Campus News

UK Workshops Preserve Food as Well as Finances, Health

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 13:27


Video by Jeff Franklin/UK Ag Communications.


LEXINGTON, Ky., (Aug. 5, 2016)  Preserving food at the height of summer to consume in the pit of winter — at one time, was a skill that nearly every woman learned from her mother and passed on to her daughters. With the advent of grocery stores and a food distribution system that defies the seasons, food preservation skills have declined over the past three or four decades.


The University of Kentucky and its College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, within the School of Human Environmental Sciences, are doing something about that.


Recently, folks with the Kentucky Nutrition Education Program have seen a renewed interest in food preservation and responded by creating a three-day “boot camp” style workshop in methods that include canning, freezing and drying. Retired family and consumer sciences extension agents are teaching the workshops around the state for the second summer.


“We’re trying to reach families with information that will help them make good financial and healthy choices in terms of selecting and preserving their food,” said Renee Fox, nutrition and marketing specialist with the Nutrition Education Program. “Many of them don’t know these techniques. Sometimes it’s been lost over the generations, but even if they do have the skills, some of the products and regulations have changed as we’ve learned more about food preservation, so we want to make sure they’re using the safest methods and doing things the right way.”


On the first day of a recent workshop in Scott County, retired agents Grace Angotti and Cheryl Case taught the 15 participants about different canning methods, the proper equipment and safety considerations. In the more than 20 years each woman worked as an extension agent, they’ve seen interest in home food preservation ebb and flow.


“I think it’s part of the farm-to-table movement, where we’re interested in knowing where our food originates. We want to know that food is healthy and safe. We want to know what’s in our food, and we want it to be as natural as possible,” Case said.


Angotti remembered, in particular, the reaction of an enthusiastic participant at a 2015 workshop.


“As soon as we learned to can green beans, she went home and did a mess of green beans and some corn,” Angotti said. “And then she brought us pictures of them.”


The workshops are under the umbrella of the Kentucky Nutrition Education Program, which includes two U.S. Department of Agriculture programs for limited-resource families and individuals: the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, EFNEP, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, known as SNAP-Ed. The goal of both programs is to educate program participants on how to plan nutritious meals on a restricted budget, acquire safe food handling practices, improve food preparation skills and develop behaviors that will result in a healthy lifestyle.


“Obesity (in the state) is high; blood pressure is a big concern. Eating healthy can go a long way in lowering your health risks. It’s really vital,” Fox said. “SNAP-Ed and food preservation workshops are making a difference in people’s lives.”



UK is  the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324,

Traffic Exiting UK HealthCare Parking Garage to be Temporarily Rerouted

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 14:35
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016) — Beginning Friday, Aug. 5, Conn Terrace between South Limestone and the UK HealthCare garage exit will be temporarily closed. The closure is necessary to allow for construction of a pedestrian bridge linking the new Shriner’s Hospital Medical Center to the UK HealthCare parking garage and is expected to last approximately two weeks. During this time, traffic exiting the garage will be detoured to Virginia Avenue (for northbound travelers) or Waller Avenue (for southbound). Visitors who need to pick up patients at the hospital will need to use the detour to Waller Avenue, turn left onto Waller and left again onto South Limestone. The entrance to the hospital will then be on the right.  Patient and visitor shuttles will also be detoured during this time and will require extra travel time. Patients should allow extra time for getting to and from appointments whenever possible.  Detour routes will be marked on the street and signs will be posted by all garage elevators. Printed maps of recommended exit routes will be available in racks near the garage elevators and at all information desks.  Patients who have appointments in the Kentucky Clinic building may wish to use the Kentucky Clinic Parking Garage, which is located on Huguelet Avenue.  

Appalachian Health and Well-Being Forum Focuses on Southeastern Kentucky

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 14:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016)  As Southeastern Kentucky works to address well-documented and long-standing regional disparities in health and well-being, scientists from the University of Kentucky and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) came together with community leaders and research partners recently for the Appalachian Health and Well-Being Forum, which highlighted innovative health promotion and disease prevention programs and activities in the region.


Held at the Letcher County UK Cooperative Extension Office, the forum provided an opportunity for residents and investigators interested in health and well-being to share success stories and lessons learned from past and ongoing projects. A variety of exhibitors from both the community and UK were also on hand to distribute materials and information about health-related programs and activities.


The conference included a panel discussion featuring Linda Birnbaum, director of the NIEHS, part of the National Institutes of Health; Dawn Brewer, assistant professor in the UK Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; L.M. "Mike" Caudill, chief executive officer of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) in Whitesburg; and Frances Feltner, director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard. The discussion was moderated by Ernie Scott, director of the Kentucky Office of Rural Health. After a welcome by Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft, the panelists focused their discussion on the role of community in preventing disease and promoting health and well-being.


Describing a number of NIEHS-funded research activities, Birnbaum emphasized the importance of community-based problem-solving for understanding and addressing challenging health issues, including reducing exposures to toxicants prenatally and across the lifespan.


Brewer described nutrition research under way by UK and its community partners that hopes to “make the healthy choice, the easy, or default, choice.”


Caudill talked about the importance of place and how it is central to the efforts of MCHC to promote health within the region.


Discussing the work of UK's CERH, Feltner highlighted the need for workforce development programs and how economic depression can affect the health of a community. 


Prior to the forum, the NIEHS director participated in site visits to the UK CERH, MCHC, Appalshop and the Cowan Community Center. During the visits, local leaders were able to share valuable information with Birnbaum on the issues impacting natural resources in the community.


“Our mission for NIEHS is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives,” Birnbaum said.


“Too often, individuals and organizations work in overlapping areas to promote community health and positive lifestyles but are not fully aware of each other’s work,” according to Lindell Ormsbee, Raymond-Blythe Professor of Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering and associate director of the UK Superfund Research Center (SRC). “This forum provided an opportunity to help make those connections.”


Kelly Pennell, associate professor in the College of Engineering and co-leader of the SRC Research Translation and Community Engagement Cores, who joined Ormsbee in leading a planning team comprising community members from Perry and Letcher counties, as well as UK faculty and students, added, “We were honored to be welcomed so warmly into these communities and be given the opportunity to learn about and share with other organizations the many programs taking place to improve health and well-being in Eastern Kentucky.”


Organizers of the forum, which was sponsored by UK and NIEHS, hope the event will further enhance the numerous ongoing efforts taking place in the southeastern part of the state.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;; Kara Richardson, 859-327-2825;


UK Students Create Elkhorn City Railroad Museum’s Mobile Exhibit for Schools, Tourists

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:59


Photos courtesy of the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016) Kentucky is privileged with a bounty of railroad museums and attractions, but the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum has a charm and history all its own.


