Campus News

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Recognizes Those Who Empower Women

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 14:22

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Nov. 1, 2016) The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment recently honored 25 students, staff, faculty and alumni for empowering women during the college’s second annual Multicultural Awareness Day.


The nominees honored at the "Women in CAFE — Empowering our Future Luncheon and Awards Ceremony," which was held at the Hilary J. Boone Center on campus, spanned the three aspects of the university’s land-grant mission, teaching, research and extension, as well as alumni and students.


“With the college’s first female dean, we felt it was imperative that we took time to recognize all the women and the work they’ve been doing in our college, and most importantly, unsung heroes — those who may not always get the spotlight,” said Natasha Saunders, extension associate for diversity recruitment and retention and a member of the event’s planning committee. “And we wanted to include those we partner with, who work really hard to make sure we’re providing opportunities for UK employees and students.”


Dean Nancy Cox welcomed the group by referencing the origins of the college 151 years ago under the “rather bold concept for a university to educate the common folks.”


“We’ve been spending the last couple of years reflecting on what it means to be a land-grant university,” she said. “It was considered a university for the people, but many sitting in this room would not have been enrolled then. It was mostly for white men at that time, but it still was a revolutionary concept, because it exposed a whole new generation of folks to education. As that initial legislation has evolved, we have grown in diversity. We are still growing in diversity at the University of Kentucky and in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.”


Currently, more than 57 percent of undergraduate students in the college are women. A little more than a quarter of the faculty are women and 38 percent of those in college leadership roles are women.


Saunders said the common thread among the nominees is they all are going beyond the call of duty to make sure that women feel empowered.


“Whether that’s in the lab or the classroom, whether that’s to help overcome gender barriers or to make them feel they have what it takes to be competitive against any male counterpart in their field — that’s what we’re taking time to honor today,” Saunders said.


The nominees and winners for this year’s awards are:


Trailblazer Award:

· Nancy Cox, winner. First female dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment


Passing the Torch Student Award:

· Elham Darbandi, winner. Graduate student, Agricultural Economics

· Barbara Wadsworth, winner. Graduate student, Animal and Food Sciences

· Karmella Dolecheck, nominee. Graduate student, Animal and Food Sciences

· Erica Rogers, nominee. Undergraduate student, Agricultural Economics


Community Empowerment Award:

· Hazel Forsythe, winner. Retired professor, Dietetics and Human Nutrition

· Ashley Searles, winner. Farm Credit Mid-America


Alumni Legacy Award:

· Martha Thompson, winner. Retired, UK Cooperative Extension Service

· Susan Campbell, nominee. CAFE Business Center


Research Empowerment Award:

· Sue Nokes, winner. Chair, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

· Lesley Oliver, winner. Associate director, UK Agricultural Experiment Station

· Claudia Heath, nominee. Professor, Family Sciences

· Vanessa Jackson, nominee. Chair, Retailing and Tourism Management

· Ann Vail, nominee. Director, School of Human Environmental Sciences, assistant director, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, and interim dean, College of Social Work


Instruction Empowerment Award:

· Czarena Crofcheck, winner. Professor and director of undergraduate studies, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

· Krista Jacobsen, winner. Assistant professor, Horticulture

· Mark Coyne, nominee. Professor and director of graduate studies, Plant and Soil Sciences

· Rita Parsons, nominee. Administrative assistant and chair of the Department Support Committee, Agricultural Economics


Extension Empowerment Award:

· Kim Henken, winner. Assistant to the director, Human Environmental Sciences

· Ashley Holt, winner. 4-H youth development education agent, Jefferson County

· Janet Mullins, winner. Extension professor, Dietetics and Human Nutrition

· Kim Ragland, winner. 4-H youth development education agent, Boyle County

· Ann Freytag, nominee. Senior laboratory technician, Plant and Soil Sciences

· Nicole Gauthier, nominee. Extension plant pathologist, Plant Pathology

· Karen Ramage, nominee. Retired county operations director, UK Cooperative Extension Service

· Laura Skillman, nominee. Director, Agricultural Communications Services


“We really do take pride in our collaborations, trying to learn from each other’s differences, being flexible, being fair and providing equal opportunity,” Cox told the gathering. “We’re still trying to do better every day, but this is the day we can pat you on the back for a good job.”



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,

Feeling Election Stress? You're Not Alone

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 14:14


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2016) — Are you stressed out about this year’s election? It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, Democrat or Republican – chances are the answer is yes.


According to new research from the American Psychological Association, more than 50 percent of American adults say this year’s election is a significant source of stress in their lives. Uncertainty about the future combined with a constant barrage of political conversation online, on TV, and with family and friends has many people anticipating Election Day with tension and anxiety.


Although it might seem minor, election season stress can lead to health-related side effects, including fatigue, headaches, upset stomach and tightness in your chest.


Check out our infographic for tips on how keep your stress in check this election season, and be sure to share it with friends and family members.


Next steps:

·        Looking for more ways to feel less stressed? Check out our tips to help you relax.

·        If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, depression or another mental health concern that is affecting daily life, UK Psychiatry may be able to help. Learn more about our services today.


Link to the UK HealthCare Blog,


Media Contact: Olivia McCoy,



Office for Institutional Diversity Now Accepting Proposals for Inclusive Excellence Program Grants

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 14:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2016) — As a campus community, the University of Kentucky demonstrates its commitment to encouraging an environment of diverse people, thoughts, ideas and teachings. However, there is still a call to work more collectively and challenge our ways of thinking and doing. To encourage more engagement, teaching and learning, the Office for Institutional Diversity is now accepting proposals for Inclusive Excellence Program grants.


