whose mission deals with humanitarian and environmental issues.


Callie Zaino, the daughter of Cynthia and Richard Zaino, of Lexington, earned her bachelor's degrees in communication sciences and disorders and Spanish, as well as a certificate in global studies from UK in May. Her Fulbright ETA will cover a year of teaching English in Spain.


Zaino's college studies were influenced by her own obstacles and opportunities as a child. A speech impediment's impact on the graduate would lead to her studies in communication sciences and disorders. On the other hand her Spanish degree would become a natural fit after participating in Fayette County Public School's Spanish Immersion Program at Maxwell Elementary School, Bryan Station Middle School and Bryan Station High School.


While at UK, an internship abroad advanced those passions. In the summer of 2014, Zaino participated in an internship at a Bilingual Educational and Learning Center in Lima, Peru, which provided her the opportunity to work with a Spanish speech-language pathologist. "The immersive setting allowed me to witness therapy sessions in Spanish for the first time. While abroad, I was able to observe and participate in therapy sessions. Exposure to communication disorders in Peru emphasized to me that there exists a need for speech therapy, across all cultures and languages," Zaino said.


Upon completion of her Fulbright ETA, Zaino plans to attend graduate school for communication sciences and disorders. She also will pursue further certification to receive a bilingual/multicultural certificate, which will provide her the education and experience needed to specialize in working with Spanish speaking clients. "I desire to work as an elementary school speech-language pathologist, working with children with communication difficulties and performing therapy in both English and Spanish."


Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics and won such prestigious honors as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Foundation Award and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. For further information about the Fulbright Program, visit the website


UK students who are U.S. citizens can apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships through the university’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, the office assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with Pat Whitlow at the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



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

The Healing Power of Art in the Healthcare Setting

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 17:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2015) — Walk into many hospitals and health care facilities today and you're likely to see  the bare and sterile hallways of the past are now filled with artwork, most often of nature scenes.  And whether you are an inpatient, outpatient or visitor, there's a good chance that you may hear or see live or recorded music and even have an opportunity to participate in other creative art therapies. 


These artistic features can be lovely to look at or provide some entertainment for those in the medical facilities. But these features and offerings aren't just about aesthetics. There continues to be a growing understanding of the science behind the connection between art and healing.


Just a couple of decades ago, most hospitals looked very different, with stark and sterile environments. Today, these plain surroundings have been transformed with a planned and evidence-based focus on creating a healing environment.


Currently, more than 50 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have arts programs, which include art therapy classes, music therapy and visual arts. In addition to art, health care environments also are incorporating evidence-based design that enhances the healing environment.


Research suggests that art can:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce the need for pain medication
  • Increase patient trust and confidence
  • Be a positive distraction for patients, visitors and staff

Studies show a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress and anxiety. In particular, research suggests patients are positively affected by nature themes and figurative art. Because of this, hospitals are choosing artwork based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than just to decorate sterile rooms and hallways.


Furthermore, now in many health care settings, funds for art are being provided through philanthropy as well as being built into construction project budgets.


In addition to artwork, music and music therapy – including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music – has been shown to calm neural activity in the brain, which may decrease anxiety and restore emotional balance.  Music therapy differs from music at the bedside in that it is a doctor-ordered intervention to address a particular patient issue.


Additional outcomes relevant to arts-health research include clinical indicators such as the lowering of blood pressure rates, stabilizing heart rates, as well as in some studies lessening the intake of pain medication.


Art therapy is also available in many health care programs as a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve physical and mental health and emotional well-being. Artistic talent isn't necessary and can provide healing benefits such as helping to resolve and manage behaviors and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness.


Overall, the fundamental role of all the arts in the healing environment is to deliver patient-centered care, whether it be through design, natural light, indoor and outdoor gardens, music, art or music therapy or visual art.


Jackie Hamilton is the director of the UK Arts in HealthCareThis article first appeared in the Sunday, July 5, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader


UK College of Education Faculty Develop K-12 Standards-based Report Cards

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 17:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2015) — Report cards have long gone home with students showcasing letter grades based on everything from quiz scores to attendance. However, some schools are working with the University of Kentucky College of Education to rethink the grade book.


