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University of Kentucky Approved to Lead $14.9 Million Research Project to Study Care Transitions

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 09:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2014) – The University of Kentucky has been approved to lead a $14.9 million project from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to identify the most effective approaches for patient care transitions as they move between hospitals, nursing homes and their own homes.

PCORI, an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, approved this week a recommendation for UK's Dr. Mark V. Williams, director of the Center for Health Services Research, to lead a three-year contract for one of PCORI's priority projects, "Effectiveness in Transitional Care."

"The expert faculty and staff at the University of Kentucky are committed to improving the well-being of the communities and people they touch and teach," said President Eli Capilouto. "UK's new $14.9 million contract will help improve research and understanding of outcomes in the patient transition process and translate new knowledge into application. It's how we help shape better outcomes along the spectrum of patient care." 

Poorly managed patient care transitions between hospitals, clinics, home or nursing homes can lead to worsening symptoms, adverse effects from medications, unaddressed test results, failed follow-up testing, and excess rehospitalizations and ER visits, said Williams, who is also professor of internal medicine and health policy and management at UK.

Patients in the U.S. suffer harm too often as they move between sites of health care, and their caregivers experience significant burden, he said. Unfortunately, the usual approach to health care does not support continuity and coordination during such “care transitions” between hospitals, clinics, home or nursing homes.

“Through kynect and Medicaid expansion, hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who were previously uninsured now have access to health care services. Greater access was a critical first step in improving Kentucky’s dismal health rankings," said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. "Now we must ensure quality, coordination and continuity of care as patients receive health care services, transition between providers, and return home. This project will help identify best practices for transitional care, which will play a pivotal role in improving health care outcomes in Kentucky.”

The study, Project ACHIEVE (Achieving Patient-Centered Care and Optimized Health In Care Transitions by Evaluating the Value of Evidence), combines the expertise of patients, caregivers and stakeholders with national leaders in care transition research.

It will identify which combination of transitional care services improve outcomes that matter most to patients and their caregivers as they leave the hospital and return to their homes. Patient characteristics, care settings, and other factors will be incorporated in the analysis to determine which transitional care services work best for whom and under what circumstances.

"Receiving this contract from PCORI to lead this project is a testament to the outstanding work being done by a very capable and expert team at the University of Kentucky," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.  "Care transitions can be a challenge for patients, their families and providers and this project will give evidence-based information on how we can make significant improvements and impact in this area."

The goal is for Project ACHIEVE to determine which transitional care services most effectively produce patient and caregiver desired outcomes among diverse patient and caregiver populations in different health care settings, Williams said.

Using the results, the project team will develop concrete, actionable recommendations regarding how best to implement strategies and provide tools for hospitals, community-based organizations, patients, caregivers, clinicians and other stakeholders to help them make informed decisions about which strategies are most effective and how best to implement them in their communities.

"Each year more than 33 million Americans make this difficult journey from the hospital bed to the post-acute setting to home and community-based care and, all too often, back again.  Various strategies for improving care transitions are being tested across the country, but no one has yet determined which strategy works best, for whom, and under what circumstances," said Glen P. Mays, Ph.D., Scutchfield Endowed Professor in Health Services and Systems Research in the UK College of Public Health. "Our team will bring together the best possible data and analytic methods to answer these questions. From public health and economic perspectives, there is no health care delivery quandary more important to solve than this one."

The project team will identify which transitional care services and outcomes matter most to patients and caregivers, evaluate comparative effectiveness of ongoing multi-component efforts at improving care transitions, and develop recommendations on best practices for the design, implementation and large-scale national spread of highly effective, patient-centered care transition programs.

This collaborative team includes experts in statistics, surveys, implementation science, and quality improvement from 14 organizations including UK, University of Pennsylvania, Boston Medical Center, Telligen, Westat and Kaiser Permanente.

“This new round of funding not only adds several innovative studies to our growing portfolio of patient-centered outcomes research, but also reflects our progress toward funding bigger, larger studies on specific high-impact, high-burden topics, such as obesity treatment and transitional care,” said PCORI Executive Director Dr. Joe Selby. “As we increasingly focus on specific high-priority topics and larger pragmatic studies, we continue to benefit from and seek insightful proposals initiated by both researchers and the broader healthcare community.”

This three-year study is divided into two phases. During the first phase, Project ACHIEVE will use focus groups and site visits to identify the transitional care outcomes and service components that matter most to patients. During the second phase, the team will evaluate the comparative effectiveness of multi-component care transitions programs occurring across the U.S. The project team will evaluate studying historical and current and future groups of patients, caregivers and providers using site visits, surveys, and clinical and claims data.

The award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract to UK. PCORI has approved nearly $671 million to support 360 research studies and initiatives since it began funding research in 2012. For more information about PCORI funding, visit www.pcori.org.

In 2013, Debra Moser, professor at the UK College of Nursing, was awarded $2.1 million over three years from PCORI to advance her research in risk-reducing interventions for cardiovascular disease in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445, Kristi.lopez@uky.edu

Missed Your Chance — SAB Fall Concert Sold Out

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2014) — The Student Activities Board's Concerts Committee is sponsoring SAB’s annual large-scale concert at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, in Memorial Coliseum on the University of Kentucky campus. The concert, which will include performances by two special guests and Chance the Rapper is sold out.

