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UK Alumni Association Announces Board of Directors Officers

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association recently announced its 2015-16 board of directors officers. They are David B. Ratterman, president; Peggy Meszaros, president-elect; Susan Van Buren Mustian, treasurer; and Stan Key, secretary. The new slate will officially take office July 1, 2015, and will serve until June 30, 2016.

David B. Ratterman, of Louisville, Kentucky, has served five three-year terms on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was elected to the officer position of treasurer for 2013-14 and the position of president-elect for 2014-15. He has held several committee leadership positions with the association, including chairman of the Diversity and Group Development; Communications; Great Teacher/Scholarships; Nominating for Board; Budget, Finance, and Investments; and Strategic Planning committees and served on the Diversity Task Force. Ratterman has been a member of the UK Advocacy Network (UKAN) since the group’s inception.

He has been involved with student recruitment, special events, diversity activities and the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club. He is a partner with Stites and Harbison PLLC and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and is listed in “Kentucky Super Lawyers” and “The Best Lawyers in America.” Ratterman serves on a variety of professional committees and organizations, including as secretary and general counsel to the American Institute of Steel Construction. He is also a retired U.S. Navy commander and a member of the Louisville Rotary Club. He is a 2012 recipient of the prestigious UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. Ratterman received a bachelor’s degree from UK in mechanical engineering in 1968 and did graduate work at UK in 1970. He also holds degrees from the University of Louisville. He is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow.

Peggy S. Meszaros, of Blacksburg, Virginia, has served three three-year terms on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has held several committee leadership positions with the association, including chairwoman of the Alumni Service Awards; Communications; Nominating for Board; Scholarships/Great Teacher Awards and Budget, Finance and Investments committees. She is the William E. Lavery Professor of Human Development and director of the Research Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth, and Families at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Meszaros served from 1993-1994 as dean of the College of Human Resources at Virginia Tech and from 1994-2000 served as senior vice president and provost, the highest-ranking female in the history of the school. From 1985-1993 Meszaros served as dean of the UK College of Human Environmental Sciences (now UK School of Human Environmental Sciences). She was inducted into the UK Human Environmental Sciences Hall of Fame in 2002. She served on the UK Athletics Association Board from 1986-1992 and is a founding member of the Erikson Society at UK. 

Meszaros was inducted into the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1995 and was a 2011 recipient of the prestigious UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. She is a member of the Blacksburg Rotary Club and has served on its board of directors and as co-chair of Membership and Attendance Committees. Meszaros received a master’s degree from the UK College of Education and received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow. She was married to Alex Meszaros, now deceased, and has three children. Their son, Louis, graduated from UK.

Susan Van Buren Mustian, of Hebron, Kentucky, has served two three-year terms on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has held several committee leadership positions with the association including chairwoman of Membership and Club Development and vice-chairwoman of Diversity and Group Development committees. Mustian also chaired the Strategic Plan Governance Focus Group. A former president of the Student Activities Board, she also led the Student Alumni Association as an undergraduate. Mustian continued her involvement with the association serving as president-elect of the Northern KY/Greater Cincinnati UK Alumni Club and also as vice president and secretary. She helped develop alumni clubs in South Bend, Indiana, and Hong Kong, SAR, where she was appointed to the Strategic Plan Accreditation Leadership Team with the Hong Kong International School.

Mustian is a member of the Southwest Ohio Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Board of Directors and serves as the Cincinnatian of the Year Gala co-chairwoman and president-elect. In 2014 she received the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council Voices of Giving Award. Mustian is a 2012 recipient of the prestigious UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1984 from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics. Mustian is a member of UKAN and a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association. She is married to Scott J. Mustian ’85 BE, a UK Fellow and also a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association. They are the parents of Sam, Nathan and Sarah.

Stan Key, of Lexington, Kentucky, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky in 1972. He also earned a master’s degree in education from Murray State University in 1977. He was in the position of associate director of the UK Alumni Association from 1990 to 1998. Since 1998, Key has served as the director of UK Alumni Affairs and executive director of the UK Alumni Association and as secretary to the association’s board of directors. He is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow. He and his wife, Mary Jane Key ’72 ED, have two sons, Ryan and Neil, both UK grads.

The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association, and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit www.ukalumni.net or call 800- 269-2586.

UK College of Nursing Study Exposes Historical Barricades to Health in Tobacco-Growing States

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — The major tobacco-growing states lag behind the rest of the nation in adopting measures effective in reducing tobacco use. Consequently, these five states — Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee — are disproportionately affected by tobacco related disease, the leading cause of preventable death.

Bringing light to this health disparity, a researcher in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing recently found tobacco companies prioritized holding back tobacco-growing states as tobacco-control policies, including smoke-free policies, passed across the nation.

Amanda Fallin, Ph.D., conducted a comprehensive review of historical data, including previously secret tobacco industry documents, which provided evidence of manufacturers aligning with farmers and tobacco-growing interest groups to block tobacco-control policies in the top growing states. Her paper, titled "Tobacco-Control Policies in Tobacco-Growing States: Where Tobacco was King," was recently published in The Milbank Quarterly, a multidisciplinary journal covering population health and health policy.

In the 1960s, tobacco companies began focusing on tobacco-control policies in tobacco-growing states. The companies ignited a pro-tobacco culture through a policy network of legislators, agricultural interest groups and commissioners of agriculture. Many previously clandestine documents sourced from tobacco manufacturers suggested these manufacturers were called to "circle the wagon" around tobacco-growing states.

After news of smoking's link to lung cancer was exposed by the media in the 1950s, tobacco manufacturers formed a national alliance called the Tobacco Growers Information Committee. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the committee funded a public relations campaign aimed at normalizing tobacco production. In the 80s and 90s, smoke-free legislation started to build momentum across the country. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) attempted to curb tobacco use through the Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation (COMMIT), but only one tobacco-growing state, North Carolina, participated in the trial.

In the 1990s, North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina participated in the NCI's American Stop Smoking Intervention study and alliances, such as the Southern Tobacco Communities Project, started to form between health organizations and farmers. A group of health and farming organizations came to together to acknowledge the need to preserve the livelihoods of tobacco farmers as well as prevent youth smoking initiation. The Core Principles statement, which summarized areas of agreement, was signed by more than 100 health and farming groups in 1998.

From 1990 to the turn of the century, a rift in the relationship between farmers and tobacco manufacturers preceded policy changes in tobacco-growing states. The demand for tobacco in the U.S. was declining and manufacturers were seeking foreign producers for cheaper tobacco prices. In addition, the hospitality industry, which in the past had supported tobacco use, broke its alliance with tobacco companies.

