Campus News

WalletHub Ranking of Best-run Cities Places Lexington No. 6

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 10:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — Residents of Lexington know it's a great place to live, but now we know it's also one of the best-run cities in the country.  Home of the University of Kentucky, Lexington is ranked No. 6 in a recent ranking of 150 of the largest U.S. cities by WalletHub, a personal finance website.


The ranking measured several key indicators of how well-managed the cities are including: financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, infrastructure and pollution. According to the rankings website, "We then combined these categories to construct an “Overall City Services” ranking against which we measured the cities’ total per-capita budgets in order to reveal their budgeting efficiency."


Lexington ranks sixth overall; 27th in "Overall City Services"; and sixth in "Total Budget per Capita."  Lexington tied for first place in "Most Hospital Beds per Capita."


The only other Kentucky city ranked is Louisville at No. 26 overall.



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

E-Discovery Challenge Shaping Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 09:31

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 29, 2016)  At one time, the three Rs were considered the solid foundation of any education. Now add a new letter to that list of reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic — the letter E, which represents a new curriculum-based program, E-Discovery. While the E in E-Discovery stands for entrepreneur, it also wraps encouragement and enterprise into a program for students in elementary through high school.


The University of Kentucky’s E-Discovery Challenge is designed to teach entrepreneurial skills and business development in K-12 classrooms and other settings. It has all the components of 21st-century learning skills that educators and employers believe are critically important to success.


The program originates from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Community and Leadership Development, and is an outgrowth of the successful Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute that was housed in the department.


Small businesses command an overwhelming share of the American economy, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, companies that employed fewer than 20 workers made up 89.8 percent of all employer firms in the country. Though some people have looked toward building a large manufacturing presence in economically hard-hit areas of the state, opportunity for more local employment and success often lies with small-business owners.


Educators who recognized the importance of introducing students to entrepreneurial opportunities early developed E-Discovery. With that in mind, program leaders are training teachers to incorporate the curriculum into their classes.


“The key to the success of E-Discovery Challenge in the classroom has been the amazing teachers we have trained to teach the curriculum alongside their content areas,” said Melony Denham, E-Discovery project manager.


In Bullitt County High School back in the spring, Marla Morris’ advanced marketing class spent nine sessions developing their own small businesses. Wrapping the E-Discovery Challenge curriculum into her lesson plans, Morris introduced her students to the creativity and business acumen needed to get a small business off the ground. Working in teams, her students developed businesses that created a variety of products, such as food products, home décor items and smart phone cases. Each team had to develop a business plan that included an executive summary, a company description, key personnel, an industry overview, a market plan, a cost analysis, a contingency plan, return on investment, vision and mission statement.


“Students are challenged, excited and motivated as they work in teams to develop their ideas,” Denham said. “Increased self-confidence, a can-do attitude, leadership skills and understanding what it takes to start a business are just a few of the many outcomes we have seen from this initiative.”


This isn’t just a homework assignment to be turned in on paper. The teams were required to find the funding, produce their products and then sell them at an arts fair in their school’s gym on a Saturday in May.


“I want them to put their money where their mouth is, because it didn’t get real until they actually had to do it,” Morris said. “I wanted it to be like the real world.”


Morris’ students learned quite a bit from the exercise, things like target markets and preparation. Jace Wilson and Stephanie Mata learned about supply and demand. The candle logs that Wilson made were turning out to be pretty popular, but they hadn’t made enough to meet demand. Wilson estimated it took between two and three hours to make each candleholder, which limited the amount they had on hand to offer customers.


This summer, 22 high school sophomores and juniors from 18 counties gathered at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky, for a weeklong immersion in the E-Discovery Challenge curriculum. This time it was the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute using the E-Discovery curriculum. Led by Denham, Ann DeSpain, a retired Maysville teacher who is now an E-Discovery consultant, and Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison with the center, the students arrived midday on a Monday, and by Tuesday afternoon had settled into teams and were deep into planning and establishing their businesses.


“We’re really trying to encourage them that entrepreneurship is a viable career option,” Stephens said. “This is so important. We shouldn’t have to teach our kids that they need to be doctors or lawyers and then go off to find a good job in a bigger city. We need to be teaching them how to solve problems that relate to Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The point is to get them excited about it, get them thinking about it.”


For Denham, there is another outcome from the program.


“Hope. That is the word that first comes to my mind that E-Discovery provides for students,” she said.


Funding for E-Discovery is made possible by the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia in 13 states to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life. Financial support from the UK Department of Community and Leadership Development has allowed for program expansion, including into areas outside the Appalachian region. In addition, the department provides support for technical assistance, content, processes and evaluation.



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,

Healthy Pregnancies and Pre-term Birth Prevention Drive Work of UK College of Nursing Researcher

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 17:05


Video produced by Alicia Gregory of REVEAL Research Media. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — Working as a labor and delivery nurse for a decade, Kristin Ashford was surrounded by happy beginnings. She helped women and families welcome healthy babies into the world. 


But amid those happy and healthy beginnings, Ashford also helped mothers and their families work through the stressful and heart-wrenching experience of pre-term birth. As a first-hand witness of the adverse outcomes associated with pre-term birth, Ashford was motivated to make a difference in this area of health care. She transitioned into a career researching risk factors of pre-term birth and creating strategies to prevent these negative outcomes through pregnancy interventions.


“It really got me interested in how to help these women more,” Ashford said of her nursing experience in labor and delivery. “Not only to reduce their risk, but also to help them emotionally cope with pre-term birth.”


As the assistant dean of research in the UK College of Nursing, Ashford implements multiple research projects and interventions bound by the common goal of prolonging pregnancy. Several risk factors, including smoking, substance abuse, poor socioeconomic conditions and obesity, increase a woman’s chance of experiencing pre-term birth, which is defined as delivery prior to 37 weeks gestation. Consequences of pre-term birth include respiratory illness, gastrointestinal disorders, immune deficiency, hearing, and vision problems, and a prolonged hospital stay, as well as longer-term motor, cognitive, visual, hearing, behavioral, social-emotional, health, and growth problems.


