Films Set in Appalachia Star in A&S Class

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 17:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 19, 2015) — Traveling on the winding roads through the mountains of West Virginia, six people quickly realize that the mountains and the mountain folk are their worst nightmare. This is the premise for the film “Wrong Turn,” which is an example of “hillbilly horror” and a derogatory portrayal of Appalachia in popular culture.


“Wrong Turn” will be shown at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, in the auditorium of the William T. Young Library. At 2 p.m. Feb. 24 in the same location, Emily Satterwhite, associate professor of religion and culture at Virginia Tech, will examine rape revenge narratives in horror movies set in Appalachia.


Images of Appalachia and Appalachians in popular media range from idyllic to horrifying, and this semester, students in professor Carol Mason’s course, "Gender, Film, and Appalachia," will examine this range of representation. The class is offered for credit through both the American Studies Program and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS), where Mason serves as the director of Undergraduate Studies. Mason encourages students to “analyze popular culture not only in terms of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ representations of Appalachian life, but also as an instrument with which audiences create their own sense of regional identity.” The general public is invited to view the related movies and to sit in on the course-related lectures featuring visiting scholars as guest speakers.


The speaker series, From Reverence to Resistance: Appalachians Fighting on Film, is a robust interdisciplinary effort organized in partnership with the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center and Appalachia Studies Program (ACASP), Environmental and Sustainability Studies, English, American Studies and GWS. The series invites everyone in the UK community to participate in the discussion about representations of Appalachia in film. Ann Kingsolver, professor of anthropology and director of the Appalachian Center, noted that she is “very excited about this opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty to interact with these scholars about issues of representation, a core concern in Appalachian Studies.”


Stacy Takacs, professor of American Studies at Oklahoma State University, gave the first lecture Jan. 27. Takacs addressed the figure of the Appalachian soldier in the made-for-TV movie “Saving Jessica Lynch.” In the audience were members of Mason’s class and an English course, "Narrating America’s Wars," taught by English professor Pearl James. James recalled that her students, “both those from Appalachia and those from elsewhere thought that this warranted investigation. They had not thought of Jessica Lynch as an ‘Appalachian soldier’ as much as a female soldier.”


James said, “Interdisciplinary opportunities are crucial in English, since much of what we do as scholars involves interpreting literary and cinematic texts in relation to their cultural contexts, which we learn about with help from other disciplines, including history, gender and women's studies, anthropology and others. So this (series) was a very good fit for my class.”


The discussion of Appalachia in film moves from derogatory to celebratory concludes with the final film and lecture in the series presented by Beth Stephens of University of Southern California and internationally known performance artist Annie Sprinkle. Stephens and Sprinkle will screen their documentary “Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story” and answer audience questions at 2 p.m. March 24 in the William T. Young Library auditorium. 


“The film is a story of a homecoming to West Virginia,” said Mason, “where big corporations blow the tops off mountains using mountain top removal.” Stephens and Sprinkle, two self-declared ecosexuals, return to Beth’s childhood home near Gauley Mountain. There they put their bodies on the line to demonstrate how the fight for environmental justice can be sexy, fun and diverse. Mason says she wanted to conclude the lecture series on a note of irreverence and resistance to the more derogatory images.


Kingsolver noted that “We often encounter and address understandings of Appalachia refracted through the lens of media stereotypes (from Deliverance to Buckwild), and we welcome heartily a larger conversation on campus about such representations through this film and discussion series.” A reception will follow each of the lectures in the series.


Like the many roads that wind across Appalachia, the course and series organized by Mason offers a way to explore the rich terrain of Appalachia as a location, an identity, and a multifaceted concept. 


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

UK, UK HealthCare Scheduled to be Open Feb. 18

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 18:31

LEXINGTON, (Feb. 17, 2015) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced Tuesday that UK and UK HealthCare Clinics are scheduled to be open Wednesday, Feb. 18, operating on regular business hours.


Of course, Capilouto noted that UK officials will continue monitoring weather conditions tonight and into the early morning hours, should conditions on the ground require a change.  Any changes will be communicated as quickly as possible to the UK community and community at large.


The latest information about parking, transportation and the hours for facilities and clinics can be found at: It will be updated as conditions change.


Even as the campus re-opens due to the tireless efforts of staff to ready the campus, Capilouto asked for "patience as the community and campus continue to grapple with weather conditions that will make parking, transportation and other operations still a challenge in some cases."


Capilouto also commended the “literally hundreds of employees who have worked tirelessly around the clock to clear roads and sidewalks in and around campus, prepare thousands of meals for students and keep dining halls, residence halls and other facilities open for the UK family to utilize during this historic weather event. 


We are a special community, never more so than in the last few days as our resolve and spirit have been evident in the attitudes and efforts of so many people.”



Discover 'The 39 Steps' With UK Theatre

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 08:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2015) — What do you get when you mix four actors, murder and comedy? "The 39 Steps." University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance will present the mystery adapted from an Alfred Hitchcock film Feb. 20-March 1, at the Guignol Theatre in the Fine Arts Building


The play "The 39 Steps" is a hilarious and energetic comedy adapted by Patrick Barlow of the Hitchcock movie, which was adapted from the novel by John Buchan.


“We’re creating truth out of imaginary things,” said director and UK alumnus Andrew Gaukel. “That’s what’s so incredible about theatre. We are creating these amazing things that we invite the audience to believe with us.”


The production includes references to some of Hitchcock’s most famous movies including "Psycho," "The Birds" and "North by Northwest." The story follows average guy, Richard Hannay as he makes his way through Scotland to discover what a secret organization, The 39 Steps, is hiding.


“The play really takes off when Richard Hannay decides to pull himself out of this slump, and his first instinct is to go to the theatre,” said theatre and integrated strategic communication senior Peter LaPrade, from Marietta, Georgia. “And from then on it’s nonstop running.”