In 2003, a turnabout in tobacco-control policy acceptance was marked by the passing of the first countywide smoke-free ordinance in public places in a tobacco-growing state, Kentucky. Since then, all five states have progressed toward 100-percent smoke-free policies, in the midst of appeals, set-backs and compromises weakening legislation. Currently, Kentucky observes 24 comprehensive smoke-free laws at the local level. Most Kentucky colleges and universities have implemented 100 percent tobacco-free campus policies.

"Kentucky is changing," Fallin said. "There is a pro-tobacco sentiment because of our history, but there are dramatically fewer tobacco farmers compared to previous generations. There has been a shift in our way of thinking about tobacco, and progress is now occurring. The majority of Kentuckians support a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law."

While the tobacco-growing states have gained substantial ground enacting tobacco-control policies in the past decade, the article emphasizes these states must continue to educate policymakers and the public about the changing reality of tobacco. As of 2014, the average tax rate for a pack of cigarettes is $0.48 in tobacco-growing states, whereas the average is $1.68 in other states. Misconceptions about the cultural and economic value of tobacco continue to obstruct widespread acceptance of smoke-and tobacco-free policies. Fallin believes reducing the burden of lung disease in tobacco-growing states will require health advocates to reflect on old realities and acknowledge the changing environment.

"We are a tobacco growing state, but from an economic perspective, tobacco-related morbidity and mortality contributes to enormous cost to our health care system," Fallin said. "It's time to shift our thinking — to think about the potential for dramatic public health impact in Kentucky by adopting evidence-based tobacco policies like significant increases in tobacco excise taxes and smoke-free legislation."

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

Breaking Cultural Barriers One 4-H’er at a Time

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 16:22

Fisherville, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — Growing up an only child in Spencer County, Lilli Hanik, 16, always wondered what it would be like to have a sibling. This year, she was given her chance through Kentucky 4-H International Exchange Program.

During the summer of 2014, Hanik and her family chose to be matched with Rikako Sato, a 17-year-old student in Japan’s Labo International Exchange Program, which is similar to 4-H youth development in America.  Sato and Hanik both share a strong passion for music.

Since the program’s beginnings in 1970s, Kentucky 4-H youth development, in the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, has connected young people like Hanik and Sato through its four-week exchange program. The Haniks and Sato are unique, because they are the first Kentucky 4-H family to host a Japanese Labo program student for an entire year.

“Exchange programs like these help expose Kentucky youth to other cultures, which helps them build valuable work and life skills like cultural sensitivity, confidence and communication,” said Mark Mains, Kentucky 4-H youth development specialist and state coordinator for the international programs. “This is truly a two-way experience, as we have developed right along with Rikako.”

Hosting a Japanese student in the Labo program was familiar territory for the Haniks, who have twice hosted Japanese students during the four-week summer program offered through Kentucky 4-H.

“Lilli wanted to try the yearlong program, because she wanted a longer bond,” said Kim Hanik, Lilli’s mother. “You have to have an open heart and take it as a learning and sharing experience.”

Sato was also a seasoned Labo participant, having previously stayed with a Canadian family for four weeks. She wanted to come to America to learn about its culture and be able to compare it not only with Japan but also with Canada.

“Our (young people’s) future is more international now than ever,” she said. “It’s important to be accepting of others and learn about different cultures, so we can be more open minded.”

Living with the Haniks for a year gave Sato the chance to experience life as an American teenager. She attended school with Hanik at Spencer County High School, where she played the trumpet in marching band alongside Hanik playing the euphonium, and she sang in chorus.

Sato participated in all of the Haniks’ activities, including carving her first pumpkin and celebrating her birthday, Hanik family weddings, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Haniks also introduced her to iconic Kentucky activities and events including horseback riding and Thunder Over Louisville. Both girls participated in 4-H activities at local, state and regional levels including the country ham project, Teen Summit and the Southern Region 4-H Teen Leadership Conference.

Sato and the Haniks will part ways at the end of June, but plan to stay in touch. Lilli Hanik will travel to Japan for eight weeks this summer as the first Kentucky 4-H’er to go to Japan through the States’ 4-H International Exchange Program. Four weeks of her stay will include learning Japanese in Tokyo. The other four weeks she will be in Hyogo, Japan, with a host family that includes a child the Haniks’ previously hosted. Sato hopes to one day visit the Haniks again and potentially live and work in America after she completes college in Japan. Both girls already have plans to meet at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

“We call it bonds over oceans,” Lilli Hanik said. “We are always going to be good friends.”

Due to the success of the program and the bonds formed between the Haniks and Sato, the Haniks will welcome another yearlong Japanese Labo participant later this summer.

The Kentucky 4-H International Program is always looking for families willing to host Japanese LABO participants for either a month during the summer or an entire year. More information on these programs is available by contacting Mains at mmains@uky.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774; katie.pratt@uky.edu

$1.6 Million Grant Looks at Role of Key Protein following Traumatic Brain Injury

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 14:08
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky, has received a $1.6 million grant to study the role of a key protein in the cascade of events following traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The five-year grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) explores the role of a protein called p38a in the inflammatory response process post-brain injury in a mouse model of mild TBI. The research will also determine the potential for a small molecule inhibitor of p38a activity to suppress the inflammation, and thereby prevent neuron degeneration and the resulting behavioral impairments caused by brain injury.

"In the research community, abnormal inflammation is being targeted as a potential 'bad guy' for a host of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and stroke and brain injury is on that list," Van Eldik said.

Increasing evidence points to chronic, long-lasting inflammatory responses in the brain after TBI as a contributor to neurological damage and cognitive deficits, she said.

"If the p38a inhibitor is proven to interfere with the process by which inflammation damages the brain after injury, we will have a foundation for future development of treatments that might stop or even reverse cognitive impairment," she said.

Traumatic brain injury represents a major unmet medical need, as currently no effective therapy exists to prevent the increased risk of dementia and other neurologic complications, such as post-traumatic epilepsy, neuropsychiatric disorders, and postconcussive symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbance, memory problems, dizziness, and irritability.

"Successful completion of these studies will help us define when, where and how the important inflammatory protein p38a can be targeted to disrupt the process by which inflammation contributes to brain damage after injury," Van Eldik said. "The potential implications are enormous for patients with head injury due to car accidents, battlefield injury, the football field, or the many other situations where TBI is a highly possible outcome."

Media Contact: Laura Dawahare, laura.dawahare@uky.edu

UK Board OKs Continued Housing Transformation, University Flats Coming in 2017

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved the next phase of UK's student housing transformation at its June 19 meeting — a more than 770-bed complex designed to serve upper class and graduate students.

Specifically, the board approved a $74 million, 771-bed facility along University Drive facing UK's Chandler Hospital. The facility — to be named University Flats — will provide housing for upper class, professional and graduate students — the first of the new housing construction focusing on those students.