With its unique collection of railroading tools, equipment, uniforms and instruments; enhanced by books and photos; and personalized by retired railroad employees eager to share their tales of life on the rails, the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum preserves and protects Eastern Kentucky’s pride and culture as well as its hope for the future.


This past spring semester, University of Kentucky sociology students in Associate Professor Shaunna L. Scott’s “Sociology of Appalachia” class were quick to recognize the potential of the small museum supported by the Pike County community. With the help of the citizens of Elkhorn City, they created an exhibit that reflects the importance of the railroad to the region’s history, commerce and way of life. Although the exhibit’s home is the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum during the spring, summer and fall tourist seasons, the university students’ educational exhibit will be housed in the Elkhorn City Public Library during the winter. The exhibit is portable, capable of transport to schools and libraries throughout the region during the winter months.


For a brief history of the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum, visit


“My students did research on the region’s history and the role of the railroad in and around Elkhorn City to build the exhibit,” said Scott, who is also director of the Appalachian Studies Program at UK. “There were plenty of pictures and artifacts that had been donated to the museum, as well as books and pictures that the students located from other sources.” 


The state historical marker in front of the museum reads, “Two major railroads, C&O from north and Clinchfield from south, connected at Elkhorn City, Feb. 8, 1915, opening up trade from (the) Ohio Valley to (the) South Atlantic Region. Elkhorn City became (an) important railroad town. Trains went through several times a day transporting goods from north and south, and coal and timber from (the) surrounding area.”


The exhibit in part recounts the construction of the last few miles of the Clinchfield Railroad, a feat considered an engineering marvel at the time of its completion in 1915. Snaking 266 miles from Spartenburg, South Carolina, through Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee and Western Virginia, the Clinchfield line terminated and joined the C&O line in Elkhorn City. The last few miles of the Clinchfield line crossed Pike County’s steep mountains and Breaks Gorge, known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.” The construction required 56 tunnels and six bridges. For nearly a century, the Clinchfield Railroad hauled untold millions of tons of coal and lumber out of the hills of Eastern Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee to the textile mills of South Carolina, and on to other population and industrial centers in America.


Locals in this southeastern corner of Kentucky can trace their area’s rich history as far back as 1767, when Daniel Boone made his first hunting excursion west of the Cumberland Mountain range. Barely a crossroads in the early 20th century, Elkhorn City credits the railroad with the town's population growth and its role in moving coal, freight and passengers across the country.


Nestled in the stunning Appalachian foothills, within a few miles of the picturesque Breaks Interstate Park and surrounded by some of the region’s best whitewater rafting and wilderness hiking/biking trails, citizens of Elkhorn City are determined to preserve their region’s cultural heritage through the modern post-coal, post-railroad transition. Hence, the region is transitioning to an alternate source of commerce, one that can preserve its heritage, its beauty, its uniqueness — the tourist industry.


“We hope that the exhibit that my students created will help educate local children about the history and culture of their community and will also serve as an attraction to people visiting the area for outdoor recreation. The Elkhorn City Railroad Museum and the Actors Collaborative Theater are two of the town’s cultural centerpieces,” Scott said.


Now in her third year of a partnership with the small town of Elkhorn City, the sociology professor with a soft spot in her heart for Appalachia will lead future UK student volunteers as they assist the area in diversifying its economy to better cope with the post-coal transition.


“With a history older than our nation, we don’t want to just see the people of Appalachia survive, we want to see them and their culture thrive,” Scott said.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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


UK's Academic Exploration Tool Given Excellence Award at UCDA Design Competition

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:36


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016) — The University of Kentucky and Up&Up have been presented the Award of Excellence from the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) for the design of the UK Academic Exploration Tool (AET).


The 2016 UCDA Design Competition evaluated 224 digital entries with 23 awards given. This year's show will be on display at the UCDA Design Conference, Sept. 24-27, in San Antonio, Texas.


The AET, which launched this past fall, revamps the way students prepare for college classes and their futures, making the process more user friendly and allowing for more creativity when searching and considering forthcoming career possibilities.


The team that worked on the project include the following:

Creative Director Mark Gerardot

Senior Developer Michael Oostdyk

Front-End Developer Ben Robertson

Project Director Grace King

Director of Marketing and Strategy Matt McFadden

Front-End Developer Jordan Barber

Director of Communication and Technology (University of Kentucky) Tyler Gayheart

The UCDA Design Competition recognizes the best of the exceptional design work done to promote educational institutions (secondary, vocational or higher education) and supports the exchange of ideas and information relating to the unique role of these designers.


Learn more about the project at:



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395 

UK Law’s Grisé Receives Meritorious Service Award from ABA Commission

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 15:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016)  Jane Grisé, director of academic success and legal writing instructor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, has been named the American Bar Association's Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs’ (CoLAP) 2016 Meritorious Service Award winner.


The award recognizes a law student, law school, staff or faculty member who implemented a significant initiative or made a contribution toward law student mental and physical wellness through prevention, education, intervention and treatment of substance abuse, addiction and mental illness with the law student population.


Grisé was nominated for this prestigious award by Yvette Hourigan, director of the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program, and chosen for her leadership and implementation of the Dean’s Challenge Program at UK Law.


The Dean’s Challenge Program consists of a 5-week challenge to introduce students to exercise, nutrition, health issues, yoga, meditation and other programs.


Grisé will be honored at the ABA CoLAP 2016 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs Annual Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 6, in Vancouver, British Columbia.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



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

UK Biology Grad Student Wins Prestigious Blue Waters Fellowship

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 14:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) University of Kentucky doctoral student Paul Hime has been awarded the Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Hime, a graduate student in Associate Professor David Weisrock's lab in the Department of Biology, is one of only 10 students across the country who has been selected for the program.


The NCSA's Blue Waters Fellowship will give Hime access to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world — the Blue Waters supercomputer. He will also receive a $38,000 stipend, up to $12,000 in tuition allowance, an allocation of up to 50,000 node-hours on the computing system, and funds for travel to a Blue Waters-sponsored symposium to present research progress and results.


"Access to extremely powerful supercomputing resources is vital to my research, and the Blue Waters Fellowship through the NCSA provides unprecedented opportunities to advance this work," Hime said.


Hime is an aspiring evolutionary biologist, whose research centers on diversity among different organisms. Specifically, his research seeks to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among amphibians, using new computational and statistical approaches, to better understand and conserve their biological diversity.


Hime credits Weisrock and others in the Department of Biology and Center for Computational Sciences as being instrumental to his research and scholarship thus far.