UK College of Education faculty Thomas Guskey, Lee Ann Jung and Gerry Swan are helping K-12 schools develop standards-based report cards that provide a more accurate assessment of all students. They are also training teachers and principals to become assessment leaders for their districts. 


According to the researchers, standards-based grading strategies are more accurate than traditional grading and provide better evaluation for all students – including English language learners and those with disabilities. These strategies facilitate better communication between schools and families, emphasizing students’ specific academic strengths and also identifying areas where additional work may be needed.


Their most recent workshop, held in Lexington in June, included participants from Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Colorado and Kentucky. Those in attendance included K-12 leaders, principals, and lead teachers. Called “Getting Standards-Based Grading Right —Honest and Accurate Grades for All Students,” the workshop offered these education leaders practical, research-based strategies for implementing standards-based grading in their districts. 


“The issues of standards, assessments, grading and reporting are foundational to every modern reform effort in education,” Guskey said. “Nevertheless, confusion and misunderstanding about these issues and their implications for classroom practice prevail. This workshop moves beyond the jargon to develop an essential understanding of their importance in the teaching and learning process.”


The implementation plan is noted by school leaders for providing the research, knowledge and practical foundations needed to gain the support of parents in the process — without creating excessive work for teachers. 




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2393,

UK Study Reveals New Method to Develop More Efficient Drugs

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 16:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2015) – A new study led by University of Kentucky researchers suggests a new approach to develop highly-potent drugs which could overcome current shortcomings of low drug efficacy and multi-drug resistance in the treatment of cancer as well as viral and bacterial infections.


Published in Nanomedicine, the study identified a new mechanism of targeting multi-subunit complexes that are critical to the function of viruses, bacteria or cancer, thus reducing or possibly even eliminating their resistance to targeted drugs.


The study was led by Peixuan Guo, director of UK's Nanobiotechnology Center and one of the top nanobiotechnology experts in the world. Guo holds a joint appointment at the UK Markey Cancer Center and in the UK College of Pharmacy.


"Efficacy is the key in drug development,” Guo said. "Inhibiting multisubunit targets works similar to the series-circuit Christmas decorating light chains; one broken bulb turns off the entire lighting system."


By targeting RNA or protein subunits that have multiple sites for inactivation, but that are inextricably linked, this method allows for killing or disabling the RNA or protein without requiring the inhibition of multiple pathways that might be used by the organism to remain active and viable (and thus, multiple drugs are not needed, as well).  Using this method, a single subunit targeting to the target RNA or protein subunits that is unique and assenting for the organism, the organism will be disabled or die and thus, no longer able to cause disease.


“One of the vexing problems in the development of drugs is drug resistance,” said Tim Tracy, former Dean of the UK College of Pharmacy and current UK provost. “Dr. Guo's study has identified a new mechanism of efficiently inhibiting biological processes that are critical to the function of the disease-causing organism, such that resistance is minimized or eliminated.”  


Guo focuses much of his work on the use of ribonucleic acid (RNA) nanoparticles and a viral nano-motor to fight cancer, viral infections and genetic diseases. He is well-known for his pioneering work of constructing RNA nanoparticles as drug carriers. Guo's research team also includes Dan Shu, Farzin Haque, Mario Vieweger, Fengmei Pi, Hui Zhang, Yi Shu, Chi Wang, Peng Zhang, Ashwani Sharma, Taek Lee and more than 10 graduate students.


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

UK College of Dentistry: Providing Education and Care to Kentuckians and Beyond

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 14:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2015) - When the University of Kentucky opened its doors 150 years ago, the space where the College of Dentistry (UKCD) now stands was a cornfield. Upon being appointed dean in February 1961, Dr. Alvin L. Morris, with the support of a very dedicated group, worked hard to build a program from scratch, very quickly in order to welcome the first class of 20 students to the college in September 1962.


Since that time, the college has been providing innovative curriculum and maintaining an intimate class size to allow students an early opportunity to provide patient care, form close mentoring relationships with faculty and be fully prepared to meet the oral health and overall health needs of their patients by graduation time.


It did not take long for UKCD to stand out from other programs. The entire December 1962 issue of The Journal of Dental Education was devoted to highlighting “the first of the second generation of dental schools.” Introducing students to clinical experiences very early was a new concept. Another aspect of the school setting it apart from others was the early creation of continuing education courses made available to practicing dentists at a time when no such program existed in Kentucky. Although continuing education requirements were not in place when the program was first launched, dentists are now required to earn credits to maintain their license.