The facility, like other new housing since 2013, will be built in partnership with EdR, said UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday. The facility is expected to be completed in and ready for move-in Fall 2017.

"Our housing transformation is an example of promises made; promises kept," Monday said. "President Capilouto said our goal and our vision was to create one of the best residential, public research campuses in the country. This continued housing transformation — focused completely on student success — is a cornerstone of that effort."

The goal of UK's housing transformation has been to create enough high-quality, high-tech housing for all of the university's first-year students. With that goal in sight, the university is now focusing on building quality space for upper class and graduate students. An update on UK's housing transformation:

  • Since 2013, UK in partnership with EdR, based in Memphis, has constructed 4,592 beds. Along with 686 beds built in 2005, the university has 5,278 new beds.
  • By August 2016, UK will add another 1,141 new beds as part of the opening of the Limestone Square complex for a total of 6,400 new beds.
  • With this next phase of housing approved June 19, UK will have more than 7,000 new beds on its campus, part of the largest transformation of housing in public higher education. That milestone also will place UK at more than two-thirds of the goal Capilouto laid out three years ago to complete up to 9,000 new student beds.

"We know that our students learn better and do better when they live on campus for at least part of their university experience," Capilouto said. "This housing transformation, then, is an investment in our future — our students and their success."

Visit http://uknow.uky.edu/sites/default/files/phase_3_housing_plan_bot_presentation_june_2015.pdf or click the attachment below for the presentation made to the UK Board of Trustees. 

UKAg Researcher to Develop Artificial Blood for Mosquitoes

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 14:43

LEXINGTON, Ky., (June 23, 2015) — A “nuisance” is probably one of the nicest things people call mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have been called the deadliest animal on the planet because of the diseases they spread. So why would researchers want to develop an artificial buffet for them?

The answer is simple. That “buffet” may lead to fewer mosquitoes. Stephen Dobson, a University of Kentucky professor of medical and veterinary entomology in the Department of Entomology, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, believes his mosquito food can do just that. Others believe there’s promise too.

Dobson’s research on developing artificial blood for mosquitoes has made him a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, in an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The artificial blood he developed will allow people in remote areas around the world to sustain colonies of mosquitoes, even in those areas with limited resources and difficult logistics.

“Multiple, new approaches to control mosquito populations require the ability to rear mosquitoes,” Dobson said. “The artificial blood technology will help us to better fight disease-transmitting mosquitoes in resource-limited areas.”

In one approach patented by the University of Kentucky, mosquitoes are essentially sterilized by a naturally occurring bacterium, called Wolbachia. With an ability to rear large mosquito numbers, the approach can be used as an organic pesticide, to overwhelm and sterilize mosquito populations that transmit diseases like malaria, flilaria, dengue and yellow fever. Once sterilized, the mosquito population declines and can be eliminated.

Dobson has already had promising results using the artificial blood and mosquito sterilization technique to control populations of Asian tiger mosquitoes. Following its invasion of the U.S. in the mid-1980s, the tiger mosquito has become one of the most important biting mosquitoes in Kentucky, and it is a carrier of canine heartworm. Dobson has also tested the technique to control yellow fever mosquitoes. He will use the grant funds to test his artificial blood on more species of mosquitoes, including those known to carry human diseases like malaria.

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

Expert on Bullying Worries More About Children in Rural Schools

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 14:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 23, 2015) — How do we recognize, deal with and prevent bullying, particularly in schools? A leading authority on bullying offered some ideas on June 12 in a training session called "The Meanest Generation: Teaching Civility, Empathy, Kindness and Compassion to our Angriest Children," held at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington.

The day-long session, sponsored by the University of Kentucky College of Social Work's Office of Professional Development and Continuing Education, featured Malcolm Smith, founder and director of the Courage to Care Project and former professor at the University of New Hampshire.

Smith said one myth about bullying is that it only occurs in large schools. "Actually, I'm more worried about children in a rural school," Smith said. In rural areas, he said, bullying can be a huge problem because there's nowhere to hide, everyone is often into everyone else's business, and an issue can escalate into a feud when families get involved.

Smith defined bullying as a single incident or pattern of written, verbal, electronic or physical actions intended to harm a pupil or his or her property; cause emotional stress; interfere with that student's right to an education; or disrupt the school's operation. Smith debunked a common theory about bullying that became popular in the 1980s — that bullies lack self-esteem.

"Bullies are not kids who have low-self-esteem," Smith said. "The average bully is the kid who is a narcissist." Smith believes that a person becomes narcissistic if he or she never learned to bond and love as a child.

He argued that a lack of empathy and rising narcissism — which is characterized by an overinflated view of one's talents and a high level of selfishness — are the true causes of bullying. Empathy is the tendency to react to other people's observed experiences.

Research shows that 70 percent of current students score higher in narcissism and lower in empathy than they did 35 years ago. Smith believes this is related to the rise in technology, the culture of self-esteem, the decline of time spent playing — which is often when children gain social competencies — and the overexposure of children to meanness and violence through the media.

Bullies are more likely to have been involved in domestic violence and child abuse; are more likely to commit crimes, drink and smoke; and have a greater propensity toward becoming anti-social adults. Signs that a child is a victim of a bully include exclusion, fear, lack of friends, erratic attendance, depression, withdrawal or clinging to teachers and staff.

Because bullying is characterized by an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim, Smith urged school counselors and teachers not to try mediating a bullying situation, especially not by talking to both the victim and the bully in the same room or worse, leaving them to "work it out." Smith said, "You have to educate the social-emotional deficit in the bully, and you have to comfort the victim." Instead of simply punishing the bully, an authority must discipline him or her, which involves teaching.

To properly discipline a bully, he or she must be required to take responsibility for the behavior and explain to the authority why the behavior was wrong. Then the student must discuss alternative actions that could have been employed. Finally, the student must not only apologize but also perform an act of kindness toward the student he or she bullied.

Smith urged teachers and counselors to recognize and address bullying, explaining that it is not ever a good thing or a positive part of a growing experience, as some people think. He pointed out that adults in the workplace are protected by harassment laws and don't have to face bullying alone, so children shouldn't have to, either. He said to combat bullying, "model good social skills yourself, advocate for safer schools and better laws, work with your school parent-teacher organization, engage parents and students in prevention and work on culture and climate."

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 89-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

New Class of Drugs Might Change the Landscape for Migraine Treatment

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 16:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — There is growing excitement among headache specialists about initial research into a new class of anti-migraine drugs.

Called CGRP monoclonal antibodies, these drugs appear to significantly reduce the frequency of migraine in human clinical trials.

"We know that levels of CGRP are elevated during migraine attacks and decrease with resolution of the attacks," said Sid Kapoor, MD, Fellow of the American Headache Society and Director of the Headache Program at the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute (KNI). "This new class of drugs aims to reduce CGRP levels either by inactivating CGRP or disabling the receptor that binds to it, effectively disrupting the chain of events that causes migraine pain."