"Dr. Weisrock has allowed me the intellectual freedom to pursue risky projects, to ask big questions, and to learn to become an independent scientist," Hime said.


He looks forward to finishing his dissertation research and gaining new computational skills from his work with NCSA researchers. After graduating from UK with his doctoral degree, Hime plans to continue his work as an academic researcher.  



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



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

UK Law Showcases Scholarship at SEALS Annual Conference

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 14:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) University of Kentucky College of Law faculty and staff are sharing their expertise with legal educators across the country at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Conference this week. The conference, held in Amelia Island, Florida, runs until Aug. 9.


The annual conference provides numerous panels and discussion groups on cutting-edge topics and a breadth of legal issues important to both scholarly work and teaching. The conference also offers newer faculty the opportunity to present a work in progress and to receive feedback from assigned mentors and audience participants.


The following UK Law faculty and staff members are participating:  


· Professor Scott Bauries will present in a new law teachers workshop, a labor and employment law workshop and a workplace law discussion group.

· Dean David A. Brennen will participate in several dean panel discussions.

· Law Library Director James Donovan will speak in several legal education workshops.

· Academic Success Director Jane Grisé will speak in several legal education workshops.

· Associate Dean Nicole Huberfeld will participate in a discussion group on race and federalism, a legal education workshop and a health law workshop.

· Professor Cortney Lollar will participate in a discussion group on the advancement of remedies and a workshop on access to justice.

· Professor Kathy Moore will moderate a tax law workshop.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



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

Pet Therapy Program Brings Man’s Best Friend to Patients at UK HealthCare

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 09:07

UPR&M Video by Jenny Wells.



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) – The Pet Therapy Program run through the Volunteer Office at UK HealthCare gives volunteers the chance to let man’s best friend brighten the days of people who need it most. Developed in the past few years, the program has volunteers and pets that visit patients in the Markey Cancer Center and the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.


Kathryn Allen and Bosco, her three-year-old golden retriever, are two participants in the program. Allen and Bosco spend two hours a week visiting patients at Markey. When Allen began the program, she knew she wanted to work at the cancer center. Her own work as a physician’s assistant helped Allen see the need to cheer up patients when they are going through a stressful experience. After seeing a story on another therapy dog used in hospice care, Allen said she was “really moved by the story,” and decided to get involved in UK’s program.


For the past year, Allen and Bosco have been working with Love on a Leash to complete the certification process to participate in pet therapy. First, Allen had to decide if Bosco had the right disposition to work closely with patients who range in age and severity of health issues.


It’s important that pet therapy animals are obedient and have a gentle disposition. The certification process officially began with Bosco receiving a Good Citizen certification from the American Kennel Club. After that step was completed, a pet can begin working with Love on a Leash where they are observed for 10 visits where they serve a therapeutic role. Bosco was observed visiting nursing homes, at reading programs with children at local libraries and visiting the Veteran Affairs hospital. Pet handlers must also ensure their pet’s immunizations are up-to-date.


On Friday mornings, Allen and Bosco spend their time visiting patients at Markey and they start their day by stopping at the nurses’ station in the Ben F. Roach Building and getting the names of patients that would like a visit. Bosco spends five to 10 minutes visiting patients and comforting them by letting them pet him. Allen said she sees the change in patients’ mood immediately. “Every time they see the fluffy dog with his tail wagging they perk up,” Allen said.


During a visit to Markey, Bosco and Allen stopped to visit Judith Wilson, a patient from Russell Springs, Kentucky. Wilson has her own pet, a seven-year-old Dachshund, who she’s been missing since she’s been staying in Lexington. Wilson said when she heard the dog was coming to visit, she got excited and was looking forward to the visit. The visit was a nice change from the way days typically go for a patient staying for an extended period of time. “It helps patients, especially if they’re here for a while. It’s a nice change and it’s especially nice if you have pets of your own,” Wilson said.


While the therapy program is very rewarding Allen says potential volunteers should consider what department they’d like to work in and how their dog may function in those situations. Allen also noted that walking around and interacting with patients is very tiring for the pets, but she said Bosco loves it and it makes her feels good to see her family pet bringing joy to patients, as well as doctors and staff when she walks down the halls.


For more information on becoming involved with the Pet Therapy Program contact the volunteer office at  


MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


Their Countries on Their Chests and Kentucky in Their Hearts

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 17:23


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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  The entire world is gearing up for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that begin this Friday, Aug. 5. The excitement is palpable as athletes from 206 countries and two independent teams head to Rio for the Opening Ceremonies and 19 days of competition (soccer/football will begin group play on Wednesday, Aug. 3).


While fans rally around their countries and pride is abundant, it is no surprise that Big Blue Nation can be found everywhere! University of Kentucky connections can be found on numerous teams participating in the games and as part of the telecast.


For the 14th season, NBC Sports/NBCUniversal will televise the games, and a very familiar voice will be heard calling the play-by-play for track and field. UK alumnus Tom Hammond, a graduate of College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 1966, will serve as part of the broadcast team for his 12th games. Over the years, he's also covered men's and women's basketball (Seoul 1988), diving (Barcelona 1992), gymnastics (Sydney 2000) and figure skating (Winter Games: Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010).


He's not the only Kentucky connection at this year's games. Nine current or former students/student-athletes are in Rio representing their home countries.


Greg Rummel

Sophomore, pre-biosystems engineering, Columbus, Ohio

USA Karate - demonstration

As karate makes it's case to become a part of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Rummel, a resident advisor in the Woodland Glen community, will be displaying his talent for USA Karate. Rummel was a member of the 2014 USA Karate Junior National Team. The International Olympic Committee will make their final decision on inclusion of karate in the 2020 Games on Wednesday.


Andrew Evans

UK 2014 graduate, Portage, Michigan

Team USA - Discus

Best Discus Throw: 66.37 meters

Evans is a decorated athlete; he is a two-time All-SEC and All-American selection and was the 2013 NCAA bronze medalist in discus. He qualified for Team USA at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, placing third in discus. Discus qualifying round begins at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday, Aug. 12.


Leah Nugent

UK 2015 graduate, volunteer assistant coach, Abington, Pennsylvania

Team Jamaica - 400-meter hurdles

Best time: 55.44 seconds

Nugent is a multiple-times All-American and the 2015 NCAA bronze medalist in the 400 hurdles. She qualified for the Jamaican team by finishing second in the finals with a personal-best time of 55.44 seconds. Women’s 400-meter hurdles round one begins at 7 p.m. ET Monday, Aug. 15.