"Chance is a unique artist," Jordan Keeton, SAB's director of concerts, said. "He challenges convention with some of his approaches, particularly in that he does not sell his music. His music also has a more positive message than many of his fellow artists. I respect that he pushes the envelope, and I'm glad to see campus supporting him as well."

Tickets became available for students Thursday, Aug. 28, and general public Thursday, Sept. 4. SAB sold all available tickets four weeks before the show.

“I was incredibly encouraged by our ticket sales,” Keeton said. “The ticket sales and the social media buzz surrounding the event tell me that my fellow students are really excited for the event."

SAB brings more than 100 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 www.uksab.org, follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/UKSAB or Instagram at instagram.com/uksab or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UKSAB. For more information about SAB and events, email contact@uksab.org or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, 859-257-1909

SAB CONTACT: Olivia Senter, publicrelations@uksab.org, 859-257-8868

Magic and Laughter Kicks Off UK's Family Weekend

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2014) — The Student Activities Board's Pop Culture Committee has got the magic coming to the University of Kentucky! Campus will welcome magician Derek Hughes to perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in Memorial Hall on UK's campus. Students and their families can enjoy the magic and comedy act to begin their fun-filled Family Weekend at UK.

Derek Hughes performs regularly at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, where he was recently nominated for Parlour Magician of the Year. From being the only magician ever invited to perform at HBO's prestigious Comedy Arts Festival to filling in for the legendary Mac King at Harrah's in Las Vegas, Hughes is truly a unique voice in the art of conjuring. His wry sense of humor and mind-blowing magic have made him one of the most sought after entertainers on college campuses across the county.

"The Derek Hughes show is going to be a great event not only for our student body but for many of their families, as well,” Brenton Smith, SAB director of pop culture, said. “Hughes is a stand-up magician with some great material in both magic and humor so his act should be both engaging and entertaining. Family Weekend is a great way to showcase some of what UK has to offer and Hughes serves as a first step in plugging them into the campus community through the Student Activities Board.”

SAB brings more than 100 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 www.uksab.org, follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/UKSAB or Instagram at instagram.com/uksab or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UKSAB. For more information about SAB and events, email contact@uksab.org or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, 859-257-1909

SAB CONTACT: Olivia Senter, publicrelations@uksab.org, 859-257-8868

UK Cares: United Way Campaign Runs Through Oct. 31

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 16:56
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2014) — "UK Cares" is this year’s theme for the annual United Way of the Bluegrass fundraising campaign, which began Oct. 1 and runs through the end of the month. In a message to University of Kentucky employees Oct. 1, President Eli Capilouto noted how the UK community makes a large impact on Central Kentucky through involvement in the United Way campaign. "Just as we are part of a vibrant campus family, we are also part of a diverse and supportive Lexington community. Our futures are inextricably linked as we grow together — university and city," Capilouto said. "It is in that spirit, that we find ways — both new and established — to support one another. Essential to that commitment is a long-standing partnership with an important regional agency, the United Way."

UK Employees can make contributions directly through the myUK portal, using the "Employee Self Service/Benefits" tab. Entering a pledge through myUK eliminates the need for a paper pledge form, while enhancing the privacy and efficiency of the campaign.

Last fall, university employees donated more than $300,000 to United Way of the Bluegrass. The community impact of employee’s donations, along with donations in the region, assisted more than 68,000 individuals in Central Kentucky through programs and services in education, income and health. The campuswide goal for the 2014 UK United Way campaign, chaired this year by UK Women's Basketball Coach Matthew Mitchell, is $350,000. 

UK Women's Basketball Coach Matthew Mitchell this year’s UK United Way Chair, with UK President Eli Capilouto, hosted a breakfast on September 18 with deans and administrators to raise awareness for the Oct. 1 campaign kickoff.

University employees, student-athletes, and community volunteers collected $8,300 on September 6 during the annual “pass-the-bucket” for United Way at Commonwealth Stadium. University retirees have contributed $16,150 to date during their annual pledge drive, which began in August.

For more information regarding the "UK Cares" UK United Way Campaign, visit http://www.uky.edu/UW.

'Supervisor of the Year' Award Nominations Open

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 16:43

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2014) — University of Kentucky employees are invited to "give a great supervisor the recognition they deserve" by nominating them for the Supervisor of the Year Award.

The UK Office of Work-Life is accepting nominations now through Friday, Oct. 24, for the award, which was created to recognize supervisors who make a difference in the lives of their employees by exemplifying UK’s values and helping their employees productively manage work and personal responsibilities.

Previous nominees have inspired staff members with their ideas and innovative thinking. Nominations are due no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24. The award winner and nominees will be recognized at a luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Nominators are encouraged to review the information and additional instructions on the Work-Life website. Nominations forms are available to download and print from http://www.uky.edu/hr-apps/forms/work-life-supervisor-year-nomination-form

Any questions may be directed to Erika Chambers, director of the Office of Work-Life, at erikachambers@uky.edu.