Because there are many modifiable behaviors and genetic factors associated with pre-term birth, Ashford’s research spans a spectrum of issues relevant to pre-natal care. Her interventions aim to prevent tobacco and illicit drug use, manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and reduce emotional distress in expectant mothers. 


“I think that any time that you can prolong a pregnancy, it is a rewarding experience,” she said. “If you can prevent the child from being sick, prevent that family’s stress and prevent life-long complications associated with that risk, that's extremely rewarding.”


Ashford’s interventions are founded on the CenteringPregnancy model, which prepares women for pregnancy, labor and delivery, and motherhood through a peer support groups led by nursing and other health professionals.  Ashford has designed CenteringPregnancy interventions to help pregnant women in high-risk categories, including diabetes, tobacco use, substance abuse, or other socioeconomic or ethnic risk factors.


“Our UK program actually wants to put women together that have more in common with one another,” Ashford said. “So, in addition to being put in the group about the same time that they're pregnant, they also are put in (a group) based on their most high-risk factor for pre-term birth.”


One intervention effort led by Ashford effort seeks to inform pregnant women about the dangers of using tobacco products while pregnant and give them resources to quit. Despite the known risks of using tobacco products during pregnancy, many pregnant women in Kentucky still smoke. Ashford is troubled by the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among women of childbearing age. Her research studies indicate that women are using both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products during pregnancy. 


“Tobacco causes birth defects in pregnancy — that's known,” Ashford said. “And so, it's very clear that electronic cigarettes contain tobacco. Certainly, there's risks associated with electronic cigarette use in pregnancy.”


Ashford is expanding CenteringPregnancy programs to areas in Eastern and Western Kentucky. She is working with local health departments to provide a Centering support network for pregnant women in high-risk groups. She said her position in the UK College of Nursing allows her to research and disseminate interventions, teach future nurses and nursing researchers, and serve communities by improving the quality of health care.


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: Elizabeth Adams,


Coal, Camps and Railroads: Digitizing Primary Sources on Appalachian Economic Development

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 15:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) successfully completed work on its National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) digitization grant, resulting in online access to 140 cubic feet of materials from the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection. The materials from the Coal, Camps and Railroads project is available to the public through the digital library ExploreUK.


The newly digitized materials at UK focus on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The 10 individual collections document:

· the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry and Powell counties;

· the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and

· the company towns, their services and the individuals who grew up and made possible this economic development.


These collections include the Benham Coal Company recordsWheelwright collectionSherrill Martin papersLouisville and Nashville Railroad Company and Lexington and Eastern Railway Company records and the Kentucky Union Land Company records.


The Benham Coal Company records focus primarily on the early years of the company through the 1940s, including office files, Employee Benefits Association records, files on accidents and safety, and photographs. Benham was often described as a model coal camp, one with better quality housing with running water and electricity, schools, churches, a hotel, commissary, meat market, theatre, baseball diamonds, a doctor and other amenities supplied by the company.


The Harkins family papers primarily include the business papers of Walter S. Harkins and his sons, who all practiced in the family law firm. The family was involved in the development of coal and gas in Eastern Kentucky.


The Kentucky Union Land Company was a subsidiary of the Kentucky Union Railway Company and was responsible primarily for conducting surveys, purchasing lands through which the railway would run, and securing the right of way for the railway. The Kentucky Union Railway line eventually crossed over 500,000 acres of valuable coal, iron and timber lands, lying mostly in the Eastern Kentucky counties of Breathitt, Perry and Letcher. This collection consists of correspondence, financial papers, maps and legal documents, including surveys and surveyors' reports, deeds and indentures, and court records on land disputes, as well as a few miscellaneous documents relating to Three Forks City Company; St. Helen's Land, Coal and Iron Company of Frankfort; and the Kentucky Industrial Consolidation Company of Clay City.


The Sherrill Martin papers are primarily comprised of Carrs Fork Coal Company newsletters (1940-1945) containing line-drawing illustrations by Martin accompanying articles and letter-format lectures on mine safety by general superintendent P.A. Grady. Martin was a Perry County high schooler at the time of the creation of the illustrations.


Wheelwright, located in Floyd County, is another town created by the coal industry. The Wheelwright Collection contains records from three of the companies that owned Wheelwright: Inland Steel, Island Creek and Mountain Investment. Records include property reports, blueprints, accident reports, and materials documenting the coal operations. These records create a vivid picture of company town life from the company’s perspective.


The Tacony Oil Company records document the Philadelphia company’s exploration for oil in Lawrence County, Kentucky, and Burning Springs, West Virginia. The collection is mostly comprised of correspondence, much of which has been transcribed, but there are also some legal, financial, and business papers.


The Lexington and Eastern Railway Company (L&E) was initially incorporated as the Kentucky Union Railway Company in 1872 and later purchased by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company (L&N) in 1910. This collection contains case files for lawsuits filed against L&E and L&N in Eastern Kentucky in the early 20th century. Materials include correspondence, legal documents, maps, sketches, and a few newspaper clippings and photographs relating to the cases.


The Means family and Seaton family played a dominant role in the development of the iron industry in the Hanging Fork region of Southern Ohio and in Eastern Kentucky. They also played a prominent part in the development of both river and rail transportation in the area and in the formation of Ashland, Kentucky, as an industrial city. These collections include both personal and business-related correspondence, financial records, legal documents, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, journals, scrapbooks, and photographs. 


The Henry Clay McDowell papers (part of the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation records), include correspondence and legal and financial records that document McDowell’s development of Big Stone Gap, Wise County, Virginia, and the Kentucky Union Land Company, the parent company of the Kentucky Union Railroad.


UK SCRC was originally awarded the NEH's Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRC) grant for the Coal, Camps and Railroads project in 2013. The HCRC program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities. Thousands of libraries, archives, museums and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts; photographs, sound recordings and moving images; archaeological and ethnographic artifacts; art and material culture; and digital objects. Funding from this NEH program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.


The Combs Collection at UK SCRC, which is home to these digitized materials, includes collections of resources from several areas of Appalachian life, culture and history, including materials related to the coal industry; community; education and literacy; the lumber industry; medicine and public health; oil and iron; the railroad industry; regional and economic development; social reform; and the War on Poverty.


UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Combs Appalachian collection and ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



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;

Sharon Burton Wins Al Smith Award for Public Service Through Community Journalism

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 14:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — Sharon Burton, publisher of Kentucky’s statewide agricultural newspaper and a community weekly in her native Adair County, is the winner of the 2016 Al Smith Award for public service through community journalism by a Kentuckian.


Burton will receive the award Sept. 29 in Lexington, at the annual Al Smith Awards Dinner of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), which co-sponsor the award.


For more than 27 years, Burton has published The Farmer’s Pride, a newspaper for Kentucky farmers and other agriculture interests. For more than 14 years, she has published the Adair County Community Voice, a weekly paper that has frequently been cited on the institute’s The Rural Blog as an example of journalism that serves the public.


“Sharon is a great example of a local individual who saw a need, and through entrepreneurial hard work, created publications that serve the need of her local community but also of the agricultural community of Kentucky,” wrote Jimmy Henning, associate dean for extension in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, in his nomination of Burton.


“Before The Farmer’s Pride, farmers had no timely place to go to stay informed on important issues,” Henning wrote. “Sharon is a tireless advocate for responsible storytelling about agriculture and the community. She is considered to be an honest and fair reporter from the continuum of agricultural entities, and her publication is the only statewide source of agricultural information in Kentucky.”


Burton was also nominated by Nick Roy, the Adair County extension agent for agriculture, who said “Sharon is recognized for her commitments to the community as both a journalist and community leader. It is individuals like Sharon Burton who make small rural communities thrive.”


Roy said the Community Voice “was quickly recognized as a credible source of information with coverage providing openness and transparency of local government” after its founding as a monthly in 2002.


“Its popularity grew and soon became a bi-monthly publication in 2005, and then a weekly newspaper in May 2007. While the Community Voice has grown and made minor changes through its development, its commitment to the betterment of the Adair County community has remained.”


One recent example of Burton’s commitment to public service through good journalism was her coverage of the March referendum in Adair County that legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages, one of the most controversial issues that a rural community can address. The Community Voice covered it thoroughly, offering insightful commentary without taking sides, including a front-page essay by Burton that began with reliving her experience of buying liquor from a bootlegger on her senior prom night and went on to the current experiences of students at the local, Methodist-sponsored Lindsey Wilson College and federal survey data on local drinkers.


Burton wrote that the county has "already said yes to alcohol. But we've said yes in a way where we don’t have to take responsibility. We allow alcohol to be sold in the shadows, treating it like a heroin den; people can get their fix, but we don’t have to look at it.”


The year before, Burton played an unusual — and probably for most journalists, controversial — role in her community by serving on the board of the local hospital, which had been driven into bankruptcy by mismanagement. When the new county judge-executive asked her to serve, she had many reservations because journalists are supposed to cover news, not make it. But she agreed "because I could not think of anything more important to do as someone who loves this community and the people who made it great," she wrote, adding that she felt she could make sure the board was more transparent than it had been. She recused herself from reporting or editing any hospital stories, and had an outside professional edit them for publication.


“Sharon’s deep commitment to public service drove her to make a decision that most academically trained journalists like her wouldn’t make,” said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and associate professor in the UK School of Journalism and Media, where he teaches community journalism. “Public service ought to be the primary thing that drives journalists, and there are times when your role as a member of the community can conflict with your role as a journalist. Sharon did an exemplary job of managing those conflicts, which is a key to success in community journalism.”


Burton grew up on a beef-cattle and tobacco farm in the Southwestern Adair County community of Sparksville. She earned a journalism degree from Western Kentucky University in 1983 and started The Farmer’s Pride in 1989. It and the Community Voice have won many journalism and public service awards. She is also a director of the Kentucky Press Association.


The Al Smith Award is named for Albert P. Smith Jr., who published newspapers in rural Kentucky and Tennessee, was founding producer and host of KET’s “Comment on Kentucky” and federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. He was the driving force for creation of the institute, and headed its national advisory board for many years. He remains active as chairman emeritus.


The Al Smith Awards Dinner is an annual fundraiser for the institute and the SPJ chapter, which conceived the Smith Award. But it is also “a grand gathering of people who believe in journalism as an essential element of our democratic processes and want it to observe high standards; who recognize the importance of rural America to the rest of the country; and who agree with us that rural Kentucky and rural America deserve good journalism just as much as the rest of the state and nation, to help our democracy work,” Cross said.


For information on the dinner, to be held at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort and Spa, contact Al Cross at 859-257-3744 or; or SPJ Bluegrass Chapter Treasurer Patti Cross at 502-223-8525 or Details will appear soon on the institute website,



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,

Haneberg Selected as New State Geologist, Kentucky Geological Survey Director

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 12:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2016) — William C. Haneberg will become Kentucky’s 13th state geologist Sept. 1, 2016. An engineering geologist with a wide range of research, academic and applied experience, he will also serve as the director of the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS), leading KGS into the future of its mission to investigate Kentucky’s energy, mineral and water resources, and geologic hazards. Haneberg will hold a parallel appointment as a research professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.


Haneberg, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, has more than 25 years of experience as a university geology teacher, researcher and administrator in the office of the state geologist in New Mexico, and consultant. Since October 2011, he has worked in Houston for an American subsidiary of the Dutch geoscience and engineering firm Fugro N.V., where he is a senior consultant and quantitative geohazards group leader.


“I’m honored and excited to take on the challenge of leading an organization with such a distinguished history of service to the Commonwealth, and look forward to exploring new ways to partner with government agencies, universities, public interest groups and industry as we all work to continue making Kentucky a great place to live and work,” said Haneberg.


Haneberg earned a doctorate in geology from the University of Cincinnati in 1989. His expertise includes geologic hazard and risk assessment, geomechanics, structural geology, hydrogeology and the use of geologic information to support planning and policy decision-making. He is author or co-author of more than 160 technical abstracts and papers on topics ranging from deep-sea landslides to Himalayan glaciation. Haneberg received the 2006 Claire P. Holdredge Award from the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists for his 2004 book, “Computational Geosciences with Mathematica.” He was the 2011 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Engineering Geology and is an elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America.