Trouble for Hannay begins when the beautiful Pamela Edwards, played by theatre junior Alexis Slocum from Fort Knox, Kentucky, crosses his path. Hannay must dodge police, uncover The 39 steps and balance his love life in the course of a two-act play.


The versatile actors known as “clowns,” played in this production by theatre junior Rob Miller, from Hilliard, Ohio, and theatre senior Taha Mandviwala, from London, Kentucky, are making things difficult by throwing every obstacle imaginable Hannay's way. With the simple switch of a hat or a coat, these two clowns can appear as more than 100 different people. 


“My favorite character to play is Mr. Macquarie,” Mandviwala said. “He’s this thousand year-old man who’s managing to hold on. You won’t miss him, I promise.”


The show calls for only four actors of “Olympian fitness” to portray all 33 speaking roles and more. “The 39 Steps” made its world premiere in 2005 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in North England. It was nominated at the 2008 Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Direction of a Play. The show won the Drama Desk award for Unique Theatrical Experience.


“This production is pure fun,” said Slocum. “It’s nice to just invite the audience to sit back and have fun.”


"The 39 Steps" will be presented 7:30 p.m., Feb. 20-21 and 26-29, and 2 p.m., Feb. 22 and March 1, at the Guignol Theatre. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling 859-257-4929, by visiting, or in person at the ticket office.


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




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

UK Classes Canceled Monday, Feb. 16

Sun, 02/15/2015 - 21:16

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 15, 2015) — Classes at the University of Kentucky are canceled Monday, Feb. 16, and only Plan B (essential) employees are required to report to work. Due to anticipated inclement weather conditions, the University of Kentucky has made the decision to cancel all classes Monday and close offices.  Plan B employees are required to report to work.


UK HealthCare hospitals and clinics including Dentistry will remain open on their regular schedules. 


Dining Services Information

Dining Services facilities on campus will be open.  Visit for times and locations.


Parking and Transportation Information

Lextran Stadium Route and CATS Red and Blue Routes will not operate; the CATS Break Route will provide daytime campus service. UK HealthCare and Kentucky Clinic Shuttles will run on normal schedules. CATS Night Route and On-Demand run on a normal schedule, unless circumstances prevent.


Buses that are still operating during campus emergency closures/delays will be contingent upon campus conditions. Service may be interrupted due to imminent severe weather, road conditions, or at the direction of emergency officials.


For campus bus routes and schedules, visit


For the most up-to-date information, riders can view the actual location of all CATS buses on all routes by using Cat Tracker, a real-time GPS-based bus locating system at Riders may also track the buses via the free TransLoc iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps, by using their smartphone to scan the QR codes found on each bus stop sign or by using the SMS codes found at each bus stop.


Library Information

William T. Young Library will be open during the day (Monday) from 8 a.m. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center  will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. For more information: All other libraries on campus will be closed.


Recreation Information

Johnson Center will be closed Monday, Feb. 16:


DanceBlue Raises $1,615,057.18

Sun, 02/15/2015 - 14:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 15, 2015) — With sore feet, worn-out bodies and emotions running high, committee members revealed a grand fundraising total of $1,615,057.18 at the 10th annual DanceBlue dance marathon to a crowd of several thousand people.


Whether participating as a dancer, volunteer, committee member or even just a supporter, DanceBlue is something no one ever forgets, especially the last few hours. With a family talent show featuring children from the clinic and an emotional memorial hour to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer, the reveal this afternoon was a much anticipated moment for so many people at UK.


This year was special as DanceBlue celebrated its 10th anniversary. A large contingent of DanceBlue alumni joined the crowd to celebrate the reveal of the fundraising total.


It all began in 2006 by raising $123,323.16 and has increased every year. With this year's total, DanceBlue has contributed more than $8.1 million dollars to the Golden Matrix Fund and the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.


More than 800 dancers completed DanceBlue. All of the money raised at this annual 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon benefits children with cancer and their families and cancer research.


"When we began this journey almost a year ago, every person involved with DanceBlue was committed, and determined, to make this year our most successful yet. But, when we said, successful, we knew that word meant so much more than just raising more money than last year," said Jonathan York, DanceBlue chair. "We wanted to have 800 dancers that represented the entire UK student body, we wanted to spread our mission throughout the state of Kentucky, and, most importantly, we wanted to give the kids of the DanceBlue clinic as much love and support as we possibly could. All the work that has been done by this year's DanceBlue committee, coordinators and, chairs, has allowed us to accomplish these goals. This weekend is the perfect way to celebrate their work, and the children we love so much. I will cherish leading this group, and being a part of this organization over the past four years for the rest of my life. For The Kids, forever and always.'


Everyone at DanceBlue was there for a reason this weekend. They were there for a cure, for hope and most importantly, for the kids.


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

High School Peers Empowered to Prevent Suicide During Spread the Love-A-Thon

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 17:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) — Between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Feb. 12, Tates Creek High School student Sara Shehata's phone was buzzing out of control. The activity feeds of her social media accounts were clogging up with unread messages and tagged posts.


Participating in the 5th Annual Spread the Love-A-Thon organized by the University of Kentucky Division of Adolescent Medicine and Stop Youth Suicide Campaign, Shehata expected to reach many of her peers with positive messages, or "lifelines." During the Love-A-Thon, lifelines were texted, tweeted, posted, emailed or spoken to peers on the phone.


But Shehata, president of the Tates Creek High School student organization that championed the event, didn't expect to get all this love in return.


"I'm having fun, and I think everyone else is too," she said.


A record 160 high school students sent out thousands of uplifting messages to peers during the hour-and-a-half Spread the Love-A-Thon on Feb. 12. The annual event aims to prevent teen suicide and depression through peer-to-peer encouragement. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the high school age group, and many teenagers silently struggle with depression and anxiety. Dr. Hatim Omar, chair of the UK Division of Adolescent Medicine, said one kind word can help to dissolve a youth's thought of suicide.  