Fight the Flu this Season by Getting Vaccinated on Campus

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 15:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2014) — Coming down with the flu this season can cause missed days at work or school, and for some at-risk groups of people, life-threatening complications. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that every year 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population contracts influenza.

Fortunately, everyone on the University of Kentucky's campus has the opportunity to take the single most effective step in preventing the flu: getting vaccinated. For all UK HealthCare workers, the flu vaccination is free and required. The vaccination costs $10 for regular students and is free for students with the AHP/United student insurance plan. Campus employees can purchase an on-site flu vaccination for $20. Students and employees must present a campus ID.

Campus employees and students can stop in at one of the following clinics for a vaccination:

·         Oct. 7, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the Student Center Room 206

·         Oct. 8, 5 - 10 p.m. in the Johnson Center Lobby  

·         Oct. 9, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the University Health Service First Floor Lobby

·         Oct. 21, 5 - 9 p.m. in W.T. Young Gallery Room

·         Oct. 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the University Health Service First Floor Lobby

·         Oct. 29, 5 - 9 p.m. in the W.T. Young Gallery Room

UK HealthCare employees can receive their free vaccination during one of the following clinics:

·         Oct. 10, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. in the University Health Service Room 130

·         Oct. 12, 5 - 9 p.m. in the Chandler North Lobby

·         Oct. 13 - 14, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the Chandler North Lobby

·         Oct. 15, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the Chandler North Lobby

·         Oct. 16, 12 - 4 p.m. in the Chandler North Lobby

·         Oct. 17, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Chandler North Lobby

·         Oct. 19, 7:30 - 11:30 a.m. in the Chandler North Lobby

·         Oct. 23, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Alumni Court

·         Oct. 27, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Fountain Court

·         Oct. 30, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.; 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. at the Pavilion A Ground Floor Entrance

·         Oct. 31, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.  at the Good Samaritan Hospital B132

·         Nov. 3, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. at the Good Samaritan Hospital B132

·         Nov. 5, 2 - 6 p.m.  at the Good Samaritan Hospital B132

UK HealthCare employees must present a medical center ID to receive their vaccination. The deadline to report a required vaccination is Jan. 1, 2015. If a UK HealthCare employee has already received a vaccination from a clinic outside the university, they should report the vaccination here. To inquire about a declination form or other special accommodations, contact laharg3@uky.edu.

Influenza is a respiratory virus spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Flu season begins in October and typically peaks between December and February, with cases occurring through May. Because a vaccinated person's protective antibodies against the flu decline throughout the year, a flu shot must be renewed at the beginning of every season for the best protection. 

While many different strains of influenza exist, researchers design the vaccine to protect against the main flu viruses predicted to cause the most illness throughout the season. Still, the CDC advises everyday preventative actions, such as washing hands and staying away from sick people.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

Faculty, Staff Invited to Halloween 'BOOne-anza'

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:44
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2014) — University of Kentucky faculty and staff are invited to the first UK Halloween BOOne-anza, sponsored by the Hilary J. Boone Center and the Staff Senate on Friday, Oct. 31. 

Festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Boone Center. Free activities include a costume contest, a departmental "best spirit" award, and trick-or-treating with various local vendors and exhibitors throughout the Boone Center. Carl Nathe, "Voice of the UK Football Wildcats," will serve as master of ceremonies. 

A lunch buffet will be available for $12 to all employees. Diners will serve as judges in the costume contest. Departments may reserve a table for up to eight people, and individuals may also reserve spots until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24. To make dining reservations, call the Boone Center at 859-257-1133. Cash/credit card payments are accepted.

To enter the costume contest, visit http://tinyurl.com/boone-anza to register and read full requirements. The department showing the best spirit (costumes considered), among the departments with tables at the event, will receive a prize.

For questions regarding the event, please contact the Boone Center at 859-257-1133 or the Office of the Staff Senate at 859-257-9242.

Triangle Soloist Appears in Concert

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2014) — Is there really enough music composed for a triangle soloist to offer a program the length of a concert? You will be delighted to learn that there is when you attend "Music for Triangle Soloist," a guest recital by percussionist Mark Berry beginning 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

For most percussionists, the triangle is a familiar instrument that is played frequently. However there is very little solo or recital repertoire available. Though the triangle has been played for centuries, in modern times it is rarely encountered outside of an ensemble context.

The Sounds, Shapes, and Synergy commissioning project evolved from this dichotomy. Berry began the project with three goals: to contribute repertoire; to propel the triangle in a solo or recital context; and to create modern music for an ancient instrument.

Berry is associate professor of percussion at Western Kentucky University. Since 2002, he has held the position of principal timpanist with Orchestra Kentucky.

"Music for Triangle Soloist" is presented by UK Percussion Studies at UK School of Music. The School of Music, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; whitney.hale@uky.edu

Q&A: Community Engagement Expert Andrew Furco to Present at UK Thursday

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2014) — The next speaker in the "see tomorrow." Speaker Series, Andrew Furco will address issues related to community engagement at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in the Lexmark Public Room. 

As associate vice president for public engagement, Furco works with units across the University of Minnesota to advance the institutionalization of various forms of public and community engagement into the university’s research, teaching, and outreach activities.