The office is seeking innovative inclusive excellence programs that are student-centric and foster collaborative programming and partnerships among groups, centers, programs, registered student organizations and/or initiatives that have goals to:

  • create or improve collaborative programs that include or address the importance of diverse views and cultures;
  • encourage the participation of all students in inclusive excellence initiatives at the university;
  • educate ourselves and others on issues of social justice, diversity, intercultural dialogue and communication;
  • increase belonging and engagement of marginalized, historically underrepresented and minority groups;
  • develop sustainable programs that increase awareness and appreciation for a diverse and inclusive community; and/or
  • increase opportunities for collaborative learning around issues of inclusive excellence.

Preference will be given to groups, centers, programs, registered student organizations (in good standing) and/or initiatives that propose activities and opportunities that:

  • are inclusive of our diverse student populations;
  • demonstrate collaborative partnerships with other groups, centers, programs, registered student organizations and initiatives that engage diverse students across various identities;
  • serve as models for replication and sustainability throughout the campus community; and
  • extend the success of existing programs or events at the university with significant impact.

For more information or to submit a proposal, visit



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



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

UK Libraries Announces Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 13:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2016) The University of Kentucky Libraries is pleased to announce the opening call for the inaugural Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year.


The award will recognize and celebrate exceptional, original scholarship and research by UK undergraduates whose research projects make substantive and creative use of the UK Libraries’ collections, services and resources.


“UK Libraries is very pleased to draw attention to the scholarship, innovation and creativity of UK undergraduate students with this award," Dean of Libraries Terry Birdwhistell said. “This award is another opportunity for UK Libraries to contribute to student success and recognize the important role that library resources play in research by UK students and faculty.”


Submissions are encouraged from all disciplines. Awards are judged on how well the student’s project demonstrates information literacy skills and the effective use of library resources. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2017.


Examples of possible projects include:

· written essay or research project in any field;

· documentary, podcast, interview or any other multimedia project;

· performance art project, performance, choreography or other original work;

· studio art project including but not limited to: painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking or environmental art;

· original science, mathematics, physics or engineering project; or

· recorded presentation in any field or discipline.


A cash prize of $1,000 will be awarded each year. The student winner and their faculty sponsor(s) will be honored at a special event in the spring.


For details about eligibility, evaluation criteria and submission requirements, please see the UKL Dean’s Award Guide at



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

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

UK Places Fourth in National Persuasion Contest

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 13:40

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2016) The University of Kentucky Forensics Team placed fourth in the national persuasion contest "Pitch it to PKD," held by Pi Kappa Delta.

Pi Kappa Delta is the national honorary for speech and debate competition at the collegiate level. The "Pitch it to PKD" contest solicited video presentations from colleges and universities across the nation that advocated for change at the local, national or global level. The best pitches, as judged by the national council of Pi Kappa Delta, would be supported financially over the coming year as a model for engaging the speech and debate community in real world change.


Senior Logan Hurley and freshman Matt Karijolic’s pitch video advocated for increased support for local refugee resettlement agencies like that of Kentucky Refugee Ministries here in Lexington. In the video, Hurley notes that refugee resettlement agencies’ “advocacy focuses on realizing the full extent of human potential, which is something we can all get behind.”

Pi Kappa Delta would seem to agree. The video pitches were due in February of this spring. After being assessed and ranked by the national council of Pi Kappa Delta over the summer, the winning videos were announced this fall.


The UK Forensics Team is committed to training the next generation of civic leaders who are passionate about effecting change in their communities. To foster these skills, the team takes part in competitions throughout the southeast region of the United States.


UK Forensics is a student organization in the School of Information Science in the College of Communication and Information. The team regularly competes in 12 public speaking events and three forms of debate. To find out more, visit



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 Alum's Company First to Present Sensory-Friendly Musical for Autistic, Epileptic Patrons in Central Kentucky

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 10:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2016) The Bluegrass Opera, co-founded by University of Kentucky alumnus Lorne Dechtenberg, will present a new musical this weekend that is much more than just another world premiere. "Just So," adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s "Just So Stories," will be Central Kentucky’s first sensory-friendly live theater production — designed to be safe and welcoming for those with autism, epilepsy and other sensory sensitivities.


On the surface, "Just So" is a fun fable about a crab, a kangaroo and the way each animal gets its distinctive features, but it also teaches a lesson about the dangers of egoism and greed, and the importance of compromise and personal responsibility. The British team of Paul Ayres and Sarah Grange created this musical adaptation of Kipling's work.


Sensory-friendly performances feature more gradual light and sound changes as well as relaxed house rules that permit audience members to move, make sound, or leave and re-enter during the show. This production format has recently allowed those with autism spectrum disorder to experience Broadway shows, as well as stage events in other large cities, but only a few have been presented in Kentucky, and none have been specifically designed to be safe for those with epilepsy until "Just So."


“We’re incredibly excited to be able to make the musical theater experience accessible to a part of our community that hasn’t been able to enjoy it until now,” said Dechtenberg, who is directing the production. “My mother, Linda Dechtenberg, who is a clinical research nurse in UK Chandler Hospital’s Emergency Department, has been instrumental in helping us to connect with a number of experts whose input has shaped this production, and we’re really proud of what we’ve come up with.”


Bluegrass Opera's performances of "Just So" and their formats are as follows:

• school matinees: Nov. 3 (conventional) and Nov. 4 (sensory-friendly);

• conventional performances: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4 and 5; and

• sensory-friendly performances: 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5 and 6.