Rondel Sorrillo

UK 2010 graduate, volunteer assistant coach, Vessigny, Trinidad and Tobago

Team Trinidad and Tobago - men's 4x100 meter relay, men's 200-meter and men's 100-meter

Best Time: 9.99 seconds (men's 100-meter)

Sorrillo is the first UK men's track athlete to win the NCAA Championship in the 200 meters (2010). The three-time Olympian, he is also the 2012 SEC Champion in the 200 meters, the bronze medalist in the 100 meters and the NCAA runner-up in the 100 meters in 2010. He's competed in three IAAF World Championships. At the Trinidad and Tobago Championships, he ran a personal best (9.99 seconds) to finish second in the 100-meter finals and won his fifth national title in the 200-meter. Men’s 100-meter preliminary round begins at 8 a.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 13.


Mikel Thomas

UK 2009 graduate, Brooklyn, New York

Team Trinidad and Tobago - 110-meter hurdles

Best Time: 13.57 seconds

Born in Maloney, Trinidad and Tobago, Thomas is competing in his third Olympic games. He won the national title in the 110-meter hurdles to qualify him for the Olympics. Men’s 110-meter hurdles round one begins at 7 p.m. ET Monday, Aug. 15.


Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

Freshman, North Charleston, South Carolina

Team Puerto Rico - 100-meter hurdles

Best Time: 12.78 seconds

The 2016 NCAA 100-meter hurdles champion is the first freshman to win the title. In just her first year competing for UK, she is already a three-time First Team All-American, SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC 100-meter Hurdles Champion, SEC All-Freshman Team selection and holds the UK freshman record for the 100-meter hurdles. Women’s 100-meter hurdles round one begins at 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, Aug. 16.


Many of our track and field athletes train together in Lexington; click here for a photo shoot of a recent workout including several of our Olympic athletes and Kendra Harrison, the world-record holder in the women's 100-meter.


Luis Orta

UK 2013 graduate, Caracas, Venezuela

Best Time: 2:18:53

Team Venezuela - Marathon

At UK, Orta could go the distance. He holds the UK record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, is a four-time All-SEC selection and was named the 2012 SEC Indoor Runner of the Year. He also delivered the 2012 December Commencement address. Originally a walk on, he qualified for the Olympics by reaching the required mark at the Marathon Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The men’s marathon final begins at 8 a.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 21.


Sean Gunn

Senior, Harare, Zimbabwe

Team Zimbabwe - 100-meter freestyle swim

Best Time: 50.91 seconds

Gunn is a rising senior at UK and Zimbabwe's national record holder in many swimming strokes. He qualified for Zimbabwe's Olympic team based on International Swimming Federation FINA points — a process that is different from the United States' Olympic Trials. Gunn is the reigning national champion in all of his events. The men’s 100-meter freestyle heats begin at noon ET Tuesday, Aug. 9.


Demarcus Cousins

UK alumnus 2010, Mobile, Alabama

Team USA - Basketball

College Statistics: 15.1 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game

Cousins was part of the beloved 2009-10 UK men's basketball team, Coach John Calipari's first at UK. The All-American left UK after one year for the NBA Draft, where he was the fifth overall pick selected by the Sacramento Kings. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2011, was a member of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medal-winning US National Team and is a two-time NBA All-Star. Men’s Olympic basketball group phase, first game: USA vs. China, begins at 6 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 6.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



Media Contact: Katy Bennett or Amy Jones-Timoney,,, 859-257-1909


UK HealthCare is No. 1 in Kentucky in Latest U.S. News Best Hospitals Rankings

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 16:51


Video by Allison Perry and Kody Kiser, UKPR and Marketing. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016) – UK HealthCare’s University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital is No. 1 in Kentucky in the U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals Rankings released today. It also is the only hospital in the state rated as High Performing in cancer. The complete rankings for 2016-17 are now available at


In addition to being named as top hospital in Kentucky, UK HealthCare is nationally ranked No. 45 in Geriatrics and "High Performing" in six specialty areas including: Cancer, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology.


UK HealthCare also ranked as high performing – the highest rating – in eight out of nine types of Common Adult Procedures and Conditions including:  Heart Bypass Surgery, Heart Failure, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Colon Cancer Surgery, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement and Lung Cancer.


"This acknowledges the exemplary work of our health care team in providing the highest quality patient care in the Commonwealth," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "We are committed to being one of the premier academic medical centers in the country and dedicated in serving those who need complex medical care without ever having to travel far from their home."


To be recognized as a Best Hospital this year, a hospital had to have been categorized in the American Hospital Association annual survey database as a general medical-surgical hospital and had to earn either at least one national ranking in the 12 data-driven specialties or at least four ratings of "high performing" across the 12 specialty rankings and nine rated procedures and conditions.


“This honor belongs to our physicians, nurses and staff,” said Dr. Phillip K. Chang, UK HealthCare chief medical officer. “Every day and every night, they go above and beyond to make sure our patients get the best possible care.”


The U.S. News Best Hospitals analysis includes multiple clinical specialties, procedures and conditions. Scores are based on a variety of patient outcome and care-related factors, such as patient safety and nurse staffing.


In February 2016, UK HealthCare achieved Magnet Status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. This designation factors into the U.S. News Rankings and impacted this year’s score.


“Our entire interprofessional team is proud of our Magnet designation and its impact and significance for UK HealthCare and the patients we serve,” said Colleen Swartz, UK HealthCare chief nursing executive. “The team’s work has been exemplified in the production of superb clinical outcomes as well as excellence in patient and family centered care and are well deserving of this recognition based on their hard work, commitment and scientific approach to care across the continuum.”


UK HealthCare has seen the number of patients who are 75 or older nearly double in the past 10 years. This volume and the level of care for these patients attributed to the national ranking in geriatrics. Additionally, the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare are home to the only National Institute on Aging (NIA) funded Alzheimer's disease center in Kentucky with the prestigious UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the Commonwealth.


“Our goal is to provide the safest and highest quality patient care to those who come to us from every county in Kentucky, as well as from many other states, by providing them the expertise of integrated, multidisciplinary teams working to solve the most complex health issues,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare vice president and chief clinical operations officer. “I congratulate our entire UK HealthCare team on this tremendous accomplishment and commend their work and dedication to patient care in the Commonwealth.”


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez,, (859) 323-6363



"see blue." #selfie: Loretta Stafford

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 14:55


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie  a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, Loretta Stafford, a 2016-17 University of Kentucky 101 peer instructor liaison!


Loretta Stafford is one of this year's UK 101 peer instructor liaisons! Stafford, a senior integrated strategic communication major from Madisonville, Kentucky, has taken on this leadership position since her sophomore year. She enjoys Crank & Boom ice cream, being involved on campus and making sure new students are welcomed and supported throughout their freshman year.


