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UK Joins Citywide Partnership to Gain Safe Community Accreditation

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 17:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2015) — The University of Kentucky has joined Commerce Lexington, as well as local businesses, public health agencies and officials, and organizations, in an effort to designate the City of Lexington as an official Safe Community through the National Safety Council’s Safe Communities America program.

City leaders, including University of Kentucky assistant vice president Anthany Beatty, announced the partnership July 27 after a Chamber of Commerce meeting attended by Deborah Hersman, president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council and former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. Hersman, who investigated the crash of Comair Flight 5191 in 2006, traveled to the Bluegrass Region to discuss the Safe Communities initiative with local leaders.

The Safe Communities America model is a proven approach to reducing preventable injuries and deaths by enhancing established safety programs and working across entities to make communities safer. In Kentucky, injuries including car accidents, suicide and drug overdose are the leading causes of death in people younger than 45. In Kentucky, Madison County, Murray State University and Western Kentucky University have already been designated Safe Communities. Lexington elected officials, public health professionals, educators and business leaders are working together to bring Lexington into the Kentucky Safe Communities network.

In 2013, the University of Kentucky bestowed Hersman with an honorary doctorate of humanities for her leadership, compassion and transportation safety recommendations in the aftermath of one of Kentucky’s worst disasters. The Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center, a branch of the UK College of Public Health, coordinated Hersman’s current visit to Lexington.

Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, the National Safety Council (NCS) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

UK Study Shows Prescription Drug Law’s Effectiveness

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 16:27

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 28, 2015) – Since Kentucky’s landmark prescription drug abuse legislation took effect in 2012, the Commonwealth has seen a significant decline in the number of prescriptions for the most commonly abused medications, doctor shopping has decreased by more than 50 percent, and more Kentuckians are seeking treatment for prescription medication addiction.

These findings, among others, are part of a yearlong study conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy’s Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy and compiled in a report to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

Gov. Steve Beshear joined Attorney General Jack Conway, lawmakers and health industry officials today to announce the report.

The study specifically researched and analyzed the impact of state law known as House Bill 1, which was passed in a special session by the 2012 General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Beshear.

“House Bill 1 was a bipartisan effort designed to help us fight the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in Kentucky, and it’s doing exactly that,” said Gov. Beshear. “Since the law was enacted, not only have we seen a decline in doctor shopping and prescriptions for heavily abused medications, pill mills have closed and the provider community at large has become more educated and committed to using best practices for prescribing these commonly abused medications.”

Gov. Beshear said he and lawmakers are realistic and realize relapse is part of the disease of addiction, and “as a community, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to combat drug abuse to reduce its devastating toll on our families.”

House Bill 1 included multiple strategies to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs; expanded Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER), Kentucky’s prescription monitoring system; and required that pain management facilities be owned by a licensed physician. 

Specifically, the bill mandated that practitioners and pharmacists register with the KASPER system in an effort to reduce the number of patients receiving similar prescriptions from multiple doctors.

According to the study, since House Bill 1 was implemented:

·        More individuals are seeking office-based addiction treatment.  

·        The number of patients “doctor shopping” declined by 52 percent.

·        24 non-physician-owned pain management facilities have ceased operation.

·        The number of opioid prescriptions to doctor-shopping individuals dropped by 54 percent.

·        5 million KASPER reports were requested in 2014.

·        Each weekday, providers request more than 20,000 KASPER reports.

·        For the first time in six years, Kentucky overdose deaths declined in 2013.

“The results of this study are proof of what can happen when we put people above politics,” Attorney General Jack Conway said. “Gov. Beshear, Senate President Stivers, House Speaker Stumbo and I worked across party lines to craft and pass a piece of legislation that is saving lives in Kentucky. For the first time in recent memory, the numbers are moving in the right direction, and we’re a better state for taking this action that has become a national model.”

“House Bill 1 was an example of the legislative process creating an effective and practical solution to a real problem,” Senate President Robert Stivers, of Manchester, said. “But the war on drugs is ever-evolving. It is important that we as lawmakers act as quickly as we can to identify and prevent new drugs from spreading in our communities.”

“This report validates the efforts we have made to reverse an epidemic that is killing or crippling tens of thousands of our citizens and is hurting us all in ways large and small,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who sponsored House Bill 1 in 2012. “As House Speaker, and during my time as Attorney General, I have re-dedicated myself to making sure the state does all it can to put the dealers and rogue doctors behind bars and to get addicts the treatment they need to escape their deadly cycle. Our work has been hailed as a national model, but as I have said many times, drug abuse is an ever-changing battlefield. We can never afford to let our guard down.”

House Bill 1 requires that when a complaint is received about inappropriate controlled substance prescribing, the Attorney General, Kentucky State Police, CHFS and the appropriate licensure board collaborate and share information for administrative and law enforcement purposes.

From House Bill 1’s passage in July 2012 to March 2015, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure took 196 controlled substance prescribing disciplinary actions against 142 physicians, ranging from emergency orders of suspension or restriction, to license suspensions or surrenders and revocations. The Board also has the ability to restrict a physician’s ability to prescribe controlled substances through the use of an Agreed Order.

“The Board has remained diligent in carrying out the provisions of HB1 and has been pleased with the results of the legislation and the regulations that were implemented as a result,” said Mike Rodman, executive director of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure. “Due to the legislation, physicians throughout Kentucky are utilizing the KASPER system appropriately to monitor their patients and make informed decisions on their prescribing practices.  In addition, the education requirements mandated by HB1 have provided physicians with important educational opportunities to learn about pain management, addiction and the KASPER program.” 

Gov. Beshear said that a recent report by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy showing that Kentucky overdose deaths increased in 2014, after leveling off in 2013, indicates the persistent challenge of reining in substance use and abuse.

“One overdose death is one too many, and the information from this 2014 report is further proof of our ongoing challenges to help put those Kentuckians facing addiction back on their feet,” Gov. Beshear said. “But the provisions in House Bill 1 are working. We further enhanced Kentucky’s fight against this scourge in the 2015 legislative session with the passage of Senate Bill 192, our historic anti-heroin legislation.”

Gov. Beshear said all officials must continue to educate the public on the dangers of drug use and abuse, and continue to commit appropriate resources to the strategies the state has taken to reduce the devastating toll of addiction on families and communities.

The study’s executive summary and full report are available in the KASPER Studies and Surveys section of the KASPER public website: www.chfs.ky.gov/KASPER.

For more information about the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy in the UK College of Pharmacy, visit http://pharmacy.mc.uky.edu/ipop/

New Shared Use Path Connects Commuters to Campus, City

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 16:06

Video Produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing.  To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 29, 2015) — At the University of Kentucky and across Lexington, car-free transportation options have continued to grow in popularity due to increased accessibility and affordability. Today, UK President Eli Capilouto, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and others celebrated the opening of a new shared use path at The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, connecting bicyclists and pedestrians from south Lexington neighborhoods to campus and downtown.

Located on the western edge of The Arboretum Woods, the path links Shady Lane to University Court, providing a safe and efficient connection for dozens of commuters cycling and walking along this corridor daily. 

“UK is undergoing a dramatic physical transformation, including the redevelopment and improvement of our parking and transportation infrastructure. We’re taking a holistic approach to provide a diverse range of safe options for our campus and surrounding community,” said President Capilouto. “The new shared-use path through The Arboretum connects us to surrounding neighborhoods and provides a safer, more convenient access point for bikers commuting to campus."

Until now, cyclists commuting along the Bellefonte bicycle route, the oldest bicycle facility in Lexington, faced limited and difficult options for traversing The Arboretum and Alumni Drive. The shared use path will allow those commuters to travel through The Arboretum Woods to campus and then downtown along an established network of dedicated bicycle facilities, with safe crossings of busy intersections and without having to negotiate the walking paths in The Arboretum.