Haneberg fills a position vacated by former State Geologist and KGS Director Jim Cobb, who retired in July 2014, after serving in that capacity for 14 years. Cobb had been with KGS since 1980, when he joined the Coal Section to focus on Kentucky’s coal resources at a time when its importance was growing.


As a research institute of UK, KGS works to increase the understanding of the state’s geology and disseminate its research results to the citizens, communities, state agencies, businesses, and industries of Kentucky. The 178-year-old state survey employs 45 staff in sections focusing on energy and minerals, water resources, geologic hazards, mapping and geoscience information. Its main office is located on the UK campus, with a well sample and core library in Lexington and a satellite office at Henderson, in Western Kentucky.


“We are excited about the future of KGS under the capable leadership of Dr. Haneberg.  His experience and research capabilities will serve this important statewide Center and their mission well as they move forward as an invaluable asset of the UK Research Enterprise” said Lisa Cassis, UK's vice president for research.



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: Mike Lynch, KGS, 859-323-0561,; or Gail Hairston, UKPR&M, 859-257-3302

UK's Murdock Honored by Nation's Ag Extension Agents

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:47

PRINCETON, Ky., (July 28, 2016) — Over the past four decades, Lloyd Murdock, University of Kentucky extension soils specialist, has helped farmers across the state and region improve their operations. His efforts have not gone unnoticed.


Murdock recently received the Service to American/World Agriculture Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents during their annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is the highest award given by the organization and recognizes the winner’s major contributions to agriculture.


Murdock was nominated by Curt Judy and Darrell Simpson, agents with the UK Cooperative Extension Service.


“Lloyd is a wonderful specialist, and he continues to do very practical work that’s at the heart of what farmers need,” Judy said. “He is, and has always been, a farmer’s scientist.”


“I remember being a young agent working with Dr. Murdock on a poultry litter study here in Muhlenberg County and learning so many things from him,” Simpson said. “He truly impacted my life, just as he has done for so many agents and farmers alike in Western Kentucky.”


Murdock’s research findings serve as a foundation for many agronomic practices farmers currently use.


Early in his career with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Murdock was part of a team of specialists who worked to understand the cause of grass tetany in beef cattle and discovered a way to prevent it. Their recommendation of feeding magnesium to cows on pasture resulted in an immediate 90 percent reduction in the disorder and is a practice cattle producers continue to use today.


Since the 1980s, Murdock has worked to make no-till wheat a viable option for farmers in the state through his role in UK’s Wheat Science Group. His research on nitrogen fertilization of no-till corn made applying nitrogen more cost effective and environmentally friendly for farmers in the South and Midwest.


Other notable accomplishments include conducting supporting research behind the development of the most common penetrometer farmers use to measure soil compaction and developing an algorithm for making variable rate nitrogen applications. Most recently, he is part of a team working on a solution to break down the fragipan layer found in many Kentucky soils. This hard layer is one of the biggest limitations to yields in the state.


“I have always tried to go above and beyond agents’ and farmers’ expectations to give them the information they need in a timely manner,” Murdock said. “Serving people and doing practical research that made a difference in people’s lives has always been important to me.”



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: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774;


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


College of Nursing Cardiovascular Researcher Enters International Hall of Fame

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 10:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), has inducted Terry Lennie, a professor and the associate dean of graduate faculty affairs in the UK College of Nursing, into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.


The induction took place at STTI’s 27th International Nursing Research Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, July 21-25. On July 23, Lennie was among researchers representing Canada, England, Lebanon, South Africa, Taiwan and the United States presented with the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame award.


Lennie’s research focuses on the development of interventions to promote self-management of prevention and treatment for cardiovascular disease, with a particular interest in optimizing nutritional intake. His lines of research include determining the psychological, social, biological and environmental factors that influence food choice; identifying the ideal diet for patients with heart failure; and helping people use new technology to increase their ability to self-manage cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment.


Lennie received a doctorate in nursing and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in neurobehavior at the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to the University of Kentucky, he served as an associate professor of nursing at the Ohio State University. He currently co-directs the Research and Interventions for Cardiovascular Health (RICH) Heart Program.


The International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame was created in 2010 to recognize nurse researchers who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition and whose research has improved the profession and the people it serves. The honorees’ research projects will be shared through STTI’s Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository, enabling nurses everywhere to benefit from their discoveries and insights. The award presentation is sponsored by Wiley, a global provider of content-enabled solutions that improve outcomes in research, education and professional practice.


For more information, visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Cool Down with a Sweet Treat to Help Patients at KCH

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 16:30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2016) — While beating the heat, do something sweet for patients at Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH). Every DQ Blizzard treat purchased at local DQ locations on Thursday, July 28, will support children receiving medical treatment at KCH.


The 11th Annual Miracle Treat Day raises funds to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital, a member of the Children’s Miracle Network. For today only, one dollar of every Blizzard sale at Dairy Queen (DQ) and DQ Grill and Chill locations across the country will be donated to a local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. 


Lexington DQ Grill and Chill locations include 2300 Palumbo Drive, 350 Virginia Ave., 464 New Circle Road and 3509 Lansdowne Drive. All flavors purchased help raise funds. 


Help spread awareness of Miracle Treat Day on Twitter by using the hashtag #MiracleTreatDay and tagging @DairyQueen. Blizzard fans are also encouraged to post about their Miracle Day treat at


Since 1984, DQ and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital have partnered to provide life-saving treatments to children across the U.S. and Canada. More than $100 million has been raised through donations from DQ franchisees, fans and the corporate office. Funds raised by DQ stay local to fund critical treatments, health care services, pediatric medial equipment and charitable care.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,


UK Professor Wins Alfred C. Fones Award from ADHA

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 14:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2016) University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences Professor Karen Skaff recently won the Alfred C. Fones Award from the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA). The Alfred C. Fones Award is given to someone who has made lasting contributions to the dental hygiene profession for more than 25 years. Skaff received the honor at the 93rd Annual Session of the ADHA Center for Lifelong Learning held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in June.