All "Just So" performances will take place at the Downtown Arts Center. Tickets for this musical are $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors and $8 for students. Tickets can be ordered online via Downtown Arts Center's box office or by phone at 859-940-9379.


"Just So" was made possible with the support of many individuals in the community. The consultants and advisors include UK Epilepsy Nurse Coordinator Rachel Ward-Mitchell, as well as individuals from the Kentucky Autism Training Center, Kentucky Center for the Arts, Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana and Autism Society of the Bluegrass.


Dechtenberg, who holds degrees from UK School of Music in composition and conducting, co-founded the Bluegrass Opera in 2008. In 2010, he and his "Honeymoon Symphony" were chronicled in the KET documentary "Composer at Work," an effort that brought together members of the Lexington Philharmonic, UK Symphony Orchestra and the Lexington Community Orchestra for a premiere at UK's Singletary Center for the Arts.


In addition to Dechtenberg, "Just So" will feature other performers with ties to UK, including UK College of Medicine faculty member Dr. Stephanie Rose and graduate student Tanya Roodhouse.


The Bluegrass Opera is a nonprofit performing arts company that specializes in the performance of new and underperformed musical works for the stage — operas, musicals and everything in between.



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;

"see blue." #selfie: Kaylon Kennedy

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 09:30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov 1, 2016) — Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie — a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, the University of Kentucky Speech and Debate Team President Kaylon Kennedy.


Kaylon Kennedy is a junior communications major who is minoring in political science. Speech and debate have been part of her life since high school, and when she found out during her freshman year that UK had a speech and debate team, she jumped at the opportunity. Now, she heads the team, encouraging each member to strive toward the team's goal of rising in national rankings. Practicing at least two hours each day, this motivated and passionate leader explains what it takes to be part of a top 10 speech and debate team in her "see blue." #selfie.


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

Kaylon Kennedy: I'm a junior and my major is communications with a minor in political science.


UK: Where are you from?

KK: I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. My mom was in the military so I moved around a lot. I consider my hometown to be Elizabethtown because that's where I went to high school. Actually, I was looking up colleges that offered forensics and I just happened upon UK. I fell in love! I thought this was the school for me. I was part of forensics in high school.


UK: Tell me about what you do as president of the UK Speech and Debate team.

KK: Pretty much my role was just recently adopted onto the leadership team. The team is only five years old. President is in charge of campus activities, interacting with the College of Communication and Information. Since we are new, we try and stretch our roots on campus with other organizations with similar goals.


UK: When did you become involved?

KK: My freshman year, two years ago.


UK: What made you decide that you wanted to be a part of this team? 

KK: Well, I did it all four years of high school. I really loved it, so I wanted to keep doing it. I tried out. I was nervous, but I ended up getting on the team!


UK: How many people are on the Speech and Debate team?

KK: Right now, there are 10. We are pretty much capped at 10.


UK: What is a typical schedule for you all throughout the year? 

KK: We have individual practices every week. Then, every other weekend, especially in October and November, we have a tournament that lasts almost all weekend. We travel across the country to them!


UK: How far have you traveled to compete?

KK: Once we drove 14 hours to go to Minnesota, but I think the farthest we have traveled has been Texas though.


UK: How many competitions do you all have a year?

KK: Approximately eight or nine. Then we have two national tournaments. The national tournaments are the real deal!


UK: You had a successful year in 2015, ranking within the top 16 nationally! How many hours on average a week do you prepare for competitions?

KK:  We are top 16 in the National Forensics Association and then top 10 in the nation in Pi Kappa Delta, which is a forensics community that any team across the nation can join. Personally, I practice every day at least two hours. You have to keep up to do well! But, without meeting times, our practices can last five to six hours because we have group and individual practices. We like to be competitive. It's a time commitment if you want to do well.


UK: What do you find is the best way to prepare for competitions?

KK: I run my speeches over and over. I have really bad memory naturally. I just have to practice.


UK: What is the difference between forensics and the speech and debate team? 

KK: Forensics is based on Aristotle of rhetorical perfections. We combine debate and speech as a team to make forensics. So, it's the same thing!


UK: Have you ever had a really embarrassing moment during a competition?

KK: My debate partner had an embarrassing moment once. It was very cold and there was ice on the steps. We had to wear heels because our competitions require business attire. My debate partner didn't realize the stairs were so slick and she fell down and all of our competitors outside saw her. But, she survived!


UK: What is your vision for the team this year?

KK: My vision is for the team as a whole to do better than last year. It's not a huge goal, but it's important for everyone to do their best. We have a really great team and we recruited four new people who have so much potential. We are hoping to move up in the national rankings!


UK: Has there been a faculty or staff member who has encouraged you to take on this role or just guided you throughout your time at UK?

KK: Tim Bill. He's the greatest person. When I first joined the team I had no idea how much I would be involved. Tim teaches and coaches the team — he doesn't have to, but he does. He's always there for us. He has made my stay at UK really warm!


UK: Is there anything else that you're involved in on campus?

KK: Yes, I'm part of the Black Student Union and the Communication Student Association.


UK: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? 

KK: I love the Internet. I love social media and things like Tumblr. Really, I like anything social media involved.


UK: What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up? 

KK: When I was five or six, in kindergarten, they made us costumes. I was a soda can, Mountain Dew. I was out trick-or-treating and I wanted to keep up with my older brother. I tripped and fell and rolled into the ditch! I just cried because I couldn't get up. It was a cute costume though!