“The new Arboretum path adds to our growing network of paths and trails for cycling and walking,” Mayor Gray said. “From the Legacy Trail to Town Branch Trail to Brighton Rail Trail and all points in between, Lexington is connecting the pieces to make it easier to bike or walk around town. The city is adding more bike lanes, colored lane markings and road signage to improve the safety of bicycling.”

To promote safety for all commuters along this corridor, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG), a founding partner of The Arboretum, instituted new way-finding and safety-related pavement markings and signage to guide cyclists between the Bellefonte route and the new shared use path, along with a new pedestrian crosswalk where the path intersects with Shady Lane.

An additional component of the project was an improvement to the connection from University Drive to Hiltonia via the Baptist Health campus. This part of the project creates better connectivity to the west and provides safer access for cyclists traveling between the Rosemont Garden and Southland Drive corridors and campus/downtown.  Baptist Health was a key partner for this aspect of the project.

Both the Bellefonte route and shared use path are located in Lexington's 4th District, represented by Councilmember Susan Lamb.

“We are excited to have this new path, providing a safer route for bicyclists who travel to the University of Kentucky from and through the 4th District," Lamb said.

In 2011, the UK Bicycle Advisory Committee identified the Arboretum Woods connection as a priority project. The connection was also identified as a priority project on the LFUCG Greenways Master Plan, the Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and the UK Campus Bicycle Plan.

"Through our Transportation Master Plan, we've really been focusing on finding alternative ways for people to reach campus," said Lance Broeking, director of UK Parking and Transportation Services (PTS). "And so this path is really just an extension of some of those efforts to create commuter paths for the community and the university community in order to find unique ways to get people out of single occupancy vehicles and still have access to campus."

Broeking says PTS has seen a "huge increase" in the number of bicyclists on campus over the last several years. In September 2008, PTS, with the help of the Sustainable Campus Internship Program, repeated a 1998 Cordon Count Bicycle Study of bicycle traffic and cyclist behavior on campus. The count and the resulting data assist PTS in making decisions about bicycle use on campus. Approximately 60 surveyors counted bikes at 14 checkpoints around major entrances to campus. The data showed that bicycle use on campus had grown 37 percent in the decade since the previous study. Once considered just a warm weather way of commuting, more and more individuals are now using bicycles as their primary source of transportation.

“A shared use path that traverses The Arboretum has been in discussion since at least 2001. With The Arboretum Advisory Board’s approval, in 2013, plans to develop a path through the woods commenced," said Molly Davis, director of The Arboretum. "One of the board’s concerns was that the path’s ultimate location should cause the least possible damage to the existing trees in this 16-acre remnant of Inner Bluegrass Upland Forest. While construction projects always have impacts to the existing environment, we hope that this project will improve the bicycle and pedestrian environment for UK and the wider community, and provide a needed connection from neighborhoods through UK’s campus and beyond, while causing the least damage to our treasured Arboretum.”

The design of the new facility carefully considered the ecological significance of the woodland remnant it crosses and was constructed to remove as little vegetation as possible and to protect the root systems of the trees adjacent to the path.

“From a sustainability perspective, this project was both complex and challenging,” said Shane Tedder, sustainability coordinator for the university. “We had to balance the benefits of potentially shifting more commuters out of cars with the impacts of building in the unique and sensitive ecological conditions of the Arboretum Woods and the concerns of neighboring residents. I am hopeful that the scales will tip in favor of the health, environmental and economic benefits that come from the path.”

Once commuters arrive on University Court, they can cross Alumni Drive onto University Drive's bicycle lane or shared sidewalk. From there they can access main campus or downtown Lexington through a number of bicycle lanes, shared use trails, sharrows (shared lane arrow) or shared sidewalks. Once the Alumni Drive realignment is complete, cyclists and pedestrians will also have access to campus and downtown from Tates Creek Road through a shared use path and bicycle lane, and from Nicholasville Road through a bicycle lane shared use path.

Commuters expect the path will offer convenience and save them time when traveling to and from campus and downtown. For Sue Troske, a research coordinator for the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy in the UK College of Pharmacy, the path also offers comfort and safety. 

"It feels a lot safer because there aren’t cars and there are no potholes," she said. "You don’t have to deal with traffic; you can kind of think, 'okay what am I going to do today?' You can kind of get set up for your day."

On her new route, Troske can even pick up her weekly share of organic vegetables from the UK Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project.

"It's right on my way home to pick up my CSA on Thursdays," she said. "So I pick up all my vegetables on my bike and then pedal home."

"This path kind of parallels Nicholasville Road but creates a warm and inviting opportunity that while it's primarily designated as a commuting path, it really is an enjoyable ride as well," Broeking said.

In addition to the Arboretum Woods Shared Use Path, the UK campus boasts 8 miles of bike lanes, 3.5 miles of sharrows and 3 miles of shared sidewalks. Once recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly University, UK's status was upgraded to a Silver level Bicycle Friendly University this year. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu, or Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398, blair.hoover@uky.edu

College of Health Sciences Faculty Receive Highest Award from ASHA

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 14:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2015) —Two University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences faculty members will receive the highest award given by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Robert C. Marshall, and Joseph C. Stemple, professors in the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, will be recognized with the Honors of the Association at the ASHA annual convention, which will be held in in November in Denver. 

The Honors of the Association recognizes members for their distinguished contributions to the discipline of communication sciences and disorders and is the highest honor the association bestows. The Honors of the Association recognize individuals whose contributions have been of such excellence that they have enhanced or altered the course of the field of speech, language and hearing professions.

Marshall and Stemple are the first from Kentucky to receive the Honors of the Association.

“This award of national prominence demonstrates the excellence of our faculty,” said Scott M. Lephart, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “The fact that Drs. Marshall and Stemple are the first recipients from the Commonwealth further underscores the importance of the work we are doing at the College of Health Sciences. Our faculty is making a local, statewide, and national impact.”

“It’s a tremendous honor for Drs. Marshall and Stemple that exemplifies one of the highest levels of achievement in communication sciences and disorders,” said Anne Olson, division director Communication Sciences and Disorders. “Dr. Marshall’s career in aphasia and Dr. Stemple’s career in clinical voice disorders have been experienced through multiple lenses: clinical, academic, and research. Thus they understand the impact of speech and language disorders from both the human and scientific dimensions. As colleagues, we are proud of them, but more importantly we are thrilled for our graduate students in speech language pathology who have the opportunity to learn from true giants in their respective fields.”

Marshall’s selection was based on his years of sustained research, scholarship, teaching and service activities within the profession that spanned from the public schools, to the Veterans Administration and academia in Oregon, Rhode Island and Kentucky. He has held clinical and leadership positions in all employment settings and is widely regarded for his scholarly expertise in aphasia.

“Receiving the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Association is a high point of a very satisfying professional career. I am humbled by this award,” Marshall said. “I am grateful to my sponsor, Dr. Lee Ann Golper, my co-sponsors Drs. Kathryn Yorkston and Rosemary Lubinski, and the many professional colleagues who supported my nominations. I feel blessed to have been taught by those who overlooked my weaknesses and nurtured my strengths and inspired by my patients, students, professional colleagues, and employers. These forces, along with the support of my family every step of the way, have been the ‘wind beneath my sails.’ I feel very blessed to have had a job in which going to work every day was something to truly look forward to.”

Stemple’s selection was based on his unique ongoing research, scholarship, teaching and service activities within the profession, that include his development of centers of excellence for voice care, voice research and educational opportunities, his prolific publication record, including textbooks and scholarly manuscripts, as well as his international reputation as a dynamic presenter on issues related to the voice across the lifespan. 

The UK College of Health Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate/professional programs in: Athletic Training, Clinical Leadership and Management, Clinical Nutrition (in collaboration with the College of Medicine), Communication Sciences and Disorders, Human Health Sciences, Medical Laboratory Science, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and Rehabilitation Sciences.

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

UK Human Development Institute Releases 'Welcoming a Newborn with Down Syndrome' Book

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 13:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute recently released " Welcoming a Newborn with Down Syndrome: A New Parent’s Guide to the First Month” by Stephanie Hall Meredith and Nancy McCrea Iannone to offer support and accurate, reliable information to the new parents of a baby with Down syndrome.