Skaff is currently the chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences. She was reappointed to her second term in 2010. She is also the director for the Division of Health Sciences Education and Research. In 2014, Skaff was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry. In 2011, she won the Richard Kingston Award for Teaching in the College of Health Sciences. Skaff has more than 30 published presentations, papers and other scholarly work.


Skaff started her oral health education in 1968 studying oral hygiene at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Dental Medicine. She earned her bachelor's degree in education from California State University, her master's degree in dentistry from Columbia University, and her doctoral degree in educational policy studies and evaluation from UK.


The ADHA strives to help dental hygienists achieve their full potential as they look to improve the public's oral health. ADHA ensures hygienists access to quality oral health care, promoting dental hygiene education, licensure, practice and research.


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




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

Kentucky Children’s Hospital Welcomes Music Therapist

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 13:40

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) – In past years, high-quality, part-time, music therapy has been provided to patients at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. However, in May 2016 the Music Therapy Program at UK HealthCare welcomed Katie Goforth as the first music therapist soley dedicated to patients in the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The Pediatric Music Therapy position is funded by a gift from the Alexandra Simpson Fund in recognition of the need to care for all aspects of patients and their families.


Goforth, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, earned her bachelor’s in psychology as well as a music minor from Western Kentucky University. She went on to earn her master’s in music therapy from Florida State University. She completed her music therapy internship at the Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. Before joining the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, she served as a visiting assistant professor of music therapy at UK; she taught classes related to the foundations, principles and clinical skills of music therapy.


Goforth’s clinical experience includes the coordination of the music therapy program at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, where she developed the music therapy internship program in partnership with the Florida State University. During her time at Wolfson, she was responsible for the implementation of the Pacifier Activated Lullaby device in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and received the Distinguished Caregiver Copper Pin Award for excellence in patient and family-centered care. In addition to her experience in medical music therapy, she has also worked extensively with children with special needs, leading group and individual music therapy session at Capital District Beginnings in Albany, New York, and at the Florida State University Multidisciplinary Center in Tallahassee, Florida.


Goforth currently serves on the Kentucky State Task Force for Government Relations, a joint effort of the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists and previously served on the Florida State Task Force for Government Relations. Her research interests include neonatal music therapy, pediatric music therapy and interdisciplinary collaboration.


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: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076




UK Student's Diagnosis Leads to Life of Service, Presidential Recognition

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 10:09


Photos of Jessica Waters throughout her journey.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2016) When Jessica Waters was 11 years old, her young life changed. She could no longer go swimming on her own or ride a bike by herself. She even had to be careful watching television — it was a trigger for her seizures.


After being diagnosed with epilepsy, Waters, now a University of Kentucky sophomore studying integrated strategic communication, had little enthusiasm for what was ahead of her.


"It was right at that age where you're old enough to start doing things on your own," she said. "And I couldn't even go to the mall with my friends."


She didn't know yet the impact she would have on others' lives, or that she would be recognized nationally for her work. That would come years later.


In the meantime, her mom, Chastity Irwin Register, searched for something to make her feel like a normal kid again and found a camp designed specifically for adolescents with epilepsy.


"I saw worse cases there who were 10 times happier, while I was throwing myself a pity party," Waters said.


The camp changed Waters' outlook on life.


"She was a different child; the one we had before her diagnosis," her mom said.


But more importantly, it spurred her into action. Waters experienced firsthand the impact these camps have and she wanted everyone to have that opportunity.


"And I wanted to spread the message that epilepsy doesn't have them, they have epilepsy," she said.


So in 2010, she founded Cupcakes for Camp and began organizing the sale of cupcakes and other baked goods in her community with the hopes that she could pay camp fees for other kids.


She made $75 from the first bake sale. But the event garnered local news coverage in her hometown of Beavercreek, Ohio, and soon she had corporate sponsors and donations from bakeries flooding in.


Since then, Waters has raised well over $15,000, allowing numerous children with epilepsy to attend summer camps.


"If you have the means to help someone else, there's no question you should be doing it," she said.


Her mission to raise money, and awareness, for children with epilepsy set in motion events over the next few years that would establish Waters as a pillar of service in her community and across the nation. In addition to Cupcakes for Camp, she volunteered with countless organizations and shared her story at universities and health fairs.


So far, she has spent more than 4,300 hours in service to others and her overwhelming dedication hasn't gone unnoticed.


Waters was honored just last month with the Stars of Service Award by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the President’s Volunteer Service Award Gold Medal, which included a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.


She is only the second person to ever receive the Stars of Service Award, which recognizes young people who have demonstrated outstanding examples of volunteering and service. President Obama established the award in 2014 as part of new commitments to improve pathways to employment for AmeriCorps alumni, encourage community service by young people and expand national service opportunities.  


"I didn't start this to get recognition, but I'm glad that it did," she said. "Now a little girl in Connecticut and a boy in Arizona are using Cupcakes for Camp as a model to help kids in their communities."


Throughout her years coordinating Cupcakes for Camp and other service projects, Waters also began emerging as a young leader. She has participated in the Reach Higher Summit with First Lady Michelle Obama, attended American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation and served as a national ambassador for the Epilepsy Foundation of America.


Today, the UK College of Communication and Information sophomore leads and serves as the assistant philanthropy chair for Delta Delta Delta sorority at UK, which she said wasn't originally on her list of schools to consider. But after attending a "see blue." Preview Night in Dayton, Ohio, Jessica decided to visit UK and explore Lexington.


That afternoon, she called her dad and said "I hope you like to wear blue!"


"As soon as I arrived I saw that people weren't just reeling me in," she said. "There are really some amazing programs, teachers, advisers and students here."


In between classes and her sorority, Waters has also interned at Susan G. Komen Kentucky. She said she's sure now more than ever that she's meant to work in the nonprofit sector, continuing to help others.


And she's happy to report that she has been seizure free for three years.



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 Plant Breeder Develops New Tall Fescue Variety

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 15:36

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 26, 2016 University of Kentucky plant breeder Tim Phillips has developed a new tall fescue variety that is nontoxic to grazing animals.


The variety, Lacefield MaxQ II, is the result of selections Phillips, a member of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, made from endophyte-free Kentucky 31 and related lines. Phillips named the variety for UK Professor Emeritus Garry Lacefield upon his retirement to honor his numerous contributions to the forage industry and to the college.