UK: What is your favorite thing about campus in the fall?

KK: I like the leaves on campus. I like taking pictures with my Starbucks. I'm into it. I just love the way campus looks in the fall!


UK: What is your go-to Starbucks order?

KK: I like chai tea lattes!


UK: What is one place in Lexington where you like to spend your time? 

KK: I really like going to Triangle Park. I just started going there! There are so many cool restaurants and stores. I really like that area.


UK: What is your favorite candy?

KK: It's between Reese's Cups and Skittles.


UK: What is one piece of advice you'd give to an incoming freshman?

KK: I would tell them to go to class and to balance work and social life. When I first got here, I was so hyper-focused on classes that I didn't do any of the fun stuff.


UK: You're happiest when …

KK: I'm with my animals! I have a cat named Cole and a dog named Savannah. Cole is a tuxedo cat, so he's black and white. Savannah is a miniature schnauzer. Also, I'm happy when I'm with my family.


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



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



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


250 Students Receive First Passports From CIEE’s Passport Caravan

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 17:21


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2016) — The University of Kentucky was selected by the Council on Educational Exchange (CIEE) as one of the few universities in the nation to host its Passport Caravan initiative this fall. The initiative enables students who are first-time passport-seekers to apply for the opportunity to obtain a free passport on campus.


UK Education Abroad (UK EA) launched a fundraising campaign to match the donation of CIEE’s 150 passports to students. Thanks to the pledges of the Gatton College of Business and Economics, College of Communication and Information, College of Public Health, College of Engineering, College of Social Work and UK EA, a total of 250 UK students will be able to obtain their passports for the first time this year.


“Having a passport is the first step to opening the door to a world of opportunities. We want to promote the value of an international experience for student travelers,” said Miko McFarland, acting director for UK Education Abroad and Exchanges.


The selected recipients received instructions via email to complete the pre-registration process, which included obtaining documents such as birth certificates and completing their passport application. Students were required to do the pre-check in order to ensure their documents were correct and ready to be filed on Nov. 10, when the actual Passport Caravan will take place.


Students will be able to file the application for their passports with the Wildcat Passport Services office, as well as talk to providers including CIEE and UK faculty and staff from 8:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10. There will be hot chocolate and snacks inside the Buell Armory, where the event will take place.


“You can’t go abroad without a passport in hand,” said Susan Meredith, education abroad advisor. “This is the first obstacle many students encounter when they think about going abroad, they don’t have a passport. Let’s get one in their hand so they can start imagining where they can go and what they can do. Our event will have five passport agents collecting documents, two CIEE staff writing the donation checks, and UK faculty and staff available to talk about upcoming spring and summer program options that they can now participate in by using their new passport.”


UK already has many other initiatives in place to motivate students to participate in education abroad and help them expand their world perspectives. This fall, in addition to Passport Caravan, UK EA launched the GOBro campaign with its partner International Studies Abroad with the aim of increasing participation among male fraternity students. Such efforts have yielded results, positioning UK once again above national averages:

· The number of UK students who studied abroad for credit during the academic year 2015-16 increased by 8.8 percent to 1,195 enrollments since 2014-2015, while the national average for U.S. students studying abroad in 2013-2014 had increased by 5.2 percent.

· Approximately 18 percent of the 2016 graduating class earned credit abroad at some point during their UK education. Although UK has even higher aspirations, the current rate is still higher than the 10 percent national average reported by the Institute for International Education for the 2013-2014 academic year.


Although this year’s passport recipients have been already selected, UK EA is still taking donations to sponsor students seeking passports for the first time in 2017.


Donating to UK EA is easy. To submit your gift, visit and follow the next steps:

· Type Passport Caravan on the search bar located on the top right corner.

· Select the “Education Abroad: Passport Caravan Fund.”

· Input your donation amount and click donate.

· Complete the prompted fields and click donate again.

· Review your cart and click check out to submit your payment details.

· Insert your payment details and click complete transaction to submit your gift.



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 Art Museum Exhibition Has That Presidential Look

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 16:50

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) — With all the talk of what it means to be and look presidential during this year's inimitable election, it makes perfect sense that the University of Kentucky Art Museum is displaying an exhibition of representations of individuals who have been president, as well as those who aspire to the office. "POTUS," which is free and open to the public, is on display as part of the museum's permanent collection through Nov. 27.


"One of the joys of our permanent collection area upstairs is that we can be flexible and respond to current events like the election. It seemed like the perfect time to use art to examine how our attitudes toward the presidency have shifted over time," said UK Art Museum Curator Janie Welker.


"POTUS" (President of the United States) features both historic and contemporary art work ranging from the museum’s iconic 1795 portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart to drawings made by Lexington artist Joel Feldman in response to the 2016 presidential primaries. Other highlights include a Gutzon Borgulm bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln (on loan from UK Special Collections Research Center) and political cartoons by Edward Sorel and others of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.


Described as "wonderfully personal and irreverent" by Welker, Feldman’s art is specific to the 2016 campaign and features satiric drawings of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and other candidates, as well as U.S. citizens contemplating their choices, or lack thereof. Feldman loves to make sketches responding to current cultural and political events as part of his daily art practice, so the museum commissioned a series called “Commentary.” He made watercolors and collages featuring almost everyone who threw their hat in the ring, along with a variety of alien invaders, robots and sometimes scary members of the general public.


The museum also included a video installation piece by Harry Shearer, a radio show host, voice actor for "The Simpsons" and former writer and cast member of "Saturday Night Live." It dates to the 2008 election when he was working on NBC late night comedy show and would see live satellite feeds coming into the network. It features Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton — then all candidates — sitting in studios, waiting to go on air.