The book, released July 28, covers topics like breastfeeding, adjusting to a diagnosis, preparing siblings, understanding medical issues, preparing for the future, and, most importantly, it shares diverse stories about the daily lives of families whose children have Down syndrome at different ages. The book also features beautiful images by noted photographers, Kelle Hampton, Matthew Day, and Conny Wenk.

“Welcoming a Newborn with Down Syndrome” is available for free digitally at http://downsyndromepregnancy.org/, a program hosted by the Human Development Institute, and printed copies are available for purchase from the publisher, Woodbine House.

This book is critical for new parents first learning about a diagnosis during a moment that can sometimes be overwhelming and vulnerable. Accurate and up-to-date information can be key in making sure children with Down syndrome get the support, medical care, and services they need right from the start to get the best outcomes for a lifetime. The book is based on “Diagnosis to Delivery: A Pregnant Mother’s Guide to Down Syndrome,” which has been distributed worldwide to nearly 15,000 families, medical providers, and Down syndrome organizations since 2010.

According to Kristy Anderson, mom of a newborn with Down syndrome, “This book is an invaluable resource for parents who are embarking on the journey of raising a child with Down syndrome. It was helpful for me to read a practical book that addressed the range of emotions, worries, and questions I had about my sweet baby. And, it’s written by experienced parents — the best experts of all!”

Sarah Cullen, family support director at the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC) says, “’Welcoming a Newborn with Down Syndrome’ is an exceptional resource for families and will be included in every MDSC First Call welcome package! The pages are full of essential information, practical suggestions and key resources, woven together with compassion and support. This book will undoubtedly be the gold standard for families of newborns with Down syndrome.”

Campbell Brasington, genetic counselor at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, adds, “This new parent guide is an incredible resource for new parents that gently guides them through the first days and weeks after their new baby’s diagnosis … As a genetic counselor, it is important to me to have accurate, balanced, and up-to-date resources to give to new families that also show parents the amazing potential of this new life. This new handbook fits that bill and then some.”

Tax deductable contributions can help the Human Development Institute continue offering these important digital resources free.  More information is available at http://downsyndromepregnancy.org/donate/

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

UK Theatre to Settle 'The Dispute' at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 15:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2015) — To cheat or not to cheat? That is the question 14 University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance students and faculty will try to answer as they take the stage next month at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to present "The Dispute."

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. Every year thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters to everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

"We're so excited to be a part of this. The festival is open to lots of different types of theatre from professional to amateur, drama to comedy, solo artists to large ensembles. This year we'll be getting our feet wet in hopes to come back again," said Kaitlyn Noble, who is both performing as part of the cast and serving as a marketing intern for the production.

UK Theatre has given an old story new life in its debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Their adaptation of Pierre de Marivaux’s "La Dispute" places the story on the wedding day of a runaway bride.

In this limited engagement performance, two scientists attempt to uncover the truth about fidelity — can a person truly be faithful in love? In this comical adventure, four children raised in total isolation are introduced to each other to prove that cheating is not a default human instinct. Told through the magic of a future technology, a worried bride and her wedding party watch the story unfold and learn what it really takes to love another person.

Bringing "The Dispute" to life is a cast and crew of UK 12 students under the guidance of UK Theatre Chair Nancy Jones, who is serving as director of the production, and Associate Professor Tony Hardin, who is serving as the production designer. The group held a week of long rehearsals in May to get the cast familiar with the piece. They now will have about two more weeks of rehearsals before heading to Edinburgh and then only one day in the space to run it before they open Aug. 11. The cast and crew of students featured in "The Dispute" include:

· theatre sophomore Nicolás Acosta, from Bogotá, Colombia;

· theatre and arts administration junior Jessica Agro, from Bowling Green, Kentucky;

· theatre senior Shalisha Brace, from Hazard, Kentucky;

· theatre sophomore Emily Cole, from Chicago, Illinois;

· theatre and arts administration senior Liz Ellis, from College Station, Texas;

· theatre senior Shermaine Johns-Dorsey, from Louisville, Kentucky;

· theatre senior Peter LaPrade, from Marietta, Georgia;

· theatre and elementary education junior Hannah Nall, from Louisville;

· theatre and integrated strategic communication senior Kaitlyn Noble, from Corbin, Kentucky;

· integrated strategic communication and English senior Kelsie Potter, from Worthington, Kentucky; 

· theatre senior Daylin Tone, from Burbank, California; and

· theatre junior Madeline Williamson, from Coronado, California.

"The Dispute" will be staged four days, Aug. 11-14, at Greenside @ Royal Terrace, as part of the festival. After Edinburgh, UK Theatre hopes to tour the show in the U.S. To follow the cast and crew's Edinburgh experience, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thedispute and Twitter page at http://twitter.com/DisputeUKY.

Noble, who is excited for the experience to be part of a production on such a popular international stage, believes the trip is a great opportunity to build skills for her career. "It's a great resume builder for after college. It shows that we've had several opportunities in our training."

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe story dates back to 1947, when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform at the (then newly formed) Edinburgh International Festival, an initiative created to celebrate and enrich European cultural life in the wake of the World War II. Not being part of the official program of the International Festival didn’t stop the performers – they just went ahead and staged their shows on the "fringe of the festival" anyway – coining the phrase and the festival's name Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Year after year, more and more performers followed the early troupes' example and in 1958 the Festival Fringe Society was created in response to the success of this growing trend. Almost 70 years later, the festival has grown tremendously. In 2014 there were 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues, making it the largest ever arts festival in the world.

The UK Department of Theatre at the College of Fine Arts has played an active role in the performance scene in Central Kentucky for more than 100 years. Students in the program get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from a renowned professional theatre faculty. The liberal arts focus of their bachelor's degree program is coupled with ongoing career counseling to ensure a successful transition from campus to professional life.

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

The Time to Prepare for Ragweed Season and Fall Allergies is Now

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 11:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2015) — Who would think that an innocent looking tiny green flower would produce copious amounts of pollen, making us miserable with a stuffy, runny nose, itchy throat and eyes? This member of the daisy family is the culprit for hay fever, also known as ragweed allergies.

Ragweed season rears its ugly head in late summer through November with pollen counts at its highest levels in mid-September in most regions of the U.S. Some people with hay fever also develop asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

People whose parents or siblings have allergies to plant pollen are more likely to develop ragweed allergies. Also, people who have allergies to dust, animals, grass or mold tend to develop allergies to pollens, and people who already have an allergy to one type of plant pollen tend to develop allergies to other pollens.

Seasonal allergies develop when the body's immune system in a genetically susceptible person becomes sensitized and makes allergic antibodies to something in the environment that causes no problem in most people.

Some things you can do to avoid or limit contact with ragweed pollen are:

·      Wash your hands often

·      Limit time outdoors when ragweed counts are high and avoid mid-day when counts peak

·      Windows closed, air conditioning on

·      Wear a dust mask if working outside

·      Don't wear outdoor work clothes inside to avoid bringing pollen in the house

·      Clean and replace HVAC filters often using HEPA filters which remove at least 99 percent of pollen and other particles

·      Use a clothes dryer rather than outdoor clothes lines

Climate can affect the level of pollen particles, which in turn influences symptom severity. Kentucky has recently experienced an unusual amount of rainfall, and pollen counts can actually soar after rain. Ragweed pollen thrives during cool nights and warm days. Mold grows quickly in heat and high humidity.

There is little we can do about the weather, but preparing for ragweed season now might avoid misery later. Some allergy medicines should be taken one to two weeks before ragweed season begins. Ask your allergist which medicine(s) you should take, and begin your regimen now.

Your health care provider may also recommend allergy shots. The shots contain a tiny but increasing amount of the allergen you're sensitive to. Over time, your body becomes used to the allergen and no longer reacts to it. Alternatively, sublingual drops for ragweed are also available, although this treatment will only treat ragweed allergy.