Ashley Whittington, a Tates Creek High School student who participated, was hastily calling all her friends in an effort to tally up the most lifelines. She said it's often hard to tell if her classmates are dealing with negative feelings.


"I don't know what they are going through at home," she said. "Sometimes my friends don't show their emotions — they just cover them up with a smile."


For the first time, UK's Division of Adolescent Medicine hosted the event at Tates Creek High School in collaboration with teacher Amanda Sewell, who directs the school's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter. Students part of the FCCLA helped promote the event with 1,800 handcrafted invitations passed out to classrooms. The students organized a resource fair on Feb. 11 to make mental health resources available during school lunch hours. Several students from other Fayette County schools, as well as Scott County and Jessamine County schools, attended the event.


Sewell knows depression and thoughts of suicide affect students at her school. The Love-A-Thon provided a platform for teens to talk openly about the reality of suicide and realize a simple act of kindness can be a powerful form of prevention.


"Suicide has been that disease that we can't talk about," Sewell said. "For these kids, this is important. You don't have to keep it under the rug; you can talk about it, you can get help."


At the end of the event, more than 50 prizes, including a flat-screen television, were awarded to students who reached the highest number of peers through lifelines. Students also enjoyed free pizza, candy and a photo booth. The event received additional support from The Ridge Behavioral Health System.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, 

Registration Now Being Accepted for Annual Multicultural Health Careers Open House

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 15:55
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) – The University of Kentucky is pleased to announce that registrations for the 8th Annual Multicultural Health Careers Open House is now open.  


This year’s Open House is on Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Any high school, undergraduate, or graduate student is encouraged to attend if they are interested in pursuing a health-related program at UK. The annual event is sponsored by the University of Kentucky’s Health Colleges Student Diversity Services (HCSDS) in conjunction with UK’s six health colleges.


The Multicultural Health Careers Open House continues the University's commitment to building diversity by targeting traditionally underrepresented minorities interested in the Health Professions; please note, however, this event is open to any interested student.  The Open House will give prospective students and their families the opportunity to meet and greet the deans and select staff and students from each of the University’s Health Professions Colleges. 


Students will again have the opportunity to choose from a myriad of interest sessions designed to provide information about the Colleges of Health Sciences, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health.  In addition, sessions will be provided for students to learn more about financing a professional school education, successful interviewing strategies, resume strengths and other ways to be a competitive applicant. Finally, prospective students will have the opportunity to tour the main UK campus and to participate in open and frank discussions with current professional students about their experience.


The 8th Annual Multicultural Health Careers Open House is open to any interested high school, current undergraduate or graduate student.  Optional Campus tours will start at 8 a.m. at the Kentucky Clinic.  Check-in to the Open House begins at 8:30 a.m. on the first floor of the Charles T. Wethington Building.  The event will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. and sessions will end by 4 p.m.  There will be an optional Q&A time with Health College representatives immediately following.  Students are encouraged to bring two guests but limited to only two due to space capacity.


The Open House is free and lunch will be provided, but advanced registration is required for food, handout materials and session management.  All students who register on or before March 27 will have a chance to win a free KAPLAN test prep course that may be used to cover the full price of any admissions placement test.  The registration website and additional information is available at  Seating is limited so register early and be sure to bring a friend or two. Registration may close early if capacity is reached.


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





Toyota Implementing UK Engineering Students' Development

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 15:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) — A group of University of Kentucky mechanical engineering students in the Spring 2014 and Fall 2014 senior capstone design courses is seeing its hard work pay off, and their project implemented as a real-world solution at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.(TMMK), the largest Toyota plant outside of Japan.


The mechanical engineering senior capstone design courses, ME 411 and 412, organize students into teams, and assigns each team a project for the two-semester sequence. In David Herrin's class, one team was assigned to design a solution to a safety issue in TMMK's die manufacturing shop.


The team comprised:


  • Jeffrey Fehn, a 2014 December mechanical engineering graduate from Louisville, Kentucky;
  • Mary Fralick, a 2014 December mechanical engineering graduate from Louisville;
  • Samuel Meffert, a mechanical engineering senior from Bowling Green, Kentucky;
  • Lauren Shaw, a 2014 December mechanical engineering graduate from Paducah, Kentucky; and
  • Sam Smiley, a 2014 December mechanical engineering graduate from Winchester, Kentucky.


In TMMK's die manufacturing shop, panel lifts are used to move unfinished panels from the die floor to the press pit, and forklifts powered by hydraulics are used to load and unload. Concerns were raised in the shop that if the hydraulics fail, there was not an adequate failsafe system to support the weight of the forklift and its load. TMMK took the problem to the mechanical engineering student team, explaining the issue but giving them free reign of designing a solution.


In the spring of 2014, the team began developing concepts and finalizing a design. After nearly a dozen trips to TMMK in Georgetown, weighing five different concepts, and working with TMMK's maintenance team, the team presented to the company and selected a finalized design, followed by prototype creation in the fall. 


The solution — a linearly actuated block placed behind the wheel — illustrated in the images below, supports the lift in the event of failure, allows forklifts to drive safely onto panel lifts and prevents catastrophic failure at all levels.


With a few tweaks, Toyota was ready to implement the solution. Poage and Associates recreated and confirmed the team's design, giving it a Professional Engineer stamp, and Toyota prototyped the solution.


"The prototype worked like was planned, and Toyota seemed to be happy with the result," said Sam Smiley, the team's leader. "They plan to share the design toward their other five panel lifters. They have made a few changes since our semester ended, primarily using a PLC instead of relay logic."


“We now have automatic stop blocks that engage when the lift is in the up position,” said Die Manufacturing Assistant Manager Mike Hoggatt.


The die manufacturing shop's maintenance and tool and die team members completed alterations to one lift, and are in the process of transferring the modifications to five other lifters in the shop.




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

Region's Underground Railroad Is Destination of Black History Event

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 14:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 18, 2015) — Opportunities to locally celebrate Martin Luther King's legacy of community activism and involvement still exist, but time is running out.


