LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 30, 2015) ̶ Robert “Bo” Cofield has been named vice president/chief clinical operating officer (CCOO) at UK HealthCare effective mid-August. He currently serves as associate vice president for hospital and clinics operations at University of Virginia Medical Center.
In this newly created position at UK HealthCare, Cofield will lead clinical operations for the UK HealthCare enterprise and will be accountable for the operations of UK HealthCare hospitals, managed facilities, ambulatory and provider-based clinics, off-campus and outreach clinics, ancillary services, and the infrastructure to support such operations, including information management and technology. In addition, he will be a member of an executive leadership team that includes Mark Birdwhistell, vice president for administration and external affairs; Murray Clark, senior vice president for health affairs and chief financial officer; and Dr. Frederick de Beer, vice president for clinical academic affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. "As we prepare to operationalize our newly developed strategic plan, we will look to Cofield to lead our key strategic activities in quality and safety, operational efficiency and effectiveness, patient centeredness and the creation of a service line structure," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "He will also be responsible for building upon our achievements in ambulatory care by leading the effort around our ambulatory strategy as well as the crucial work that must be done to prepare us for value-based health care delivery. With the assistance of key partners from within the physician, clinical operations, nursing leadership and finance areas, he will serve on an interdisciplinary team to help benchmark our clinical measures and cost structure in order to drive reductions in clinical variation and improve operating efficiency." In his current role at UVA, which he has held since February 2010, Cofield has been responsible for the effective management of the UVA Medical Center’s clinical services and operations. He also has directed implementation of the strategic direction of the UVA Health System within the hospital and clinics. He arrived at the UVA Medical Center after serving 10 years in a variety of roles within the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System, including chief operating officer of UAB Highlands Hospital and associate vice president of the 908-bed University of Alabama Hospital. “As I’ve followed your growth at UK HealthCare,” Cofield said, “I recognized a similar focus as my own on the delivery of high-quality, cost-efficient patient care within a culture of patient safety and employee engagement. I believe in both the development and recognition of excellent service, and I see in the people of UK HealthCare a similar commitment to exceptional care and service to meet the very real health care needs of the people of Kentucky.” Cofield completed an administrative fellowship at Tulane University Hospital and Clinics and received the Master of Health Administration and Doctor of Public Health degrees in health systems management from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He has been active in his local community and has served on the boards of several area nonprofits and community organizations.
LEXINGTON, Ky. June 30, 2015 — Since its first class graduated in 1960, the University of Kentucky College of Nursing has modeled innovation and excellence in nursing education. The program has prepared thousands of men and women nurses who have helped lead our county’s health care system as caregivers, executive leaders, impactful teachers, trail-blazing researchers, policy makers and community transformers.
The UK College of Nursing strives to empower students and faculty to reach their full potential in the nursing profession, whether in health care settings, the board room, classrooms settings or the community. Undergraduate bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN) students receive a high-quality education with opportunities for both academic learning and clinical experience – predominantly at the UK HealthCare. Graduates of the BSN program have a first-time pass rate of 97 to 100 percent for the NCLEX (nursing boards), which exceeds national averages.
The program is renowned for offering nurses advanced-level training, including the nation's first-ever Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) for nurses with aspirations to lead as advanced practice nurses or at the executive level. Through its Ph.D. in Nursing program, which has been ranked sixth in the country by the National Research Council since 2010, the college mentors the next generation of great nursing scientists, educators and leaders.
In a spirit of collaboration characteristic of the nursing profession, faculty members in the UK College of Nursing partner with departments within the university and health care organizations across the state to work toward solutions to health challenges in Kentucky.
Ranked 21st for NIH funding among all public and private nursing schools, with a $16 million research portfolio, faculty members and graduate students explore the most pressing health care issues affecting Kentuckians, including pre-term births, cancer, tobacco use and cardiovascular disease.
Dean Janie Heath holds firmly to a vision of raising the college's status to one of the top tier nursing programs in the country.
“The college is transforming nursing education by creating innovative learning and practice environments that are collaborative and team-based to meet the demands of new health care delivery models, and is affecting policy at the highest level possible. This is not only raising the status of the college, but is also improving the health and wellbeing of our patients, our families, our communities, and our country’s health care systems.”
The following timeline chronicles the development of the UK College of Nursing:
1956: Kentucky legislators approve the building of a new medical center on the University of Kentucky Campus.