Dr. Beth Miller is division chief of Allergy and Immunology at the University of Kentucky and director of UK Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Clinics.

This column appeared in the July 26, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

UK Police Release Photos of Person of Interest in Theft Case

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 10:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 24, 2015) — University of Kentucky Police are asking the public for assistance identifying a person and vehicle of interest in a theft case on UK's campus.  Police have released photos of a woman who may be connected to the theft of jewelry and cash from offices in the Main Building, which houses the university's administrative offices.

Police say security cameras show the person of interest entered the front door of the Main Building around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 7, and took the elevator to the third floor where she entered an office and stayed approximately three to five minutes.  She left that office and took the stairs to the second floor where she entered another office and stayed about two to three minutes before leaving.  The woman left the building and got into a gray or silver Ford Expedition. Police have released a photo of the vehicle as well.

On July 8, jewelry worth more than $10,000 was reported missing from a lady's purse in one office, and $32 in cash was reported taken from another purse in the other office.

UK Police are asking for any information about the identity of the woman or information about the vehicle in the attached photographs.  Anyone with information is asked to contact UK Police at 859-257-8573.

McCorvey Talks About Alltech Haitian Harmony Choir on WUKY's 'UK Perspectives'

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 19:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 24, 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.  UK Opera Director Everett McCorvey describes his recent visit to Ounaminthe and Dondon, Haiti, where he worked with the Alltech Haitian Harmony Choir. 

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

UK Crime Bulletin: Motor Scooter Thefts

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 15:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 23, 2015) — In the interest of safety, the University of Kentucky Police Department has issued the following Crime Bulletin for the UK Campus regarding a recent rash of motor scooter thefts.

·         The University of Kentucky Police Department received a report of a stolen motor scooter from outside of Woodland Glen II on July 12, 2015.

·         The University of Kentucky Police Department received a report of two stolen motor scooters from outside of the College of Nursing building on July 21, 2015.

·         The University of Kentucky Police Department received a report of a stolen motor scooter from outside of W.T. Young Library on July 21, 2015.

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 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; report suspicious activity to UK Police immediately. For emergencies, call 911.

·         Whenever possible, avoid thefts of opportunity. Opportunity theft is the direct result of property and valuables left unattended and unsecured, even for short periods of time, which provides a thief with the opportunity to steal your valuables.

Maintain a thorough record of your valuables, to include photographs, serial numbers, makes and models, etc.

'No Worries' — ACE Staging Two More Performances of 'Lion King Jr.'

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 17:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 23, 2015) — As Timon and Pumbaa would say, "Hakuna Matata." You still have two more opportunities to catch "The Lion King Jr." presented by the University of Kentucky Academy for Creative Excellence (ACE). The musical, based on the Disney film, will take the stage 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

"The Lion King" has captivated the imagination of audiences around the world for more than 20 years. This regional premiere of "The Lion King Jr." brings to life Simba, Rafiki, Nala, the Lioness Pride, Scar and the animals of the African savanna on their unforgettable journey. The coming-of-age tale, featuring ACE's Broadway Bound middle school/high school cast, is appropriate for audiences of all ages.

ACE was created in 2009 as a preparatory performing arts program for young students in Lexington and the surrounding communities. The academy provides training and instruction in performing arts and encourages excellence, enthusiasm, professionalism and passion among its students. ACE is a department of UK Opera Theatre.

Tickets for "The Lion King" are $10 for children (12 and under) and $12 for general admission. To purchase, contact the Singletary Center ticket office by phone at 859-257-4929, visit online at www.scfatickets.com, or in person at the venue. Processing fees will be added to purchase upon transaction.

UK Opera Theatre is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The School of Music has garnered national recognition 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

A UK Home for Health Care: Family and Community Medicine Clinic Earns National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 15:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 24, 2015) – Few people think of a health care facility where they go to see their physician as a 'home,' but that's exactly the kind of environment Dr. Jonathan Ballard, medical director for the University of Kentucky's Family and Community Medicine (FCM) Clinic, and a team of health care providers strive to give every patient that walks through the clinic doors. Their efforts to make the care and comfort of every patient, from the beginning of life through the golden years a priority, has earned UK Family and Community Medicine the national recognition of being a 'Patient Centered Medical Home.'

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced recently that UK Family and Community Medicine has received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients' experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient's care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

"NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "Recognition shows that the University of Kentucky Family & Community Medicine has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time."

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, the practice demonstrated the ability to meet the program's key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

The UK Family and Community Medicine is a primary care clinic recently relocated to the UK HealthCare Turfland location on Harrodsburg Road. The pristine new space, roughly the size of two football fields, provides ample free parking, is easy to navigate.

The clinic employs faculty physicians, resident physicians, nurses, psychologists, and patient care coordinators who are divided up into teams. Each patient is assigned to a team, led by a personal clinician, that follows them in all aspects of their care throughout their life. The staff are trained to assist with insurance, referrals, and other issues within the health care system that can often be difficult for patients to navigate.

"The system as a whole works to function more efficiently to streamline care and provide a more positive experience for the patient which is first and foremost in everything we do," Ballard said.

Arnold and Earlene Cool from Lancaster, Kentucky, became patients because they followed their physician, Dr. Ginny Gottschalk, from her Danville practice to Lexington, and their bond with the doctor has only intensified since that time because of their positive experience with her and UK Family and Community Medicine.  

Initially, Arnold Cool accompanied his sister to an appointment at the clinic and Gottschalk came out to the waiting room to say hello.

"She is a wonderful, caring doctor and I was really touched that she took the time to come out and speak to me," Cool said. "The facility is gorgeous and the care and efficiency of the staff is outstanding. There are no long lines and we don't have to wait long to be seen. We're very impressed with the clinic."

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

UK Executive Healthcare Leadership Program is Thriving

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 08:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 23, 2015) — When a new program reaches its second year, it officially can be referred to as an annual event. By the time it reaches its third year, it is very likely on its way to sustained success. And, by the time that program is ready to begin its seventh year, you would have to call it 'a smash hit.'

Such is the case for the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program offered through the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center (EEC), now gearing up for year seven. The program is run through a partnership involving the University of Kentucky's   Gatton College of Business and Economics, the UK College of Public Health, and UK HealthCare.

Over its first six years, the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program has graduated 168 participants from UK's various health colleges, including 38 during its 2014-15 cohort. The program continues to thrive and includes not only UK Healthcare professionals but a wide range of other health care leaders representing external organizations, including critical access hospitals throughout Kentucky.

This certificate program offers health care executives a cutting-edge curriculum tailored to health care organizations while exposing attendees to a wide range of business and managerial skills to strengthen their work environment.

"Now more than ever, leadership in health care requires more than understanding clinical medicine, or financial and business strategy," said Jay S. Grider, medical director of UK HealthCare Pain Services and professor of anesthesiology, who earned his Executive Healthcare Leadership Certificate five years ago. "The successful organization will be led by those who are fluent in both languages and as such, requires understanding of the nuances of how efficient, cost-effective, evidence-based care is provided. UK's Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program is a huge first step in contemplating this journey."

The director of the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center, Joe Labianca, believes the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program benefits health care professionals now and in the future.

"As the U.S. health care system shifts from a fee-for-service model toward a more value-based model that emphasizes improving patient care quality while simultaneously more effectively controlling operating and capital costs, health care professionals will need a  heightened knowledge of fundamental business practices in order to advance both their organizations and their careers," said Labianca who is also chair of the Department of Management in the Gatton College. "This program is designed to help these professionals envision the change that will be necessary in their organizations and learn the basic tools to begin acting on that required change."

The Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program offers a broad spectrum of topics that focus on specific business skills related to the health care environment including business finance, health care economics and strategic marketing. There are also multiple topics related to management including project management, supply chain management, strategic management, negotiation and conflict management, managing with emotional intelligence and managing value chains. Additional topics include decision making, ethics, customer service, team development, leadership models and communications.