UKNow: What is your major and what year are you?

Loretta Stafford: I'm going to be a senior and my major is integrated strategic communication, public relations path and I'm minoring in Arabic and Islamic studies.


UK: Where are you from?

LS: I'm from Madisonville, Kentucky.


UK: Tell me about your position as a UK 101 peer instructor liaison.

LS: There are four of us. We do a variety of different things. We revise lesson plans and we have a small group of peer instructors that we mentor, train and assist before the class starts. We facilitate a meeting two times a semester where we do a progress check and at the end we host a big celebration of all our peer instructors.


UK: How many years have you been a UK 101 peer instructor liaison?

LS: This will be my third year. I've done it since I was a sophomore.


UK: What led you to this position?

LS: So, my freshman year, I had a great UK 101 peer instructor, Kahlil Baker. I had a great experience with his class and the two peer instructors — they were awesome. They helped me a lot outside of class, too. I knew I wanted to do that the next year. The next year I taught with Annie Kelly, and then on to Lauren Goodpastor. As the years go on, I just keep getting more and more great classes. They are super helpful and I really enjoy it.


UK: How do UK 101 peer instructor liaisons play an integral role in the transition and success of our new students? 

LS: We are the ones that serve as a liaison to the peer instructors, but we too are peer instructors. We have our own classes, but we are also mentoring other peer instructors. They can bring ideas and issues to us and we can help resolve and do whatever to make them have a good experience. In return, they can help their freshman or transfer students. It's all about what's best for the students.


UK: Were you in UK 101 as a freshman?

LS: Yes.


UK: What else are you involved in? 

LS: Theta Nu Xi, I'm a publicity chair. I'm going to be the treasurer of Public Relations Student Society of America. I am a student program coordinator for The Study, I was a Chellgren Fellow and I did research with Dr. DeSantis on the rhetoric of hip-hop music. I'm also a super crew leader during K Week.


UK: Do you have any tips for students taking UK 101?

LS: Definitely, go to class — it's only half a semester and it's only one credit hour. There's not a ton of homework, but you get so much out of it. It only helps. It doesn't stress you out! They are giving you such great information. Build a good relationship with your peer instructor and class instructor as well — they are still going to be there with you when the class is over. Your instructors are more than likely a professor of some sort somewhere and they can help you find opportunities and be a resource for you.


UK: Why did you choose UK?

LS: My family is all huge UK fans. I went on a lot of campus tours and UK has such a beautiful campus and it feels like home. I didn't feel that magical feeling anywhere else. I'm not too far away from home, but I'm not too close.


UK: Where's your favorite place to eat on campus?

LS: Rising Roll. I love rising roll. I miss it.


UK: What is your dream job after graduation?

LS: Working in diplomacy, using my Arabic. I think it would be so cool to be a press secretary for the White House.


UK: What is your favorite vacation spot?

LS: I like anywhere with museums. I think the coolest I've been to is in St. Louis. I love St. Louis.  


UK: What's a favorite thing to do on weekends in Lexington?

LS: Eat. I like to go to as many local restaurants as possible — always Josie's for breakfast.


UK: What is one local place you've visited in Lexington recently?

LS: I love Crank & Boom! I love ice cream. It's a hidden gem.


UK: What's the best ice cream they serve there?

LS: Blueberry Lime Cheesecake.


UK: What's one of your favorite things at UK in the fall semester?

LS: I wish we could have another Thursday night football game. I love K Week, I'm a super crew leader and I love seeing all the new students and all the free stuff!


UK: What's the best gift you've ever received?

LS: Probably my first car when I was 16. That was pretty monumental moment. I was not a very good driver.


UK: What is your Starbucks order? 

LS: Trenta passion tea lemonade, light lemonade and lightly sweetened.


UK: If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be and why?

LS: Beyoncé, so her grace and eloquence could just rub off on me.


UK: What is one word or phrase you're guilty of saying too often?

LS: Probably "can we go get something to eat?" or "do you have any snacks?"


UK: What would you tell an incoming freshman? 

LS: Try new things. If you try something and you don't like it, you don't have to stick with it, but you'd never know until you try it.


UK: You are happiest when…

LS: … my tummy is full. For sure.


"see blue." #selfies will appear every other Tuesday on UKNow. Know a student leader we should feature? Contact Rebecca Stratton at to nominate someone.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395 

Eric Hartman Tackling New Role as Innovation Office Director

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 14:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016) Eric Hartman, a man with more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur himself, is now working full time to help others realize their dreams of turning innovative ideas into profitable businesses.


Hartman, who earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky College of Engineering, recently took over as director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship within UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics. The Lexington Innovation Office is also part of a 12-office network partially funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with local strategic partners.


From 2000 to 2015, Hartman was co-founder and president of customKYnetics Inc. (cKY), a Central Kentucky medical device company which developed innovative rehabilitation products for physical therapy applications. The company was formed in 2000 based on research at UK.


Over the past year, Hartman served as director of the Kentucky Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching funds grant program for the Lexington-based Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC).


Warren Nash, executive director of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VAC), said, "I am very excited to have Eric joining the VAC team. His background and startup experience will certainly prove to be very valuable to our clients from both UK and the regional entrepreneurial community."


Hartman, the lead inventor on eight issued U.S. patents, anticipates applying the knowledge and expertise he acquired as an innovative leader and high-tech/life sciences entrepreneur to serve clients of Lexington's Kentucky Innovation Network office.


"I am continually amazed by the passion, creativity and talent of our Central Kentucky entrepreneurial community," Hartman said. "I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve in the role of director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network."


In addition to delivering numerous professional presentations over the past decade, Hartman continues to serve on the advisory boards of both the Scholars in Engineering and Management (SEAM) program and the F. Joseph Halcomb Department of Biomedical Engineering at UK.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200,; Ann Mary Quarandillo, 859-257-0750,

Frankfort Regional Medical Center Joins UK HealthCare/Norton Healthcare Stroke Care Network

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 13:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016)  — Frankfort Regional Medical Center has become the newest member of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network, a community-based stroke initiative providing the highest quality clinical and educational programs to hospital staff and the community.


As part of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network, Frankfort Regional Medical Center will participate in the sharing of best practices and outcomes data to promote continuous quality improvement in stroke care. Additionally, two neurologists from UK HealthCare – Dr. Danny Rose and Dr. Ayman Al-Salaimeh – have joined the medical staff at Frankfort Regional Medical Center to provide neurology coverage.