On Saturday, Feb. 21, the University of Kentucky MLK Day of Service Program will travel to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.


The Freedom Center features several exhibits covering a wide range of topics, including American slavery, the Civil Rights Movement and global slavery.


Students much register on a first come, first served basis. Limited spots are available, so register soon at


The group will meet in 106 Student Center at 10 a.m. Feb. 21, and return at approximately 5:30 p.m. The trip is free to all students and will include transportation, tickets and food.


For more information, contact the King Center at 257-4130.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302, gail.hairston

Mathskeller to Celebrate New Renovations at Open House Wednesday

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 14:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) — Many agree that an environment can shape the learner, and in a field like mathematics, an environment that fosters active learning and engaged teaching with no appointment necessary may be the key to success for some students. That environment has been on the University of Kentucky campus in some capacity for many years, but was recently upgraded for present-day students in math courses; encouraging them to take a seat, or move around with mobile workspaces; raise their hand for a tutor, or work on their own; open their laptops, or write on one of many chalkboards.


With new renovations completed over the winter break, the UK Mathskeller is ready to unveil those and other features at an open house from 3-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18, hosted by the Department of Mathematics and College of Arts and Sciences. The UK community is invited to visit the Mathskeller, Room 63 in the basement of the White Hall Classroom Building, to celebrate the facility's enhancements, learn about its services and enjoy refreshments.


Opened in 2001 with 20 computers and a large printing budget, the Mathskeller, a computing and mathematics learning center managed by the Department of Mathematics and the Mathematical Sciences Computing Facility, was established to implement a technology-assisted instructional model. Fourteen years later, the center is home to only four computers, printers aren't used nearly as much, and the facility looks nothing like a basement classroom.


Instead, the center resembles a modern, collective learning space. And while there may be fewer wires and less printing, technology still has a leading role at the center.


"In the past there was a substantial printing budget so that students could print out their assignments, work on them away from the computers, and then use their access to the computer to enter their answers," said Paul Eakin, professor of mathematics and Mathskeller director. "Today’s students use their laptops, tablets and phones to access their assignments and interact with the math homework systems."


Today's students, at least UK students utilizing the revitalized Mathskeller, are also taking advantage of the multiple mobile workspaces, bright LED-lit atmosphere, comfortable seating, tutors and chalkboard-lined walls. The renovated Mathskeller still features a kitchenette and group study or meeting room, and has added more storage, new carpet, additional study tables by removing a closet, and even a new computerized sign-in method.


"It's a more welcoming environment. There's a lot of resources, like chalkboard space, and it's more open…easier to walk around and help," said Lucas Shelton, a senior chemical engineering student and undergraduate assistant at the Mathskeller for four years.


More than 6,000 students utilized the Mathskeller in the fall 2014 semester, and nearly 3,000 tutoring hours were provided by either graduate teaching assistants or undergraduate assistants. Shelton said he has already seen an increase in students using the center since its remodel and expects to see more as the semester progresses. And he was right - over the course of 15 week days, from Jan. 23-Feb. 12, the Mathskeller recorded 1,045 students visiting the center.


Originally funded by the National Science Foundation, UK Office of the Vice President for Information Systems (now the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Planning, Analytics and Technologies) and external grants, the notion of the Mathskeller grew out of work done by the UK mathematics department in the 1980s and 1990s to understand the proper place for computer technology in teaching mathematics.


Now that web homework programs such as and WeBWorK have been established as essential tools for learning mathematics, the center has become a common space for students to work together, ask for help when they stumble upon a difficult problem and meet with faculty, teaching assistants and undergraduate assistants.


Some instructors actually schedule the majority of their office hours in the Mathskeller because "their own students are more likely to take advantage of these and when they don’t, the time is productively spent assisting other students and supporting the Mathskeller student assistants," Eakin said.


The Mathskeller is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday with no appointment necessary. To view more photos of the new Mathskeller and its construction, visit the College of Arts and Sciences' photo album at 




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

CCTS Funds Pilot Awards for High Impact Studies, Junior Faculty, and Collaborative Projects

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 14:17


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) -- The University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science has awarded 12 pilot grants to support innovative, collaborative research relevant to the health challenges and disparities faced by the nation and the citizens of Kentucky. Such preliminary and proof-of-concept studies are critical to moving basic laboratory findings into clinical applications.


The CCTS pilot grant funding program prioritizes development of enabling new technologies, therapeutics, and diagnostics, as well as novel cross-disciplinary collaborative programs that address the health and health care needs of the people of Appalachia.


Pilot investigators benefit from a robust support infrastructure designed to ensure that their study is successful. A multidisciplinary intake meeting with directors of relevant CCTS services such as biomedical informatics, participant recruitment, clinical services, or community engagement) provides as an immediate opportunity to receive expert feedback on protocols and budgets, anticipate challenges, and connect with needed resources.



Dr. Justin Fraser, assistant professor, College of Medicine

"Stroke and Traumatic Acute Brain Injury Line Indicator System for Emergent Recognition (STABILISER) Phase I Feasibility Study"


Jose Francisco Abisambra, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Medicine

Manganese-Enhanced MRI Detection of Neuronal Dysfunction in Pre-Symptomatic Tauopathy


Ellen Hahn, Ph.D., professor, College of Nursing

Biomarkers of Genotoxicity, Tobacco Smoke, and Radon Exposure




Danielle Stevens-Watkins, Ph.D. assistant professor, College of Education

Pilot Study to Test Feasibility and Efficacy of REMAS-CA (Real Men Are Safe-Culturally Adapted) on Drug Using Criminal Justice Involved African American Men


Dr. Matthew Bush, assistant professor, College of Medicine

Assessing and Addressing Behavioral Problems in Children with Hearing Loss


Chi Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Public Health

Development of a Model-based Bioinformatics Method for Comparing Somatic Mutation Patterns between Groups, with Application to Squamous Cell Lung Cancer Data in Appalachian Kentucky