"It’s fascinating to see how their characters are revealed in these generally unseen moments, and sort of startling to see these moving 'portraits' next to more traditional art forms," Welker said.


While many voters may not naturally connect this year's election or the actions of government to a concept for a museum exhibition, art has a long and complicated relationship with politics. "It goes back many, many years, definitely to Egyptian times, and probably beyond," Welker noted. "Think of the French Revolution and Delacroix’s 'Liberty Leading the People.' Or the Guerilla Girls in the 1970s asking why women need to be naked to be shown in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art is about culture and all that is essentially human, from a sense of humor to death. How can we avoid politics?"


As visitors take in "POTUS" at the UK Art Museum, Welker hopes they are not only struck by the images in front of them but their own importance in the political process.


"I hope it spurs them to think about their political views and to get out and vote! You know, when my mother was born, women could not vote in this country. We got the vote two years later, but still, I am one generation away from being disenfranchised. I always feel that for all the people who can’t vote or who have been prevented from voting because of sex, race or dirty politics that I have an obligation to show up at the polls."


The UK Art Museum, located in the Singletary Center for the Arts at Rose Street and Euclid Avenue, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. For more information on membership, contact Lyndi VanDeursen at 859-257-8164 or


The mission of the UK Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,800 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the UK Art Museum presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. 



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


KIPRC Awarded Grant to Implement Real-Time State Opioid Overdose Surveillance System

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 16:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) — Rapid tracking and detection of drug overdose trends can alert local law enforcement officials and health care workers to possible changes in drug trafficking patterns and other overdose risk factors. Timely information on opioid and heroin overdose patterns statewide provides opportunities for preparation, prevention and public health intervention.


But current surveillance systems for monitoring opioid overdose fatalities and incidents in Kentucky don’t provide real-time data to inform health and law enforcement workers. In fact, the reporting system for overdoses treated at hospitals and emergency departments, which is based on medical billing records, can lag as much as eight months behind actual events. Due to limited manpower and resources, comprehensive data collection for fatal overdoses occurs once annually.


Researchers at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) based at the University of Kentucky, recently received a national grant to expedite the collection and dissemination of drug overdose data to key stakeholders. The Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid Morbidity and Mortality (ESSOMM) surveillance system will improve the timeliness of reporting and identification of overdose patterns statewide. The ESSOMM project will collect geographically specific data on non-fatal and fatal opioid overdoses, involved drugs, overdose patterns and community risk factors. Michael Singleton, an assistant professor of biostatistics in the UK College of Public Health, serves as principal investigator on the grant and will oversee implementation of the surveillance system.


“The ESSOMM system will provide a more complete and up-to-the-minute picture of the opioid epidemic and problematic areas in Kentucky,” Singleton said. “Keeping in step with the trends can lead to life-saving opportunities from a public health and public safety standpoint.”


Once established, the system will translate surveillance data from a number of sources into actionable information. A syndromic surveillance system will gather information on emergency department opioid overdose cases on a near-real-time basis, and analyze the data stream for unusual changes in the number of cases or types of drugs occurring in a given area. The system will also facilitate collaboration among stakeholders to develop coordinated risk-reduction strategies tailored to local communities.


Currently, KIPRC and the Kentucky Department for Public Health conduct surveillance on fatal and non-fatal drug overdose, drug abuse and dependence, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and drug-related infections diseases, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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,




Second Cohort of Interdisciplinary Health Faculty Members Named CIHE Fellows and Associates

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 15:47
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Center for Interprofessional Health Education recently inducted faculty members from across four health colleges to the second cohort of faculty fellows and associates. Fellows are recognized as champions of multidisciplinary education through their involvement in research, learning and service opportunities bringing together a diverse group of professions. Interprofessional education (IPE) prepares students for collaboration with other disciplines in real-world health care environments and develops team-oriented faculty committed to improving health care delivery. Fellows and associates include: ·       Jennifer Cowley (Associate): College of Nursing·       Hartley Feld (Associate): College of Nursing·       Pinar Huja (Fellow): College of Dentistry·       Donna Morris (Fellow): College of Health Sciences·       Wayne Sanderson (Fellow): College of Public Health·       Lee Anne Walmsley (Associate):  College of Nursing As fellows and associates, these faculty members will assist the center in its mission to disseminate interdisciplinary curriculum to UK faculty and students in the six health sciences colleges on campus. Fellows and associates were either nominated by a member of the academic community or self-nominated.  The Center for Interprofessional Health Education is devoted to facilitating the design, implementation and evaluation of interprofessional education experiences for students, and provide interprofessional development opportunities for faculty. “We are very happy to welcome this new group of fellows and associates of the UK Center for Interprofessional Health Education. They are important advocates for IPE and have already made significant contributions to our efforts to prepare UK health professions students to enter the team-based health workforce of the future.  As a group, the exemplify in their own work, the sort of interprofessional collaboration and teamwork we hope to teach and thus are great role models for our students.” said Jim Norton, director of the center. MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

DanceBlue Silent Auction: Supporting the Kids

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 15:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016)  DanceBlue always brings excitement and spirit to the early months of spring semester on campus. Now there is another tradition to look forward to when missing a reason to break it down — the DanceBlue Silent Auction. On Nov. 12 from 5-8:30 p.m., DanceBlue invites alumni, faculty and community members to support and celebrate the upcoming 12th marathon in the Woodford Reserve Room at Commonwealth Stadium.