“This affiliation will enhance Frankfort Regional Medical Center’s ability to care for stroke patients and improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Chip Peal, chief executive officer at Frankfort Regional Medical Center. “Through collaboration with affiliate members, we will ensure patients in our service area have access to the most advanced stroke treatment and prevention.”


According to Dr. Michael R. Dobbs, director of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network and professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Neurology, the Stroke Care Network is designed to help local hospitals and emergency services personnel follow best practices in stroke care.


“Our affiliate hospitals teach us about their communities and their patients. Meanwhile, we provide access to the resources and knowledge we have as an academic medical center so that Kentuckians can recognize the signs of stroke, understand the importance of early treatment, and be able to get that treatment as close to home as possible," Dobbs said.


As part of the network, Frankfort Regional Medical Center is pursuing designation as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission (TJC), the nation’s leading health care accreditation agency, which recognizes centers that follow the best practices for stroke care.


In 2014, the TJC designated UK HealthCare a Comprehensive Stroke Center – its highest honor. It is one of 96 U.S. institutions – and the only one in Lexington – with CSC-designation.


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307

UK Researcher Leads International Epilepsy Cure Initiative

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 17:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2016) — University of Kentucky College of Medicine Professor Matthew Gentry will direct a team international scientists recently awarded a five-year, $8.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to pursue a cure for Lafora’s disease.


The International Epilepsy Cure Center based at the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Medicine and Biochemistry represents a collaborative effort to advance translational research and improve the diagnosis and treatment of Lafora’s disease, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. An inherited neurodegenerative condition, Lafora’s disease appears in patients during adolescence and causes severe epilepsy, loss of speech and muscle control, and dementia, eventually leading to death. The center, which is funded by an NIH Program Project Grant, provides a framework for uniting multidisciplinary researchers in conducting important research exploring the molecular mechanisms that underlie Lafora’s disease.


The team comprises distinguished basic science researchers from around the world, including Gentry, a professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at UK, Joan Guinovart in Barcelona, Spain; Berge Minassian of the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto, Canada; Peter Roach of Indiana University; and Jose Serratosa of Autonoma University of Madrid in Madrid, Spain.


“It is an amazing opportunity to lead this group of distinguished scientists from around the world towards such an important goal,” Gentry said. “Each of us have worked independently for more than a decade on Lafora disease and this grant now brings us together to develop the first cure for an epilepsy.”


Members of the international team have discovered mutations in two genes, which encode for the proteins laforin and malin and cause LD.  Laforin and malin are both involved in glycogen metabolism. Cells store energy as the carbohydrate glycogen and release energy as glucose when metabolic needs increase. Glycogen synthesis and degradation is regulated by a number of proteins. Mutations in the genes that encode for laforin or malin lead to aberrant glycogen inclusions called Lafora bodies (LBs). The LB inclusions are analogous to inclusions observed in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS, except the LBs are comprised of carbohydrate and the other inclusions are comprised of proteins. Thus, LD is also a member of the broader family of glycogen storage disease (GSD). 


The collaboration has already made significant progress in finding a cure. The laboratories of Guinovart, Minassian and Roach have shown that the LB inclusions cause neurodegeneration and reducing glycogen synthesis can cure LD in mouse models. At UK,

Gentry’s lab group has discovered a novel mechanism for glycogen regulation by the LD protein malin.


In collaboration with Craig Vander Kooi of the UK College of Medicine and Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova of the UK College of Pharmacy, Gentry is establishing a personalized medicine blueprint for LD by defining the mutation-specific mechanisms of LD using biochemical tools. David Watt, a professor in the UK College of Medicine, will be leading a medicinal chemistry effort to identify small molecules to treat LD. Moving forward, each lab will focus on a different aspect of the disease, from basic science to translational science, so their discoveries can be applied in the clinical setting.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Super Star Chef Hooks Kentucky Kids on Healthy Habits

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 14:46

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky., (Aug. 1, 2016)  When 13-year-old Shane Turner walked into the first day of the Super Star Chef program, the instructors could tell he didn’t want to be there, but by the end of the week, everything changed.


“I’ve never really been able to cook at home; I never really wanted to,” said Turner, a soon-to-be Fleming County eighth-grader. “I’m usually playing outside or playing video games, but now I’ll try this at home.”


The spark in Turner is a big reason why the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment sends staff all over the state during the summer to conduct hands-on nutrition, healthy eating and basic cooking skills sessions for Kentucky kids.


“There is a big need for this program in Kentucky,” said Sara Talbott, UK Nutrition Education Program area extension agent. “It helps teach children the importance of nutrition, but also the safety skills that go along with being in the kitchen. Kentucky kids consistently rank low in consuming fruits and vegetables, and this program gives them an opportunity to try them in a way they haven’t in the past.”


The summer program allows the UK Nutrition Education Program to expand their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education efforts. The staff, made up of students from UK and Eastern Kentucky University, use the Super Star Chef curriculum to conduct four-day sessions in county extension offices, housing authority offices, 4-H camps and schools.


“Every week it seems like each of the team members connects with one of the kids; it may be the same one or a different one for each of us,” said Madison Meredith, a recent UK human nutrition graduate in her second summer with the program. “We always find someone who is our real success story, and this week that was Shane. I could tell the first day he didn’t want to be here, but by the last day he was really having a good time. He did a really good job and learned so much.”


This summer, the teams traveled to 32 counties impacting the lives of hundreds of limited-resource youth.


Kurt Brown was another instructor. He is a UK senior majoring in human nutrition with plans to become a physician assistant. He taught a lesson each week showing participants how much excess sugar they consume.


“It really surprised me that kids just don’t realize how much sugar they consume and they don’t realize sugar is that bad,” he said. “It really shocks them when we show them. It’s also surprising how some kids have never tried basic fruits and vegetables like strawberries and cantaloupe. But the end of the week, most of the kids are at least trying things we offer them and realizing they like it.”


That’s really what the program aims to do — change perceptions that healthy eating can be fun, taste good and improve their well-being. Participants got to take home recipes, aprons and cooking utensils to help them continue using their news skills in their own kitchen. 


“I hope that if anything, we can inspire them to carry on these lessons for the rest of their lives,” Meredith said. “We hope they will continue learning and improving their cooking skills, eating healthier and that they will encourage family, friends and other people around them to do the same thing.”


Turner said that is what he wants to do — teach his parents what he learned.



UK is  the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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


Preventive Exercises Can Reduce ACL Injuries

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 12:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2016)  Unfortunately, each year, about seven million sports-related injuries occur in the U.S., approximately half occur in people between the ages of five and 24 years old. Injuries, especially to the knee, remove young athletes from the playing field and can have long-term repercussions that limit mobility and lead to more severe issues.


Tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone and shin bone at the knee joint, is not uncommon in “cutting” sports like soccer, volleyball, football and basketball. An ACL tear is a particularly damaging injury as it often leads to knee arthritis, and studies have reported that 50 percent of people who tear their ACL develop arthritis within 15 years of their injury. When you consider that most ACL injuries happen to those under the age of 25, this means that many patients are developing knee arthritis in their 30s or early 40s.


The ACL can be surgically reconstructed, which improves the stability of the knee. However, for young female athletes playing in cutting sports after ACL reconstruction, roughly one in three of these athletes will suffer a second ACL injury. Also, recovery after ACL reconstruction differs from patient to patient, with some taking longer to safely return to sports.


Because of the high rate of early knee arthritis and the risk of a second injury, preventing the first ACL injury is crucial. Preventative exercise programs have been shown to reduce the risk of ACL injury, and the free Get Set-Train Smarter app available on Android and iOS is a great resource for parents and athletes. This app, created by the International Olympic Committee, enables athletes to select an exercise program that is specific to the sports they play.


In addition, UK researchers are studying a number of ways to prevent a second ACL injury as well as prevent or delay the onset of knee arthritis for younger athletes that suffer an ACL injury. These include injections to lessen cartilage damage, improved surgical techniques for younger athletes and innovative rehabilitation protocols like what one’s being used with injured NFL athletes. Current research has also identified that athletes still have sizeable muscle imbalances when they return to sports, suggesting that both improved rehabilitation protocols and better testing methods be used to safely return young athletes back to their sport.


To learn more about sports medicine and orthopaedic research being conducted at UK, contact Dr. Cale Jacobs at


Dr. Cale Jacobs, Assistant Professor in UK’s Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.


Volunteers Needed for Big Blue Move

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 11:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  Volunteers are needed to help with Move-In 2016, a series of four days when University of Kentucky students move into on-campus residence halls. Volunteers are needed to roll out the blue carpet and welcome students by helping unload their belongings and direct them through the move-in experience on north, central and south campus.


Anyone interested in being part of this wonderful opportunity to make a great first impression for students and their families may register as a volunteer on the online form


For most of the nearly 6,000 students moving in, this will be their first time away from home and their first college experience. UK's primary goal is student success and move-in is an opportunity for faculty, staff and volunteers to help make an impact. A simple smile and "Welcome to UK!" can set the tone for a student's entire academic year.


"Offering a warm welcome to the newest members of our campus family is an important part of fostering their success," President Eli Capilouto said. "Volunteering for move-in is a wonderful way to aid in our students' transition from home to college."


This year’s move-in is scheduled over four days. Students participating in sorority recruitment, Wildcat Marching Band mebers, Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), FastTrack STEMCats, and International Student Organization students will move into the residence halls Saturday, Aug. 13. Living Learning Program participants will move in Wednesday, Aug. 17. Freshmen students that have not previously moved-in will do so Friday, Aug. 19 and Saturday, Aug. 20. Transfer students and returning students will move in to their residence halls Saturday, Aug. 20.


Volunteers are needed for a variety of opportunities and times. A list of volunteer opportunities and the volunteer sign-up form can be found at



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398;

ALS Patient Advocate Hopes Free Screening of Documentary Will Inspire Others

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 09:34


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2016) — In August 2014, three young men living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) inspired the world to dump buckets of ice water on their heads as a gesture of solidarity and support. While the "Ice Bucket Challenge" raised money for and awareness of the disease, many people still don't know much about ALS except that baseball great Lou Gehrig had it.


About 20,000 Americans have ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years post diagnosis. It's a devastating disease that slowly robs its victims of their ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.


"The body breaks down, but the brain doesn’t necessarily," said Pam Light, whose husband, Paul, died of ALS a few months before the Ice Bucket Challenge rocked social — and mainstream — media. "It steals your sense of personal dignity.  There's a lot of loss, a lot of mourning."


And with each new chapter in Paul's decline, he chose to stay in the game of life.


He continued as a volunteer directing traffic at his church until he no longer had the strength to lift his walker high enough to clear the one-inch cracks in the sidewalk. He continued to attend his bi-monthly men's lunch group even though one of his friends had to feed him. He went to a Cincinnati Reds game with his sons and traveled to Disney World, Gatlinburg, Maryland, Indiana, and North Carolina for an anniversary celebration with Pam and visits with family and friends. 


Each time, says Pam, they brought all the equipment with them – motorized wheelchair, breathing machine, and a bag of all the things Paul needed to function while preserving his dignity. It wasn't an easy task, but a necessary one.


"Paul was truly amazing. He could have retreated from the world, just given up. Instead, he recognized that engaging in the world around him was more important than whether he could feed himself," Pam said. 


In spite of Paul's indomitable attitude towards life, there were moments of despair.


"I was overwhelmed, still working full-time and trying to take care of Paul too," Pam said. "One night I had an anxiety attack – I thought it was a stroke.  I looked at Paul and said, 'You have to take me to the hospital.'"


Paul, who had just recently been forced to give up driving, looked at her sadly and said just two words: "I can't."


They both started crying at the realization of their loss.


Dr. Edward Kasarskis, director of the ALS Clinic at the UK Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, said that ALS patients and their families often make the most of the time they have left, but he calls Pam and Paul's efforts inspirational.


Since Paul's death, Pam has continued to honor him by serving as a volunteer peer counselor in Dr. Kasarskis' ALS clinic.  She visits with patients and families during their appointment, helping them through the process, brainstorming for coping mechanisms, and encouraging caretakers to take care of themselves as well.


She has also embraced the role of advocate, attending the national ALS Association Advocacy conference in Washington D.C., every other summer to share her thoughts and ideas with fellow attendees and advocate for the disease on Capitol Hill.


It was there this year that she saw a screening of a movie called "Gleason."



"Gleason" tells the story of Steve Gleason, a former safety for the New Orleans Saints who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 at just 34 years old — shortly after learning of his wife's pregnancy. The movie is a difficult, sometimes painful look at Steve's journey and the adjustments he and his family have made to live with this disease.


As an official selection for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and numerous other film awards to its credit, the movie clearly has impact.  Its Los Angeles premiere was an emotional outpouring of support.


"My first thought when I saw "Gleason" was 'Oh my gosh, how did they find the courage to make this movie?' I was blown away by their willingness to struggle through life in full view of the world," said Pam.


"And my next thought was, 'What if this movie inspires the next wave of support and advocacy?"