Min Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor College of Medicine

The roles of S100A4/metastasin-1 in non-small cell lung cancer invasion, metastasis and therapeutic resistance


Dr. Huaman Moises, assistant professor, College of Medicine

The Association between Latent Tuberculosis Infection and Myocardial Infarction in a High Tuberculosis Burden Setting:  A Pilot Study


Shanna Babalonis, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Medicine

Analgesic Interactions of Cannabinoids and Opioids in Humans


April Young, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Public Health

Role of Social Media and Mobile apps in Sexual and Drug-related Networks of Men who have Sex with Men




Jimmi Hatton Kolpek, Pharm.D., professor, UK College of Pharmacy

Optimizing drug doses to improve outcomes of critically ill patients


Denise Rhoney, Pharm.D., professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Optimizing drug doses to improve outcomes of critically ill patients



To learn more about the CCTS Pilot Grant Funding Program, please visit or contact Elodie Elayi, Research Concierge and Pilot Coordinator, at or 859-323-7939.



UK Challenges High School Students With E-Discovery

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 13:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) — Fourteen teachers met at Natural Bridge State Resort Park recently, taking training to incorporate an innovative new program into their high school classrooms. Based in the University of Kentucky Community and Leadership Department, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, E-Discovery Challenges You! pushes students to create their own service or product and sell it for profit, teaching valuable entrepreneurial and real-world business skills.


The 14 teachers hail from 10 Appalachian counties and share a common goal: to further the education of their students beyond traditional classroom learning. The pilot program commences spring semester 2015.


Counties involved in the pilot program include Bell, Estill, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Morgan, Owsley, Powell, Rockcastle and Whitley. The teachers instruct on a variety of subjects, from math to agriculture.


Following the end of the spring 2015 semester, the 14 teachers involved with the pilot program will reconvene to determine ways to strengthen the program before the E-Discovery team trains an additional 50 high school teachers. These 50 teachers are employed in counties the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has designated "most distressed," and will be trained late summer or early fall 2015.


Three economic indicators are used by the ARC to determine "most distressed" counties: unemployment over a three-year period, per capita market income, and poverty rates. As of 2015 there are 37 counties in Kentucky that qualify for this status.


In 2008, Annette Walters and Melony Denham developed the E-Discovery program in Ann DeSpain's sixth grade classroom, boosting students' self-esteem, improving their social skills, heightening their creativity and teaching real-world money skills.


"We have a dynamic group of teachers piloting the E-Discovery Challenges You! curriculum this semester in high schools. We are expecting students to develop some creative and innovative business ideas that provide income for them and also have the potential to provide an economic boost for their communities," said E-Discovery program manager Melony Denham.


Walters and Denham are both graduates of the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute (KECI) under the auspices of UK, which seeks to fuel entrepreneurship in tobacco-dependent counties in response to lower tobacco incomes.


"It is estimated that about 25 percent of rural adults in the Appalachian region have a business of some kind. We want to build on that entrepreneurial spirit to take it to new levels. Our youth are pivotal for helping the rest of us see new possibilities in Appalachian Kentucky," said Ron Hustedde, director of KECI and professor in UK's Department of Community and Leadership Development.


More than 200 elementary and middle school teachers have been trained to teach the current E-Discovery curriculum with over 50 schools and more than 5,000 students having been involved in the initiative thanks to funding from ARC. ARC currently funds more than 400 projects each year across the 13-state Appalachian region.


"When Gov. Beshear and Congressman Rogers launched the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative last year, this is exactly the type of success they envisioned — existing organizations taking a leading role in implementing a program to meet one of the needs identified in the final report as submitted to the SOAR Executive Board in September of 2014," said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR. "We strongly believe building a strong culture of entrepreneurship starts with engaging our youth into the process, and the E-Discovery Challenges You! program does just that." 


Spanning all levels of primary and secondary education, the E-Discovery program seeks to spark entrepreneurship in young people across Appalachia.


For more information about E-Discovery contact Melony Denham at




MEDIA CONTACT: Clark Bellar,, 859-257-8716



UK's Thelin Featured on Inside Higher Ed Podcast

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 11:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) — John Thelin, professor of educational policy studies and evaluation in the University of Kentucky College of Education, joined Inside Higher Ed last week to discuss the battle over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plans for the University of Wisconsin and the "Wisconsin idea."


On the Feb. 13 program of "This Week @ Inside Higher Ed," Thelin and Alan Knox of the University of Wisconsin at Madison offered their thoughts on the controversy in Wisconsin. Gov. Walker proposed cutting $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system budget and removing key parts of the mission from state code. Walker's spokeswoman later said the changes in language were a drafting error.


Thelin, referred to in the podcast as "one of the leading historians of American higher education," spoke on the importance of a state university defining its mission, his view on the "Wisconsin idea," and more.


To listen to the podcast, visit The interview with Thelin and Knox begins at the 15:28 minute mark.


Thelin, whose teaching and research interests focus on the history of higher education and public policy, is the author of "A History of American Higher Education," and is often featured in national media for his expertise on the subject. 




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

Speech-Language Pathologist Helps Former Wildcat Become Fluent for Life

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 11:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) – Meg Shake, a speech-language pathologist in the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences Communication Disorders Clinic, is featured in a recent Sports Illustrated article, written by Lee Jenkins. 


The article focuses on former UK men’s basketball player, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who now plays small forward for the Charlotte Hornets. Shake and Kidd-Gilchrist met in the summer of 2011 at UK’s Center of Academic and Tutorial Services. Kidd-Gilchrist had worked on his stutter with speech-language pathologists as a child, never learning how to control it. Instead he coped by avoiding situations, such as public speaking, that brought attention to his stutter. However, being part of the hugely successful 2011-12 UK Wildcats made hiding from media interviews impossible.