"This was a great opportunity to work with leaders from across the enterprise to gain new skills and apply our thinking to real challenges facing UK HealthCare," said Sarah Heck, assistant director of strategy for UK HealthCare and a graduate of the program. "Over the course of the program, I was able to grow as a leader and bring back what I was learning to my team."

Paula Chipko, director of strategy for UK HealthCare, was one of the first set of attendees in the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program.

"It was exciting to network with others at similar points in their careers," Chipko said. "In addition, at the completion of the program we were offered opportunities to work on enterprise level problems, which demonstrated the value that UK HealthCare leadership saw in the program. Overall, an excellent experience, which has proven very valuable to me."

UK HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Bernard Boulanger said, "What makes this program unique is that it includes doctors, nurses, physician assistants and administrators in one cohort. The change to a value-based model needs to be driven by a greater interaction and silo-breaking across a wide variety of health care professionals."

Boulanger works in collaboration with Labianca on course development. Instructors leading the program's courses include faculty from the Gatton College, the College of Public Health, and UK HealthCare.

Labianca added, "Programs that are targeted only to one set of professionals can't generate the momentum needed to radically alter the way that health care is being delivered as effectively as a program that brings these professionals together to tackle common problems as we do."

The result, according to Labianca, is that graduates are sparked to initiate change that will have a meaningful impact on their organizations as well as colleagues' and patients' lives and well-being.

The Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program includes 10 all-day  sessions taught in a highly engaging learning environment and is held at the Hilary J. Boone Center on UK's campus. The schedule, which averages two sessions per month, begins Dec. 16 and concludes on May 11, 2016. In addition to the variety of topics to be covered, guest speakers will be featured.

It is expected that 40 professionals, yet to be selected, will make up the 2015-16 class.

For more information regarding the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program, contact Labianca or Debbie Reed, program coordinator for the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center, at 859-257-8780, or Sarah Bentley, chief of staff, CMO/CNE Offices, UK HealthCare at 859-257-6467.

MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, carl.nathe@uky.edu; 859-257-3200.

UK HealthCare Employees Gathering Supplies for Flood Victims

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 17:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2015) — UK HealthCare employees are collecting supplies to assist with relief efforts in Johnson County after flash floods swept through the area July 14.

On July 22 and July 23, faculty, staff and employees at UK HealthCare are encouraged to donate rescue and cleanup supplies at one of four locations on the medical campus. Donations will be transported to the Johnson County Relief Center, which is assisting members of the Flat Gap community who were affected by the flood. More than 150 homes were destroyed by the floodwaters, with hundreds more damaged by water and debris. After two people died from drowning in floodwaters, officials continue to search for several residents of Flat Gap who were reported missing during the flood.

Jessica LaRue, a native of the flood-prone city of Inez in Martin County, realized the immense devastation of the July 14 flood through photos and posts on Facebook. LaRue works in the Department of Pediatrics at UK HealthCare, and coordinated the donation drive in collaboration with the help of UK HealthCare administrative leadership.

Items requested for the relief effort include:

·      Fans and extension cords

·      Water hoses

·      Laundry detergent

·      Pillows

·      Towels

·      Washcloths

·      Blankets

·      Large trash cans

·      Heavy-duty trash bags and work gloves

·      Coolers

·      Boots

·      Large zip lock bags and paper plates

Drop off stations are located in the North Lobby of Pavilion H in the UK Chandler Hospital from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for night shift employees at the Pavilion H Information Desk from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 22 and July 23. Donations will be accepted at a station in Room CC401B on the fourth floor of the Markey Cancer Center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. UK Good Samaritan employees can drop off donations at the administrative offices on the ground floor.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

BLOG: A Time to Celebrate Higher Education

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 16:10

Following is a blog from John Thelin, professor of educational policy studies and evaluation in the University of Kentucky College of Education and co-author with Richard W. Trollinger of the book Philanthropy and American Higher Education, published in 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan. In his own words, Thelin weighs in on the current state of American colleges.

July 22, 2015

Only in America. Higher education in the United States is an extensive, exciting venture in which going to college is indelibly linked to the American Dream of opportunity and achievement. Americans have great expectations that our colleges and universities can simultaneously promote equity and excellence. It’s a heritage worthy of our celebration – and of our continued resolution to work on this unfinished business. 

A distinctive strand in this American mixture of idealism and realism is philanthropy. We are a nation of donors and joiners. This was true in 1815 as it is in 2015. And our colleges and universities are center stage in both giving and receiving. According to the Council for Aid to Education in 2014, charitable giving to American colleges and universities reached an historic high level. Colleges raised $37.45 billion. Not only was the amount high, the trajectory showed acceleration and growth, posting just about an 11 percent% increase in giving since 2013. Harvard, as befits its stature as the oldest and wealthiest institution, led the way by raising $1.16 billion – part of its $6.5 billion fund raising campaign. Stanford already had completed its own five-year campaign to raise $6.5 billion. Looking across the landscape of American higher education and society, one finds reaffirmation of “Giving and Sharing” as an enduring – and endearing – American tradition. 

Prosperity brings problems – and responsibilities. We are left with serious questions on how and where to channel this generosity. Such questions of policies and practices intersect with national concerns over schisms in American life and education, known as the “opportunity gap.” And, ultimately this leads to such related issues as the rising costs and prices of going to college. Philanthropy and private giving, of course, are crucial in any serious consideration of student financial aid. All these deliberations lead to periodic reflection on why as Americans we emphasize going to college – and paying for college. 

It includes a voice that makes “the case against college” – again! Maybe going to college is not such a great idea. Kevin Carey of the New America Foundation has received a great deal of press coverage for his writings and talks about “The End of College.” Three years ago the entrepreneur Peter Thiel put up money that paid outstanding high school students to pursue paths and projects away from a college campus. Now, a flurry of articles report about bright, enthusiastic high school students who consciously reject going to college. A conspicuous example is Alex William’s proclamation of “Saying No to College” in the New York Times that includes a caption proclaiming that for high achievers, “College is for suckers!” This “case against college” may be heretical to our higher education orthodoxy. But it is not new. From 1870 to 1890 enrollments at most colleges declined even though the national population grew. College presidents were perplexed about the loss of appeal “going to college” held for young Americans. The School of Hard Knocks trumped the College of Liberal Arts if you were an inventor or an investor. Ambitious young Americans wanted to get on with their pursuits and profits. They saw four years of college as lost time and wasted opportunity. 

Even the learned professions of medicine and law seldom required a college education – or even a high school diploma. And, for most 18-year-olds whose parents were farmers or shop keepers, you had to stay home to help with the family business. Tuition was not an obstacle because it was incredibly cheap – seldom more than $100 per year. When college presidents made desperate offers to attract students by lowering tuition and waiving entrance examinations, there were few takers and lots of empty classroom seats. College officials failed to understand that for most American families the loss of a child’s earnings was a more important consideration than even no tuition charge in making a decisive case against college. 

But that was then and this is now. The current advocates for the case against college may be correct in pointing out that a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs did not need a college degree to be successful. What this ignores is that the overall strength of American higher education in the 20th century has been less spectacular yet important -- namely, to educate for civil society and expertise. 

It was true not only for preparing young people for law and medicine, but also pharmacy, engineering, physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, teaching, social work, clergy, nursing, accounting, forestry, public health and other professionals – and to help educate them to be concerned professionals and informed citizens that would lead and staff new organizations in the public and private sector. 

Let’s reconsider Steven Jobs’s memorable 2005 Stanford commencement speech as Exhibit A in the case against college. First, Jobs did not opt not to go to college. He went to Reed College and dropped out – a very different life choice than not going to college at all. Second, even after dropping out, he stayed close to the Reed College campus – its students, faculty, resources and opportunities – all to his educational and vocational gain. Third, his explanation for dropping out – disorientation and uncertainty – probably were signs that a liberal education was prompting him to consider and confront complex questions of purpose and place. Perhaps Reed College was “doing its job” for Jobs? 