He sat down with UKNow to discuss the importance of public engagement and its relationship with a university mission:

Q: How would you define university engagement?

A: Today's university engagement is distinct from higher education's traditional outreach work.  Typically, a university's partnership with external entities has been seen as primarily fulfilling the institution's public service and outreach mission  However, today's public engagement effort focuses more centrally on the work that students, faculty, and academic units do in partnership with community-based entities.  In particular, today's public engagement efforts are designed specifically to advance the institution's research and teaching missions.  In this regard, today's public engagement agenda honors and values the knowledge, expertise, and experience of members of the community as universities work to produce new knowledge that benefits society and prepare students for their future lives as active citizens.  This contemporary approach to university public engagement has created an epistemological shift in how knowledge is created, in who has the knowledge and expertise, and in the ways we share, disseminate, and use knowledge.

Q: Why is this an important topic for universities? Does it have particular relevance for flagships and land-grant institutions?

A: The public's "favorability" attitudes toward higher education continue to decline as more students graduate with high debt loads, as employers complain that college graduates do not have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the workforce, and as more taxpayers question why public funds are diverted to fund seemingly extraneous research when there are many societal challenges that communities are confronting (e.g., poverty, health disparities, youth disenfranchisement, environmental hazards, etc.).  Flagship, public research universities, in particular, seem to receive the brunt of this criticism, mainly because they are supposedly publicly funded to serve the needs of the state.  Some see the quest for national and international prestige (to be a top research university) that undergirds the priorities of many state-funded, flagship institutions as being antithetical to meeting and serving the needs the of the state.  It is no coincidence that as state funded flagships and land-grant institutions have strengthened their prestige, rankings, and national/international reputations, the proportion of their budget that comes from the state has diminished precipitously.  For flagship and land-grant institutions, the contemporary approach to public engagement is especially important because the engagement agenda is not about fulfilling the institution's land-grant mission, but rather it is about fulfilling the other core aspects (e.g., research, teaching) of the institution's mission.  For land-grant universities, this means that public and community engagement is not only for those who work in Extension or who are Clinical Professors or Professors of the Practice, but rather, community-engaged work is something that can promote the academic and scholarly work of all faculty and students across academic units.

Q: How do you see this concept evolving — how is engagement different today than in the past?

A: In addition to focusing not just on fulfilling higher education's outreach mission, but also advancing universities' research and teaching missions, today's public and community engagement is different and distinct from traditional outreach efforts in several other ways.  Firstly, today's community-engaged work is integrated more fully into the academic curriculum.  Indeed, according to the National Study of Student Engagement survey, 50 percent of all students participate in some form of community-engaged learning experience (e.g., service-learning, internship, etc.).  Secondly, the focus of the work is not on time-limited community-based projects, but rather on building multi-faceted and multi-unit, interdisciplinary, sustainable campus-community partnerships with a set of related projects operating as part of a larger effort to address a complex societal issue over an extended period of time.  Thirdly, today's higher education public engagement work sees community partners not as research participants or field sites, but rather as co-educators, co-investigators, and co-producers of knowledge.  In this regard, the knowledge and experience of the community are greatly valued and honored

Q: What does the future look like … as funding pressures continue … is engagement more important? Will it be constrained?

A: The future seems to point to a deepening of public and community engagement in higher education. This is evidenced by the growing emphasis on community-engaged practices in higher education systems across the globe, in the growing number of professional associations devoted to advancing research and practice on various aspects of community-engaged research and teaching, in the rise of peer-reviewed publication venues that publish community-engaged scholarly work, in changes in promotion and tenure guidelines at various universities as an effort to more fully support the faculty who conduct community-based work, and the increased attention to community-engaged scholarship from federal agencies that fund research (e.g., NIH, NSF, etc.).  The boards that accredit universities are also focusing more intentionally on the ways in which institutions of higher education are integrating community-engaged experiences into their research, teaching, and outreach initiatives.  Lastly, student demand for doing community-engaged work is on the rise, and there is evidence to suggest that more students are selecting institutions based on opportunities to conduct academically linked community-based work that engage them in authentic work that address important societal issues.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

BLOG: A&S Dean, English Chair on Passing of Jane Vance

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 09:09

Following is a blog from University of Kentucky Arts and Sciences Dean Mark Kornbluh and Department of English Chair Jeff Clymer.

Oct. 6, 2014

Professor emerita Jane Gentry Vance passed away on Thursday afternoon after a year-long battle with cancer. This is terribly sad news to everyone who knew her or was taught by her, especially her colleagues in the English Department and the Honors Program, where she taught for forty years before retiring in 2013. While this is a dismaying day, it’s also worthwhile to pause and celebrate Jane, and to remember fondly her warmth, her wry humor, her graciousness, and her many accomplishments as a poet and faculty member.

Jane graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hollins College in 1963, joined the University of Kentucky in 1972, published two books of poetry, a chapbook, and over 100 other poems, and taught creative writing to thousands of students. Always a favorite of her students, Jane won the Alumni Association’s Great Teacher Award. For her poetry, the state of Kentucky honored her by naming her Poet Laureate in 2007-08, and the College awarded her its own highest honor, induction into the A&S Hall of Fame, in 2013.