Jenkins writes: “If (Mark) Price (Hornets assistant coach) was his shot doctor, Shake was his speech guru. She met with him twice a week and demystified the phenomenon that is human speech: how the mouth and tongue and lips form different sounds, how vocal cords vibrate, and how we all stammer occasionally at the onset of pressure. Kidd-Gilchrist relearned, in a sense, how to speak.”


Their work together was a success, and Shake would often listen to Kidd-Gilchrist’s media interviews and compliment him on his progress. Shake knew that for Kidd-Gilchrist the desire to speak fluently went deeper than media interviews.


In the article, Shake is quoted: “This (the therapy) was for when he gives his wedding vows, and when he gets his honorary degree from UK, and when he goes to his grandchildren’s graduation. It was for a more fluent future.”    


Shake, who has worked in the Communication Disorders Clinic since 2006, received her undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and her graduate degree from UK in Communication Sciences and Disorders.


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

John Winn Miller Joins UK as First Journalist in Residence

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 08:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) — Experienced journalist John Winn Miller joins the University of Kentucky today as the first Journalist in Residence in the College of Communication and Information’s School of Journalism and Telecommunications.


The new Journalist in Residence program was created to give students and the professional community at UK more exposure to professionals in the journalism field.  Miller will work part-time at UK while continuing his work as a consultant, producer, screenwriter and entrepreneur.  This combination will allow him to bring insight from the professional world to students and faculty at UK.


“I view my job as being a bridge between the profession and academic communities,” Miller said.


As part of this pilot program, Miller will consult with academics and professionals, assist the journalism faculty, give guest lectures in classes and meet with students for guidance and mentoring.  He will also work with Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.  In addition to his work as a journalist, Miller has experience in editing, publishing, advertising, marketing, public relations, screenwriting, production and starting his own company.  He hopes students of all majors will come to him for advice because of his wide range in experiences.


“I will be available to discuss career paths, internships, the business of journalism, writing and reporting techniques, social media trends, web site design, management issues — basically anything any student needs to succeed,” Miller said.


Miller and his family have a long history at UK.  His grandfather Gerald Griffin was the editor for the Kernel and a journalism professor at UK in the 1920s and 30s.  Miller got his start at UK with the Kentucky Kernel, too.


“I've been extraordinarily lucky in my career, and a whole lot of my success was due to the people who mentored me, starting at the Kernel. So I’m most excited about my new job because I can return the favor to the students,” Miller said.


Miller has started many media organizations, and his experience in the field will be a great resource for the School of Journalism and Telecommunications.


“We are looking forward to being able to leverage his experience for our students and faculty,” Dean of the College of Communication and Information Dan O’Hair said.


As the founding Journalist in Residence, Miller will serve a critical role in furthering and developing the position for future professionals in the position.  He already has ideas about new courses and has one in the development stages.  He hopes to launch a residency-style course that allows students to gain real world experience and form connections with influential professionals in Lexington.


“In particular I want to help students prepare for, receive and succeed at internships, which are key to getting a job after graduation,” Miller said.


“Our new curriculum in journalism, which was implemented two years ago, now requires that all journalism majors complete an internship before graduation," said Beth Barnes, director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. "The assistance Mr. Miller will provide in this area will be very helpful.  I know our students will benefit from Mr. Miller’s insights and experience and enjoy working with him as a mentor.” 


Miller holds a Bachelor of General Studies degree from UK.  After working for the Kernel during his time at UK, he worked for The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal in Rome, Italy.  Since then Miller has held various publishing and editing positions with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Centre Daily Times, Tallahassee Democrat, The Olympian and Concord Monitor.


Miller is married to Margo, UK graduate, artist and former professor of English at UK.  Their daughter, Allison, is an actress and can be seen on the television programs "Kings" and "Selfie," in the movie "17 Again" and in various other television shows and films.


In his free time, Miller helps run Friends2Follow, writes screenplays and produces indie movies.  At 62 years old, he holds a second-degree black belt in Shaolin style martial arts.


A selection committee of two faculty members and two professionals chose Miller for this position. 


Miller will be located in the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues in 122 Grehan Journalism Building and encourages students to stop by his office for a visit during his afternoon office hours.


To contact Miller, students can email him at, friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter (@jwinnmiller) or connect with him on LinkedIn.  To learn more about his career, visit and read about his Indie films on




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Welcomes MLK Center Director Kahlil Baker

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 20:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  WUKY reporter Chase Cavanaugh sits in for Godell today. His guest is Kahlil Baker, director of the UK Martin Luther King Center, who talks about the movie "Dear White People," a 2014 film that follows several African-American students and how they fit in at a mostly white university.  The King Center is hosting a screening of the film at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, in UK's Memorial Hall, followed by a discussion with the movie's director, Justin Simien


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


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

Livestream: UK Hosts Second Day of Public Forums With Provost Candidates

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 17:53





Watch the livestream of the provost candidate forums from 8-10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in the UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A Auditorium.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2015) — The campus community will have the opportunity to engage with finalists for the provost position at the University of Kentucky beginning at 8 a.m. today, Friday, Feb. 13, in the UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A Auditorium.


President Eli Capilouto announced two finalists Monday, Feb. 9: Gatton College of Business and Economics Dean David Blackwell and College of Pharmacy Dean Tim Tracy.


Each candidate will provide opening remarks before taking written questions from audience members. In their opening comments, Blackwell and Tracy will be asked to address three general areas:

  1. How their backgrounds prepare them for this important position;
  2. How they believe, with their leadership, we can continue our momentum and make progress in the important areas of student success, graduate education and research; and
  3. Their thoughts on steps we can take together to create a more inclusive and equitable campus community and environment.

Individuals watching the forums via livestream can submit questions to or via twitter to @UKYProvost.


 All forums will be archived and available for review Friday afternoon.


After the forums are complete, community members can email any feedback to The search committee will continue to take this input until the close of business on Friday. Feedback from the community is important and will be utilized by President Capilouto in his deliberations regarding this important position over the next few days.