1957: The creation of a new hospital in a time where physicians were already hard to come by worsened with the realization that nurses, too, were in short hand. In Kentucky, only 13 schools offered hospital diploma programs. Combined, these programs graduated 297 nurses in the 1957 class. Because of this draught, William R. Willard, founding dean of the Albert B. Chandler Medical center and dean of the UK College of Medicine, proposed the idea of a College of Nursing. Willard’s college would offer two programs: one for high school graduates and second for registered nurses.
1958: With the idea of the College of Nursing coming to fruition, Willard found a dean for the College of Nursing in 35-year-old Marcia Allene Dake, a doctorate of education student at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, would become the nation’s youngest dean of a nursing school.
1959: With the appointment of Dake in 1958 came the need to hire more faculty members. Three more women, all with master's degrees in nursing, were appointed within the next year.
1960: In May of 1960, the College of Nursing enrolled the 35 women that would make up the first class. Of these women, five were registered nurses while the remaining 30 were just beginning their education. These women faced many of the same rules University of Kentucky students in the College of Nursing are subjected to today: white shoes, no nail polish and no flashy jewelry.
1962: During the next two years, enrollment into College of Nursing nearly doubled from 40 in 1960 to 74 in 1962. In order to address the growth of the program, Dake teamed up with Henderson Community College to establish an associate's degree program. Once the program at Henderson was established successfully, programs opened at community colleges in Lexington and spread to Covington and Elizabethtown. In 1967, four years after the first partnership, more than 30 percent of new nurses in Kentucky had graduated from one of the associate degree programs.
1964: The College of Nursing graduated its first class. As an established part of the University of Kentucky Medical Center, the college was now offering not only an undergraduate program, but also a continuing education program and the successful associate degree programs.
1965: The College of Nursing was granted full accreditation from the National League for Nursing (NLN). With the expanding reach of the College of Nursing and the success of additional associates degree programs, Dake began the process of creating a graduate program within the College of Nursing. Her hope was that the graduate program would eventually produce nurses with the qualifications to become professors.
1969: The first class of graduate students begins their coursework in September. There were nine students.
1971: Dake resigns her position of Dean of the College of Nursing. During her tenure as Dean, Dake and her colleagues helped to establish a new curriculum that would spread nationwide during the 1960s and 1970s.By the time Dr. Dake resigned, the enrollment in the College of Nursing had grown nearly 350 percent, from 35 women in 1964 to 512 undergraduate students in 1971.
1972: Marion McKenna is appointed Dean of the College of Nursing. Aware of the exponential growth the College of Nursing was facing, McKenna was hired on the condition that a new facility be created to house her school.
1975: The College of Nursing established nursing programs at Hazard Community College and Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro in hopes to make nursing education accessible to nontraditional and rural students.
1979: McKenna proposes the discontinuation of the baccalaureate program in order to focus solely on trained registered nurses. However, the plan was not successful and the original basic baccalaureate program was reinstated in May 1981.
1980: The Delta Psi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau is established at University of Kentucky. Later in the year, McKenna begins the process of establishing a doctoral program in the College of Nursing.
1984: The College of Nursing announces Carolyn Williams as the new dean. Williams knew the importance of research and publications and emphasized the idea that it would be required as the college continued to advance.
1985: In June 1985 Williams’ doctorate program was approved and in 1987 the first doctoral student enrolled in the program.
1992: The first class of doctorate students graduate with a Ph.D.
2001: The College of Nursing begins to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program, the first in the nation. The DNP program prepares nurses for advanced practice, clinical leadership and executive positions in health care systems. The first class of DNP students graduated in 2005.
2006: Williams resigns as dean and rejoins the faculty. Jane Kirschling becomes the fourth dean of the College of Nursing.
2006: The Ph.D. program begins its Post-BSN Option, which builds on the BSN degree and prepares nurses researchers at the doctoral level.
2007: The first class is inducted into the College of Nursing Hall of Fame. The College of Nursing successfully doubled undergraduate student enrollment in the BSN program – from 80 students to 160 students – in an effort to alleviate nursing shortages in Kentucky and across the nation.
2008: Kirschling and Jay Perman, dean of the College of Medicine, established a work group to evaluate interest in Interprofessional Education (IPE) curriculum for the Medical Center – the IPE curriculum was approved in 2010.
2009: The Masters of Science in Nursing program is ended, and becomes part of the DNP program. Post Baccalaureate students are now able to directly enroll in the DNP program.
2010: College celebrates its 50th anniversary and inducts the second class of the College of Nursing Hall of Fame.