These drugs have significant potential to change the landscape for migraine treatment, Kapoor said.

"Currently, my only course of action is to patiently and methodically work through a morass of drugs for blood pressure, depression, or epilepsy, and if those don't work, it's on to more complex and expensive therapy options like Botox," Kapoor said. "It's a frustrating process for both the doctor and the patient."

"If these CGRP drugs can deliver as promised, they will represent the first new class of anti-migraine drugs in more than 20 years -- and those only treated migraines after they occurred, and rarely prevented them."

What's particularly exciting to headache specialists is the profound effect the drugs appear to have on migraine incidence. Initial results from Phase II studies on each of the four drugs currently in development reveal huge reductions in the incidence of migraine — one drug, from Alder BioPharmaceuticals, has demonstrated reductions from 50 percent to almost 100 percent.

So why aren't these drugs being rushed to market? Not so fast, Kapoor said. 

"We don't yet fully know how blocking CGRP affects other organ functions long term. Previous attempts at modifying this pathway were too dangerous for patients and studies had to be discontinued. It is exciting that we are succeeding with a fresh approach."

CGRP monoclonal antibody drugs are at least five years away from public distribution. The next step is Phase III trials, which aim to establish efficacy and long-term safety compared to a placebo. 

"Pain studies are notorious for a high placebo response and hence this step will be critical," Kapoor said.

According to the American Headache Society, more than 36 million Americans suffer from migraine attacks, and about four million of those people experience more than 15 migraine days a month. Migraine can be extremely disabling and costly, accounting for more than $20 billion in direct and indirect expenses each year in the United States.

The Best Places Organization ranks U.S. cities by migraine prevalence according to several factors, including the number of migraine-related drug prescriptions per capita, lifestyle and environmental factors, and the consumption of migraine-triggering foods. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Area, which includes large parts of Northern Kentucky, ranks first, and both Louisville and Lexington are in the top 30.

"Our hope is that KNI will be a Phase III test site," Kapoor said. "We have notable expertise in migraine treatment, and we are located at the epicenter of migraine incidence."  

"see blue." U Connecting Incoming Wildcats to Campus, Classmates, Community

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 15:42

Video Produced by UK Public Relations & 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. (June 22, 2015) — What's it really like to be a Wildcat? Thousands of incoming University of Kentucky students are about to find out. Before fall semester ever begins, the newest members of the Big Blue Family are connecting with current students, exploring campus and registering for classes at "see blue." U.

Beginning June 22 and continuing through July 16, a record number of new students and guests will be welcomed to UK for “see blue.” U Orientation. During each day of orientations, students from more than 20 states and throughout Kentucky will be on campus.   

“see blue.” U offers an exclusive experience for incoming Wildcats to learn from current students about expectations in the college classroom, involvement in student organizations and residence hall life.

"The "see blue." U orientations represent one of the most exciting periods of the year," said Don Witt, associate provost for enrollment management. "We are excited to showcase all of the incredible UK academic and extracurricular opportunities."

To enhance their two-day experience, a new "see blue." U app will provide students and guests with easy access to all things orientation, UK and Lexington. The app features a personalized schedule, presentations, campus maps, restaurants, campus contacts and much more on iOS and Android devices.

A self-guided, virtual tour is another feature available on the app connecting students and visitors to campus in a new interactive way. Users can follow along with the tour route, which begins at the university's main entrance on South Limestone, or they can pick and choose their destinations. Once the user has reached a campus building or area, a tour guide appears on the screen with descriptions of each.

This year's "see blue." U will also feature a record number of academic and extracurricular sessions, and a new offering called The Blueprint, a student's guide to building a foundation for success at UK.

Representatives from a number of different on-campus organizations will be on-hand throughout the orientations to promote their role at the university and answer any questions incoming students may have. A number of information sessions will also be held to answer questions on topics such as Greek life, financial aid, parking and transportation, football and basketball tickets, education abroad and much more.

"The success of the orientations is a direct result of the numerous faculty and staff across the campus contributing their time and talent," Witt said.

In addition to exploring campus life, a new partnership with VisitLEX will allow students and their families to discover downtown Lexington and the surrounding community.

“We are very excited about the new addition of partnering with VisitLEX this year," Witt said. "As we welcome the new students and their families to campus, it’s also important to welcome them to their new Kentucky home of Lexington. This is such a great city and truly represents the best of the 'town-gown relationship'…there are so many new restaurants, cultural, and historical opportunities for new students and their parents to explore.”

From navigating Lexington to learning how to use a meal plan, "see blue." U Orientation ensures students transition to life at UK with ease and confidence.  

"There has never been a more exciting time to be a UK Wildcat than now — new residence halls, academic buildings, student success initiatives, etc.!” Witt said.

Are you attending "see blue." U? Watch the short video above for important information regarding your orientation. To get an idea of what to expect during UK's Move-in and K Week in August, explore videos in the playlist below. 

Is Physical Activity the Key to a Healthier Brain?

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — In his "Conduct of Life" address in 1873, British statesman Edward Stanley advised “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”

Regular exercise has long been linked to stress reduction, improvement in mood, and the prevention or delay of disease and disability. Yet despite the well-known health-related benefits associated with physical activity, many of us still find it difficult to exercise on a regular basis. We say we are too tired, or too busy.  

When we think of the benefits of exercise, we often focus on weight loss and weight management. But regular exercise also has a positive effect on arguably the most important organ in the body –— the brain. Quite simply, if your brain is not functioning well, the rest of your body will not function well.

Recent research findings at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences may provide another reason to jump in the pool, pound the pavement, or push the pedals this summer.

We recently discovered that older adults who are aerobically fit have better and stronger connections between some brain regions. These findings build on previous evidence demonstrating beneficial effects of exercise and aerobic fitness on the volume of the brain’s “gray matter” (nerve cells) in healthy older adults. We have added to this evidence by demonstrating that the wires (axons) connecting these nerve cells, commonly referred to as “white matter,” appear to be more structurally coherent in adults who exercise regularly. Many cognitive abilities, such as being able to flexibly switch attention between tasks, have been linked to the structural makeup of these wires.

Building on these findings is a recently completed UK study demonstrating a link between heart function, aerobic fitness, and blood flow to regions of the brain that are susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are promising, and in order for UK to further establish these relationships, we need to show that aerobic training is the primary contributor to increased blood flow to these regions.

We are now recruiting a group of volunteers, 60 to 75 years old, who are willing to participate in an individualized training program to improve aerobic fitness. Participants will receive 51 training sessions over the course of 17 weeks, which will also include free assessments of heart health, bone density, body composition, and brain function.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Barbara Martin or Nathan Johnson at 859-323-0494 or ukexercisestudy@gmail.com to find out if you qualify.