As a poet, Jane wrote with insight and grace of family, of the intricacies of our emotions, and of the ironies of everyday life. Her moving and elliptical poetry gave us new ways to think about life’s complexities, often with a dash of ironic humor. As a colleague, Jane used her sympathy and shrewdness for good. Generous and big-hearted, she was both compassionate and possessed of a clear-eyed sense of justice. We miss her way with words and we miss her thoughtfulness.

Jeff Clymer, Chairperson, Department of English

Mark Lawrence Kornbluh,  Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Visit https://vimeo.com/76662093 to view a video interview with Jane Gentry Vance from last year's Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame induction.

'see blue.' Lights Glowing on Campus in Celebration of UK Football Victory

Sat, 10/04/2014 - 23:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2014) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky Football team’s come from behind victory over South Carolina, "see blue." lights on top of four residence halls are on this evening.

The lights — which UK administrators activate for both athletics and academic victories — are on top of Central Halls I an II, Haggin Hall and Woodland Glen 1.

UK opened five new residence halls in August at four locations throughout campus as part of the institution’s ongoing housing and campus transformation.

UK will spend up to $500 million over the next few years on up to 9,000 residence hall beds with private partner EdR as part of a massive campus revitalization effort. 

"see tomorrow." Speaker Series Continues With Expert on Community Engagement

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 16:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2014) — A national expert on community engagement among universities is the next speaker in the "see tomorrow.": Strategic Plan Speaker Series.

Andrew Furco is an associate professor and associate vice president for public engagement in the University of Minnesota Office for Public Engagement. He will speak on the topic of community engagement at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in the Lexmark Public Room in the Main Building.

As associate vice president for public engagement, Furco works with units across the University of Minnesota to advance the institutionalization of various forms of public and community engagement into the university’s research, teaching, and outreach activities.

Furco's current work includes co-chairing the UNESCO International Values Education Research Consortium, a research collaborative composed of researchers from eight nations who are working to deepen understanding of universal values through a series of nationally based and transnational research studies. He also serves on the Council of Engagement and Outreach for the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), which focuses on advancing the role of community engagement at public institutions of higher education.

The speaker series is co-sponsored by the University Senate and the Office of the Provost.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

UK Choristers to Perform at First Presbyterian

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2014) — The 2014 University of Kentucky Choristers will make their fall debut at First Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 171 Market St. The concert is free and open to the public.

Under the direction of doctoral candidate Adam Beeken, of Cleveland, Tennessee, the concert will feature a performance of Joseph Haydn’s "Missa brevis in F." Additionally, the program will consist of works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Paul Basler, as well as traditional folk songs. The UK Choristers will be accompanied by Karina Johnson and assistant directed by graduate student Cooper Schrimsher, of Hunstville, Alabama.

UK Choristers is the oldest performing organization at UK. Filled with underclassmen and representing a wide variety of majors, the group frequently performs on and off of campus. This 55-voice mixed choir specializes in choral repertoire of all periods and styles, both a cappella and accompanied, and also performs a major work each year with the UK Symphony Orchestra as well as hosting a successful music theater cabaret, "Night on Broadway." The Choristers tour frequently throughout the region.

For more information on the concert or the UK Choristers, contact Evan Pulliam, administrative assistant for UK Choirs, at evan.pulliam@uky.edu.   

UK Choristers are housed at the UK School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts. The school has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; whitney.hale@uky.edu

Ambati Honored with NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for Research Discovery of Newly Discovered Type of DNA

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2014) — Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, professor & vice chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky, was chosen to receive the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award, one of only 10 recipients in 2014. He is the first ophthalmologist to win this award since its inception in 2004.

The Pioneer Award – the first ever to an institution in Kentucky – totaling $3.76 million over five years, is given to exceptionally creative and visionary scientists who propose highly innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical research that could yield potentially high payoffs for human health.

Ambati, who holds the Dr. E. Vernon & Eloise C. Smith Endowed Chair in Macular Degeneration Research, received the Pioneer Award to support his study of a newly discovered type of DNA that could have a profound impact on biology and medicine.

“I am honored to have received this award from among an exceptionally competitive group of scientists, and thrilled to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore our most imaginative concepts,” Ambati says. “My group and I are excited to probe the biology of this fascinating and previously unrecognized genetic material. We are particularly keen to understand its role in various ocular and neurological disorders. If we are successful, we expect to make new strides in translating these findings to human therapy.”

Ambati, who came to the University of Kentucky in 2001, also sees patients with retinal disorders, with a particular emphasis on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness worldwide. His laboratory’s groundbreaking research on the mechanisms that control cell death and vascular growth have led to fundamental insights into the factors that lead to development of AMD. His group has recently developed a new therapeutic to treat the dry form of AMD known as geographic atrophy, which they are planning to test in clinical trials for this currently untreatable condition that affects millions worldwide.

“When we talk about UK’s pioneering expert scientists who address the relevant and complex issues of our day, we are talking about faculty like Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The NIH’s Pioneer Award is a rare honor awarded to a small number of our world’s brightest minds. Dr. Ambati is at the forefront of his field and an exceptional scientist intently focused on expanding our understanding and improving treatment of macular degeneration.”  

