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UK Chemistry Graduate Student Receives NASA Fellowship

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 09:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2016) Alexis Eugene, a University of Kentucky doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. More than 700 applications were submitted for the 2016 awards, and Eugene was one of only 73 who received a fellowship in earth science.

 

"I am honored to receive this prestigious fellowship, and I am grateful for this opportunity to work with NASA scientists to further NASA's goals while making progress toward my degree from UK," Eugene said.

 

Eugene will collaborate with members of NASA's Langley Aerosol Research Group Experiment by analyzing the chemical composition of cloud water and aerosol samples collected during flights over the Atlantic Ocean. Specifically, she will study what chemicals are there and how they affect the properties of the atmosphere.

 

"For example, looking at how those chemicals might interact with radiation," she said.

 

Eugene has been working in Assistant Professor Marcelo Guzman's lab in the Department of Chemistry. During this time, she has garnered several national accomplishments, including the Graduate Student Award from the Environmental Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, and published work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

 

The research supported by the fellowship will build on the recent work "Aqueous Photochemistry of Glyoxylic Acid," an article just published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry A by Eugene and Guzman. Eugene's research will contribute to NASA's North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES), which is investigating the processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols and clouds, and their implications for climate.

 

"I am thrilled that Alexis was selected for this very competitive fellowship," Guzman said. "It is such a great honor, especially considering that many of the previous recipients of this fellowship have emerged as scientific leaders in their fields. She is an incredibly talented young chemist, who will continue her training at the University of Kentucky while contributing to achieve NASA's scientific goals."

 

 

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 uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

Williams to Join Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Expert Panel

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 08:31

Lexington, Ky. (July 15, 2016) — Dr. Mark Williams, director of the Center for Health Services Research and chief in the Division of Hospital Medicine at UK HealthCare, has been selected to be part of an expert panel for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Strategic Innovation Engine. Williams will begin participating on the panel mid-July.

 

The Strategic Innovation Engine, the latest addition to CMS’ Quality Improvement Organization efforts, is working to identify, evaluate and spread high impact, high value quality improvement practices. They are seeking innovative ideas from throughout the health care delivery system that will further CMS’ three part aim of better care, healthier people/communities and smarter spending.

 

Williams, along with other panel members, will review submissions received in response to a health care community-wide call for innovative practices. They will be tasked with evaluating innovative quality improvement practices submitted by organizations.

 

When he became director at UK in 2014, Williams had a clear vision for the center of applying research to optimize care. As a member of this expert panel, he will work toward accomplishing that goal on a national scale. 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

Media Contact: Olivia McCoy, olivia.mccoy1@uky.edu, 859-257-1076

UK Researcher Receives Grant, Uses Zebrafish to Study Eye Disorder

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 15:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2016) University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Biology Jakub Famulski has been awarded a Career Starter Grant by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, a charity sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar.

 

The $65,000 grant will support Famulski's research on coloboma, a leading cause of blindness in children. The eye abnormality occurs before birth and involves missing tissue in or around the eye.

 

Famulski and his collaborators recently discovered a new type of coloboma, superior coloboma, which occurs in the top of the eye. But the underlying cause of most coloboma cases remains unknown.

 

To better understand the disorder, Famulski and UK graduate students Kristyn Van Der Meulen and Nicholas Carrara will use zebrafish as a model to study how coloboma occurs in the eye's early development. With zebrafish, the team can easily and efficiently observe, regulate and modify cells in the laboratory.

 

"For a junior faculty member like myself, this grant is not only great financial help, but also confirmation that scientists in the community value this work, which I hope will help patients suffering from this disorder," Famulski said.

 

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, incorporated in 1956, works to improve vision through research, education and supporting access to care. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than $23 million in grants to pediatric ophthalmology 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, visit uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

Markey's Miller Receives NCI Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 14:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2016) – University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Dr. Rachel Miller is one of 13 recipients of this year's National Cancer Institute Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award.

 

These awards recognize and support outstanding mid-career clinical investigators at NCI-designated cancer centers who are working to improve the lives of people with cancer through extensive involvement in NCI-funded collaborative clinical trials and whose leadership, participation and activities promote clinical trials and research.

 

Miller, part of Markey's gynecologic cancer team, was nominated for the award by Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers. She was officially recognized as a recipient yesterday at the NCI's Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee meeting. 

 

Media Contact: Allison Perry, allison.perry@uky.edu

UK Surgeon-Researcher Works to Extend Cochlear Implant Program to Appalachia

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 13:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2016) – The first time Dr. Matthew Bush observed a cochlear implant surgery, he was a young medical student from West Virginia visiting the University of Kentucky. He describes that experience as eye opening for him and ear opening for the patient.

 

To witness function restored to an ear that was otherwise lost, sparked not only an intense interest in hearing health care, but also the desire to offer people with profound hearing loss their best hope of re-entering a hearing world and a better quality of life through cochlear implantation.  

 

Hearing loss affects about 48 million people in the United States. More than 694,000 of those people live in Kentucky. In older Americans, hearing loss is the third most common chronic public health problem after heart disease and arthritis.

 

Bush, now associate professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at UK, has come full circle to lead the cochlear implant program at the very place he received his first exposure to the miracle of what cochlear implants can do for people whose hearing has declined to the point that even the most sophisticated of hearing aids can't help.

 

As a physician, surgeon, teacher and researcher, he knows his mission is much more encompassing than treating the people who come to him. "There are people who don't even realize they have hearing loss and parents who don't realize that their children have hearing loss, putting them at great risk for developmental delays, which can have negative consequences that will impact the rest of their lives," Bush said.

 

There are people who have never heard about cochlear implants, and something even more concerning to Bush, there are people, particularly in rural Appalachia where he was born and raised, who don't have the resources or ability to travel long distances to receive the help they desperately need in order to hear.

 

Bush's rigorous research agenda at UK includes multiple on-going studies, all with the main goal of developing methods to provide Kentuckians of all ages with a timely diagnosis and access to hearing health care. His most current study targets health disparities that exist between people in Appalachian areas and those in urban areas. Previous studies demonstrate that not only is hearing loss more prevalent in rural regions, but the time an individual becomes aware of hearing loss to actually receiving care, is double that of their urban counterparts. Many people with profound hearing loss are likely candidates for cochlear implants but the utilization of them is quite low.

 

Bush hypothesizes that an innovative and effective way to reach rural Kentuckians from UK is through the use of telemedicine, videoconference technology that connects health care providers in one location to the patient in another. They can see and hear each other, just as if they were in the same room. Kentucky TeleCare, the telehealth initiative at UK, began in 1995 with Rob Sprang as director. Sprang said he has seen the program grow exponentially, especially in the last couple of years and he expects that growth to continue. 