Blackwell was named dean of the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics in 2012 after his tenure as associate dean for graduate programs and Republic Bank/James W. Aston Professor of Finance at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School. Before joining Texas A&M, he served as director in KPMG's Forensic practice and as a director in PricewaterhouseCoopers' Financial Advisory Services practice. He has authored or coauthored publications in the areas of public finance, accounting and management of financial institutions, including one of the country's leading undergraduate textbooks on financial institutions and markets.


Tracy was named dean of the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy in 2010. He began his academic career at West Virginia University where he served as a faculty member from 1992 to 2003. In 2003, he joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota as professor and was named department head in 2004. Tracy has been principal investigator on grants totaling more than $6 million in extramural funding and co-investigator on grants totaling more than $15 million in extramural funding. He is the author of numerous scientific publications, book chapters and two books. His area of research is drug metabolism and disposition.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

Today Show Viewers to See Double and "see blue." Thanks to UK Twins

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 16:52



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2015) — Viewers of NBC’s The Today Show could be seeing double and lots of University of Kentucky blue Tuesday morning!


A segment about the large number of twins on the University of Kentucky campus this year is tentatively scheduled to air on the national morning news show during the 8 o'clock hour on Tuesday, Feb. 17.


UKNow first shared a “Twinning” Big Blue Family video feature about 3 sets of UK twins who are stars on the basketball court, football field and in the classroom (Alex and Alexis Poythress, Zack and Daron Blaylock and Evelyn and Elizabeth Mechas).




In December, another video about quadruplets Sajidah, Dua'a & Nasreen Omran (their brother Jadallah plans to transfer to UK from Bluegrass Community and Technical College next year) and triplets Adam, Ben & Cameron Childress) was featured on UKNow.



All of these stories about multiples, including a Lexington-Herald Leader report highlighting the 113 sets of twins on UK’s campus, attracted the attention of producers at The Today Show.  A crew including NBC Today correspondent Kevin Tibbles traveled to the UK campus in early February.  The team spent the day interviewing various sets of multiples including Evelyn and Elizabeth Mechas as well as Andrew and Aaron Harrison. 


The day even included time with two sets of twins on the UK Dance team along with a large group shot of 56 UK twins/triplets/quads in the W.T. Young Library, where UK Statistics professor William Griffith got in on the action by explaining the academic side of this twin trend at the University of Kentucky. 


Tune in Tuesday, Feb. 17 to watch as the rest of the country discovers what it means to “see blue.” and see double at the University of Kentucky.


*This story airtime schedule is tentative and subject to change in the case of breaking news.  A link to the UK Twinning Today Show segment will be added to this UKNow story once it airs on NBC.


MEDIA CONTACT:  Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-797-0990,


UK College of Education Alum Cheri Issel Finds Love on Court and on Canvas

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 16:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Education  alumna Cheri Issel is filled with adoration for her newfound career. She graduated from UK in 1970, yet it wasn’t until 2010 that fate led her to one of her most passion-filled ventures yet.


Her husband, Dan Issel’s, job had taken them to Bel Air, California, where she made a friend who happened to have some unused art supplies stored in her garage. On a whim, they took out the brushes and paints and began meeting weekly by her pool. A few years later, the friends ventured into an art gallery in Palm Desert, California.


“The owner asked to see some of my work and wanted to feature me as a guest artist in his gallery on El Paseo Drive,” Issel said. “He wanted colorful renditions of animal faces and that led me to the type of art I enjoy. It was a great experience; I sold a few paintings and got up the courage to continue down that path.”


Issel found herself making a new career out of what had started merely as time spent talking with a friend.


“We basically taught ourselves and enjoyed conversation and advice on beautiful sunny California days,” she said. “Never in a million years did I plan to do any more than that.”


Yet Issel knew from as far back as college that decisions made on a whim can have a lasting impact.


When the Lexington native graduated from Lafayette High School in 1966, the Beatles were topping the charts with "Day Tripper," UK basketball coach Adolph Rupp was prepping for his 36th Wildcat team, and Issel was busy completing her enrollment forms for the UK College of Education, where she would major in physical education with a minor in biological sciences.


It was an exciting time in her young life, punctuated by receiving news her tryout for the UK cheerleading squad had been successful. Cheri was a lifelong UK fan (she grew up attending games with her father) and her family’s ties to UK are part of its rich history — her mother sewed the body of the suit the very first Wildcat Mascot ever worn in 1968.


Also enrolling at UK in the fall of 1966 was a 6-foot-9 basketball player from Batavia, Illinois. On the court, Dan Issel was soon averaging 25.7 points per game and would be named an All-American for two of the three seasons he was eligible for the award. His career points total remains the highest among UK men's players.


Following a game in Georgia their sophomore year, Dan approached Cheri. He wanted to know if he could give her a ride home when they returned to Lexington.


“I think we were together most every day or night after that,” Cheri said. “We were engaged when we were juniors and married before our senior year. It was a fairy tale, a dream come true. My time at UK included probably some of the best years of our life. UK fans are some of the loudest and most supporting. I remember being in awe of the enthusiasm and response to our cheers and the players’ actions on and off the court. Athletics (and all that goes with it) became what I lived and breathed during those years. UK boosters and fans treated us like royalty, and we will never forget that! It was a very exciting experience and I was blessed to be in the heart of it all!”


The next chapter of the Issels' life took them to Louisville, where Dan signed to play in the American Basketball Association (ABA) with the Kentucky Colonels.


“What fun those five years were,” Cheri said. “We built our dream house and planned to live in it the rest of our lives. Our daughter, Sheridan, was born there and life was good.”


Dan was traded after winning the ABA championship. The family moved to Denver, Colorado, where Dan played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets for 10 years. Their son Scott was born there.