Ambati is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an elected member of the Association of American Physicians, American Society for Clinical Investigation, Macula Society, and Club Jules Gonin, and American Society of Retinal Specialists. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Ophthalmology, and Translational Vision Science & Technology. His work has been previously recognized with awards from the American Geriatrics Society, Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ellison Medical Foundation, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Harrington Discovery Institute, and Research to Prevent Blindness.

"We congratulate Dr. Ambati on this prestigious recognition by the NIH as well as commend his team on this significant advancement in research," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK vice president for health affairs. "Having a researcher and clinician of Dr. Ambati's caliber strengthens our academic medical center team in all areas from the patients who benefit from his expertise to the students and researchers who gain from his leadership."

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

UK Joins Clinton Global Initiative University Network

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2014) — University of Kentucky has joined the Clinton Global Initiative University Network, a growing consortium of colleges and universities that support, mentor and provide seed funding to student leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. UK is now one of more than 40 colleges and universities worldwide that have joined the CGI University Network.

"The Clinton Global Institute University Network is garnering increasing recognition worldwide for the ways that it is harnessing the energy of new ideas and ways of thinking, to solve challenging world problems. The chance to tackle these big issues, in ways that are linked to students’ intellectual and professional development, is irresistible," said UK Associate Provost for Internationalization Susan Carvahlo.

UK will provide $10,000 in funding to be divided among UK students who are selected to pursue their Commitments to Action at CGI U 2015 to be held March 6-8, at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Commitments to Action, a unique feature of the CGI U model, are new, specific and measurable initiatives that address global challenges across CGI U’s five focus areas:

·       education,

·       environment and climate change,

·       peace and human rights,

·       poverty alleviation, and

·       public health.

UK will also mentor student commitment-makers as they develop and implement their plans in the coming months.

Carvahlo is excited UK students will now have this opportunity. "So many of our most forward-thinking students have a passion for solving big real-world challenges. This is their chance to engage with those questions, in a hands-on and informed way. It gives them the opportunity to test their best ideas against the best ideas from other universities and other creative minds. The energy of the project is enormous, and I think it will draw students in, in ways that help them as well as the problems they tackle."

Students interested in pursuing a Commitment to Action should contact the campus liaison in the UK Academy for Undergraduate Excellence, Lisa Broome, at lisa.broome@uky.edu or 859-257-1537. UK undergraduates and graduate students in any discipline are eligible to apply. Students may apply individually or in small teams.

Since its inaugural meeting in 2008, CGI U has brought together more than 5,500 student leaders from 135 countries and more than 800 schools. Past speakers include Madeleine Albright, Jack Dorsey, Jimmy Wales, Muhammad Yunus, Hawa Abdi Diblawe and Jon Stewart. For more information about the meeting, visit www.cgiu.org.

The deadline to apply for CGI U 2015 is Dec. 1, 2014, and students can apply online at http://www.cgiu.org/apply /.

CGI U brings together college students to address global challenges with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U participants do more than simply discuss problems — they take concrete steps to solve them by creating action plans, building relationships, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects. Previous CGI U meetings have convened more than 6,500 students from over 875 schools and 145 countries. To learn more, visit cgiu.org.

Prevention, Treatment Can Keep Fall Allergies At Bay

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 09:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2014)- Summer has faded and falling leaves cover your lawn. So why are you still coughing and sneezing?

Welcome to fall allergy season, a season that still has blooming plant life and other factors that may affect allergies, including ragweed, mold and dust mites.

UK HealthCare's Asthma, Allergy and Sinus Clinic is the official mold spore and pollen station for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, tracking the prevalence of allergens in the area. Lexington often has one of the highest pollen counts in the nation, and ragweed is the biggest offender.

Ragweed is a yellow flower that begins pollination in August and blooms until the first frost. Wind can carry ragweed pollen up to 100 miles, so even city dwellers aren't immune. Leaf raking is an annual fall ritual, but damp piles of leaves harbor allergy-causing mold. And dust mites sit in your vents until you turn your furnace on. All of these allergens cause misery in the form of itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, sniffles and coughs.

Many people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to the plants that pollinate in the fall. The good news is that there is no difference in treatment for fall allergies. Steroid nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants and over the counter drugs all help alleviate allergy symptoms. 

Because allergy symptoms are similar to the cold virus, many people don't realize they have allergies.  Both illnesses cause runny noses, sneezing, congestion, and/or throat cough. But chills, fevers, and body aches usually accompany colds, while allergies can be characterized by "allergic shiners"- dark circles around the eyes that are caused by increased blood flow to the sinuses. Colds last seven to10 days while allergies are typically seasonal and can therefore last longer. Keeping a diary of your symptoms might help you determine whether they arrive about the same time each year.  If you're still unsure, an allergist can help determine whether a cold virus or an allergic response causes your symptoms. 

Board certified allergists perform tests to identify your allergy triggers, suggest ways to reduce the amount of allergens in your home or at work, and set up a treatment schedule including maintenance medicine and immunotherapy. 