 

"We have done satisfaction surveys which were very positive, but I think the most important measurement is that people vote with their feet and we are doing more telehealth than ever," Sprang said.

 

In his current study, Bush proposes to evaluate the hearing of patients from rural areas at the UK ENT Morehead location through the use of telemedicine to determine cochlear implant candidacy. The patient will sit in front of a specially designed computerized remote hearing cart with a computer screen where the patient will see and interact with UK audiologist Meg Adkins, who is working with Bush on this project. Adkins will perform the hearing evaluation from her office in Lexington.

 

The patient hears the test through calibrated headphones or a calibrated speaker connected to the audiometer. The audiometer is controlled remotely by Adkins. Patients will hear Adkins either through the headphones or a separate speaker attached to the cart designed for consultation.  They see each other by using video conferencing technology.  

 

For purposes of the study, Bush and a team of multidisciplinary providers will compare remote hearing evaluations with in-person evaluations to assess the practicality and cost assessing cochlear implant candidacy through this method. The success of his research will potentially impact existing health disparities by extending UK's reach into Appalachian areas and expanding access to care for people who might not otherwise have the ability, or the resources, to travel a long distance to UK's medical campus.

 

“Our primary goal is that we can achieve diagnostic assessment via telemedicine that is identical in accuracy to those obtained in the clinic so the patient has no concerns about the quality of their service," Adkins said. "But our telemedicine team has also worked very hard to ensure we can produce such a high quality audio and video interaction, that patients feel just as comfortable with their remote appointment as they would have felt with an in-person session.  We hope to demonstrate that cochlear implant assessment via telemedicine can be perceived as warm and interesting, as opposed to cool and clinical. If we achieve that, we then have the basis for building rapport and trusting relationships with our distance patients.”

 

Since the time he first observed a cochlear implant surgery, Bush has immersed himself into the study of a how one tiny electronic device implanted behind the ear and just under the skin, will allow a nearly deaf individual to hear and interpret sounds and speech. Restored hearing can potentially impact every aspect of a person's life, both physically and emotionally. For a child living in a world of near silence, the impact is even more striking.

 

"My first cochlear implant patient here at UK was a child who had suddenly lost their hearing as a complication of meningitis. That child was unable to interact or communicate with family and there was a definite sense of urgency that I shared with the family and our cochlear implant team," Bush said. After a successful operation and the programming of the device, that child was brought back into the world of listening without skipping a beat.

 

"The joy of seeing that child regain function and quality of life further reinforced my desire to improve hearing and provide hearing health care for other patients in similar situations," Bush said. 

 

This current work in telemedicine demonstrates that commitment to transform delivery of hearing health care, he said. Access to hearing specialists through telemedicine could influence patients’ readiness to seek further treatment for their hearing loss.

 

"Connecting cochlear implant specialists with patients with hearing loss in remote locations for the delivery of education regarding hearing loss treatments, diagnostic testing, and counseling regarding cochlear implantation represents an important step to deliver the most advanced medicine to patients."

 

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 uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu

 

 

UK Football Poster Honors Four Players Who Integrated SEC

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 16:15

LEXINGTON, Ky.  (July 13, 2016) — The 2016 Kentucky football poster was unveiled to members of the team at a special meeting last week. The design of the poster is modeled after a statue honoring the four UK players who integrated Southeastern Conference football in the late 1960s – Nate Northington, Greg Page, Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg.

 

Northington and Hackett were in attendance as the poster was unveiled at a team meeting following early-morning workouts on Thursday, getting a standing ovation from the team when they were introduced. Both groundbreaking former Wildcats addressed the team and shared their perspective as two of the first African-American SEC football players.

 

“When you watch the game today and you come here and look and see the diversity, I never would have thought this would happen at UK or much less the SEC,” Northington told the team. “We’re very, very proud we were able to do that for the state, for ourselves, for our family. We’re very proud of you all, very proud of this university because you are part of history. You are part of the university that made a stand and made a difference in the culture of the state, the South and the country.”

 

Northington was referencing the theme of the poster, which he and Hackett also saw for the first time along with the team. The message struck him as appropriate given what he and his three teammates did five decades ago.

 

“We just believed it was time that Kentucky made a stand,” Northington said. “So ‘Make a Stand’ is very, very unique and correct because we did make a stand. We felt like it was the right thing to do. The time was right.”

 

Hackett encouraged the current UK team to carry on that legacy.

 

“You have an opportunity change history, to make history, change what Kentucky is doing in football,” said Hackett, the first African-American team captain in any SEC sport. “I’m so glad, I’m so proud to be a part of this. Fifty years ago we came here. And this year I want to see you guys make a difference. Make that commitment to change what is happening. Make this team be the team that changed the course of Kentucky football.”

 

The poster honoring Northington, Page, Hackett and Hogg – which will be available to the public on Saturday, July 16 – features four players from this year’s team in poses modeled after the statue currently being sculpted. The poster is meant to pay tribute to the way the four trailblazers paved the way for what Kentucky football is today. The 2016 season marks 50 years since Northington and Page enrolled at UK in 1966.

 

The statue will be located in front of the new UK football practice facility currently under construction. It will be unveiled at a special event Thursday, Sept. 22. Fittingly, UK will host South Carolina in its first SEC game two days later and celebrate Northington becoming the first African American to play in an SEC game on Sept. 30, 1967.

 

The poster will be available for free through UK Athletics’ partner Kroger in stores while supplies last, including locations throughout the state of Kentucky. Limited quantities are available in each store, so fans are recommended to pick up their posters as early as possible after they become available on July 16. The poster will also be available in the Joe Craft Welcome Center starting Monday, July 18.

 

Kentucky will open the 2016 season at 7:30 p.m .Saturday, Sept. 3, in Commonwealth Stadium against Southern Miss. Season, single-game and mini-pack tickets are available now at UKFootballTix.com.

 

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Guy Ramsey (guy.ramsey@uky.edu), (859) 257-3838.

UK in Top 100 Universities Worldwide Granted US Patents for 2015

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 16:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 13, 2016) — The University of Kentucky ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide granted U.S. utility patents for 2015.

 

UK ranked 91st, in a five-way tie, in the top 100 ranking. In fiscal year 2015, UK was issued 31 new patents and had 298 total active patents.

 

“We congratulate our investigators for their innovation, and we are dedicated to helping them grow their ideas — the driving force of university research,” said Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis.

 

This ranking is based on a report published by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) utilizing data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to highlight the important role patents play in university research and innovation.

 

The NAI and IPO have published the report annually since 2013. The rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that list a university as the first assignee on the printed patent.