Enjoy dinner, live music and exciting silent auction items such as a Randall Cobb signed jersey and Lollapalooza tickets. On top of that, take in the amazing view of the new Commonwealth Stadium and the luxurious experience the Woodford Reserve Room has to offer. The evening will be one to remember, but not solely for the reasons listed above.


The DanceBlue Silent Auction will be a special night of relishing in what this organization and university have done for the lives of others. The kids in the Kentucky Children's Hospital DanceBlue Hematology/Oncology Clinic are the reason this auction exists. DanceBlue is also transforming the lives of current students. The silent auction provides another opportunity to support, love and celebrate the kids and this organization filled with passion and purpose, always "For The Kids."


Tickets can be purchased through the Student Involvement Ticket Center in Bowmen's Den, over the phone at 859-257-8427 or online at Come support DanceBlue, for the sleepless nights of fighting, the amazing memories, and for the day when cancer no longer is a battle to be fought.


DanceBlue is the University of Kentucky’s 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that benefits the Golden Matrix Fund and the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Now in its 12th year, DanceBlue has raised more than $9.8 million dollars for pediatric cancer research and child life efforts.


For more information about DanceBlue, registration information or to support its efforts, please visit Connect with DanceBlue on Facebook at and on Twitter at


DanceBlue is a program housed in the UK Center for Community Outreach. The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote lifelong community service. For more information about the CCO, visit



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



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

#MovingPeople: Exploring the Worldwide Refugee Crisis

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 14:50

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016)  The Syrian refugee crisis has dominated media coverage and is a microcosm of what is a larger issue worldwide. For the past few weeks, miniature 3D printed figurines have dotted our campus, popping up on social media; but what do these figures have in common with the ongoing refugee crisis? On Tuesday, Nov. 1, that will all be explained.


That evening, the Student Activities Board (SAB) invites campus to the Bolivar Art Gallery to learn about and explore the heart-wrenching stories of these figurines who are modeled after and share the story of actual refugees. The collection of photos and 3D printed figures will be on display Nov. 1 through 11. The show will open with a reception at 6 p.m. and it will be followed by a #TrendingTopics discussion at 7 p.m.


The purpose of this is event is to spark a conversation between students, in a safe way, to bring about awareness and change. Through sharing the stories of individual refugees of varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds, all through 3D printed mini-figurines, SAB wants to help stop the stigma of the refugees being a “swarm” rather than individual stories and people.


“The '#MovingPeople' gallery reception will be a great opportunity for the student body of UK to learn more about the individual stories of the figurines installed all around campus," said Julia Nickle, the director of Cultural Arts. “Paired with the #TrendingTopics Syrian refugee lecture, the reception should leave the audience with a new perspective on just how varying the situations of refuge can be.”


"#TrendingTopics: Refugee Crisis" discussion tackles the issue of the 6.6 million Syrian men, women and children internationally displaced from Syria due to its civil war. The conversation features Hazar Jaber, a dentist originally from Syria who does relief work for refugees, and Wai Wai Nu, an activist from Myanmar who also has first hand experience working with refugees. At the end of the discussion there will also be a time for questions and answers.


“Our students will be able to form their own opinions from our guests' firsthand accounts of the crisis," said Naija Omari, the director of SAB's Engaging Issues Committee. “This is especially great because our students may not otherwise get this opportunity from the possible bias of everyday news.”


SAB brings more than 60 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff and the greater Lexington community.

Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at, or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email



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



SAB CONTACT: Kaelin Massey,, 859-257-8868


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

UK's Barnes Receives Fulbright Grant to Develop New Curriculum in Zambia

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 14:43

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) Beth Barnes, professor in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information, has been selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright Specialist Program grant. The grant will fund Barnes' work to develop an integrated marketing communications curriculum in Zambia.


The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning and related subjects at academic institutions abroad for a period of two to six weeks.


"I’m very proud of the recognition from the Fulbright Foundation that this curriculum project is worthy of support," Barnes said. "I’m very much looking forward to being back in Zambia, and continuing my work with the Zambia Institute of Marketing. I always enjoy meeting members of the Zambia marketing communications community. They’re doing some great work, and are really eager to keep improving the quality of their strategic communications efforts."


Barnes will work primarily with the Zambia Institute of Marketing for three weeks this semester, helping to develop a new curriculum the institute can license to educational institutions across the country. The Zambia Institute of Marketing is authorized by law to oversee all marketing-related activity in the country and provides initial training for high school graduates and on-going professional development. It also offers a marketing certificate, professional advanced certificate, professional diploma and post-graduate diploma.


"There’s been a lot of economic growth and development in Zambia since the School of Journalism and Telecommunications (now School of Journalism and Media) started working there in 2008," Barnes said, referring to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief-funded partnership with ZAMCOM, a media training institute in the country.


"A number of the big multinational advertising agencies have offices there now, including DDB, Y&R, Saatchi & Saatchi, FCB and others. But, other than an occasional course, there’s no focused training for marketing communications."


After conducting multi-day seminars for the institute in March 2014 and March 2016, Barnes returned to Zambia in September of this year to meet with the institute's executive director and executives of ad agencies and media firms to talk about the idea of a new curriculum.


"Everyone we met with was very receptive and enthusiastic; there’s a strong feeling that the time is right in Zambia for something like this," she said.


Barnes will develop the syllabi, recommended readings, lecture outlines, assignments and test questions for more than a dozen new courses. During her three weeks in Zambia as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program, she will conduct additional interviews and gather course materials, "as a very important part of this is making sure the curriculum is relevant to the situation in Zambia."