Good precautions to take to avoid fall allergies are to stay inside with the windows closed, dust your house frequently, and/or wear a mask while doing yard work. Filtering the air in your home can also help. A High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in your heating system or cheesecloth stretched over your vents can reduce the number of allergens circulating in your home.

Many people have lived with allergies all their lives. You wouldn't guess at your blood pressure or cholesterol. Why guess at your allergies? Allergy treatment by a board certified specialist can help you enjoy fall activities symptom-free.

Beth Miller, MD, is Director of the Asthma, Allergy and Sinus Clinic at UK HealthCare

This column appeared in the October 5, 2014, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

UK Police Department Issues Crime Bulletin for Sexual Assault on Campus

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 23:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 2, 2014) — In the interest of safety, University of Kentucky Police Department has issued a Crime Bulletin for the UK community.

  • On Thursday, October 2, 2014 at approximately 4:15 p.m., it was reported to the University of Kentucky Police that at approximately 11:45 a.m. that day, a female student was sexually assaulted by a male student in a residence hall on campus. The alleged suspect is known to the victim and the crime is currently being investigated. 

University of Kentucky Police Department has issued this Crime Bulletin for the UK Community in compliance with the “Timely Notice” provision of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998.

If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact UK Police at (859) 257-8573.

The University of Kentucky values a safe community for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors. In the interest of promoting a safe and secure campus environment, UK Police offer the following safety precautions:

  • If you see something, say something. For emergencies, call 911.
  • Carry a cell phone to be able to call for help in emergencies.
  • Whenever possible, do not travel alone after dark; walk with a friend or with a group. 
  • Whenever possible, look out for your friends when you go out together; walk together and make sure that everyone gets home safely.
  • Request a FREE SAFECATS student safety escort or coordinate after-hours on-demand bus service during the fall and spring semesters by calling (859) 257-SAFE(7233).
  • Park in well-lit areas when possible.
  • Turn over any requested items (purse, wallet, etc.).
  • Make statements with authority – “BACK-OFF! STOP! NO-WAY!” You deserve to be respected.

Literary and Visual Arts Find a Home in Shale

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 17:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 3, 2014) — Entries must be submitted today for an opportunity to be published in the 2014-15 edition of Shale, the University of Kentucky’s undergraduate arts journal.

With support from the UK College of Arts and Sciences, the journal is created and produced by students who want to publish the work of talented UK students each semester. Interested students can communicate with Shale via shaleuk@gmail.com . Those with poetry, short stories of other literary work for publication may submit their work at http://www.shalejournal.org/submit.html

“We believe that garnering support for the arts, whether literary or visual, is an important job, which is why we publish the work of talented UK students each semester,” said the 2014-15 editor in chief Katie Cross. “We also aim to empower and to build a community for creative individuals on campus.” A native of Science Hill, Kentucky, Cross is a senior English major minoring in psychology.

Many may recognize Jack, the publication’s mascot, who has accompanied staff members to events all over campus. In Fall 2012, the art manager at the time, Marshall Blevins, was preparing covers for the journal and created one with an elephant and one with a jackrabbit. The editor-in-chief at the time, Sarah Hayden, liked the rabbit cover more, and he's just stuck with Shale ever since, Cross said. So now their posters, logo, and sometimes journal covers incorporate the rabbit. If you see an ad on campus that has a rabbit on it, it's more than likely to be ours, said Cross, “which is interesting, because I believe U of L's literary journal is called The White Rabbit.

“This spring, I (only half-seriously) suggested to the editorial board that we should get a stuffed (as in plush) jackrabbit and bring him to our receptions and open mics and take photos of him at various campus landmarks for social media purposes,” Cross said. “It was a silly and quirky idea, but everyone seemed to love it, and Jack has now been to a game at the women's NCAA tournament and to Florida, among other places.”

“As this is my last year, I look back on all that we have accomplished and the memories that have been made, the legacy that has been left to me and the legacy I hope to leave, and know that I am quite a lucky writer and editor.

“I have learned so much,” said Cross, “about the craft of writing and about critiquing work from the hands-on experience Shale provides, not to mention from being around the many talented writers and artists on staff. It has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but the reward — being able to hold a freshly printed edition and seeing others' faces light up when they see their work on the page — is more than worth it.”

Kelsie Potter, assistant editor-in-chief, a junior English and integrated strategic communications double major from Worthington, Kentucky, said “Even before I came to UK, I knew that I wanted to be involved in a literary journal on campus. I was fortunate enough to be hired as a prose editor my first semester, and I have been with Shale ever since. It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with a group of talented students, to help others improve their work, and to develop my own skills as an editor.”

“I was first published in Shale my first semester at UK, and the next semester the editorial staff reached out to those who had previously been published for a chance to become a staff editor," said Jon Fish, managing editor of prose and a sophomore political science major with a minor in history, from Louisville, Kentucky. "I had been so impressed by the professionalism of the journal from my short time as a contributor that the opportunity to work on staff came as an intriguing possibility. The fact that a political science major like myself can secure a spot on our literary journal’s staff proves Shale’s commitment to reaching out to the entire UK campus.”