 

To see the full report of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted Patents in 2015, visit http://www.academyofinventors.com/pdf/top-100-universities-2015.pdf.

 

To see all University of Kentucky patents, visit http://www.research.uky.edu/technologies/patents.html.

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343; jenny.wells@uky.edu

UK Researchers Partner With Kentucky Bourbon Distillery to Convert Waste Into Useful Products

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 14:54

 

Video by UK REVEAL Research Media. 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 13, 2016) — In Kentucky, bourbon production is both a rich tradition and a booming industry. And as the state’s flagship research institution, the University of Kentucky has discovered an inventive way to work with a local bourbon distillery.

 

Steve Lipka, associate director at UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), and his Electrochemical Power Sources team are always on the lookout for abundant and sustainable materials that can be converted into value-added products. In this case, Lipka and his team partnered with Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville to test stillage, a by-product left over during the bourbon production process.

 

“It's of great value for us to look at industries here in Kentucky that can use those products in a very useful way and have a sustainable type of business,” said Lipka.

 

Bourbon stillage contains water and grain, and is often used as cattle feed in its solid state.  But Lipka and his team have discovered multiple new uses for its liquid portion. Through a process called hydrothermal carbonization, the team learned that stillage can be transformed into a solid material made up of tiny, uniformly-sized particles, also known as green material.

 

“In Kentucky, we have this stillage that contains a lot of sugars and carbohydrates so we tried it and it works beautifully,” said Lipka. “We take these (green materials) and we then do additional post-processing to convert it into useful materials that can be used for batteries.”

 

These batteries include carbon-monofluoride batteries, the most energy-dense primary batteries in the world. Some applications for these types of batteries include:

  • Implantable cardiac pacemakers
  • Electronic devices: electric, water and gas meters, cameras, computer clock and memory back-up
  • Commerce: powered credit cards
  • Oil and gas exploration: data logging and control systems
  • Automotive: tire pressure monitoring system
  • U.S. military: portable communications equipment
  • Aerospace

The materials may also be used for secondary batteries like lithium-ion, along with electrochemical capacitors, which are complementary storage devices to lithium batteries and ideal for capturing energy from alternative sources like solar or wind.

 

The stillage is also being used to create cheaper, more effective activated carbons for water filtration with funds from General Electric Appliances in Louisville. These systems could be useful for both consumer products and municipal drinking water supplies to remove chloramine and chloroform.

 

By using waste products like stillage, Lipka says this research could help bring down production costs and reduce reliance on other, more expensive sources of carbon.

 

“I think the most exciting thing for me, and for most people, is that you can take a product that is considered waste in many industries, and re-purpose it, or convert it into value-added product that has tremendous utility,” said Lipka. “I would like to get some of the distilleries interested in this and see this have some traction at the end of the day, and turn it into a business. I think it can be done. It would be another wonderful Kentucky story.”

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343; jenny.wells@uky.edu

 

UK HDI Underscores Importance of Clinicians Giving Updated Information With Genetic Diagnoses

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 08:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 13, 2016) When parents first hear the news that their child has a genetic condition, they want support and accurate and up-to-date information right away. They fundamentally want to know what life is like for people living with those conditions. However, sometimes they may receive outdated information or resources that leave them frustrated and confused. Parents may also receive a list of medical conditions associated with a condition without information about life outcomes and social supports.

 

A recent article in Pediatrics in Review, "Beyond the Genetic Diagnosis: Providing Parents What They Want to Know," by Dr. Robert Saul (Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System) and Stephanie Meredith (National Center for Prenatal and Postnatal Resources at the University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute) talks about the importance of staying up-to-date about these outcomes for different conditions and also lists accurate, up-to-date, and medically reviewed resources that clinicians and parents can use at the moment of diagnosis.

 

This article further provides tables listing the common myths vs. realities associated with different conditions and the evolution of outcomes for people with Down syndrome from 1970 to 2016.

 

"When parents receive a diagnosis either prenatally or postnatally, they want accurate, up-to-date, and balanced information right away," co-author Meredith said. "That moment can be overwhelming and isolating, so they want to know as soon as possible what life is like for families who have a child with that condition. Sometimes that can be challenging for clinicians because the outcomes for these conditions are constantly changing thanks to research, support services, education services, and social inclusion.

 

"If you look at Down syndrome over the past 45 years, the change is quite significant. Toward that end, we've tried to put together a list of medically reviewed, balanced, and accurate resources about the different conditions to help clinicians know where to turn for helpful patient information."

 

"When families receive accurate, up-to-date and balanced information about a new genetic diagnosis, they can make the transition to their new lives more smoothly and positively," Saul said. "It is imperative that primary care practitioners assist in that process. As a pediatrician and medical geneticist in practice for over 37 years, I have seen these dramatic changes and the need for the information to families to be continually updated. Too often, we rely on the information that we learned during our training, giving an inaccurate picture of the current situation and potential outcomes."

 

"As the mother of a 16-year-old with Down syndrome, I was incredibly fortunate after my son was born to receive wonderful information right away from the staff at the hospital," Meredith said. "Their support helped me know where to find services and set my expectations for what my son could accomplish. Unfortunately, I later learned that some families don't get that same kind of information and support, and we want to make sure all families receive the lifeline they need during that critical moment."

 

The genetic conditions covered in the article include Down syndrome, Trisomy 13/18, cystic fibrosis, Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, XXYY, spina bifida, Jacobsen syndrome, Williams syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Cri-du-Chat syndrome, Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, and 22q deletion syndrome. CME credit is also available for this article.

 

Stephanie Meredith is the medical outreach director at the National Center for Prenatal and Postnatal Resources at the University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute, which oversees three medically reviewed programs that complement each other in providing important resources and information for new and expectant parents learning about a diagnosis of Down syndrome and other genetic conditions: Lettercase (lettercase.org), Down Syndrome Pregnancy (downsyndromepregnancy.org), and Brighter Tomorrows (brightertomorrows.org). These programs also offer valuable resources for medical professionals delivering those diagnoses.

 

 

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 uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

#WeBelongUK: A Time for Healing and Action

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 22:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2016) — The United States was overcome with confusion and sadness last week after the tragic shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the horrific killing and wounding of 12 police officers in Dallas.

 

In his blog Friday, University of Kentucky Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity Terry Allen asked, "And so beyond what we know today and what we may not ever know tomorrow or in the days and weeks ahead, the question that now confronts us – whether on the streets of Ferguson or Baltimore, New York and Dallas, Istanbul and Orlando, or in the classroom of a university in Lexington – is how do we respond?"