The college has earned a national and international reputation for its dynamic and innovative approaches to dental education. In addition to a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, postdoctoral programs in six fields of study are offered, including General Practice Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orofacial Pain, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry and Periodontics.


Graduate students in Orofacial Pain, Orthodontics and Periodontics receive a Master of Science degree from the UK Graduate School and a specialty certificate. The goal of these degree programs is to provide graduates with clinical proficiency in a specialty area, research experience, and exposure to the fundamentals of teaching in dentistry. All seven programs hold current and full accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).


“This year, according to the US News & World Report, being a dentist is the number one job a person can hold,” said Dean Sharon Turner. “While generally the profession offers attractive pay and a good work-life balance, it’s the ability to play such an important role in people’s lives both at the individual and community levels—the ability to make significant contributions to populations in need—that attracts many to dentistry. That’s a big part of what we look for in prospective students here at UKCD. We want to know whether a student is service-minded and engaged in giving time, talent, and resources to his or her community, in addition to assuring they possess strong leadership skills and have demonstrated superb academic performance.”


At the school’s 50th anniversary celebration, Morris said, “The significance of what’s happened in this place is measured by the thousands and thousands and thousands of patients throughout this state and this country whose lives are made better because they had the benefit of a UKCD alumni looking after their oral health and their general health.”


Historical Highlights:

  • 1961: Dr. Alvin Morris is selected and hired as UKCD’s first dean.
  • 1962: UKCD opens its doors to its first class of students.
  • 1968: Dr. Harry Bohannan named dean. Susan Ann McEvoy becomes the first woman to receive a DMD degree from UKCD. She went on to become the fifth president of the UKCD Alumni Association, as well as a faculty member. A partnership with the former College of Allied Health Professionals is established to train hygienists to perform expanded functions in a dental office without direct supervision from a dentist. The program was later retired as Kentucky’s licensing laws for hygienists were not expanded to allow for increased hygienist duties.
  • 1974: Dr. Gene Lewis named interim dean.
  • 1975: Dr. Merrill Packer named dean.
  • 1976: The Saturday Morning Clinic, a UKCD student-led project, is established to provide no-cost treatment to children several times throughout the year. In addition to being a vital safety net for children, the clinic provides an opportunity for prospective students to visit the college and see student dentists at work in the clinic.
  • 1977: The Orofacial Pain Program is founded. One of only two programs in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the focus of the program is on teaching about the identification and management of chronic orofacial pain disorders. Dentists, psychologists, and physical therapists work together to identify the underlying cause for a patient’s pain and create a treatment plan for their condition.
  • 1986: Dr. Emmett Costich named dean.
  • 1987: Dr. David Nash named dean.
  • 1996: UKCD’s Division of Dental Public Health starts school-based Seal Kentucky trips to provide dental screenings and sealants, a plastic coating painted onto the surface of the tooth to prevent tooth decay, in primarily Eastern Kentucky. UKCD student dentists, faculty, and volunteers travel to elementary schools and apply sealants to children whose parents consent to their treatment. Each child also receives a dental screening, and a report describing their dental status is sent home to their parents.
  • 1997: Dr. Leon Assael named dean.
  • 2000: The Center for Oral Health Research is established to support research focused on oral health and its impact on overall health.
  • 2003: Dr. Sharon Turner named dean.
  • 2004: The National Center for Research Resources awards the college with a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant of more than $10 million. This award was renewed in 2009 for another five years at approximately $11 million. Delta Dental Plan of Kentucky and a matching grant from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Research Challenge helped create the Delta Dental of Kentucky Clinical Research Center, the clinical arm of the Center for Oral Health Research.
  • 2011: UKCD clinics move to electronic health records, improving secure access to patient records.
  • 2012: UKCD celebrates 50 years of education and service. Over 2,500 DMD students have graduated since the opening of the college. Alumni members practice in 45 states, in the military, and in multiple countries around the world.
  • 2014: An exchange program between UKCD and Universidad de los Andes Dental School in Santiago, Chile starts. Two UDLA students visit Kentucky, and the first group of UKCD students will travel to UDLA in the fall of 2015.
  • 2015: UKCD celebrates 25 years of mobile outreach. A joint effort between pediatric dentistry and dental public health, the program has spread across Eastern, Central, and Western Kentucky over the years, offering care to underserved children. Since 2000, the outreach program has received five prestigious national awards. Dr. Stephanos Kyrkanides will join UKCD as dean in August 2015.


Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 

First Class of Nurse Practitioners Certified through UK-Norton Healthcare Academic Partnership

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 14:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Nursing and Louisville’s Norton Healthcare recently celebrated the first class of board-certified nurse practitioners to complete competency-based education through a landmark academic-practice partnership.


The UK College of Nursing‐Norton Healthcare Academic Partnership allows Norton Healthcare nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing the opportunity to earn their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree or Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) certification.


On July 1, a class of 21 nurse practitioners completed postgraduate AG-ACNP education through the partnership program, which was announced in 2014. Through the program, Norton Healthcare will add 150 doctorally prepared nurse practitioners to the organization’s workforce by 2018, and all from within the current staff.


“These nurse practitioners are leading the way through a pivotal time of expanded health care coverage,” Janie Heath, dean of the College of Nursing, said. “It illustrates how nurses are meeting state licensure requirements to manage the care of acute and chronically ill populations within large and complex health care systems at the fullest extent of their education and training.”


Heath also lauded the leadership of Tracy Williams, senior vice president and system chief nursing officer at Norton Healthcare, who initiated the partnership.  


“Tracy is one of the first nurse executives to develop a large-scale academic-practice partnership to strengthen nursing practice and help nurses be on the forefront to achieve the triple aim of health care:  better care, better health and lower health care cost,” she said.


According to Patricia Howard, executive associate dean for academic operations and partnerships at the College of Nursing, this is the first formalized program of its kind in the country.


“This partnership is unique because it is with such a large health care organization that is so dedicated to developing its nurses into leaders,” Howard said.  


In 2012, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) convened a Task Force on Academic-Practice Partnerships, which identified such partnerships as a crucial element to meeting the challenges of a changing health care system. Williams was one of the first nurse executives to fully employ its recommendations.


“After a nationwide request for proposals, officials at Norton determined that the University of Kentucky’s College of Nursing was the most appropriate for our needs,” Williams said. “As the first DNP program in the U.S., the UK College of Nursing is known as a model for innovation.”


The Norton Healthcare program calls for 150 DNP-prepared APRNs to be added in the next few years. Norton Healthcare consists of five Louisville hospitals with 1,837 licensed beds, seven outpatient centers, and 116 Norton Medical Group and Norton Immediate Care Center locations.


“I know from experience that it can be very difficult for a nurse to go out on his or her own and attain this advanced degree. With this program, Norton Healthcare will provide support to program participants through tuition assistance, mentors, clinical rotation within the system and classes offered on-site and online,” Williams said.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, 

Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center Joins Markey Affiliate Network

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 13:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2015) — Ephraim McDowell Health last week announced that Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center (EMCCC) in Danville has joined the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation, but EMCCC sees this relationship as stepping up the fight against cancer.  The UK Markey Cancer Center is the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.



Ephraim McDowell Health’s President and CEO Vicki Darnell said the announcement meant great things for their patients.


“The Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center affiliation with the UK Markey Cancer Center will allow us to provide new treatment options for our patients that are only available to National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers," Darnell said. "We believe this is a big step in the continuing battle against cancer.”


"We are extremely excited and proud that our cancer treatment program is of the caliber that Markey Cancer Center would want to partner with us," said Dr. Tom Baeker, medical director of EMCCC Cancer Program. "This alliance means great things for our patients. It will enable us to offer access to the latest practices in diagnosis and treatment of cancers and blood disorders, including clinical trials – which means providing a higher level of cancer care."


The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high-quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region, and to minimize the effects of cancer through prevention and education programs, exceptional clinical care, and access to research.


By becoming a UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate, EMCCC is keeping with the organization’s mission to provide safe, compassionate, high quality, and cost-effective services to the communities served. The Ephraim McDowell Health system will now be able to offer their patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and care, including clinical trials and advanced technology, while allowing them to stay in Danville for most treatments.