Nathan F. Johnson, PT, DPT, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Division of Physical Therapy at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences. His research findings are sponsored by the University of Kentucky’s Center for Clinical Translational Science (CCTS).

This column appeared in the June 21, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Goldstein at the Helm of the Department of Neurology; Kentucky Neuroscience Institute

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — In a corner of Larry Goldstein's office on the fourth floor of the Kentucky Clinic sits a Captain's chair — a common sight in faculty offices everywhere. But a closer inspection of the emblem on the chair reveals the "Eruditio et Religio" motto of Duke University.

You don't see that often at the University of Kentucky.

"As the (NCAA men's basketball) tournament progressed, I was more and more fatalistic," said Goldstein, who accepted the chairmanship of the UK Department of Neurology in January. "I knew that if UK and Duke played in the final, either way, I couldn't win. The University of Western Siberia was starting to look like a better career option."

But as soon as the conversation veers away from the storied Duke-UK rivalry, he gets serious.

A highly acclaimed expert in stroke and other related neurological disorders, Goldstein comes to UK with a resolve to apply his skills and experience to propel the department — and its sister, the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute — to the next level of research, patient care, education and service.

"There is so much talent here (at UK ) already, and so much to offer Kentuckians in terms of specialty neurology care," Goldstein said.  "I hope to organize our resources in a way that maximizes the efficiency of clinical care, clinical research, and translational/biomedical collaborations at the same time we provide service and leadership for the citizens of the commonwealth."

Goldstein received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University in 1977 and his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1981.  He then completed his internship and neurology residency at Mount Sinai before venturing to Duke University in 1985 for a research fellowship, where rose through the ranks to become a professor of neurology, chief of the Division of Stroke and Vascular Neurology, director of the Duke Stroke Center and an attending neurologist at the Durham VA Medical Center until his arrival here last month.

Most people are drawn to Kentucky for its unique landscape.  Goldstein came to Lexington in part because of something less appealing.

"Kentuckians suffer from strokes at a higher rate than almost anywhere else in the U.S.," Goldstein said. "Since medical school, I've had a focused interest in stroke prevention, acute intervention, post stroke recovery, and systems of care."

"This seemed to be the perfect place at the right time to apply my research focus and career interests."  “When I combined this with the opportunity to work with outstanding colleagues at UK to develop programs that will make a real difference in people’s lives, I was convinced there was no better place in the country for me to work.”

Goldstein has published more than 650 peer-reviewed journal articles, editorials, book chapters, abstracts, and other professional papers.  He indicated that, “the faculty at Academic Medical Centers are in a unique position to influence public policy for the benefit of the patients we serve.” As a member of the American Heart Association National Spokesperson panel and past national chairman of the AHA Advocacy Committee he is a noted voice in educating the public, medical professionals and policymakers about stroke and cardiovascular disease.  By helping to promote the AHA’s adoption of stroke as one of its primary missions, Goldstein assisted with the AHA's initiation of the development of stroke centers and the Get with the Guidelines-Stroke program. He has also supported the specialty of neurology nationally through work on several committees of the American Academy of Neurology.

Goldstein has won numerous awards, including the AHA’s Chairman’s Award, its National Volunteer Advocate of the year, the Stroke Council Leadership Award and the Feinberg Award for excellence in stroke. He has been awarded more than 15 million dollars in grant support throughout his career studying cerebrovascular disease, pharmacological approaches to recovery after stroke, motor recovery, and mechanisms of behavioral recovery after focal brain injury. 

His clinical and research interests are complemented by his commitment to educating the next generation of neurologists, and he is particularly proud of his several teaching awards. To that end, Goldstein hopes to enhance programs at UK that foster faculty career development and enhance the Department’s educational programs. 

“Dr. Goldstein brings to the university a great balance of clinical experience and research expertise,” said Dr. Frederick C. de Beer, dean of the UK College of Medicine.  "His interest and skill in the area of stroke is particularly relevant to our patient population, since cardiovascular events, including stroke, occur at such high rates."

“I am thrilled to be at UK and to have been given the opportunity to work with outstanding colleagues to continue to help build what I am convinced will be one of the best neuroscience programs in the country,” Goldstein said.

UK Budget Makes Clear Priorities Focused on Students, People

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:50

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Friday is considering a record $3.4 billion budget for the institution.

That proposed budget, according to UK President Eli Capilouto, demonstrates an unwavering focus on recruiting and retaining students, faculty and staff along with a vibrant health care system experiencing remarkable growth.

"This budget, more than mere numbers, is about people," Capilouto said. "We are investing our resources toward creating access and quality for students and their families, while giving them the tools they need to succeed. And we are investing in our faculty and staff, who create an innovative environment of learning, scholarship, healing and discovery that promises advances for our state."

Highlights of the budget proposal to be considered by the board include:

A focus on students …

  • A record $103 million in institutional scholarships and financial aid — up from $88 million last year and nearly double what UK provided students in fiscal year 2011.
  • Moreover, this coming year, UK resident students will experience a 3 percent tuition increase, meaning the four-year average for increases will have dipped below 5 percent, down from a rolling average of 13 percent in just 2006.
  • At the same time, 53 percent of UK students continue to graduate without debt and the average for those who do have debt is under $27,000.
  • UK has maintained a focus on keeping its doors open widest to Kentuckians as 35 percent of resident first-year students were eligible for Pell grants in fall 2014 — one important measure of need — an increase of 6 percent since 2012.
  • Looked at another way, a quarter of undergraduate full-time students from Kentucky, who filed the FASFA, in 2014 came from families with a median income of less than $19,000 annually. For those students, 95 percent of their tuition and mandatory fees were covered by scholarships and grants that did not have to be re-paid.
  • Kentucky first-generation students at UK also have increased to 17 percent of first-year students.

A focus on people …

  • A proposed 3.5 percent merit raise pool for faculty and staff. If approved, it would be the third year in a row of substantive merit raises for faculty and staff — a key priority for Capilouto when he came to UK in July 2011.
  • At the same time, cost increases for benefits paid by employees have been limited. For example, UK employees enrolled in the UK HMO single plan will pay $28 per month, one dollar more than the current cost. In addition, the university will start providing accidental death and dismemberment coverage (1 x salary) effective July 1 at no cost to the employee.
  • And the university is investing in an initiative to bring starting salaries to a minimum of $10 an hour, which is designed to better recruit and retain UK employees. Most employees making up to $11.99 per hour will also receive an increase in their pay to address salary compression created by the new starting salaries initiative.

A focus on healing …

  • UK's health care enterprise — with record volumes of patients and increased presence as the state's major referral center for advanced subspecialty care — now represents a little more than 40 percent of the university's overall budget.
  • This coming year, UK HealthCare will have a budget of more than $1.3 billion, an increase of more than $200 million over last year.