 

In light of last week's events in addition to many others, the UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP Center), the Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives and the Martin Luther King Center are providing an opportunity for UK to come together in solidarity with those communities most impacted by such heinous, horrific, and atrocious acts of violence.

 

On Monday, July 18, a memorial service titled #WeBelongUK: A Time for Healing and Action will be held from 3 p.m to 5:30 p.m. at the Kincaid Auditorium in the Gatton College of Business and Economics. During this time the UK community will have the opportunity to engage in courageous conversations rooted in healing and racial justice.

 

There will be opportunities for marginalized and minoritized communities to come together as well as time for allies and those aspiring allies to process how they can contribute to a community in which everyone feels and believes they belong.

 

These discussions will signal the start of an ongoing opportunity for discussion and healing throughout the semester, said Rhonda Henry, director of the VIP Center. The VIP Center plans to coordinate monthly opportunities for these groups to reconvene to continue to sow the seeds of solidarity and build a growing layer of commitment and support.

 

“We want to provide a brave space on our campus for our students, staff and faculty to heal, but also in a facilitated way to have discussions that will help our campus community move forward,” Henry said. “That was our goal after the tragedy of Orlando. It is our goal in the wake of what has been happening in our country and world the last several days.”

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398; blair.hoover@uky.edu

Polk-Dalton Clinic Ensures Compliance, Improves Satisfaction for Chronic Pain Patients

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 17:21

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 first installment of a series of articles highlighting 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. #UK4KY

 

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2016) — Playing team sports brought Gayle happiness and health throughout her life. But skidding into home plate and sprinting across tennis courts through the years caused the gradual deterioration of cartilage in her knee and ankle joints.

 

At age 64, Gayle experiences pain in her knees and ankles about six out of seven days a week. Five years ago, she underwent multiple surgeries to repair tendons in her knees and ankles, but complications post-surgery exacerbated her pain.

 

Gayle has accepted chronic pain as a fact of life — the new normal — but she won’t let it slow her down. Raising her pre-teen granddaughter, she spends most summer days driving a bunch of girls to dance competitions and cheerleading practices.

 

“I’m their designated Uber driver,” Gayle said with a smile.

 

On a Friday morning in June, Gayle answered a series of questions about her levels of pain tolerance, thoughts and moods, and her prescription behaviors during her Chronic Opioid Analgesic Therapy (COAT) Clinic appointment at the UK HealthCare Polk-Dalton Clinic. She knew what to expect during her the monthly prescription check-in, so getting her pain medication filled was a fluid and familiar process. After a series of questions, a drug screening, and a quick chat with the prescribing provider, she was back to chauffeuring pre-teens to practices.

 

As one of thousands of chronic pain patients throughout Kentucky and millions in the United States, Gayle depends on a prescription opioid medication to manage her chronic pain. After she suffered from an ulcer about five years ago, doctors ruled out anti-inflammatories as options for treating her pain. The opiate therapy prescribed by her primary care provider reduces her joint pain to a tolerable level so she can remain active and mobile.

 

“I can maintain a halfway decent lifestyle that it controls the pain,” Gayle said.

 

Gayle is one of about 40 patients participating in the COAT Clinic. She benefits from the assurance that she’ll always have her prescriptions filled, and her primary care provider (PCP) benefits from knowing that her prescription is both safe and compliant with government regulations. Gayle, who understands the risks associated with her prescription, said attending one extra appointment a month was worth the trade off of knowing she is in compliance with the law.

 

“You hear in the news where (opioids) are so abused,” Gayle said. “I’d rather go to the place on the books as being professional.”

 

The rise of prescription opioid addiction and overdose in America has presented an ethical conundrum for primary care providers who prescribe opiates for patients with legitimate chronic pain. While health care providers pledge benevolence in treating patient conditions with effective therapies, they must regulate opiate prescriptions to prevent the onset of addiction and the divergence of illicit substances to recreational users.

 

In 2012, Kentucky House Bill 1 (HB 1) imposed more stringent regulations on opioid prescribers, requiring primary health providers to adopt new protocols, screening measures, and reporting systems to ensure the safety and legitimacy of their prescribing practices. Those requirements include drug testing, behavioral screenings, counseling, and reporting of prescription data to the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system. Many of these requirements are time-consuming and detract the provider from other important patient needs during the primary care visit. Few primary care practices have developed scientifically proven models of care that meet the patient’s holistic health care needs, comply with prescription monitoring guidelines, and result in both patient and provider satisfaction. The COAT Clinic is one exception.

 

In response to this dilemma, a team of interdisciplinary health care providers at Polk-Dalton developed the COAT Clinic as a strategy for monitoring the prescription behaviors of chronic pain patients without infringing on the primary care provider (PCP) visit. The program was formed out of necessity after the team conducted a gap analysis of their patient care system. They designed the COAT Clinic program two years ago to ensure their compliance with every element of HB 1 while granting providers adequate time to address the holistic health concerns of their patients.

 

 

 

 

 

“It was designed to be a win-win for patients,” said Dr. John Stewart, an associate professor in the UK College of Medicine who serves as the principle investigator on a study of the COAT Clinic. “Implementing this program allows us to know we are doing what’s best or our patients and allows our patients to have their care with their doctor.”

 

In addition to visiting with their primary care provider every six to 12 months, COAT Clinic patients are required by contract to attend a COAT clinic appointment once a month. COAT Clinics are held two Fridays a month. Adherence to these visits and a demonstration of proper prescription drug use allows these patients to receive their prescription through a fluid and uncontested process.

 

During COAT clinic visits, Nancy Garth, the program's health education coordinator, takes each patient’s vital signs, conducts a series of health behavior screenings, assesses the patient’s pain level, and reviews the safety concerns related to prescription opioid use. Garth reports the results of the screenings through the mandatory electronic health record (EHR) systems. If necessary, Garth also communicates with the PCP about any concerns that arose during the COAT visit. A prescribing provider conducts a final assessment of the patient’s pain and prescription use status.

 

“One of my roles is to make sure you clearly understand there are expectations on both sides,” Garth said. “You are held accountable for keeping up and managing their pain medication. It’s all transparent, and we feel that there is a clear understanding of that expectation.”

 

Judi Daniels, the director of the COAT Clinic and a nurse practitioner, said transparency and fluidity are two distinguishing features of the COAT Clinic. The COAT model eliminates uncertainty and emotion from the opioid prescribing process for both patients and providers.

 

Daniels said some Kentucky health care providers reacted to the statutes of House Bill 1 by abandoning opioid prescriptions altogether, but this approach to opioid prescriptions was “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” She stressed that the proper use and monitoring of opioid prescriptions can help patients like Gayle continue living productive lives. However, providers shouldn’t allow the volatility of emotion to guide their decision-making, and the structured nature of the COAT Clinic prevents such situations.