The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network supports UK HealthCare's overall mission of ensuring no Kentuckian will have to leave the state to get access to top-of-the-line health care.


"Unfortunately, Kentucky is home to some of the worst rates of cancer in the country," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. "By collaborating with our affiliate hospitals across the state, we have the potential to make a serious impact on cancer care here in the Commonwealth."


"UK HealthCare doesn't just serve Lexington and central Kentucky – our mission is to provide all Kentuckians with the best possible care right here in the state," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network allows us to collaborate with community hospitals to provide top-notch cancer care much closer to home — saving both travel expenses and time for the patients, in addition to keeping them close to their personal support system."


Markey is one of only 68 medical centers in the country to earn an NCI cancer center designation. Because of the designation, Markey patients have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.


The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network began in 2006 and now comprises 14 hospitals:
  • The Christ Hospital Health Network, Cincinnati
  • Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center, Danville
  • Frankfort Regional Medical Center
  • Georgetown Community Hospital
  • Hardin Memorial Hospital, Elizabethtown
  • Harlan ARH Hospital
  • Harrison Memorial Hospital, Cynthiana
  • Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center
  • Methodist Hospital, Henderson
  • Norton Cancer Institute, Louisville (Norton Healthcare-UK HealthCare partnership)
  • Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland
  • Rockcastle Regional Hospital, Mt. Vernon
  • St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead
  • Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center, South Williamson


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

UK Sophomore Named Miss Kentucky 2015

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 12:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 6, 2015) — On July 4, University of Kentucky sophomore Clark Davis, Miss Horse Capital of the World, was crowned Miss Kentucky 2015 at the Singletary Center for the Arts. She will represent Kentucky in the Miss America Pageant to be held Sunday, Sept. 13, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The national pageant will be broadcast live on ABC.


A native of Lexington, Davis, 17, is the daughter of Ginger and Jonathan Davis. She is majoring in vocal performance with a minor in political science and will be a sophomore in the fall at UK.


Davis's personal platform issue focuses on raising awareness about dyslexia, a condition she was diagnosed with as a child. She received the second runner-up award for the Heather French Henry Quality of Life category due to her incredible work with her platform. Davis also received a preliminary talent award for her a cappella vocal performance of the George Gershwin class "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess." Davis competed against 30 other hopefuls for the state title, including first runner-up Claire Butler, who holds the title of Miss Jefferson Country, and second runner-up Hannah Estes, who holds the Miss Metro Louisville title. Butler and Estes are students at the University of Louisville.


As Miss Kentucky 2015, Davis will serve as the spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Kentucky Proud program, which encourages consumers of all ages to purchase products produced in Kentucky. She will deliver the message to all age groups in schools throughout the Commonwealth.


Approximately $40,000 in cash scholarships was awarded to contestants in the Miss Kentucky pageant in addition to numerous prizes and scholarships to multiple colleges and universities.



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

UK Tomorrow Corps Offers Unique Opportunity for UK Students, Appalachian Communities

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 10:27

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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2015) — When Ann Kingsolver, former director of the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center, began speaking with grandparents raising grandchildren in Appalachian communities, two things became clear to her. First, these grandparents need a break every now and then. Second, they may not always feel comfortable helping their child with the curriculum offered in schools today.


So the idea for UK Tomorrow Corps was born, tackling both issues of respite care and education enrichment. Eventually it expanded beyond the idea of aiding grandparent caregivers to support many types of families and students across Appalachia.


Kingsolver also realized the program could benefit another group: UK students.


In total, 29 UK interns have taken it upon themselves to tutor students ages K-12 throughout 19 Eastern Kentucky counties.


“One of the main things that we are interested in is creating long-term mentoring cycles, a mentoring relationship, with the young folks,” said Shane Barton, assistant director of the UK Appalachian Center and director of UK Tomorrow Corps. “Not only is curriculum important and covering some of the math and literacy work over the summer, but what may be more important is creating those positive mentoring relationships."


For Gabrielle Davis and Fallon Olexa, the opportunity was a one-of-a-kind professional experience.


“Technically, teachers don’t really get internships,” said Olexa, a special education senior at UK, noting that most of their experience is gained through student teaching or observing local teachers. “I wanted to do something different."