Above all, doesn’t it seem strange and conveniently safe that Steven Jobs gave his inspirational talk to Stanford graduates who momentarily were about to receive their coveted Stanford degrees? I wager that most in that audience were delighted with Jobs’s message urging them to pursue their dreams – and equally delighted that they were buoyed by the experience, friendships, faculty and learning -- and degree -- on all counts that going to college had made opportune. The Steven Jobs inspirational talk would have been more daring as a “case against college” had he chosen to deliver it to 16-year-olds at, e.g., an underfunded inner city public high school where students are trying to make plans about adult life and options without a lot of advantages. But he didn’t – and for good reason. That’s because we know that going to college and earning a college degree usually enhances one’s opportunities and options – and earnings. 

Whether in 1880 or 2015, the historical message is that there are good reasons to go -- or not to go -- to college. And, given the diversity of American higher education, the choices are complicated by the options of where to go – such as two-year vocational vs. four-year liberal arts college or small campus versus large flagship state university -- land what to study – and for what end – an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or perhaps prelude to an advanced degree or certificate. We also have in the United States a long tradition of some professions such as performing arts and major league baseball where one need not have a college education. The recent articles do not make the case against college – they make a case, or several cases, depending on an individual’s situation and goals. 

In sum, the fervent articles denigrating college unwittingly make indirect and direct cases of numerous good reasons to go to college. Why, of course, the exceptional genius does not need the delay of required courses. But even an icon such Mark Zuckerberg did gain from going to Harvard by finding the name and inspiration for “Facebook” – not from Philosophy 101 but from the booklets distributed during freshman orientation week. How to calculate the net worth of that informal collegiate experience? And for the multitude of bright, talented committed high school graduates who were not selected for Peter Thiel’s highly selective program, might not there be a thoughtful choice about college that just might provide some good learning and opportunities? 

Kevin Carey’s forecasting of “The End of College” correctly identifies such recent innovations as internet courses tied to the certification of “badges” as new forms which may reduce the appeal that a traditional campus may have to a substantial number of potential students. Important to keep in mind, however, is that higher education has always coexisted with and confronted new ways of delivering instruction and awarding course and degree credit. So, my own observation is that we enter an era which is more aptly characterized as the “Change of College” rather than its evaporation or demise. 

The net result is that we do not have “The Case” against college – but the more subtle, provocative question of many cases for and against going to college as befits a complex, diverse and credentialed American society. Maybe going to college is not such a great idea. Maybe not going to college is not such a great idea. 

No matter how one answers such questions, there’s little doubt that the American tradition of philanthropy will shape our responses as we once against connect past and present as participant-observers in continually re-examining American higher education. We face what I call a “Future Tense Imperfect” in which our colleges and universities – and their supporters – are concerned and not complacent. Now that’s cause for celebration! 

*(Note: the author thanks the editors of Inside Higher Ed for granting permission to draw from materials the author wrote in his Jan. 11, 2013 article.)

Identifying Biomarkers Key to Early Intervention in Alzheimer's Disease

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 15:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2015) -- Although the term didn’t surface until the 1980s, the concept of biomarkers has been around for almost a century.  Today, doctors routinely test blood for signs of anemia or the antigen associated with prostate cancer.  Urine samples can hint at the presence of infection or diabetes, and EEGs diagnose electrical abnormalities in the brain.

But scientists are now advancing the concept, looking for ways to identify a host of diseases early in the process to provide opportunity for early intervention and improve the chances that treatment will be effective.

This is particularly true for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), where evidence points to the fact that the disease process begins long before someone has clinical symptoms, and the ramifications of the disease – both financial and emotional – are disastrous.

At the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, researchers are looking for biomarkers that might serve as an early warning system for AD.  The process is not without complications, but these scientists possess a collective “Rosie the Riveter” spirit. 

Mark Lovell is one of them. According to Lovell, the only definitive way to diagnose AD is through autopsy, though other options, such as PET imaging to identify the presence of AD pathology, are becoming more widely used. The challenge, explains the bioanalytical chemist and Jack and Linda Gill Professor of Chemistry, is finding a biomarker that 1) is an accepted predictor of the disease and 2) can easily be identified by a physician at the clinic level.

“Multiple studies show alterations in levels of the proteins associated with AD – tau and beta amyloid-- in cerebrospinal fluid, but a spinal tap to obtain that fluid is often a hard sell for patients”, Lovell said. “Furthermore, there appears to be variability in the data connecting the levels of these proteins in CSF and the diagnosis of AD, which has limited the use of beta amyloid and tau clinically." 

But in the spirit of Sanders-Brown’s iconic first director and Lovell’s research mentor, William Markesbery, Lovell is willing to explore unconventional ideas so  he started searching for alternative biomarkers. 

Working with Bert Lynn, director of UK’s Mass Spectrometry Center, Lovell began to sort proteins in CSF samples by weight. As the results came in, two particular proteins (transthyretin and prostaglandin-d-synthase) caught his attention.

“We were able to tease out that these two proteins, when subjected to oxidative damage, tended to stick together and fractionate at a higher molecular weight than expected,” said Lovell. 

Further study suggested that these proteins may signal dysfunction in the choroid plexus, a brain region responsible for the production and filtration of  cerebrospinal fluid.

Since, in AD, current data suggest there are changes in the transfer capacity of the choroid plexus it made sense to Lovell and Lynn that these two proteins might make a good biomarker for AD.

The next step, says Lovell, was to go “downstream” to blood or urine, for example to determine whether this same protein combination appears there as well.

“I’ve historically been skeptical that blood can be as strong a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease  as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a reasonable correlation in samples of CSF and blood taken from the same patients,” Lovell said.

Lovell cautions that further evaluation in larger sample populations is necessary before this can be called a definitive success, but if the hypothesis is borne out, “we will have a blood based biomarker that might be more predictive than amyloid beta peptide.”

Ultimately, Lovell thinks AD will be diagnosed by a panel of three or four biomarkers, rather than a single “up or down” test.  And that’s where Brian Gold comes in.

Gold, a cognitive neuroscientist, is fascinated by CSF protein biomarker findings of Lovell and others and is conducting his own research in the hopes of using brain imaging to find non-invasive AD biomarkers. However, up until now, Gold explains, most MRI studies of preclinical AD have been restricted to structural volumetric characteristics of the brain.

“We’ve  instead been focusing on microstructural brain changes detectable with a form of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which assesses the diffusion of water molecules in the brain," said Gold.  "As cellular structures begin to degenerate, tissue barriers degenerate as well, allowing for increased water diffusion  DTI-based changes in the brain are thus somewhat analogous to hairline cracks in a house’s foundation that precede visible structural damage.”

Gold and his colleagues are one of just a handful of U.S. groups exploring how CSF protein biomarkers correlate with microstructural brain changes using DTI and dynamic physiological changes using functional MRI.

His work, published last year in the Neurobiology of Aging, found tantalizing correlations between reduced white matter microstructure in the brain and the presence of CSF markers of AD.

“In other words, if our findings using DTI and functional MRI are highly correlated with Lovell’s CSF  biomarkers, we have potentially uncovered a minimally invasive way to diagnose pre-clinical AD.”

While Gold and Lovell look prospectively for the Holy Grail, others at Sanders-Brown are taking a retrospective look using big data.

Dick Kryscio and Erin Abner help manage the Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) database, a collection of thousands of data points from more than 1300 research volunteers enrolled in the Biologically Resilient Adults in Neurological Studies cohort.  With literally thousands of blood samples, CSF samples, results from cognitive testing, medication history, physical and neurologicalexaminations, and medical history, the database size probably approaches the inventory of a mid-sized grocery store.  Abner and Kryscio troll the reams of data looking for consistencies that might constitute an early warning of disease. 

Kryscio notes that biomarkers serve two purposes -- as a predictor of disease and as a means to a diagnosis.  While most biomarkers today serve the latter function, "a marker truly earns its keep when a person is on his or her way to disease," he says.