 

“We hold the patients to the letter of the law, but we’ve taken the emotion out of it,” Daniels said. “And it’s just made it easier. We don’t feel dependent, or rushed or bullied by emotion, and our patients have a clear understand of their expectations.”

 

Daniels said the COAT Clinic model has empowered PCPs to identify instances of opioid misuse or risky behaviors that were previously undetected in their patients. In fact, patients have decreased their reliance on opioid prescriptions through by participating in COAT. While the PCP does not participate in the monthly COAT visit, they are responsible for assessing the patient’s pain and determining the prescription dosage. The COAT Clinic reduces the burden of constant maintenance, prescription refills, screening and reporting for the primary care provider.

 

“We started it really for the providers — we wanted to prescribe appropriately and follow the law,” Daniels said. “But as it turns out, patients benefit equally because it’s taken the weight off the providers here.”

 

A recent study of the COAT Clinic found the model was successful in improving patient satisfaction as well as perceptions of pain control. In addition, Stewart and colleagues reported that COAT Clinic participation facilitated 100 percent patient compliance with regulatory guidelines. The study also analyzed the results of a survey for primary care providers of COAT patients. The results suggested that primary providers increased attention to non-pain health problems and regular health maintenance with COAT participants during regular primary care visits. COAT participants were happier with their health care, reported less anxiety and were more likely to decrease dosages.

 

Stewart attributed the many positive indicators from the study to a collaborative interdisciplinary team of health care providers committed to the COAT Clinic. He believes the model is an informative tool that illustrates a direction towards quality and population management in health care. The COAT model might not be replicable in most primary care practices, but the model shows the positive outcomes associated ensuring quality during the primary care visit.

 

Daniels plans to build upon the foundations of the COAT Clinic to address the mental health needs of chronic pain patients. She said adding mental health assessments and psychological resources will help reduce the depression and anxiety that often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain is a complex health condition that can’t be solved through prescription medication alone.

 

“There has to be a holistic approach to pain management,” Daniels said.

 

*The patient’s full name was withheld from this story for privacy reasons.

 

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 uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

 

UK Welcomes High School Students to Campus for GEAR UP Kentucky Summer Academy

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 16:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2016) — For the next three weeks, nearly 100 students from 21 high schools across the Commonwealth will be on UK's campus for GEAR UP Kentucky 3.0 Summer Academy @ UK — a college readiness program in partnership with the Council on Postsecondary Education's GEAR UP Kentucky (GUK).

 

The program is designed prepare GUK students academically and personally for college — specifically preparing Kentuckians for success at UK.

 

The program has grown tremendously since its first year in 2014. UK Assistant Provost Randolph Hollingsworth recalls her first conversations about building the program.

 

"We brainstormed building something completely unique. We wanted the academy to be hands-on yet infused with the intellectual inquiry design strategies in UK's nascent general education program," Hollingsworth said.

 

She added, "We knew the program must rely on UK faculty leadership across the university to offer a unique pathway for a diverse population not accustomed to applying at UK."

 

The academy operates much like a real college experience with courses taught by UK instructors across the curriculum, study groups and co-curricular activities critical for learning at the state's premier research university.

 

The high school students live in a UK residence hall, eat at UK dining halls and take classes in UK classrooms, laboratories and fine arts rooms. Matthew Deffendall, director of UK First Generation Initiatives, supervises the student development counselors and residence hall advisors who work with students before and after classes. Laurie Henry, associate dean in the College of Education, and Sarah Kercsmar, of the College of Communication and Information, supervise the instructional assistants who support the faculty and assure that the students are taking full advantage of all the student support resources on campus.

 

Upon completion of the three-week residential experience, the high school students should be able to demonstrate:

  • increased college readiness by using written, oral and visual communication skills to produce and present original research-based projects;
  • an increase in the academic and professional skills necessary to succeed in college and the workforce such as practicing self-discipline, inclusivity and civic engagement; and
  • appropriate social behavior and self-awareness and be able to express confidence in their ability to succeed in college and navigate the complexities of campus life.

Each of the academic offerings from UK faculty, graduate students and staff will support and enhance these learning outcomes. Students who successfully complete each of these components of the academy are awarded digital badges. A final showcase and dinner serve as the capstone experience for all GUK students, their family members, instructors and counselors.

 

"I am very grateful for the generous creativity of the faculty who built and continue to work on alignments in student performance expectations from high school in these short summer courses to transition to the exciting and unique components of UK Core," Hollingsworth said.

 

For more information about GUK 3.0 Academy @ UK, visit the GUK Summer Academy @ UK website and follow along with events on Twitter.

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398; blair.hoover@uky.edu

UK Wins NSF Grant to Launch Kentucky Research Data Center

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 14:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2016) Research that informs evidence-based policy is in heightened need in this era of fiscal austerity and economic and demographic change. To help meet that need, the University of Kentucky announced today the establishment of the Kentucky Research Data Center (KRDC).

 

"With KRDC, the University of Kentucky joins an elite group of universities, and is the only one in the East Central region of the country, to be home to a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Federal Statistical Research Data Center," said UK President Eli Capilouto.

 

James Ziliak, Gatton Endowed Chair in Microeconomics and director of the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, will serve as executive director of KRDC.

 

"This center will open important new opportunities for the faculty and graduate students at UK," said Ziliak. "In addition, it gives us the ability to work more seamlessly with other leading universities in our region to conduct cutting-edge and policy relevant translational research in the social and health sciences."

 

Ziliak served as principal investigator on the highly-competitive NSF grant proposal to establish the KRDC. The co-principal investigators are UK faculty members Chris Bollinger (Economics, Gatton College of Business and Economics), Eugenia Toma (Public Policy, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration), Glen Mays (Public Health, College of Public Health), and Derek Young (Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences).

 

This project establishes the KRDC in Lexington as a partnership between the Bureau of the Census and the University of Kentucky, and joins an existing network of two dozen such RDCs throughout the nation. Besides the faculty and students at UK, inaugural consortium partners are Indiana University, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati and University of Louisville.

 

UK is the lead institution and KRDC will be housed in the newly renovated and expanded Gatton College of Business and Economics building.

 

"This center will enable researchers at UK and in surrounding regions to have an immense economic, social and health-related impact by providing restricted access to data through a partnership with the Bureau of the Census," said Lisa Cassis, UK's vice president for research. "This prestigious NSF grant award will move researchers forward in understanding factors that contribute to health and economic gaps in the Commonwealth."