Olexa joined Davis, an elementary education senior, in Floyd County, Kentucky, for the month of June to host tutoring sessions at the Minnie Branch of the Floyd County Public Library. Both are from Illinois and were excited to experience Appalachia for the first time.


"It's just been a really amazing experience, because you're in a beautiful place and the people are awesome," Davis said.


And although they think the mountains are a bit frightening to drive on, they say any other stereotype about the region simply isn’t true.


“It’s not what I expected it would be like, but I wouldn’t say it’s too much different (from Illinois),” Olexa explained.


While there, both worked one-on-one with children, mainly kindergarten through middle school, on math and reading skills and would incorporate historical or science concepts whenever they could. The program ensures that children don’t lose certain skills before the start of a new year and can receive the extra personal attention they sometimes need outside the classroom. 


“You know, we can really get down and see where their problem is or see what they're not understanding,” Davis said.


Each UK Tomorrow Corps intern, selected through an application and interview process, was prepared for their placement throughout the year. Beginning with an “Introduction to Appalachia,” UK students first became familiar and comfortable with the region. Partners on campus, such as the Partnership Institute for Math and Science Education Reform (PIMSER), as well as the Carnegie Center For Literacy and Learning in Lexington, supported additional tracks of training in literacy and language arts and mathematics.


Although none of the children she worked with had special education needs, for Olexa, the experience in lesson planning and figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of each child was invaluable.


“It’s been cool to see the process of them growing and starting to actually like bring the sounds together to make the words to making a sentence to then reading a book,” she said. “We’ve only been here for four weeks and in those four weeks the kids have made that much progress.”


With the support of the local library and its resources, Davis and Olexa tutored five hours a day, four days a week. And just as the program and students have benefited from the library, the library has benefitted from the program. Visitors from surrounding counties are beginning to utilize the library, first for the tutoring program, then returning to see what else it has to offer.


“We’ve had people come 30 miles just traveling for tutoring,” said Marilyn Bailey, branch manager of the Minnie Branch. “And they’re coming here and checking out books and getting cards that they’ve never had.”


Bailey says since the UK Tomorrow Corps program began at the library, there has been an increase in books checked out, computers used and new library cards administered. Tutoring sessions will continue at the library through July with two new UK interns.


Aside from spending most of their time mentoring younger students, Davis and Olexa explored the surrounding communities and people, and lived in nearby Wayland, Kentucky, thanks to Mayor Jerry Fultz who provided Wayland’s community house.


“It was a way of supporting the program because I believe in the program,” Fultz said. “I think the need is here; the 'want to' is here. So providing the housing was just a small piece for us to play in order to have a greater impact down the road.”


UK Tomorrow Corps is having an impact not only on the children and their education, but also on the entire community and the UK interns.


Fultz said the interns “are having an impact with the students that they’re coming in contact with, the different age groups and maybe even the parents and the community as a whole at the library. But I’d like to think that they, being from outside the area, have found that maybe the stereotypical vision that people have maybe is not true. And what better way to change it than having someone from out of the area come in and actually look and see firsthand and meet people that have grown up here, that live here, that call this place home.” 


And he was right.


“Some of the smartest people that I’ve met have been here and the students here are very smart, and people stereotype them wrong,” Davis said. “I cannot sit here and think, ‘oh this student is this so he’s going to be like this.’ All students are going to be different.”


While the program has provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity to UK students like Davis and Olexa, not all of the interns are aspiring educators. Some are medical students in the Rural Physician Leadership Program experiencing service in rural communities, and for others, UK Tomorrow Corps offered an opportunity to give back to their hometown. 


“It’s through this tutoring that I’m hopefully able to give the students in my home community, who may not otherwise be able to receive individualized academic tutoring, some of the tools necessary to foster a successful future, regardless of the path they choose in life,” said Kody Ruark, a senior history major from Carlisle, Kentucky.


Ruark tutors in Bath County Monday through Wednesday and Nicholas County, about 35 miles north, on Thursday and Friday.


“I have worked really hard and been blessed with being able to attend what I truly consider to be one of the best universities in the country. It’s my hope that through this program and programs like it that other students will be given the tools to attain a successful future and make the world brighter for those around them,” he said.


For more information about UK Tomorrow Corps, visit




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