And, while not a biomarker in the strictest sense, their most promising work in predicting disease has been in the area of self-reported memory complaints.

Both Abner and Kryscio have published studies in Neurology and Journal of Prevention demonstrating a link between self-reported memory complaints and the development of cognitive impairment later in life.

"In other words, people usually are the best judges of their own memory -- they can detect subtle problems years before there are more obvious symptoms," says Abner.  She points out that it's an enormous oversimplification. "You aren't likely to have AD just because you can't remember where you put your keys one day," she said but added it has potential as a candidate for the "panel of tests."

Abner and Kryscio's efforts have international ramifications, as they are two of the gatekeepers for the ADC biospecimens, which are shared worldwide.

"The number of data parameters, and the longitudinal nature of the data available, makes this database world-class, but there are nonetheless a finite number of studies for which we can provide specimens before the supply is exhausted," Kryscio said.  "It's a service to our research participants to help researchers with a study design that eliminates waste and maximizes the quality of the science, and we don't take that responsibility lightly."

Regardless of the path -- whether looking forward or backward -- the ability to detect AD at its earliest stages will have huge ramifications on the race to treat and eventually cure the most expensive malady currently known to man.

Media Contact: Laura Dawahare; Laura.Dawahare@uky.edu; (859)257-5307

UK HealthCare Participates in Readiness Plan Assessment for Serious Communicable Diseases

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:37
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2015) -- UK HealthCare is participating on Tuesday in a site review and readiness assessment for managing serious communicable diseases by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.UK HealthCare is participating on Tuesday in a site review and readiness assessment for managing serious communicable diseases by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.Ebola, one of the more well-known and deadly communicable diseases, continues to be a critical health issue across the globe. Last year's crisis prompted the need for better preparedness for serious communicable illnesses, and state and federal governments have reached out to medical facilities across the country to be classified as official Assessment Hospitals to help manage future outbreaks.

"UK Healthcare has developed a robust response plan for communicable diseases, such as Ebola," said Dr. Derek Forster, UK HealthCare enterprise medical director for infection prevention and control. "This plan includes screening and triage, patient transport, provision of care, laboratory testing and staffing of our volunteer communicable disease team."

During the site visit on July 21, a review of UK HealthCare's Serious Communicable Disease Readiness Plan will provide an opportunity to receive feedback from respected national experts, Forster said. CDC and state public health representatives will be touring clinical areas and meeting with some of the response team members."Whether it is Ebola or another communicable disease, we know that as an academic medical center we have the expertise, resources and responsibility to the region to prepare for and appropriately manage the most serious diseases or situations," said Kim Blanton, UK HealthCare enterprise director for infection prevention and control and patient safety. "Throughout our enterprise, our health care providers undergo continuous education and training and this week's assessment is another means to evaluate our strengths and areas for further training."As an assessment hospital, UK Chandler Hospital would care for a patient during the time before a confirmed diagnosis is made until the patient is transferred to one of about 55 designated Ebola treatment centers.  The site for transfer from this area will be Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Assessment hospitals are hospitals identified by state health officials, in collaboration with local health authorities and hospital administration, as the point of referral for individuals being actively monitored and who develop symptoms compatible with Ebola.  Designated Assessment Hospitals must have the capability to evaluate and care for someone who is having the first symptoms of Ebola for up to 96 hours; initiate and coordinate testing for Ebola and for other diseases alternative diagnoses; and either rule out Ebola or transfer the individual to an Ebola treatment center.Hospitals not designated as an Assessment or Treatment facility will be considered Frontline Health Care Facilities, tasked with identifying patients with relevant exposure history and Ebola‐compatible symptom, isolating patients and initiating testing if low risk.  If the patient is deemed high risk, then they would transfer for evaluation and testing to an Assessment Hospital.

Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez, kristi.lopez@uky.edu

UK Scientists Helping Farmers; Bettering Child Nutrition in Ghana

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 16:51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2015) – While the African nation of Ghana is one of the most developed on the continent, its people still suffer from poverty and hunger. A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service grant will help University of Kentucky scientists positively impact the nation by helping Ghanaian women who farm improve their job opportunities and their children’s nutrition.

Researchers in UK's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will find ways to help women sell their crops to schools. The goal of the project is to provide new opportunities and income for female farmers, increase sustainable agricultural practices in the country and provide Ghanaian children with much needed nutrition.

“School feeding programs are one of the best ways to fight hunger in developing countries, because they give children much needed nutrients to properly grow and learn and provide jobs in communities. Studies have shown that more children, especially girls, will attend school if there’s a meal provided,” said Janet Mullins, the grant’s principal researcher and extension professor in the college’s Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition.

According to the World Food Programme, at least 45 percent of Ghana’s population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Large income disparities exist in the country, and the divide deepens the further north a person lives in Ghana. Northern communities account for 63 percent of the Ghanaians living below the poverty line. Unlike in the U.S., schools in the country are not required to provide feeding programs to their students.

During the first year of the grant, Mullins and fellow UKAg professors Mark Williams and Mike Reed will collaborate with researchers at the University of Ghana and the University for Development Studies to learn how schools in Northern Ghana purchase food for their feeding programs and how many of the country’s feeding programs already rely on local sources, such as farmers and gardens, for at least part of their food purchases. Two schools in a rural area around the city of Tamale will serve as pilots for the projects. These schools will each have four female farmers and a person charged with purchasing food for the school look at ways that the farmers can begin providing traditional Ghanaian nutrient dense foods like legumes, maize and vegetables to schools.

Mullins will leverage a 10-year relationship UK has operating a kindergarten in Adjeikrom, in the country’s Eastern Region to further develop that school’s reliance on local women to supply food for its feeding program. The school will serve as a model program for the Northern Region schools.

In the second year, UK researchers will provide technical and financial assistance to women who farm in the Northern Region to sustainably produce these foods and meet the necessary packing, processing and handling requirements for school feeding programs. This includes everything from variety selection to delivery.

They will also develop a social marketing campaign to encourage the country’s school food buyers to increase their purchases of locally produced foods for their feeding programs.

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

Sounds of UK Talents Fill the Summer Air in Spain, Prague

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 16:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2015) — From a chorus of more than 50 voices to the baton movement on a conductor's rostrum, the talents of the students and faculty of University of Kentucky School of Music were in the spotlight this summer in cathedrals, concert halls and theatres across Spain and in Prague, even in one site that premiered a popular opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In Spain, a little less than half of the members of UK Women's Choir had the opportunity to further their own education while enriching the lives of others through the beauty of music and cultural exchange in a tour running June 9-19. Student vocalists on the trip not only had a chance to learn about the rich, musical heritage of Spain but also were able to perform in some of the country's most historic cathedrals.

During the tour, the choir visited Madrid, Seville, Córdoba, Granada, Torremolinos and Toledo and took in such famous sites as the Cathedral of Toledo, Church of Santo Tome, Alhambra, Generalife and the Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba. Under the direction of Associate Director of the UK School of Music Lori Hetzel, the UK Women's Choir performed five concerts across the country, including an exchange concert with the University of Córdoba, a concert with the Seville Youth Orchestra, a Mass at Basilica Nuestra Señora de Las Angustias, and a concert with the children's choir of Granada.

"Paying for this trip was especially hard for me but singing with the UK Women's Choir was an experience that made my soul richer than I could've ever imagined," said music education sophomore Savannah Fallis, of Oneida, Kentucky. "I was able to explore places that many people only dream about, make music with my talented friends, and form memories that will last a lifetime."

Fellow choir member Malinda Massey, a secondary English education and English senior from Albany, Georgia, agrees the trip was a major blessing. "Being a part of the Women's Choir has always been an adventure, and going overseas with the group made me better understand the musicianship and sisterhood that we all share between one another. To hear our voices echoing in the sanctuaries of cathedrals in Madrid and Grenada was both humbling and moving...We were reaching out to people from another country in a universal language we all spoke, and the connection I felt between myself and the audiences, our choir, and our music was something truly irreplaceable. Joining the UK Women's Choir has proved to be one of the best decisions I've made since coming to college, and going on tour with them proved just that."