Lacefield MaxQ II contains a novel endophyte developed by AgResearch in New Zealand. While active, the endophyte does not produce the ergot alkaloids that can cause fescue toxicosis, a disease that primarily affects cattle but can also negatively impact pregnant mares and milk producing goats. The active alkaloids in the variety give it drought tolerance, insect resistance and help with vigor.


“It has the persistence and performance of the endophyte found in Kentucky 31, but it doesn’t have the bad qualities of that endophyte,” Phillips said. “It’s the best of both worlds.”


The variety has been tested for 12 years in on-farm trials at UK’s research farms, private Kentucky farms and farms located from Michigan to Mississippi. Phillips said it has tested well in all locations for seeding vigor, high yield potential, grazing tolerance, live weight gains by stocker cattle and resistance to winter injury.


“It’s Kentucky born, Kentucky bred and Kentucky proven to excel,” he said.


When compared with Jesup, the first commercially available tall fescue variety containing a novel endophyte, Lacefield MaxQ II was later flowering in Kentucky, which would allow it to be available to animals for a longer period of time. Scientists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forage-Animal Production Research Unit conducted the comparison study on UK’s C. Oran Little Research Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.


Lacefield MaxQ II is expected to be commercially available in 2017.



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: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774;

UK CDAR Leads Research Investigating Progressive Therapies to Treat Opioid Addiction

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 15:25


Opioid addiction is a complex medical disorder that impacts the entire nation, but much of the problem is condensed to disparate regions of Kentucky. This is the third and final installment of a series of articles exploring the work of University of Kentucky researchers and UK HealthCare medical providers who are making progress toward solutions to the epidemic in our state and at large.


Video by Allison Perry, UKPR and Marketing.  

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) — Even with the assistance of detoxification and rehabilitation programs, 80 percent of people attempting recovery from opioid addiction will relapse.


The firm grip of opioid addiction on a person’s life necessitates sustainable therapeutic approaches proven effective through scientific trials and evidence.


“We increasingly recognize that opiate addiction is a complex medical disorder with significant psychosocial influences as well,” said Dr. Michelle Lofwall, an addiction medicine specialist and psychiatrist at the University of Kentucky Center on Drug an Alcohol Research (CDAR). “This is similar to other chronic complex medical disorders that are not amenable to a quick treatment.”


As a complex disease, opioid addiction involves biological, psychological and behavioral components, all of which must receive attention through holistic medical care. According to experts at the CDAR, the first step in any opioid treatment program is loosening the grip of physical dependency. Opioid maintenance therapies are medications designed to help suppress withdrawal, reduce cravings and block the effects illicit opioids produce, such as euphoria or feeling high. Opioid maintenance therapies stabilize the pharmacological addiction while providing a window of opportunity to address other complex needs. 


“Pharmaceuticals give patients a fighting chance to address the other parts of their addiction,” said Dr. Sharon Walsh, an addiction specialist and director of the CDAR. “They have a fighting chance to work on the recovery and focus on the behavioral and social issues that they may have.”


However, initiating an opioid maintenance therapy, especially for those patients the early stages of a recovery program, raises numerous concerns for health care providers and patients. For one, prescribing an opioid maintenance therapy like buprenorphine, an FDA-approved drug to treat opioid addiction, demands the patient’s absolute cooperation and adherence to the provider’s dosage recommendations. Maintenance drugs, such as Suboxone and Subutex carry some street value, so diversion is a common concern for health care providers.


Patients are also exposed to social and safety risks when prescribed standard forms of prescription opioid maintenance therapies. Capable of causing overdose, particularly when combined with other substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines, maintenance drugs may pose risks to members of the patient’s household, especially children. Patients possessing these medications can become victims of theft. The stigmatization of opioid maintenance prescriptions in society further muddles the patient’s circumstances, as these therapies are considered taboo or even illegal in certain settings. Patients can experience uncomfortable encounters and stigmatization when filling their prescription at the pharmacy counter. Traveling with an opioid maintenance prescription is also stressful as patients worry about having it stolen or lost in baggage.


Research studies underway at the CDAR are transforming how opioid therapies are administered to patients to reduce risks and negative outcomes associated with the standard forms of opioid maintenance therapies. With a team of international authorities in the field of substance abuse treatment, the CDAR serves as a lead research site for projects investigating progressive and effective medication delivery systems. Lofwall and Walsh have collaborated with major pharmaceutical developers to test novel delivery systems for opioid therapies. The clinical trials conducted at CDAR have demonstrated the efficacy, safety and, in some cases, potential for superiority of new therapeutic delivery systems when compared to standard prescriptions in the form of sublingual tablets.


Walsh and Lofwall are leading two multi-site studies testing a subcutaneous sustained-release injectable buprenorphine therapy as a potential treatment for opioid dependent patients. These studies are evaluating the efficacy of monthly and weekly injectable buprenorphine known as CAM-2038 for opioid maintenance therapy and assessing efficacy of different doses. If approved by the FDA in the future, this therapeutic could represent a significant advantage over the daily sublingual formulations for patients new to treatment or for those already receiving treatment.


“These novel delivery systems may really mitigate a lot of the concerns and stigma about buprenorphine treatment because it is addressing the risks of abuse and diversion that are associated with the tablets and films,” Lofwall said.


In addition, product developer Braeburn Pharmaceuticals recruited Walsh and Lofwall to participate in a nationwide clinical trial testing the efficacy of an implantable opioid maintenance delivery system. Modeled after pregnancy contraceptives, Probuphine is an implantable therapeutic that slowly releases buprenorphine throughout a six-month period. The treatment involves a minor surgical implantation of four rods into the arm. The CDAR was selected to participate along with 21 sites conducting tests in patients who were considered clinically stable.


The results of the initial trial showed that Probuphine was as effective in controlling the symptoms of addiction and maintaining patient stability as the standard buprenorphine treatment. A secondary analysis of the data showed the new therapeutic delivery system was superior to the standard oral formulation in maintaining opioid abstinence during the six-month trial. The experimental group that received the implant was more likely to abstain from illicit opioids during a six-month period than the group receiving the oral formulation of buprenorphine. Of the Probuphine group, 86 percent were able to remain free of illicit opioid use for six months, compared with the 72 percent who were able to remain free from illicit use in the group receiving the standard therapy.