During Dan’s 15-year professional playing career, Cheri balanced motherhood and was involved in many charities, served on many boards, and chaired many fundraising events. She also went back to school and took classes in interior design.


“We moved from house to house, and I loved to decorate them,” she said. “My sense for color, creativity, and design blossomed then. Later I believe that led to my success as an artist. I believe we have lived in 21 houses through all these years!”


Through it all, family remained deeply important. Although they owned a horse farm in Versailles for a few years, Dan and Cheri eventually moved back to Denver (where Dan had coached the Nuggets twice, following his playing career) to be closer to their adult children, who identify Denver as their home.


“I owned my own interior design company (with two dear friends) and dabbled in marketing, design, and travel,” Cheri said. “Our kids married and had kids of their own. Sheridan married Rick Whipple and we have two grandkids, Ben, 12, and Addy, 10. Scott married Kristen Ely, and we have two grandkids, Brody, 5, and Greyson, 3. They are expecting their third child in July. They are the love of our lives!”


Cheri’s sister, Vicki Sageser, and her husband, Gene, still live in Lexington. Vicki was also a Kentucky cheerleader and graduated from the UK College of Education. She currently is a part-time instructor in the college’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, where she teaches CPR and first-aid.


“Because of her involvement with UK, I have been able to keep in touch with past teachers there as well as administrators in the College of Education,” Cheri said. “She is a role model to me and a devoted Christian woman. My dad, Virgil Hughes, is there in Lexington as well, and he is 89. He is so proud of my art, and I love him dearly. My mom died at 67 years old of emphysema, but I know she is proud as well. They were wonderful parents and loved Dan as their own son.”


Today, Cheri is still learning and painting with other artists in Denver to improve her ability and style. She mainly enjoys watercolor on different types of papers but does some acrylics as well. She paints mostly from photos of things she captures and loves. Her only regret is that she didn’t start years earlier.


She has partnered with Your Frame of Mind Galleries in Lexington on the release of two UK-themed paintings thus far – "The Horse" and "Wildcat Glory."


“My idea of 'The Horse' came from our love of thoroughbreds and Dan's nickname (because of  his work ethic on the court). I wanted to incorporate the heart and spirit of a horse, my husband, and UK athletics,” she said.


Her latest release, "Wildcat Glory," a rendition of the Kentucky Wildcat, will be available on Valentine’s Day – Feb. 14, 2015. Cheri and Dan, along with the other two members of Kentucky’s 2,000 point club, Kenny "Sky" Walker and Jack "Goose" Givens, will be signing the painting at the Your Frame of Mind Galleries location in the Lexington Center shops at Rupp Arena.


More information is available at




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

Fayette County Students Learn the Value of FAST

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:32
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2015) -- Last week, fourth and fifth grade students at Athens-Chilesburg Elementary (ACE) learned how to be FAST--  not at a track meet or on the basketball court, but in a medical emergency.


Because a quick response can mitigate the effects of a stroke, it's critical to know the warning signs and get help as soon as possible, says Lisa Bellamy, director of the Stroke Care Network under the UK HealthCare/Norton Healthcare umbrella. That's why the network created SCOPE --  Stroke Community Outreach Prevention and Education Program.


“We call stroke a brain attack," says Bellamy. "Even young children can recognize stroke symptoms, and we emphasize the importance of calling 9-1-1 if they think someone is having a stroke. We want them to have a sense of urgency because once the damage happens from a stroke, it’s irreversible.”


These young students caught on quickly, she said.


“Every second, brain cells die and if too many die, your body just can’t work,” said 10-year-old Jamison Gordon, explaining what happens when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. “A stroke can easily kill you if you don’t catch it in time.”


FAST stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time. For example, if a person’s face or smile is distorted because the muscles aren’t receiving signals from the brain, that’s a clear indication to call for help. Likewise, if the victim cannot raise one arm overhead or if their speech is garbled, it’s best to summon an ambulance. And the time factor is crucial: the sooner a stroke victim gets emergency care, the higher their chances of surviving a stroke with minimal deficits.


Stroke is the No. 1 cause of disability and the No. 5 cause of death in the United States. ACE P.E. teacher Kristi Landversicht booked SCOPE because she thought this age group could comprehend the basics. “The information is pretty easy to learn and good to know,” said Landversicht, who planned to quiz the students in their next class.  


While SCOPE's colorful PowerPoint and cartoon video clips presented details in child-friendly terms, they didn’t sugarcoat the seriousness of the topic. “You can literally save a life,” Crystal Vires-Smith, SCOPE clinical associate, told students gathered in the gym.


Vires-Smith and SCOPE co-chair Carrie Sawyers touched on how the brain is the control center for the body and noted how a clogged artery or burst vessel can cut off crucial blood flow. “Every second lost, there’s more damage to the brain,” Sawyers stressed. “It’s an emergency. It’s a 9-1-1 event if there ever was one,” Vires-Smith added. The youngsters also asked poignant questions such as “Are the results permanent?” “Can you have a stroke twice?” and “Can stroke be contagious?”


The good news is that stroke is mostly a lifestyle event – that is, lifestyle choices can make a difference in the risk factors – and 88 percent of strokes are preventable. That’s why half of SCOPE’s “Brain Protector” lesson emphasized how students can reduce their risk through healthy living such as avoiding cigarette smoke, exercising regularly outdoors, and eating nutritious foods. “If I start at a young age, I’m less likely to have a stroke,” said 10-year-old Cooper Handshoe. 


UK’s Bellamy agreed that establishing healthy habits in childhood is a great strategy. “The ideal scenario with stroke is you prevent it before it happens,” she said. “But there are risk factors you can’t do anything about like your family history, so we try to focus on the risk factors that can reduce the incidence of stroke.”  


The Stroke Community Outreach Prevention and Education Program (SCOPE) offers free “Brain Protector” sessions for elementary schools. To schedule, call clinical associate Crystal Vires-Smith at (859) 218-0954.


Article co-authored by Tammy L. Lane , FCPS