2011: The second class is inducted into the College of Nursing Hall of Fame.
2012: Patricia Howard is appointed interim dean.
2013: College of Nursing partners with Norton HealthCare to offer DNP program to practicing nurses.
2014: Janie Heath is appointed as the fifth dean of the College of Nursing.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 29, 2015) — The quickest way to ruin a fun-filled summer day is to come in contact with a nasty patch of poison ivy or poison oak. Touching any parts of these plants can result in a red and itchy skin rash characterized with tense blisters and bright red lesions. Here’s all you need to know about how to spot and treat the pesky weeds.
Q: What do poison ivy and poison oak look like?
A: Each leaf of both poison ivy and poison oak has three small leaflets and both can grow as shrubs or vines. In the spring, poison ivy grows yellow-green flowers and poison oak may have yellow-white berries.
Q: What causes the rash?
A: The rash is caused by contact with urushiol, a sticky oil found in all parts (leaves, roots, stems), of both alive and dead poison ivy and poison oak. Approximately 85 percent of people will break out in an allergic reaction after touching the plant. The allergic reaction is delayed and usually starts 1-3 days after exposure.
Q: Are poison ivy and poison oak rashes contagious?
A: No, the rash is only spread through the oil. You can't catch a rash from someone else by touching their rash; however, you can get the rash by touching anything that has come in contact with the plant's oil, such as clothes, sporting gear, or especially pet fur.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: The most common symptoms of the rash are itchiness, red linear streaks or blisters where the plant brushed against the skin, characterized by small to large sized bright red lesions, and blisters that may leak a clear to yellow fluid.
Typically, the rash from poison ivy or poison oak will last about 10 days to three weeks. But in more severe cases, it could take up to six weeks to go away. It clears much more quickly with medical intervention.
Q: How can the rashes be treated?
A: Immediately after you think you have come in contact with the plant, wash your skin with a mild soap and cool water. It can help reduce the amount of oil that causes the allergic reactions.
For an effective home treatment, compress the affected areas with a clean cloth soaked in whole milk for 10 to 15 minutes three to four times daily to dry up the blisters, followed by an over-the-counter topical one percent hydrocortisone cream.
Calamine lotion can be an effective astringent. Application of the aloe plant can also help with the itching. Antihistamines like Benadryl are not affective in helping with the rash.
Additionally, make sure you wash your clothes or any other objects that may have come in contact with the plant to prevent the plant’s allergic chemical from spreading even more.
Medical treatment from a physician would include a prescription topical steroid and systemic steroids to hasten the clearing.
Dr. Stuart Tobin is Division Chief of Dermatology for UK HealthCare.
This column appeared in the June 28, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 26, 2015) — Researchers at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging have completed a study that revealed differences in the way brain inflammation -- considered a key component of AD — is expressed in different subsets of patients, in particular people with Down syndrome (DS) and AD.
People with Down syndrome have a third copy of Chromosome 21, and that chromosome is the same one responsible for the production of a molecule called amyloid precursor protein. Amyloid overproduction can lead to brain plaques that are a cardinal feature of Alzheimer’s, so it is not surprising that nearly 100 percent of people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease pathology in their brain by the time they are 40.
“People develop Alzheimer's disease at different ages, but it's typically in their 60s, 70s, or 80s,” said Donna Wilcock, Ph.D, an assistant professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and principal investigator for the study. “It’s a little easier to study Alzheimer’s disease in Down syndrome because of the predictability of the age when adults with DS develop signs of the disease.”
In Wilcock's study, some interesting data emerged that will shape the way scientists look at AD as manifested in various subsets of the population. Using brain autopsy tissue from a group of people — some with DS/AD, some with AD alone, and some healthy, Wilcock and her team were able to determine differences in the way neuroinflammation was expressed in people with DS.
In previous studies where Wilcock and her colleagues identified different types of inflammation in AD brains,, two families of inflammatory markers — called M1 and M2a — were each present to varying degrees in the sample population representing early AD cases, indicating a notable level of heterogeneity in the way the AD disease process begins in the brain. But in the late-stage AD cases, there was a high degree of homogeneity with high levels of the markers M1, M2 and M2c.
"If you think of it in terms of a roadmap, there is almost always more than one way to get from Point A to Point B, and that seems to be the case in disease progression as well," said Wilcock.
In this most recent study, the team found that the inflammatory response in DS/AD brain tissue was significantly greater than that in tissue from AD patients. Further, there was an elevated level of markers for M2b,that was not replicated in tissue from sporadic (i.e. ideopathic) AD cases. In other words, AD in the DS brain had a very different neuroinflammatory profile than AD in people without DS.