“This just streamlines the treatment from the physician to the patient,” Walsh said of the therapy. “The physician can be assured that the medicine has gone into the patient and that relieves any worries of misuse and diversion.”


Earlier this year, Walsh and Lofwall testified before a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel to present evidence in favor of the product’s efficacy and safety to treat addiction. Lofwall also presented the study at the American Society of Addiction Medicine annual conference. The product received FDA approval in May and the results were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


“This was exciting because it's not often you get to see a drug in development actually make it to the market and impact patients,” Lofwall said. “I think it's great that Kentucky, specifically UK and CDAR, were able to be a part of that.”


Opioid maintenance delivery systems investigated by the CDAR eliminate the myriad factors impeding successful and sustainable medical therapy for addiction. The innovative delivery systems obviate the possibility of diversion, theft, accessibility to others in the household and overdose. The products also relieve the health care provider of many uncertainties of their prescriptions. Dr. Jonathan Feddock, a radiation oncologist at UK Markey Cancer Center, volunteered as a collaborator with the CDAR and obtained licensure to train primary care providers throughout the nation on how to implant Probuphine in outpatient clinics.


“It’s going to ease concerns for physicians about patient safety, and it will ease concerns for patients about family safety,” Walsh said. “And it will make the delivery of treatment easier.”


Lofwall said experts at the CDAR and UK are upholding a decades-long tradition and duty to solve national substance abuse problems that in large part began at the Lexington Narcotics Farm, which was operated by the U.S. Public Health Service. CDAR faculty members are recognized internationally as authorities on opioid abuse liability, treatment and recovery. Other researchers at the CDAR and collaborators in the six health colleges at UK are conducting studies to understand the causes, consequences and intervening factors of opioid and heroin addiction. Lofwall said researchers at the CDAR are driven to find solutions to this epidemic because it hits so close to home.


“These are our patients and one of our No. 1 public health problems in the Commonwealth is opioid addiction,” Lofwall said. “And so it just makes sense that we are doing the best to help our population and the people that we treat here 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, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,


Stoops Appointed Editor of American Psychological Association Journal

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 15:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) – Dr. William Stoops, associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, has been appointed editor of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, a journal published by the American Psychological Association. Stoops will serve in this role from 2018 to 2023. Beginning in 2017, he will serve as incoming editor, overlapping with outgoing editor Dr. Suzette Evans.


Stoops received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of Kentucky and completed his postdoctoral work at UK in the Department of Behavioral Science. Following his education, he joined the University of Kentucky faculty in the Department of Behavioral Science. His research at UK primarily focuses on the behavioral and pharmacological effects of drug abuse. One of the goals of his research is to identify potential treatments for use in those diagnosed with stimulant use disorders.


The multi-step process that ultimately resulted in Stoops’ appointment as editor began with his being nominated for the position by colleagues. After several more steps, which included his identifying goals for the future of the journal, Stoops was selected for the position.


Stoops aims to maintain the strong reputation the journal  holds and to build upon its standing. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology publishes advances in translational and interdisciplinary research on psychopharmacology and drug abuse. The scope of research in these areas continues to expand and to benefit from collaborations across a broad range of disciplines, including behavioral science, brain imaging, genetics, neuroendocrinology, neuroscience and pharmacology.


Stoops said he hopes to bring new and different voices into the journal; he would like to see the inclusion of ethnic, gender, career stage and research area diversity of authors submitting to the journal.


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 #uky4ky #seeblue


UKPR&M CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, 859-257-1076


UK Launching New Curriculum Management System

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 15:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016)  The University of Kentucky is transitioning from the current eCATS curriculum system to a new online curriculum management system, Curriculog. This transition will be effective for fall semester 2016. 


Curriculog includes a transparent approval process which allows proposers and other interested users to track the progress of proposals as they move through the process. It also includes other features such as committee agendas, user-specific dashboards and various reports. 


Steering committee and project team who have been involved in the selection and development of this new curriculum management system include faculty and staff from the University Senate, Undergraduate Education, Graduate School and college administration. Curriculog was chosen following a Request for Proposal and structured evaluation and selection procedures to ensure the software solution was the best fit for UK.


Curriculog is a highly configurable system that will allow UK to maintain consistency among course proposals, systems of record and published bulletins. This solution was created based on existing curriculum forms and follows UK’s standard curriculum approval processes. 


Course proposals that are generated for clinical courses or those that are currently pending review in university curriculum councils will continue to be processed in eCATS in the interim. Councils will accept eCATS proposals until Oct. 3, 2016. At that time all proposals not already submitted to the councils will need to be resubmitted in the new system, which is scheduled to be available Aug. 15.


This project supports UK’s strategic plan by improving the process by which new and innovative curricular offerings are provisioned. More information will be distributed as the official launch of Curriculog approaches.



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 Markey Cancer Center Launching New Undergraduate Training Program

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 14:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has received nearly $200,000 in funding for a new two-year training program designed to prepare UK undergraduate students from Appalachian Kentucky to pursue cancer-focused careers. Administrators of the program are now recruiting applicants.


Led by Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers and Markey Assistant Director for Research Nathan Vanderford, the two-year program will provide its students with research and clinical experience at the state-of-the-art facilities of the cancer center and the UK College of Medicine. Students will also participate in outreach activities to educate the residents of Appalachian Kentucky communities, who are plagued by disproportionately high cancer incidence and mortality rates, on cancer screening and prevention strategies.


“The program is geared toward getting undergraduate students interested in pursuing cancer-focused careers and then using their knowledge and passion to have an impact on their home communities,” Vanderford said. “The students can use their education to train others in their communities, and to provide meaningful research and clinical care innovations that can reduce cancer in Appalachian Kentucky.”


The UK Markey Cancer Center Training in Oncology Program will accept four students this year. Current UK freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are natives of one of the 54 counties of Appalachian Kentucky and are majoring in one of many life or health sciences subjects are encouraged to apply. Students are expected to commit two years to the program and will be paid for their work plus some tuition to cover the cost of taking a cancer-related course each semester.