The UK Women’s Choir is a select ensemble composed of more than 100 of the school’s most talented female voices. The singers, ranging from freshmen to graduate students, represent a variety of musical backgrounds and academic disciplines. The choir’s challenging and diverse repertoire includes literature spanning from Gregorian chant to eight-part music of the 21st Century. With an emphasis on music by female composers, the ensemble performs works of many different languages and compositional forms.

More than 2,000 kilometers away Director of UK Orchestras John Nardolillo raised his baton on performances of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" at the Prague Estates Theatre, home to the very stage the legendary composer premiered the opera in 1787. The production was staged as part of the inaugural "Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival," presented by Classical Movements.

As part of the festival, Maestro Nardolillo conducted four performances of "Don Giovanni" under the direction of famed baritone Sherrill Milnes. The 30-day Young Artist Festival, running June 7 to July 6, with 100 students featured multiple concerts and productions. Nearly 500 singers and instrumentalists auditioned to be considered for the Prague Summer Nights Festival from all over the world and finally 45 singers, including three UK Opera Theatre vocalists, and 55 musicians, including 24 members from UK Symphony Orchestra, were selected along with leading faculty from all over the world. In addition to conducting, Nardolillo served as artistic director of the music festival. 

"Classical Movements has created an extraordinary program and we believe that no other summer musical training offers young artists so many different opportunities to perform in such magnificent venues — both for opera singers and instrumentalists. We were fortunate to get such high caliber applications and to attract such superior faculty," said Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements Inc.

Festival highlights included the Opera Gala in the Estates Theatre; a performance of work by Mozart and Maurice Duruflé with the Anchorage Concert Chorus in Smetana Hall; a production of "Suor Angelica" in the Church of St. Simon and Jude, where Joseph Haydn and Mozart performed; a performance by the orchestra at Smetana Hall; chamber music and song recitals in the salon of the Antonin Dvořák Museum in Prague; and a cabaret in one of Prague’s famous jazz clubs. 

Performers in the "Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival" hailed from the United States, England, Germany, Korea, Canada, China, Mexico, Argentina, Russia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, and are from top music conservatories and universities such as the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University, the University of Southern California, the Peabody Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Kentucky, the University of Michigan, the New England Conservatory, Northwestern University, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as schools in Germany and Austria.

Joining Nardolillo from UK were three opera students and 24 musicians. The opera students performing in Prague were: vocal performance senior Mary Catherine Wright, of Lexington; 2015 graduate Taeeun Moon, of Busan, South Korea; and graduate student Christopher Kenney, of Fargo, North Dakota. The 24 UK instrumentalists playing in the orchestra included: Makaila Babiarz, Alexis Corsaut, Heather Gosnell, Sarah Grindle, Chandler Martin, Isabelle Martin, Miranda Martin, Maya McCutchen, Matthew McMahon, Jessica Miskelly, Kristen Morrill, Maria Navarra, Diana Pecaro, Emily Rush, Daniel Taylor, Nathan Williams, and Jessie Zhu. In addition to performing, Miskelly, UK Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster, served as concertmaster of the orchestra for the "Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival."

Classical Movements is one of the world’s leading concert planning and music management companies. Clients include some of the world’s finest orchestras and choruses around the world. In its 22 years, Classical Movements has worked in over 140 countries on six continents. The company also commissions new music through its Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program, supporting orchestra and choral clients as well as composers, and it owns an international choral series and four annual international music festivals in Europe, South America, Africa and North America. 

The UK School of Music at 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

Gov. Beshear Announces $500,000 for Loan Forgiveness Program for Kentucky Dental Students

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 15:01

MCKEE, Ky. (July 20, 2015) — Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers joined public health and university officials today to announce a new dentist recruitment program aimed at promoting sustained oral health and well-being in eastern Kentucky.

The new loan forgiveness program is supported by $500,000 in state funds and is available for dental students who practice in the region. The dental schools at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville will administer the program, providing two to five awardees $100,000 each for a two-year commitment.

“Reversing the oral health issues facing eastern Kentucky has been a major goal of mine throughout my administration,” Beshear said. “The vast majority of both childhood and adult dental problems could be avoided through routine dental care and other preventive efforts. This unique program and partnership will truly expand dental hygiene and help counter oral disease as a major health risk for our people.”

“One of the reasons why access to dental care has been traditionally low in our region is the sheer fact that we have shipped our talent out for education, with very little incentive to return home to practice dentistry,” said Rogers. “This program will help address the outmigration of our talented young Eastern Kentuckians and serves as another step to improving dental healthcare for our people.”

“The University of Kentucky is deeply invested in improving the health of eastern Kentucky – our work and strategic priorities are focused on transforming those we serve and answering Kentucky questions,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The Appalachian Dental Loan Forgiveness Program allows Kentucky’s leading dental education programs to put more practitioners on the front lines and improve the oral health of our Appalachian region.”

“This loan repayment program fits within our mission at the University of Louisville to enhance the lives of Kentuckians,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “This program will help UofL dental graduates establish practices in underserved, rural areas to ensure ALL people of the Commonwealth have access to oral health care.”

The announcement today was made in conjunction with the Shaping Our Appalachian Region or SOAR Executive Board meeting at the Jackson Energy Cooperative in McKee. 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dentists completing dental school now come out with a debt of around $280,000. With that in mind, the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) worked with staff at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville colleges of dentistry to develop a loan forgiveness program as an incentive to attract more providers to eastern Kentucky.

DPH is funding the program, and the universities will offer awardees a $50,000 “up front” payment and $50,000 at the end of the first two-year award cycle.

Eastern Kentucky counties as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will be the designated location for the program. Additionally, priority will be given to dental students from eastern Kentucky wishing to return to practice in the designated geographic area.

Eligible candidates include someone who is establishing or joining a new private practice, or purchasing an existing practice in an ARC distressed county. The original intent of the program is to recruit current graduates. Recent graduates are also eligible.

“Many of our UK and UofL dental graduates from the Appalachian counties want to return home to practice – but high levels of student debt complicate their decisions about starting a practice in rural Kentucky,” said M. Raynor Mullins, associate director of the Kentucky Oral Health Research Network. “This new program will help a new cohort of dental graduates return home to serve and realize their dreams.”

“Clearly, one of the greatest obstacles that are evolving in oral health care is that the cost of education has escalated to the point that student debt in some instances is in excess of $300,000,” said John Sauk, dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. “Such economic burdens are limiting many individuals in their choice of where and how to practice. Consequently, going home to serve the community in which they grew up is often not a feasible economic option. The dental loan repayment program that the governor is announcing today will significantly enhance the opportunity for our young highly trained dentists to establish or join a rural practice and ensure oral health care manpower for rural Kentucky. I personally thank Gov. Beshear for his vision and commitment to oral health within the Commonwealth.

According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits; 45th in the percentage of children with untreated dental decay; and 47th in the percentage of adults 65 and older missing six or more teeth.

“Oral disease is a major health risk for Kentuckians of all ages – particularly our children,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “These problems are even more pronounced in many of our Appalachian counties where access to care is limited,” “With this new program to recruit providers – along with other initiatives to increase access to care and provide clinical services like screenings and varnish treatments – we have reasons to be optimistic about fixing the problems plaguing Kentuckians’ health.”

As part of his statewide health initiative, kyhealthnow, Gov. Beshear identified oral health as one of the seven target areas for improvement. Specifically, the program aims to reduce the percentage of children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent and increase adult dental visits by 10 percent by the year 2019.

In fact, Beshear created the Smiling Schools initiative in 2011 to provide a protective tooth varnish treatment for elementary-age children in Appalachia during the 2011-2012 school year. The Governor is looking to provide another round of varnishing this school year, as well as expand the number of counties participating in this year’s initiative. His office hopes to make this announcement in the coming weeks. 

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