A focus on operating efficiently …

  • In the past four years, UK has initiated more than $1.7 billion in capital investments — the vast majority of which are being funded internally, such as the new patient care facility, through public-private partnerships, philanthropy or other partnerships such as with Athletics.
  • Major projects include a new research building, continued fitting out and building of health care facilities, renovations and expansions of the Gatton College of Business and Economics and College of Law, a new Academic Science Building, a renovated Commonwealth Stadium, and innovative public-private partnerships that have transformed UK's student housing and dining services.
  • At the same time, one major ratings agency — Standard and Poor’s — has upgraded the university's bond ratings, a reflection of its stewardship including strategic investments in infrastructure and attractiveness as an educational and research institution.
  • Reflecting that increased bond rating is the fact that UK's debt as a percentage of its budget has dropped even as investments in facilities have dramatically expanded. In 2014-2015, UK's debt as a percentage of its budget was 3.25 percent. In 2015-2016, it is projected to drop to 2.86 percent.

"Our vision and mission for Kentucky's flagship institution is to transform," Capilouto said. "We do that best by strategically investing in the success of our students, our people and our facilities in ways that promote education and discovery, help and healing. This budget, fundamentally, represents those priorities and our focus on transforming our state's future through education, research, creativity, care and service."

UK Strategic Plan: Guideposts for Ambitious Future

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:47

LEXINGTON, KY (June 19, 2015) — University of Kentucky Provost Tim Tracy says UK's new strategic plan has as its focus a series of "ambitious but achievable" goals that place the state's flagship institution at the center of helping solve the most pressing challenges confronting the Commonwealth and larger world.

"Our vision to is be an institution that transforms — transforms the lives of students, the communities we serve, as well as the Commonwealth and world beyond," Tracy said in providing a recent update to members of the UK Board of Trustees about the progress of the plan.

After more than a year of work by a broad cross-section of the university community, five strategic objectives along with key initiatives of the plan have been developed as pillars of the plan. That work by faculty, staff and students also included three forums in which hundreds of people from the campus community participated in person or via a live stream.

Now, Tracy said, over the next few months implementation plans will be developed that will include concrete action steps and metrics to evaluate UK's progress in meeting the "ambitious but achievable goals" for the university between now and 2020. In October, during its annual retreat, the UK Board will evaluate and discuss the completed plan.

A draft of the plan can be read at: http://www.uky.edu/strategic-plan/sites/www.uky.edu.strategic-plan/files/Strategic%20Plan%20DRAFT%20May%2021%2020154.pdf

The five strategic objectives are:

  • Undergraduate student success: ensuring that UK is the university of choice for the best undergraduate students in Kentucky and beyond, who are seeking a "transformational education" that promotes "self-discovery, experiential learning and life-long achievement."
  • Graduate education: strengthening the quality and distinctiveness of UK's programs as the university helps produce scholars who will lead in both teaching and discovery.
  • Diversity and inclusivity: enhancing diversity and inclusivity through greater retention and recruitment efforts among faculty, staff and students and implementing initiatives that provide "rich diversity-related experiences for all, to help ensure (student) success in an interconnected world."
  • Research and scholarship: expanding efforts across the "full range of disciplines" in scholarship, creative endeavors and research with the goal of focusing "on the most important challenges of the Commonwealth, our nation, and the world.
  • Outreach and community engagement: better leveraging technology, scholarship and research in new and creative ways to "advance the public good and to foster the development of citizen-scholars."

"No institution touches the entirety of the Commonwealth like the University of Kentucky," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "We are, fundamentally, in the business of transformation — by educating tomorrow's leaders today; by helping and healing communities across the state; and by searching through discovery and creative efforts for solutions that attack the state's toughest challenges in ways that have impact beyond our borders.

That is part of the DNA of this special place, from our founding 150 years go to today. It must be our guiding light as we move forward. This plan, ultimately, will lay out the important markers of progress that both illuminate that path forward as well as providing those we serve with ways to measure our success."

UK Board to Consider Next Phase of Housing Transformation

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:40

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees will consider Friday the next phase of UK's student housing transformation — a more than 770-bed complex designed to serve upper class and graduate students.

Specifically, the board at its June 19 meeting will be asked to approve a $74 million, 771-bed facility along University Drive facing UK's Chandler Hospital. The facility — to be named University Flats — will provide housing for upper class, professional and graduate students — the first of the new housing construction focusing on those students.

The facility, like other new housing since 2013, will be built in partnership with EdR, said UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday. The facility would be completed in Fall 2017, subject to board approval.

"Our housing transformation is an example of promises made; promises kept," Monday said. "President Capilouto said our goal and our vision was to create one of the best residential, public research campuses in the country. This continued housing transformation — focused completely on student success — is a cornerstone of that effort."

The goal of UK's housing transformation has been to create enough high-quality, high-tech housing for all of the university's first-year students. With that goal in sight, the university is now focusing on building quality space for upper class and graduate students. An update on UK's housing transformation:

  • Since 2013, UK in partnership with EdR, based in Memphis, has constructed 4,592 beds. Along with 686 beds built in 2005, the university has 5,278 new beds.
  • By August 2016, UK will add another 1,141 new beds as part of the opening of the Limestone Square complex for a total of 6,400 new beds.
  • With the next phase of housing, if approved by the board, UK will have more than 7,000 new beds on its campus, part of the largest transformation of housing in public higher education. That milestone also will place UK at more than two-thirds of the goal Capilouto laid out three years ago to complete up to 9,000 new student beds.

"We know that our students learn better and do better when they live on campus for at least part of their university experience," Capilouto said. "This housing transformation, then, is an investment in our future — our students and their success."

Athletics Budget Next Step in Collaboration to Meet Growing Needs of Campus, Students

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — Two years ago, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart created a collaboration unlike any other in higher education — a major athletics program funding nearly two-thirds of a more than $100 million academic science building.

Now, with a proposed $123 million 2015-2016 athletics budget, Capilouto and Barnhart are further expanding their efforts as part of a series of strategic initiatives to deepen the commitment to student athletes, upgrade facilities throughout the campus, and create more green space as part of the university's far-reaching master plan.

"Our athletics program, under the leadership of Mitch Barnhart, is unceasingly devoted to the idea that we can leverage our considerable attributes for larger institutional goals," Capilouto said. "After all, our collective goals are based on a strong sense of shared values. And this budget — like the larger institutional budget — reflects a steadfast commitment to putting students first in everything that we do."

"As Dr. Capilouto says, we are the university for Kentucky. And that means a commitment to all students and to our state," Barnhart said. "We are operating, at all levels, in the midst of increasing challenges and obstacles and strategic initiatives such as those we've been able to forge together are critical to enabling all of our students to reach their potential."