Pam contacted the film's distributor and worked through all the red tape necessary to secure a private screening in Lexington the day before its local release.


"Gleason" will be at the Kentucky Theater on Main Street at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 11. Tickets are free of charge; contact Brittany Ledford (859) 218-5061 or Meghann Bruno (859) 218-5064 to reserve tickets.


"I'll be honest, it's not an easy movie to watch, but it's so important. If just one person walks away committed to help further ALS advocacy for awareness, research and a cure, as Paul did, it was worth the effort."


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307


UK Arts Students 'Promised' a 'Boss' Experience

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 16:46


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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 29, 2016) "Talk about a dream and try and make it real," those are the words of one of the world's most popular rock and roll icons, Bruce Springsteen.


And this summer at the University of Kentucky, those words perfectly capture the essence of what a group of students from all disciplines of the arts have been doing as they prepare to present a world premiere workshop performance of a new rock musical based on the music and lyrics of the American musician, singer and songwriter known to many as "The Boss."


"The Promised Land," by Adam Max and Alex Wyatt, charts the coming-of-age journey of two blue-collar bound high school graduates who dream of breaking the mold and finding a more meaningful purpose outside their small New Jersey town. Through roller coaster relationships, overbearing parents, impulsive decisions and heroic challenges, the young men learn more than they’d ever expected as they seek their promised land. To date "The Promised Land" has only been given a concert performance in Arkansas.


The new musical found its way to Kentucky when Max and Wyatt reached out to their friend Courtney Reed, director of Education and Community Engagement at UK Opera Theatre. "I had just moved here and had gone back home to Alabama to visit my parents and met with my dear friend Alex Wyatt, who handed me a script and said 'I want you to read this.' He told me nothing else. That was it. And so I went home that night, and I read it and I called him back the next day, and I said 'what do you want, what do you want me to do, tell me what I can do.' I flew to Arkansas to see the concert, and at that point I knew it would be great if we could workshop this," Reed said. 


But this eight-week summer course is not just about putting on a play, it is about giving UK students the opportunity to be on the ground floor of creating a new work, where they get the chance to work with the musical's creators and director in an educational setting. As part of their studies, students in this musical theatre workshop course, offered by the UK School of Music and led by Reed and workshop music director Kathrin Thawley, are gaining valuable knowledge on the myriad of steps it takes to bring a musical from the book to the stage.


"What's so fantastic about an educational setting is that we can workshop musicals like this, and we can get them to a place where they are presentable and ready to share with producers or anyone else who might be interested. So, giving the students an opportunity to be on the ground floor of a workshop of a project like this is just unbelievable. They’re actually getting experience they wouldn’t get in any other classroom setting, where they’re getting to work and rework and push the restart button over and over again until we ultimately come up with something that we think that everybody will love. It's been a great experience for them," Reed said.


The excitement around "The Promised Land" workshop began to build in the spring when Reed visited College of Fine Arts courses to share information on this new experience.


Reed's pitch intrigued arts administration junior Alexandra Burns, from Paintsville, Kentucky, who one day wants to be a tour manager in the music industry. "I love rock music and everything like that. I want to work in the music business one day so this seemed like a great opportunity to combine a theatre, nonprofit experience with rock music," Burns said.


To be part of the workshop, UK students then interviewed and/or auditioned in April for creative team and cast roles respectively, or both. Reed attracted several interested students from all areas of the college, many of whom were excited for something beyond their regular arts experiences.


"I really like doing things I’ve never tried, and I’d never even heard of a workshop before 'The Promised Land,'" said theatre junior Morgan Spaulding, from Louisville, Kentucky. "I auditioned without even really knowing what it was, and when they offered me a role in it I researched it more and just got even more excited about being a part of it and agreed to also be one of the costume designers for the show as well."


Classmate Andrew Durham, a vocal performance and arts administration senior from Paducah, Kentucky, also was excited for the new challenges offered in the workshop. "I really wanted to try out doing a few more of the administrative roles, because I've usually been the performer. And this seemed like a really cool opportunity because it was new. Plus, I just wanted to get on the ground going up." 


Those selected for the course, the first of what Reed hopes becomes an annual summer offering of new workshops, began their musical journey in early June. Since the beginning of UK's second summer session, students have been hard at work exploring the book, lyrics and music through rehearsal, staging and branding processes all the while offering tweaks to the creators on developing the best possible environment for the story to be told and the music to be heard.


In the research and development process of creating this new musical, students were responsible for character development and relationship discovery, story exposition, conflict and resolution, all while communicating these choices to the musical's creators. "It’s fun. People say that theatre is a living, breathing piece of work — but when the creators are right by your side and the composers are right there, the arrangers are right there, you have more of a say as what your character is. So my character, Wendy, is in the ensemble, I’m getting to flesh her out. I’m getting to choose her character traits, how she sings certain things. That’s very fun and it’s a very interesting experience because with most shows it’s kind of set in stone," Spaulding said.


As part of the behind-the-scenes work, the class crafted a technical and creative production strategy to employ as they built and executed plans for sets, costumes, lights, sound, a cast recording and a documentary on the experience.


During the class' exploration of the play's musical arrangements, students were charged with identifying and creating ideal transitions and instrumentations while transforming a rock score into a musical theatre orchestral score.


And last, but not least, students also had to get the word out on a relatively unknown new work by developing and executing a branding and marketing strategy for optimum

exposure of the musical and its now sold-out performance Aug. 11, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.


"First, we started out with just identifying demographics of who would be interested in this. And it's kind of interesting, because it is such a different demographic with this because you have Bruce Springsteen fans that may not necessarily be musical theatre fans and then you have musical theatre fans that may not necessarily be into Bruce. So it's kind of like bridging that gap between these two audiences, and that’s a large audience," said Burns, who is also serving as an assistant stage manager for the performance. "We started with social media first, because now everybody's on Facebook, especially the age demographic we are targeting which is kind of my parents' generation — 30s, 40s and above. And as our social media kind of panned out, we started with postcards and posters and then we moved up to the distribution of pushing those out into the community."


Accomplishing the multitude of tasks needed to bring the musical to life on stage has not been lost on the students, especially those who have only participated on one side of productions in the past.  


"I have way more appreciation for everyone behind-the-scenes now," Durham said. "It's really interesting to see just what goes into it, because you never really think they worked with this much money or they had these kind of resources. It's interesting to see how all of this comes together to create one really good performance."


Now as the class wraps, these UK students from art, arts administration, music and theatre anxiously await that one-night only performance in hopes they have found that magic of a new musical theater hit destined for the stages of Broadway and the West End — a hit that they can say they helped originate at their own alma mater. 



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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