 

For purposes of preserving respondent confidentiality, many major social, health and business surveys suppress identifying information such as state or county of residence from publicly released data. This inhibits certain forms of research, including tracking the health and economic status of individuals across states and over time, characterizing urban growth and decline using address-level unit status records of living quarters and nonresidential units, and the more formal statistical evaluation of the effectiveness of public policies.

 

However, restricted-access research data centers (RDCs), such as the KRDC, permit the study of issues having scientific and social import within a secure environment that ensures respondent confidentiality.

 

The establishment of the KRDC will have a broad impact on the infrastructure available to scholars and students in the East Central consortium region, whose translational research will impact economic, social and health policy both regionally and nationally. Moreover, because many researchers at KRDC’s consortium schools currently collaborate with colleagues at universities across the country with an RDC, the establishment of KRDC will significantly ease those collaborations, improve research productivity, advance the dissemination of published data products, and foster new research networks. 

 

The investigators affiliated with KRDC reflect the cross-disciplinary expertise of the consortium schools with the areas of economics, sociology, public health, public policy, statistics, nutrition, education, social work and medicine represented. They will conduct research on topics spanning income inequality, poverty measurement and anti-poverty policies, education, health disparities across geographic regions, race and gender, domestic violence and substance use, food insecurity, immigration, and firm dynamics and government procurement processes.

 

In the secure data environment, the projects will utilize nearly 20 different federal statistical datasets supported by the Bureau of the Census, the National Center for Health Statistics, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and other federal agencies that contribute data to the RDC network such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Housing and Urban Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Department of Agriculture.

 

Gatton College Dean David W. Blackwell praised the teamwork involved in earning the NSF grant and said it is one more example of how UK continues to build upon its national reputation for enhanced research collaboration across a wide number of disciplines.

 

"In order to continue to thrive today and in the future, major research universities must lead the way in working together across their own campuses and beyond," said Blackwell. "KRDC epitomizes that spirit in principle and in practice."

 

Funding for KRDC comes from NSF (Sociology Program, Economics Program, Geography and Spatial Sciences Program, and the Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics Program), the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Provost and several colleges. 

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200/carl.nathe@uky.edu; Ann Mary Quarandillo, 859-257-0750/annmary.q@uky.edu

 

Keeneland Concours Spotlights Hollywood Models, Chrysler in 14th Year Raising Funds for KCH

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 14:26
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2016) — Automobile enthusiasts will find an array of flashy poster cars, funky mid-century roadsters and fast-breaking sports cars during the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance at Keeneland Racecourse on Saturday, July 16. 

 

Now in its 14th year running, the annual show of classic collector cars and other motor vehicles turns the spotlight on Hollywood cars. This year, Hollywood models will make a debut in Class 14 and the show's featured marquee is the Chrysler. More than 130 cars from the past, present and future will be on display to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The awards presentation begins at 3 p.m. 

 

In addition to showcasing classic cars, the event includes a silent auction in Keeneland Entertainment Center, an art exhibit featuring nationally acclaimed artists and a drawing for a 2016 Porche Boxster. 

 

Proceeds from the event benefit Kentucky Children's Hospital. Tickets are $20 at the door and free for children ages 12 and younger. To purchase $15 adult tickets in advance or to purchase a $100 Porche raffle ticket, click here

 

Event coordinators are still seeking volunteers to help with a variety of activities, including show car placement, parking control, ticket and program sales, and clean-up. While some activities require knowledge of automobiles, many opportunities require no specialized knowledge. All volunteers receive free admission and a commemorative t-shirt. To volunteer, call (859) 272-3886 or visit http://www.keenelandconcours.com

 

Since the first event in 2004, the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance has showcased the finest in automobiles and the attractions of Central Kentucky. Activities throughout the weekend include a Bourbon Tour, the Hangar Bash and the Tour d’Elegance of scenic Kentucky backroads. For more information about all events, visit http://www.keenelandconcours.com

 

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  uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

Research Links Ankle Injury to Health Problems Later in Life

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 09:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2016) — Research from the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences indicates an ankle injury might have a larger effect on long-term health.

 

Phillip Gribble, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, and his team surveyed more than 3,600 adults to ask about previous ankle injury and current health status.

 

They were surprised to see indications that people with injured ankles tend to have higher rates of health issues later in life.

 

Gribble noted that while many of those issues were intuitive, such as ankle arthritis, others were rather unexpected.

 

"We found higher rates of heart or respiratory ailments in people who'd injured their ankle versus those who hadn't — about 31 percent versus 24.5 percent, respectively," Gribble said.

 

Gribble, who cautioned that the study doesn't prove cause and effect, said the findings suggest that ankle fractures and sprains should be taken more seriously.

 

"It's logical to assume that ankle sprains are relatively benign injuries, but this research seems to imply that isn't so," Gribble said. "We must work on efforts to prevent the initial injury and explore ways to improve rehabilitation post-injury."

 

Gribble presented his findings at the annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers' Association in Baltimore last month.

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

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

Facial Expression Workshops Teach Doctors to Read Beyond Clinical Charts

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 16:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2016) — Doctors visually process an abundance of information when consulting with patients in a clinical setting. They examine charts and electronic records, monitor physical symptoms, and observe signs of distress or abnormality in the body.

 

But as medicine becomes more patient-centered, doctors are also learning to read one of the most telling sources of information regarding a patient’s wellbeing — his or her facial expressions.

 

Dr. John Ragsdale, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and colleagues published a study in the journal Academic Medicine demonstrating the effectiveness of short workshops designed to train doctors to detect nonverbal signs of patient emotion. Ragsdale referenced the study, which was published earlier this year, and discussed the importance of making an “emotional diagnosis” along with a physical diagnosis in a recent blog he wrote for AMRounds. Ragsdale used an example of consulting with a patient’s family and returning to the patient’s room to address the emotional state of the patient’s family member.

 

“Emotions are clues that something is going on in the patient, that there’s a fear or there’s a concern they haven’t brought up yet,” Ragsdale said. “There’s something about a plan that’s not sitting well with them.”

 

In seeking ways to attune doctors to the emotions behind facial expressions, Ragsdale and colleagues tested the effectiveness of a 90-minute workshop in doctors and medical students at six health care venues throughout the United States. The training instructed participants to recognize signs of emotion and to interpret the nonverbal cues exhibited by their patients through a series of three visual exercises.

 

Previous research has suggested that a doctor’s sensitization to patient expression and emotion has a positive effect on patient satisfaction. The more than 150 medical students and faculty members who participated in Ragsdale’s study showed improvement in measures of skills, knowledge and confidence in observing expressions, and reported a greater appreciation for such skills in clinical practice.