She will also be speaking at the institute's annual conference in early December and will give several talks to students for the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in Zambia with UK School of Journalism and Media faculty member Mel Coffee. He is in Zambia for 10 months as a Fulbright Scholar. Coffee will talk to interested students about storytelling for a podcasting initiative the embassy is developing and Barnes will talk about branding and promoting the podcast.



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,

Moving Forward Together: Recruiting and Retaining Underrepresented Minority Faculty

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 14:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) — As explained in a previous UKNow article, University of Kentucky administrators are working diligently to address five concerns students presented to them in a meeting last November. One of the five concerns the students expressed was the lack of African-American professors and their retention on campus.


To address this concern, there are many efforts underway regarding faculty recruitment, inclusion and retention.


For several months, Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity Terry Allen and Senior Assistant Provost for Faculty Affairs Sonja Feist-Price have engaged in conversations with underrepresented faculty groups including African-American, Hispanic, Muslim, LGBTQ*, Asian and Native American faculty. These conversations were held to discuss the benefits and challenges of university life. Allen and Feist-Price plan to use these discussions to develop initiatives and recommendations that support efforts in hiring and retaining underrepresented minority faculty.


"An unexpected outcome of the conversations has been providing an opportunity for faculty to establish informal relationships with other colleagues with whom they may not have an opportunity to interact," Allen said.


Additionally, a number of committees and councils are assisting with appropriately addressing the needs of underrepresented faculty, such as:

  • African American Faculty Advisory Committee: Committee members established a charge and are spearheading efforts to impact faculty recruitment and retention, and identifying ways to recognize and award inclusive excellence.
  • Faculty Council on Diversity and Inclusion: Underrepresented minority faculty from throughout the campus community who assist with inclusive excellence
  • Faculty Forward, the Committee on Faculty Success and Advancement: Includes key stakeholders involved in faculty affairs who assist with positively impacting the success and advancement of faculty constituents including underrepresented minority faculty

Moreover, the Provost Diversity Incentive Fund for faculty has increased from $350,000 to $700,000 annually. These additional resources are being used to assist with hiring and retaining underrepresented minority faculty.


The university has begun conducting faculty exit surveys, both retroactively as well as with faculty who are currently separating from the university. This information will help to inform future initiatives and resources.


"As the number and proportion of underrepresented faculty continue to grow, all members of the university must share the responsibility for creating and maintaining a culturally competent environment that provides an equal opportunity for success," Allen said.



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



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

USGS Maps for Central U.S. Overstate Earthquake Hazard in Western Kentucky

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 13:30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) — A new publication from the Kentucky Geological Survey at the University of Kentucky concludes that the national earthquake hazard maps developed by the U.S. Geological Survey seriously overstate the hazard in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which includes western Kentucky, resulting in overly stringent building codes and policies.


Research that resulted in the publication also suggests that economic development is reduced and insurance costs are unnecessarily higher in western Kentucky because of the overstated hazard. The publication, “Earthquake Hazard Mitigation in the New Madrid Seismic Zone: Science and Public Policy,” is available at the KGS publications website here. The publication was developed from the master’s degree thesis of principal author Alice M. Orton.


The study points out that, with very few damaging earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, assessing the zone’s actual earthquake hazard is difficult. In such cases, mathematical earthquake models based on the San Andreas Fault and other western U.S. seismic zones have been developed to calculate seismic hazard in the New Madrid region. Geologic differences between the western United States and the central part of the country limit the applicability of western U.S. data to the central United States. This leads the study’s authors to conclude that the application of the most commonly used mathematical model to determine the hazard in the central United States, probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, is flawed and its results misinterpreted and misused for public policy decisions. The authors point out that large uncertainty is inherent in earthquake hazard assessment for regions like the central United States.


The 2008 USGS seismic hazard maps, which are the basis of building codes and other policies, depict higher earthquake ground-motion hazards for the New Madrid Zone than in San Francisco or Los Angeles, even though the California coast has been affected far more frequently and seriously by seismic activity than the central United States has been.


“At each step in this process (using the hazard maps to develop public policies), any uncertainties in the underlying calculations were accepted, compounded and codified as mitigation requirements,” the study concludes. “Government officials, economic development agencies and businesspersons in the Jackson Purchase Region of Western Kentucky have complained that overly stringent seismic mitigation policies adversely affect economic development in the region by discouraging new businesses from locating in the area.”


As part of the study, 29 officials, professionals and other private citizens were interviewed to assess understanding and attitudes about the earthquake threat in Western Kentucky as well as computerized scenarios of economic and other effects from earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The New Madrid area was also compared to the affected area of the Wenchuan, China, 7.9-magnitude earthquake of May 2008, because earthquake ground-motion values are similar in both areas.


The study concludes, “Whether justified or not, the predicted extreme high ground-motion hazards for the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the resulting stringent seismic design requirements have an impact on communities in the New Madrid area, Western Kentucky in particular. The perception in Western Kentucky is that overstated seismic-hazard estimates have led to overly stringent building codes and other detrimental public policies, ultimately suppressing economic growth.”


Among the recommendations of the study:

· Continue earthquake monitoring and seismic research and improve hazard assessment, as well as seismic risk assessment.


· Improve the level of trust between the public and seismic experts through more transparent communication and more understandable documentation of information and methods.


· Provide additional education for nonscientists and structural design and construction professionals, as well as help with appropriate emergency response plans and preparation activities.