"It has been generally assumed that AD presents the same way in people with Down syndrome as it does in people without DS, but our work demonstrates that this is not the case," said Wilcock. "This will have important implications for the study of AD treatments, as some treatments might be effective with people without DS but not those with DS, and vice-versa."
Wilcock’s work has been published online in the Neurobiology of Aging. This study was part of a larger DS Aging study at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging funded by NIH/NICHD (Head and Schmitt), and was also funded by a research grant awarded to Dr. Wilcock through a partnership between the Alzheimer’s Association, the Global Down Syndrome Foundaiton and the Linda CRNIC Institute for Down syndrome.
The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is one of the world's leading research centers on age-related diseases. SBCoA improves the health of the elderly through research, education and outreach programs related to understanding the brain's aging process and managing age-related cognitive impairment.
"When someone has a heart attack, we shift into maintenance mode by prescribing medicines and other treatments to prevent another heart attack, but we can't reverse the damage that's already done," said Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute. "With all of our advances in cardiovascular medicine, there is currently only one approved way to repair damaged heart tissue after a heart attack: with a heart transplant."
An average of 21 people die every day in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and the Gift of Life Donor Program. Clearly, transplant isn't a very elegant solution due to the limited number of donor hearts available and the lifetime of maintenance required to avoid complications post-transplantation, Latif said. Furthermore, heart transplants often aren't a viable option for the very sick or those with co-morbidities such as pulmonary hypertension. But stem cells —which have the potential to grow into a variety of heart cell types — might repair and regenerate damaged heart tissue, and research at the Gill Heart Institute is looking into that concept.
"There are very few U.S. centers offering regenerative medicine for cardiovascular disease," Latif said. "We are an active lab with a full spectrum of studies exploring translational opportunities for stem cell therapy."
One such study, called ALLSTAR (ALLogenic cardiac Stem cells to Achieve myocardial Regeneration) is looking into the possibility that stem cell therapy can repair damaged heart tissue after a recent heart attack. These patients often suffer long-term consequences of their heart attack, slipping into heart failure and potentially requiring an expensive and risky heart transplant.
Eric Mason is one of the first patients to enroll in the ALLSTAR trial at the Gill. He was just 35 years old when he had a life-threatening heart attack.
"In order for the heart to function properly, it needs to be supplied with sufficient amounts of oxygen-rich blood," Latif said. "The left coronary artery is tasked with this responsibility as it supplies blood to large areas of the heart. When this artery becomes blocked, it will cause a massive attack that will likely lead to sudden death."
Mason had blockages in all three of his arteries — 80 percent, 90 percent and, in the left coronary artery, 100 percent. His type of heart attack is nicknamed "the widow maker" because so few patients survive.
Luckily, Eric's wife, Misty, was alert and acted quickly.
"Eric's father died of a heart attack at age 41, and Eric's symptoms were the same as a friend of ours who also had a heart attack," Misty Mason said. "So when he called to tell me it felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest, I told him to take two baby aspirin and get to the emergency room."
Eric Mason was taken to the cath lab at the Gill Heart Institute from the emergency room in Richmond. There, Latif inserted three stents — small devices that prop open blocked arteries, restoring blood flow. But while the stents helped prevent further injury, his heart attack had already caused a dangerous amount of irreversible damage.
Before Eric left the hospital, Latif approached him about joining the ALLSTAR study.
"Eric was an ideal candidate for the study because younger patients with moderate to severe damage to the heart muscle are the ones most likely to benefit from stem cell therapy," Latif said. "Without treatment, it's likely Eric would spend a lifetime crippled by heart failure and/or require a heart transplant."
Eric was anxious at first about participating in the study but with the encouragement of his uncle, a primary care physician and UK graduate, he quickly realized it was a unique opportunity to help himself and others in the same situation.
"My uncle pointed out that it couldn't hurt, and might help," Eric said. "If it helps others to prevent what happened to me, why wouldn't I take the chance?"
Six months after Eric's heart attack, Latif snaked a catheter into Eric's heart from a small incision in Eric's wrist. Positioning the catheter as closely as possible to the area of damaged tissue, Latif released a fluid containing either about 25 million stem cells harvested from the heart tissue of volunteer donors or a placebo.
"An important element of all research is the comparison in results between people who received the treatment and people who did not, so we don't know yet whether Eric actually received stem cells," Latif said.