 

Ragsdale’s research underscores the need to prepare doctors to detect a variety of nonverbal expressions that indicate an unspoken emotion, and more importantly view these instances as opportunities to address unmet needs or unanswered questions. These interactions can serve as moments of clarification and comfort during a time wrought with uncertainty and stress.

 

“When you recognize the emotion, it doesn’t tell you what to do with that,” Ragsdale said. “I find just acknowledging that emotion, and letting the patient respond, opens the door to more of that conversation.”

 

To read Ragsdale’s blog, click here.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

 

Grant Enables UK Student to Help Homeless Teens

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 16:17

 

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. (July 11, 2016)  More than vegetables and herbs are grown in the small garden adjacent to Arbor Youth Services’ emergency shelter on West Third Street, Lexington. This particular garden is blessed by more than sunshine and rain; it’s made fertile with the hopes, dreams, faith and goodwill of the homeless teenagers who tend it.

 

None of it would exist without the inspiration and devotion of one University of Kentucky freshman who dreamed of making a difference. He applied for and won a $1,500 grant from Clinton Global Initiative. He chose his objective, the Arbor Youth Services’ Metro Alternative Shelter House, or “MASH House” to its young, temporary residents.

 

When Beau Revlett first appeared one early spring day on the MASH doorstep to present the full scope of his desire to help the facility, its executive director, Ginny Vicini, was less than enthused. The UK student’s plan was to resurrect a garden that had laid fallow for years in the side yard of the old house. He proclaimed the garden could feed the homeless youngsters who stayed at Arbor and hopefully give them a bit of pocket money by selling any excess bounty at the local Farmers Market.

 

“It sounded farfetched at best, especially when Beau admitted he had never worked a vegetable garden. Besides, he’s only 18, not much older than most of our clients,” said Vicini. “But he seemed so sincere, so committed … and he already had a small Clinton Global Initiative grant already in hand. I agreed he could try, but privately I thought if we harvested one tomato, I would be happily surprised.”

 

“To be honest, when I first picked up a shovel and hoe to clear the weeds that grew over my head — and I’m 6’3”, so they were impressive weeds — I wasn’t sure myself if this would work,” said Revlett, who will be a sophomore honors student at UK this fall, majoring in philosophy with a minor in French.

 

But he persevered, showing up nearly every day to clear the land for planting. At first, he was alone in his labors; no one walked out of the house to join him.

 

“One day, I thought, I’m only doing half my job. I’m working on the garden, but I’m not helping the kids,” remembered Revlett.

 

“I knew it was not going to be easy getting our kids involved in the garden,” said Vicini, adding that Arbor has a drop-in center for teenagers and young adults as well as residential services for homeless infants and toddlers, as well as middle and high school age young people.

 

Last year, Arbor’s MASH housed 350 children, ranging in age from a few months to mid-teens. Their stays ranged from 24 hours to three months. Many of them are runaways “committed to the cabinet, what we used to describe as wards of the state."

 

“Our kids aren’t very trusting,” Vicini said. “They come from abusive, neglectful circumstances, and it’s not easy for them to trust ... anyone. I encouraged Beau just to be patient.”

 

The next time he visited, instead of picking up a hoe, Revlett walked inside and introduced himself. It took a while, but eventually Revlett got conversations started.

 

“It just took a little time,” he said. “Most of them are only a few years younger then me, so we eventually found some common ground. Slowly, but surely they came around. Then, one day I stopped by and there were five of them already out there, weeding. That was a good day,” he said with a shy smile.  

 

Tended by Arbor’s temporary residents and drop-in visitors, the garden is flourishing, now heavy with squash, peppers and ripening tomatoes. The peas got in the ground a little late and did not do well. The cucumbers failed, but the carrots seem to be making a comeback.

 

“Beau’s concept is just an incredible unique way to engage our young people and our staff. It’s therapeutic and has grown into something we can use — both financially and as food for our residents. Beau’s enthusiasm is infectious for both our kids and our staff, and we are just very, very grateful."

 

“The outcome has been significant and far beyond our expectations,” said Vicini. “It would be a great disappointment if we couldn’t keep this up. We’re hopeful that if Beau isn’t able to continue with the garden next year, he can help us to transition to someone else who can.”

 

That doesn’t mean Vicini is allowing her young volunteer to “escape.” He has recently accepted a position on Arbor Youth Services’ board of directors.

 

“We’ve already reaped the benefits of his youth and enthusiasm,” she said. “For our sake, we’re hoping he will continue working with Arbor Youth Services for several more years, both in the garden and the board room.” 

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

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

 

 

PTS Announces Improved Pedestrian Connections From Orange Lot

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 16:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2016)  In the coming months, pedestrian access from the Commonwealth Stadium area to the core of the University of Kentucky campus will be improved, thanks to a partnership between UK Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) and the Physical Plant Division (PPD).

 

The departments are collaborating to provide sidewalks that will offer an improved pedestrian connection from the Orange Lot at the corner of University and Alumni Drives to the Cooper Drive tunnel protected pedestrian area, and finally, north of the tunnel area to Hospital Drive.

 

While the Orange Lot offers convenient and frequent shuttle service to the UK HealthCare campus, a large number of employees choose to walk the final portion of their commute.

 

“Enhancement of the pedestrian connection between the Orange Lot and Hospital Drive is a direct response to customer feedback,” said Lance Broeking, director of UK Parking and Transportation Services. “PTS recognizes the importance of a walkable campus and fully supports members of the campus community who are interested in integrating personal wellness goals into their daily commute.”

 

The Orange Lot opened in fall 2014 with 1,236 parking spaces. The lot was expanded last summer and now houses 1,771 parking spaces, primarily meeting the south campus access needs of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and UK HealthCare.

 

“Campus Physical Plant has a pool of funds dedicated to annual sidewalk repair,” explained Kevin Kriede, director of Campus Physical Plant. “When PTS approached us about this project, it made sense as a good fit for the faculty, staff and students who park in the area.”

 

The installation of the sidewalks meets one of the directives of the recent Transportation Master Plan — a focus on finding alternative ways for people to get to, from and around campus. This goal includes increased campus access and mobility on foot.

 

The sidewalks are expected to be completed by the start of fall semester.

 

 

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: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398; blair.hoover@uky.edu

UK Announces New Healthcare MBA Program

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 15:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2016)  In order to meet the heightened demands of the health care work environment, the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky is offering a brand new Healthcare MBA program.

 

Similar in its structure to the Professional MBA program, the Healthcare MBA curriculum has been specifically tailored for health care professionals, providing a strong foundation for a graduate to excel in value-based health care and value-based reimbursement.