· Revise the New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake hazard on the national seismic hazard maps.


The Kentucky Geological Survey is a research institute within the University of Kentucky. KGS staff work to increase the understanding of the state’s geology and disseminate their research results to the citizens, communities, State agencies, businesses and industries 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: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302,

Kentucky’s Top Students Reunite at UK's Annual GSP/GSA Day

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 11:19


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) — The University of Kentucky’s wide range of academic and extracurricular opportunities allows for its students to create a college experience that caters to their wants, needs and passions, both inside and outside of the classroom. Today, UK celebrates the high school students who have attended either the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) or Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) for the annual UK GSP/GSA Day.


This event brings together the Commonwealth's top students, giving each student a unique opportunity to “see blue.” and learn how UK can help them achieve their dreams at the next level. GSP/GSA Day is also a celebration as students reunite with the friends they’ve made during the past summer at these prestigious programs.


"We are excited to showcase a campus in transformation — new residence halls, academic science building, student center and the list goes on — ultimately, this also provides the context for our UK students to also transform," said Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Don Witt.


To prepare for the more than 360 prospective students who will be in attendance, UK will be hosting a college fair, special presentation and campus tours. This year, more than 700 total guests are expected!


Attendees will be able talk to current students, faculty and staff as they get a taste of what it’s like to be a true Wildcat.


Students and their families will also enjoy a lunch on the lawn in front of the Main Building, as well as other college tours and information sessions in the afternoon. 


Incoming GSP or GSA students who have achieved a minimum test score of 31 ACT or 1420 SAT (M+EBRW) with a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.50 will automatically receive the Presidential Scholarship. This scholarship provides in-state tuition for up to four years of undergraduate study.


All other eligible GSP or GSA students will receive the Provost Scholarship. This scholarship provides $1,500 per year for up to four years of undergraduate study.


For more information about UK scholarships for GSP or GSA students, click here. Additionally, the deadline to apply for competitive scholarships is Dec. 1.


Hosting this annual event in October will allow students and their families to enjoy a beautiful campus, showing off some of Lexington’s extraordinary scenery and giving attendees a unique feel for campus life at the University 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: Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395 

PTS Offers Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 10:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) For the 13th consecutive year, University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is simplifying Thanksgiving travel for students, by way of a complimentary shuttle service from campus to Blue Grass Airport prior to the break.


The shuttle will operate Monday, Nov. 21, through Wednesday, Nov. 23, with daily campus pickup times of 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Students should plan to leave campus at least two hours prior to takeoff.


Although the shuttle is free, reservations are required. To schedule a pickup, students should submit a ride request through the form found here: Ride requests should be submitted at least two business days in advance.


A PTS representative will email to confirm the pickup time. Students are responsible for their own transportation back to campus.



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



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

When the Cause of Stroke is Mystery, Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Could be the Answer

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 10:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2016) - A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts, preventing the brain from receiving the oxygen it needs to survive or directly damaging brain tissue.


A stroke can be devastating, with possible paralysis, speech or vision problems, and/or memory loss. Outcomes can sometimes be improved with immediate treatment, with additional efforts directed at enhancing recovery and reducing the likelihood of another stroke. 


To assess a patient's stroke risk, doctors look at factors such as high blood pressure, narrowing of the blood vessels, and heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation (an irregular beating of the upper chambers of the heart). Despite a thorough evaluation, in about 30 percent of patients who have had a stroke, the specific cause remains uncertain (called a cryptogenic stroke). 


In some cases, a patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a possible explanation. Between 20-30 percent of adults have a PFO, which occurs when a flap of tissue between the upper chambers of the heart fails to seal after birth. This can allow blood clots or other material to divert into the arteries supplying the brain. 


An echocardiogram (a sound picture of the heart) can detect a PFO.  When another cause of stroke is not apparent, these patients should then have tests to exclude a source of a blood clot that could have passed through the PFO. Although some studies indicate that a PFO can be found more frequently in patients initially diagnosed with cryptogenic stroke, whether the PFO is the cause of the stroke is often uncertain, especially when other risk factors are present. 


Although PFOs can be closed with a device placed via a catheter, doing so may not decrease the risk of another stroke.  Recent evidence-based guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology state that, “Clinicians should not routinely offer PFO closure to patients with cryptogenic ischemic stroke outside of a research setting.”


Patients who have had a stroke and are found to have a PFO should have a complete evaluation for other or additional stroke risks. This should include at least 30 days of heart rhythm monitoring to identify possible episodes of atrial fibrillation (AFib is found in up to a quarter of patients initially diagnosed with cryptogenic stroke). In the absence of a specific cause such as atrial fibrillation warranting treatment with an anticoagulant blood thinner, treatment with an antiplatelet drug such as aspirin is a reasonable choice. PFO closure may still be considered as an option for patients who have a second stroke of uncertain cause despite adequate medical therapy.


Dr. Larry B. Goldstein is the Ruth L. Works Professor and Chair in the Department of Neurology, and Co-Director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute at the University of Kentucky


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare, laura.dawahare

'UK at the Half' Features College of Public Health Dean Donna Arnett

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 22:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2016)  Donna Arnett, dean of the Univesity of Kentucky College of Public Health, was featured during "UK at the Half" that aired during the UK vs. Mississippi State football game, broadcast on radio Oct. 22.


"UK at the Half" airs during the halftime of each UK football and basketball game broadcast and is hosted by Carl Nathe of UK Public Relations and Marketing.


To hear the Oct. 22 "UK at the Half," click on the play button below. To view a transcript of the show, click here.



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