Specifically, the $123 million athletics budget — part of UK's proposed $3.4 billion budget under consideration Friday by the Board of Trustees — begins planning and initial funding for:

  • $3.7 million in annual funding of debt service for the Academic Science Building, which will open in the heart of campus in 2016 and serve more than 35,000 students annually.
  • Funding of $1.7 million in academic scholarships annually, providing more than $2 million a year in revenue from licensing, and $500,000 in funding each year for radio ads to promote the university.
  • Continued full funding of athletics scholarships — including funding for the so-called full cost of attendance for scholarship athletes — while also paying millions annually for service assessments and for direct expenses such as utilities and maintenance of facilities.
  • Up to $800,000 for the design phase of an expanded and renovated Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center. The current facility doesn't have enough courts to accommodate college matches. The expansion will add two courts and additional seating. It will cost an estimated $8 million and will be paid for through athletics funding and philanthropy.
  • Up to $4 million for the design of a new baseball stadium, which will be constructed near the UK soccer and softball fields — part of a growing and dynamic athletics complex. The 4,500-seat stadium will cost about $40 million and will be funded by UK athletics resources and private fundraising efforts. The current baseball facility is among the smallest in the Southeastern Conference.

Importantly, expediting the construction of a baseball stadium in a new location will allow the university to re-capture critical green space for students and other uses on campus, said Eric N. Monday, UK's executive vice president for finance and administration. The university's master plan sets forward a long-term vision for facility renewal, green space and improved mobility through a more sustainable and efficient transportation system.

The proposed athletics budget is about $15 million more than last year — the result of an anticipated $10 million increase in revenues from UK Athletics multimedia and other contractual rights and a proposed increase in ticket prices for men's basketball games. The increases — $110 for an upper level seat and $195 for a lower-level seat — are the first in three years and will generate a little more than $2.5 million. UK basketball ticket prices remain at or below other premier programs such as Duke University, UCLA and the University of Kansas.

UK currently has underway or is about to begin more than $1.7 billion in construction of living, learning and academic and research facilities across the campus. Nearly $1.6 billion of that facilities transformation is being paid for with university resources, private fundraising or through partnerships like those with UK Athletics.

"We are stronger when we leverage our resources and capacities together," Monday said. "New and renovated facilities will create a better environment for our athletes who are competing in the best conference in America. More green space on our campus will create a better living and learning environment for our entire campus, but particularly our students. And increased revenue opportunities will allow us to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging environment."

Renowned Dental, Pain Researcher to Become UK Dentistry Dean

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — University of Kentucky Provost Tim Tracy today announced that Dr. Stephanos Kyrkanides will become dean of the UK College of Dentistry.

Kyrkanides is currently associate dean for research and faculty development and chair of the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry at the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine. Stony Brook, part of the New York State higher education system, is one of the leading public research institutions in the country.

Kyrkanides will join UK on Aug. 1, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.

“We are pleased to recruit someone of Dr. Kyrkanides' caliber, who is an outstanding clinician, researcher and administrator," Tracy said. "His experience in innovative care delivery, cutting-edge research and intellectual property generation as well as quality education delivery makes him the ideal person to help the College of Dentistry continue to excel.”

"The College of Dentistry at the University of Kentucky is world renowned for its strong and longstanding tradition of excellence. Under the leadership of Dean Sharon Turner, the college has risen as one of the top dental schools in North America," Kyrkanides said. "I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to join the exceptional faculty, staff, residents and students at UK and lead the College of Dentistry in reaching its greatest potential.

I am also delighted to be signing on to the bold vision defined and being executed by the spectacular leadership of Provost Tim Tracy, Executive Vice President Michael Karpf and University President Eli Capilouto."

Kyrkanides will replace Dean Sharon Turner, who has led the UK College of Dentistry for the last 12 years. Turner last year announced her intention to retire once a new dean was selected.

Under her leadership, the UK College of Dentistry has had sustained growth — realized through significant increases in clinical revenues, important and needed renovations of facilities, and a notable diversification of faculty members who now represent many cultures and countries.

As importantly, the college also has expanded upon its commitment to service. The college's mobile dental program, considered a national model, has provided dental care for thousands of children and others throughout the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

"Dean Turner has taken our college to new heights in every facet of our mission at UK — teaching, research and service," Tracy said. "It's been an honor to serve with her and we are deeply appreciative of her outstanding leadership for more than a decade at UK. We wish Sharon and her family only the best as they move forward in this new, exciting chapter of their lives."

As both a dentist and neuroscientist, Kyrkanides has collaborated extensively with faculty in the School of Dental Medicine and School of Medicine on neurodegeneration and pain arthritis research.

Kyrkanides' current research focuses on regenerative dentistry, having invented Natural Enamel, a new biomaterial for use in CAD/CAM dentistry. Also, in collaboration with principal investigator and inventor, Dr. Sabine Brouxhon, (Kyrkanides' wife), he has developed a novel cancer therapy that was just recently licensed by the Avalon Ventures / GlaxoSmithKline consortium.

Kyrkanides' long-standing research efforts have revolved around pain, specifically his discovery that pain is more than just a symptom of disease but part of the disease itself in osteoarthritis. This research is the basis for what he calls central nervous system (CNS) two-way “cross-talk,” where pain is transmitted from the site (i.e, knee) to the spinal cord and brain, and then spreads through the CNS from one joint to another spurring further pain and disease.

Before coming to Stony Brook, Kyrkanides held numerous academic and administrative positions at the University of Rochester. He was professor and J. Daniel Subtelny Chair of Orthodontics at the University of Rochester Eastman Dental Center, and associate chair for research, Department of Dentistry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Kyrkanides received his D.D.S. degree (1991) from the National University of Athens School of Dentistry in Greece and his training in orthodontics, orofacial pain and advanced education in general dentistry at the Eastman Dental Center in Rochester New York. He received M.S. (1997) and Ph.D. (1999) degrees in neurobiology and anatomy from the University of Rochester. In 2000, Dr. Kyrkanides completed post-doctoral training in molecular medicine and gene therapy at the University of Rochester's Center for Aging and Developmental Biology.

He also is a member of a number of international organizations related to dental medicine and research. He has authored dozens of journal articles and received numerous awards and honors.

Dr. Kyrkanides and his wife, Sabine Brouxhon M.D., have two children, James and Nicole.

UK President Names Interim VP for Institutional Diversity

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — Terry Allen, associate vice president for institutional equity at the University of Kentucky, has been appointed interim vice president for institutional diversity effective July 1.  UK President Eli Capilouto made the announcement at UK's Board of Trustees meeting Friday, June 19. Allen will take over for Judy (J.J.) Jackson who is retiring after seven years as vice president for institutional diversity.