 

“Health care leaders are facing serious challenges in addressing the requirements of clinical medicine and effective business strategies,” said Harvie Wilkinson, director of Gatton College MBA programs. “The Gatton Healthcare MBA and Healthcare Graduate Certificate are designed to give students the business knowledge and training necessary to meet today’s health care management challenges.”

 

Students in the Healthcare MBA program will study and learn together in health care-specific class sections that will provide them the opportunity to apply what they learn back in their workplace on a daily basis. By learning from top-notch professors and health care industry leaders, students will emerge from the program with enhanced preparation for career advancement in the health care industry.

 

“What I’ve learned the most is the language of business, which, as a physician, you may think you know, but you don’t,” said Dr. Bernard Boulanger, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio, and former chief medical officer at UK HealthCare. “When I sit down with finance people and other leaders, I understand the conversation now, and in the past, that wasn’t always the case. Just like in any field, you have to learn the language. A Gatton MBA with a healthcare concentration provided that strong foundation for me and the new program's curriculum makes it even more advantageous for participants.”

 

Since the working health care professional's life is fast-paced and demanding, the program can be completed at a pace that works best for you.

 

The health care-specific courses that encompass the Healthcare MBA are also being offered in a stand-alone Healthcare Graduate Certificate. Students have the option to take these courses as a stand-alone certificate over the course of three semesters, or complete the seven additional MBA courses to achieve the Healthcare MBA. The UK MBA program is now accepting applications for the Healthcare MBA and Professional MBA programs.

 

For more information on how to apply and admissions requirements for the new HealthCare MBA and Healthcare Graduate Certificate, contact Christopher Carney, director of MBA recruitment for the Gatton College at christopher.carney@uky.edu or Harvie Wilkinson, director of MBA Programs at harviewilkinson@uky.edu.

 

 

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  uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200, carl.nathe@uky.edu; Ann Mary Quarandillo, 859-257-0750, annmary.q@uky.edu.

BLOG From Terry Allen: Our Responsibility To Keep the Promise

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 14:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2016) — The following is a blog from UK Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity Terry Allen.

 

There are so many things we don’t yet know about the tragic shooting deaths this week of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, now compounded by the horrific killing and wounding of 12 police officers in Dallas.

 

What we do know is, in so many respects, of little comfort.

 

We are enveloped by a numbing sensation, overwhelming confusion and sadness. So many of us feel a fatiguing familiarity to all of this senseless and incomprehensible violence.

 

The cities and their images of loss and mourning become a blur: Orlando and Paris. Bangladesh and Istanbul. Ferguson, Baltimore and New York.

 

There is the sense that so many share that we seem, as a country and a world, to be so divided, so lost.

 

We also know from the images flashing before us on an array of TV screens and social media platforms that those dead leave families and loved ones behind. Sons and daughters will grow up without fathers and mothers. A newlywed will wake up this morning with a husband and partner gone. Others will lose the assuring laugh and warm comfort of friends. Communities will lose valuable leaders and protectors.

 

They are us. And, here too, we have been before.

 

We know as well the litany of things to come: Investigations will occur. Calls for reforms will be made. Further protests will take place.  We will hear the refrain of eloquent, well-intentioned statements of lament uttered alongside the split-screen, distorted reality of talking heads shouting past one another.

 

It will all dominate our thoughts and our lives for news cycles to come until our attention becomes fixated elsewhere. At least, that is the pattern we have fallen into as these events take on a depressingly familiar cadence.

 

But what I know – and feel – most is the searing truth inherent in the words of a student who reached out to me Thursday:

 

“We are hurting,” she wrote. “We are in pain. We are suffering.”

 

And so beyond what we know today and what we may not ever know tomorrow or in the days and weeks ahead, the question that now confronts us – whether on the streets of Ferguson or Baltimore, New York and Dallas, Istanbul and Orlando, or in the classroom of a university in Lexington – is how do we respond?

 

What does it mean to be a member of the UK community at this time?

 

How do we, as President Obama poignantly asked Thursday night, “step back, reflect and ask what we can do better …”

 

“We are better than this.”

 

As an institution of higher learning, that call for reflection, the thirst for understanding, the seeking of knowledge in the midst of the seemingly unknowable, is what makes us and our community special.

 

It is also the burden we must carry together. We have a distinct responsibility, in this place and at this time, to ask tough questions of ourselves, of society, and of those in power.

 

We have a right – and there is a responsibility we share too – to expect that all of us, regardless of our position or prominence, are held accountable for our actions, individually and collectively.

 

After all, as one of our own community members, Frank X Walker, reminds us: “There is no vaccination against ignorance, but there is us. There is this university. And we still have heavy doors to open, unmet obligations to the land and its people. There are still leadership opportunities to advance the Commonwealth, this nation, and our world towards fulfilling its potential, towards meeting its lofty promises.”

 

I believe, with fervent hope, that the potential and the promise still remain, in spite of what we have witnessed this past week, and all too often before.

 

We must remain guided by a sense of shared values and animated by an unquenchable passion to create a feeling of belonging for everyone who calls this place their home.

 

We do that, as President Obama and others have said, knowing that African Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over by police officers and are shot at twice the rate.

 

At the same time, our police officers live and work in our communities. They are our spouses, cousins, nephews and nieces. They coach our sports teams and sit beside us in churches, synagogues and mosques.

 

They serve our communities. They stare into the unknown darkness of a Dallas night – and in communities across our country -- to protect those who engage in peaceful protest and to protect all of us in a thousand ways, large and small, most of which we are not even aware.

 

They, too, are us.

 

This is our reality in America. And this is what we must reconcile if we are to find common ground and mutual understanding.

 

This coming week, the university will provide space and opportunity to our campus community to come together – to ask questions, to express our grief and to hurt and to heal.

 

We will have more information early in the week about this opportunity. In the meantime I will, like so many of you, carry the hurt and pain of the student who reached out to me.

 

But I will also carry with me the tireless and still hopeful refrain of Dr. King, writing more than 50 years ago from the confines of the city jail in Birmingham, Alabama:

 

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly … Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

 

Today, in so many ways, we seem as far removed from those words as possible. Yet, as tempting as resigned indifference can seem, we cannot let that feeling stand.

 

Elie Wiesel, for so many our moral conscience, reminded us that “silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented … the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

 

We cannot afford to take the anesthetic of indifference. It doesn’t eliminate pain. It only masks it for a brief moment.

 

We must, now, embrace King’s sentiment of hope and Wiesel’s clarion challenge. They must be our prayer and call to action as we search for meaning and a path ahead -- for each other and for our country.

 

And as a special community – the University of Kentucky – we must find a way to play our part.

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