Students can find more information (including which counties are eligible) or submit an electronic application at


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

What You Need to Know About Bladder Cancer

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 11:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016)  Bladder cancer accounts for 5 percent of all new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. with nearly 77,000 new cases annually; 1,100 people died of bladder cancer in Kentucky between 2010 and 2014.


The bladder is composed of an inner lining called the urothelium and an outer muscle that contracts to empty urine.  Cancer cells that grow into tumors normally start within the urothelium. Generally speaking, these tumors are classified as low- or high-grade.  Low-grade tumors may recur but have a lower chance of invading the bladder wall while high-grade tumors can behave much more aggressively, invading the muscle wall and potentially spreading to the lymph nodes and throughout the body.


Risk factors: Cigarette smoking is one of the greatest risk factors that can contribute to the development of bladder cancer. Tobacco use in Kentucky is considerably higher than the national average.  Because of this, Kentucky is disproportionally affected by a large number of people who develop bladder cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to certain industrial chemicals, and bladder cancer has been associated with people of certain professions including mechanics, painters, miners, hair dressers, and truck drivers.


Caucasians are about twice as likely to develop bladder cancer when compared to African-Americans and Hispanics. Bladder cancer is also more common in men, and the risk for bladder cancer increases with age.


Symptoms: One of the most common symptoms is blood in the urine.  Often, patients do not have any pain so they delay seeking evaluation from a doctor.  Also, this blood may not be visible to the patient and can sometimes only be detected through specialized tests of the urine.  Other symptoms such as urinary burning and frequency can mimic a urinary tract infection.


Screening/Evaluation: Currently, there are no formal bladder cancer screening recommendations; however, patients at higher risk for developing bladder cancer may benefit from tests that check for blood in the urine.


If you have symptoms or blood in the urine and are at risk for bladder cancer, your doctor may recommend a procedure called a cystoscopy. During this procedure, a small scope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder, allowing the doctor to evaluate the inside of the bladder for tumors.


Treatment: The optimal treatment for bladder cancer is patient-dependent and can be influenced by the grade and stage of the original tumor, evidence of spread of cancer as seen on radiology studies such as CT scans, and certain patient specific factors. Low-grade tumors are often treated by a combination of endoscopic surgery and intravesical therapy (instilling medication into the bladder via a catheter).  High-grade, invasive tumors often require a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. Radiation treatment may be an option in select situations.


People diagnosed with bladder cancer often require life-long surveillance through imaging tests and cystoscopies due to the risk of recurrence of these tumors.


Dr. Andrew James is a urologic oncologist with the UK Markey Cancer Center. 


Media Contact: Allison Perry,

UK Study Suggests Dementia Diagnosis Could Have a Silver Lining

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 09:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) — Results from a study of patients with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or early dementia indicates that their outlook isn't as dark as expected.


A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging asked 48 men and women with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) a series of questions about their quality of life and personal outlook post-diagnosis.


Called the Silver Lining Questionnaire (SLQ), the instrument measures the extent to which people believe their illness has had a positive benefit in areas such as: improved personal relationships, greater appreciation for life, positive influence on others, personal inner strength and changes in life philosophy. The SLQ has been administered previously to patients with cancer diagnoses, but hasn't been given to MCI/dementia patients, according to Dr. Gregory Jicha, professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the study's lead author.


"The overall assumption is that this diagnosis would have a uniformly negative impact on a patient's outlook on life, but we were surprised to find that almost half of respondents reported positive scores," Jicha said.


Positive responses were even higher on certain scores, such as:


·      appreciation and acceptance of life

·      less concern about failure

·      self-reflection, tolerance of others, and courage to face problems in life

·      strengthened relationships and new opportunities to meet people.


"The common stereotype for this type of diagnosis is depression, denial, and despair," Jicha said.  "However, this study –while small – suggests that positive changes in attitude are as common as negative ones."


The next step, according to Jicha, is to explore the variables that affect outlook in these patients with an eye towards interventions that might help the other half find their “silver lining.”


Jicha presented the study data at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto on Monday.


The study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH P-30 AG028383).


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


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






Connecting the Common Reading Experience to Research

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 09:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) — Every year, new University of Kentucky students are prompted to read a book selected for their cohort the summer before their first semester on campus. This program is referred to as the Common Reading Experience (CRE). 


The goal of the CRE is two-fold: first, to bring new students together for a common reading experience that introduces them to academic discourse prior to the start of classes; and second, to engage the UK community in a common intellectual experience through yearlong programming that encourages deeper thinking and discussion to further unite the campus community.


The CRE eases the academic transition to college of first-year students through small group discussion, curricular assignments and co-curricular programming based on a single book.


One way the CRE book is integrated into first-year curriculum is through various UK Core classes such as Rachel Farr's "Introduction to Psychology" course.


Farr began her career at UK in the summer of 2015. As a developmental psychologist, her research is focused on adoptive families and families headed by sexual minority parents.  


The 2016-2017 CRE book, "Orphan Train," relates directly to Farr's research as it tells the story of personal upheaval and adoption. The main character in the novel is orphaned as a child, taking her on a journey of living with several families. After growing up in an early form of foster care, she eventually faces adoption again as an adult.


"I like that 'Orphan Train' highlights some aspects of adoption history in our culture to a wider audience that might not know anything about this and have ever heard of it, so it can stimulate some interest in that," she said.


Farr plans to incorporate lessons and themes from "Orphan Train" into her teaching. Her diverse family systems seminar, for example, will spend two weeks focusing on adoptive families and the foster care system.


"I think it is helpful for students to make connections across the research and the book and then also real world scenarios," she said.


Farr's personal connection to adoptive and diverse families sparked her interest in this field of study.


"Although I am not adopted, my sister is from India. She is a couple of years younger than I am and was adopted into my family when she was nine months old," said Farr. "The most intimate way in which I saw another kid coming into the family actually was adoption."


"Above all, my personal connection to my research gives me a lot of motivation for continuing in this work." 


For more information about the 2016-2017 CRE book, "Orphan Train," visit the Common Reading Experience website.



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: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398;