Capilouto said when Jackson announced in February her decision to retire, he launched a series of conversations with around 100 people — students, faculty, staff, local community leaders and local and state policymakers — to learn about the work that must continue for maintaining an inclusive environment at UK.

"I have been inspired by the commitment of our campus to the mission we have to expand and sustain our efforts," Capilouto said. "Terry brings to this role a deep and long-standing commitment to our university and our work to foster an environment where everyone feels welcomed and believes their current and future success is nurtured."

"I am appreciative of the opportunity to serve the university in this position," Allen said. "Diversity and inclusion do not just occur. It takes consistent effort and ongoing commitment, particularly to facilitate achievement of student success. The university must embrace diversity strategic objectives, assess continuous progress, and welcome those who contribute." 

Allen has led the UK Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity since 2003 working extensively with all campus colleges, UK HealthCare other UK administrative units, and federal and state agencies regarding equal opportunity, equity, access and diversity in academic programs, employment, services and activities.  Most recently, he worked with the provost and the co-chairs of the “Diversity and Inclusivity” area of the next Strategic Plan. He also has served in various roles with community organizations, notably as coordinator of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in downtown Lexington.

An employee of UK since 1983, Allen's first nine years were in Student Affairs, after which he assumed the newly created central administration position of director of affirmative action. Later, he was named assistant vice president for equal opportunity followed by his current position as associate vice president for institutional equity.

Distinguished Educator, Inventor New Dean College of Design

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — University of Kentucky Provost Tim Tracy today announced that Mitzi Vernon will assume the position of dean of the UK College of Design.

Vernon is currently professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech.  Vernon has works of architecture, furniture, interiors and product design in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Chicago. Subject to approval by the UK Board of Trustees, she will join the university in September.

"We are thrilled that Mitzi Vernon is joining the University of Kentucky in this critical leadership position," Tracy said. "Professor Vernon has a unique background and diverse set of scholarly interests that make her an outstanding fit for a college that blends different disciplines and is renowned for its quality and service across the Commonwealth."

"It is an honor to be selected to take forward the rich and long history of the College of Design," Vernon said. "I look forward with enthusiasm to joining a distinguished faculty and to a partnership with Provost Tracy and the other deans."

Vernon replaces Interim Dean Ann Whiteside-Dickson, who has served for more than a year following the departure of Michael Speaks, who left UK to assume the dean's position at Syracuse University.

"We are so appreciative of Ann's leadership over the past year and her steadfast commitment to the college and the entire university," Tracy said. "She represents so well what it means to be a leader and a colleague at the University of Kentucky."

Tracy said Whiteside-Dickson did an “incredible job through a leadership transition. Transitions are often very challenging, but Ann throughout maintained a reassuring presence and steady hand of leadership.” Moreover, throughout her tenure, the college maintained its national reputation for excellence as significant partnerships continued with manufacturers, energy providers and researchers. From small river towns to large metropolitan areas, College of Design faculty and students are engaged in important service projects that address both community and global challenges. And graduates continued to be placed in leading firms, corporations and in public service.

Vernon has excelled in teaching, research and service in her academic career. 

She is the recipient of three National Science Foundation Grant awards. Two grants are focused on design of nontraditional books and exhibits for teaching science and math to middle school students. The most recent grant, awarded in 2007, is a collaborative project examining the design studio as a model for teaching the design of software-intensive systems. Vernon’s current scholarship on product form led to the development of a new studio model called "form studio" and the student design and fabrication of a traveling exhibition called "FORM: Line-Plane-Solid." She has received multiple grants over the past several years to support this work.

Vernon is the primary inventor on three U.S. patents, and she has extensive experience with sponsored collaborative projects involving industrial design, architecture, physics, computer science, engineering, and education students. She received patents as the originator of the project "Fields Everywhere."

As a professor of courses in industrial design including design research and professional practice, Vernon has received numerous teaching awards including the most prestigious teaching award at Virginia Tech, the William E. Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching (2012) and was the inaugural awardee of the J. Stoeckel Design Studio Teaching Award in the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech (2012) for outstanding studio teaching.  She is currently the chair of the Academy of Teaching Excellence (ATE) at Virginia Tech; a past president of the Faculty Senate at Virginia Tech; and a member of the Virginia Tech STEM Outreach Board of Advisors.

Vernon received a Master of Science in engineering in product design from Stanford University in 1995; a Master of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1986; and a Bachelor of Science in interior design from the University of North Carolina (Greensboro) in 1984.

Prior teaching experience includes the California College of the Arts, the University of Southern California and Arizona State University. 

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Features EVPFA Eric Monday Discussing University Flats

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 08:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Today's guest is Eric Monday, UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration.  He is discussing the next phase of UK’s student housing transformation, a 771 bed facility which will be known as University Flats. 

To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit http://wuky.org/post/future-uk-housing.

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

UK College of Nursing Pioneers Therapies to Prevent Depression in Patients and Caregivers

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 17:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — Clinical depression impacts 25 percent of all patients who suffer from cardiac disease, compared with 2 to 3 percent of the general population. Depressive symptoms, which can have debilitating effects similar to clinical depression, are observed in 75 percent of cardiac patients who are hospitalized.

According to University of Kentucky College of Nursing professor Debra Moser, depression and symptoms of depression can impede self-care interventions, which are especially important for maintaining the well-being of cardiac patients. Depression affects both the patient's ability to conduct essential self-care activities and the caregiver's ability to assist in a self-care intervention.

"Anybody with depression or depressive symptoms has a terrible time adhering to the self-care activities they need, like taking medication, engaging in physical activity, eating whatever diet is prescribed to you," Moser said. "People who are depressed don't have the energy or the will to engage in those sorts of activities."

To prevent psychological barriers caused by depression, Moser has integrated cognitive behavioral therapy in self-care interventions for cardiac patients. This therapy prevents the onset of depression by helping patients work through negative or erroneous thoughts about their condition.

"People who have depression often turn a simple event into a catastrophe that is going to destroy their life," Moser said. "It's just re-conceptualizing a situation, sort of reframing it so that you see how to work through a formerly insurmountable barrier."

Moser's self-care intervention program also focuses on the emotional well-being of the caregiver and entire family surrounding the patient. Based on the theory of emotional contagion, depression or depressive symptoms can be easily transferred from one member of a relationship or household to another. Because depressive symptoms are common in cardiac patients, self-care programs must also consider the emotional well-being of the caregiver.

"When we provide interventions to caregivers, they get the skills and the knowledge to not be so burdened by the condition, but they also get some direct attention for their own health, for their own depressive symptoms, for their own quality of life," Moser said. "And really the act of providing an outlet to caregivers is really found to be helpful just in improving their own psychological health."

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

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