Shannon Newberry is managing editor of art for Shale. “After reading through the Fall 2013 Shale issue, I knew I wanted to be a part of the journal," the junior architecture major from Paducah, Kentucky, said. "I joined the staff as an art editor the following semester. Not only have I met wonderful people involved with the journal, but I have been privileged enough to discover the talented artists present here at UK.”

Mary Kate Elliott, managing editor of poetry and a senior English major from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, said working for Shale has been one of the most rewarding collegiate experiences she has ever had. "The journal staff, although divided into separate groups, really functions as a team to produce a polished, professional publication; the journal gets better every year, and it's 100 percent due to staff effort. Our wonderful editors, Katie Cross and Kelsie Potter, form the backbone of the group, doing behind the scenes work like filing incoming material, scheduling staff meetings, handling student inquiries, and promoting Shale through listservs. After working for the journal for two years, I feel confident in my teamwork skills and editorial work — this is definitely a stepping stone for me in both my academic and professional careers.”

#seebluestories Unites Big Blue Nation's Experiences

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 16:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2014) — The University of Kentucky is much more than a campus of beautiful buildings, an institution of higher learning and a world-class athletics program. The essence of UK is a feeling, a “see blue.” spirit that binds every Wildcat — student, faculty, staff, alumni, fans — together. Each member of the Big Blue Nation has a story to share about what the university means to them.

We want to hear them.

The University of Kentucky is proud to launch #seebluestories, a new social media hashtag and website dedicated to the stories that make up our university's rich heritage and lasting tradition. #seebluestories is a way for every member of the UK family to share their story — an archive of the experiences and lives that have shaped the university's nearly 150-year history.

"#seebluestories was inspired by 'Humans of New York' and similar sites where people share their stories through photography and simple text," Kelley Bozeman, UK's director of marketing, said. "We hear from folks all the time who want to share their UK experiences with us but did not have an outlet in which to do so. Now, through #seebluestories, everyone has that outlet."

#seebluestories is multifaceted. Stories can be submitted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/seebluestories or at seeblue.com/stories. On Facebook, simply write your story and post a photo to the page's wall. There your story will join all the other contributed stories.

"We see Facebook as a place where #seebluestories can grow organically," Bozeman said.

Stories submitted through the website will also be shared on Facebook and select stories will be shared on Steller, a new social media storytelling platform.

"We are excited to utilize Steller to share #seebluestories," Bozeman said. "It is a unique platform that combines photography, video and text in an interesting and visually appealing way that is easy to view from a mobile device. Steller will allow us to expand the one photo with text model we are using on Facebook to paint a more complete picture of the person's 'see blue.' story with a multipage, multi-visual experience for the end user."

Steller #seebluestories can be viewed through the app, available in the Apple App Store, or online at www.steller.co/seeblue.

"As we approach UK's 150th anniversary, the timing could not be better to launch #seebluestories," Bozeman said. "What makes UK so special is the people that make up and are impacted by our institution. We want Wildcats of all ages, young and old alike, to share their 'see blue.' story with us, and we cannot wait to hear them all."

Contributed stories will also be shared on various official UK social media sites. Fans are also encouraged to like the #seebluestories Facebook page.

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, 859-257-1909

UK Public Health Gains New Insights From Africa

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 15:43

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 3, 2014) — Four University of Kentucky graduate students from the College of of Public Health spent one month in Zimbabwe this past summer working with local nutritionists and teaching courses at Africa University. 

Located near the city of Mutare, Africa University (AU) enrolls nearly 1,200 students, representing 22 African nations. The private university was established in 1988, and hosted the UK students for the duration of their stay.

For Stephanie Courtney, a second-year public health student, this experience was her first time traveling out of the United States.

"It was a big culture shock," Courtney said. "It was funny because I had to reverse 24 years of looking left, right, left to cross a street because in Zimbabwe, they drive on the opposite side of the road."

In addition to taking public health and leadership courses at AU, Courtney worked on a project that identified primary interests in chronic disease with district and provincial nutritionists. With local nutritionists, Courtney participated in a Vitamin A supplementation program, where she focused on controlling micronutrient deficiencies.

"It was really interesting to see how culture plays a role in healthcare delivery," said Courtney. "Not everyone approaches the same problem in the same way."

Kevin Schuer, a PhD candidate – and his family who joined him for the month – appreciated learning about the culture Zimbabwe. For three weeks, Schuer co-taught a course at AU to students pursuing their master’s degree in public health. The class consisted of 25 students; one-third of which were from Zimbabwe and the other two-thirds were from around the continent.

"One difference that I noticed was that most of my class was predominantly older male students unlike students in my classes at UK who are usually female and recent graduates," Schuer said. "Many of the students at AU had careers in the medical field before coming back to continue their education. All of the students were not only very knowledgeable, but they were interested in improving the health of their country. It really meant something to them."

During their time in Zimbabwe, the students also toured Victoria Falls and brushed up on their Shona (a native language) speaking skills. All of the students were fortunate to gain more insight into the health and cultural practices of Zimbabwe.

"I felt privileged that the UK College of Public Health and the College of Health Sciences allowed for this opportunity to happen," said Schuer. "This experience was life-changing and I really look forward to going back and being apart of this relationship between UK and AU."

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