Now comes a period of watchful waiting and regular testing, including echocardiograms, to assess whether Eric's ejection fraction — a measure of the heart's ability to pump blood - improves long-term, and, if so, whether that improvement is a result of the stem cell therapy.
The active part of the study is one year, but Latif will follow Eric's progress for five years to assess the treatment's effectiveness over time.
"This treatment has enormous potential to improve the lives of thousands of people who suffer heart attacks each year," Latif said. "When someone donates their heart today, it can saves the life of one other person, but if we are able to harvest stem cells from one donor heart, we might be able to save the lives of dozens of people."
"If the study demonstrates this treatment's effectiveness, it will revolutionize cardiac care."
In the meantime, this former two-time state amateur golf champ and father of two daughters, ages 5 and 2, has returned to his job as manager for a golf club in Booneville, quit smoking, improved his diet and exercise regimens, and counted his blessings.
"I played in my first golf tournament when I was 12 years old, and that's the same year my dad died of his heart attack," Eric said. "I plan to be around to walk Erica and Rylee down the aisle, and being a part of this research is one way I can make sure that happens."
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) – The inaugural Thomas V. Getchell, Ph.D., Memorial Award has been presented to Erica Littlejohn, a doctoral candidate and graduate student at University of Kentucky.
Getchell was a professor in the Department of Physiology and a member of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and served as Associate Dean for Research and Basic Science for the College of Medicine from 1989 to 1998.
The award was created to honor Getchell, who died July 20, 2013, and to support an annual travel stipend for a student participating in the Grant Writing Workshop. Getchell founded the Grant Writing Workshop in 2005 with a vision to provide proactive, individualized mentoring to graduate students, MD/PhD students and postdoctoral trainees to further their training in grantsmanship, increase their success rate in obtaining fellowship grants and enhance their research careers.
“The award was established to honor Tom's enduring commitment to and talent for mentoring post-doctoral and graduate students in the skills needed to become successful scientists, and to honor his achievements as a scientific researcher and teacher during a long and productive career," Dr. Marilyn Getchell, wife of Getchell, said.
Littlejohn participated in Getchell’s Grant Writing Workshop in 2012. Her areas of study as a graduate student focus on traumatic brain injury and neurogenesis. In addition to publishing scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, Littlejohn has been the recipient of numerous travel awards to present her research at national conferences.
“It’s not enough to strive for excellence in science and research, I believe a person’s legacy is measured in the lives they touch, and Tom Getchell exemplifies this narrative,” Littlejohn said. “I hope to support others with my commitment to increasing diversity in health sciences and through mentorship.”
Littlejohn received her bachelors of science degree in microbiology from the University of Iowa. She is currently president of the University of Kentucky Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA) and serves as a student mentor in the UK-EKU Bridge to Doctorate Program, which aims to increase participation of underrepresented students in science disciplines.
She has served as an undergraduate mentor at GEM Consortium events to help recruit students from underrepresented populations to pursue graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Getchell continually challenged students to do excellent and meaningful work. He infused his workshops with humor through the retelling of his own personal anecdotes and treated students with the utmost respect, exemplified by his signature weekly communiqués which all began “Dear Colleagues…”.
To date, workshop trainees have earned more than $2.4 million in fellowship funding as a result of Getchell’s efforts.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) – Could a fatalistic attitude toward cervical cancer serve as a barrier to prevention of the disease? A recent study conducted by University of Kentucky researchers in the Rural Cancer Prevention Center suggests a link between fatalistic beliefs and completion of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series among a sample of young Appalachian Kentucky women.
The HPV vaccination series consists of three shots and helps prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer. Previous studies have shown that cost, lack of transportation, cultural views, and lack of knowledge about cervical cancer prevention as well as limited support from health care providers has prevented Appalachian women from getting or completing HPV vaccination in the past.
The concept of fatalism as it relates to health asserts that individuals perceive themselves to have limited control over what happens to their health and that health outcomes may be determined by fate. Previous research has found that some Appalachian women have reported fatalistic beliefs regarding their health, including the perception that being diagnosed with or preventing cancer is out of their control.
Published in The Journal of Rural Health, the study involved research nurses administering the first dose of the HPV vaccine series free of charge to Appalachian Kentucky women aged 18-26. The young women were then surveyed about their beliefs regarding cancer and followed for nine months after receiving the first dose to determine vaccination series completion; nearly 350 women participated in the study.
The study found that women who held fatalistic beliefs about their perceived lack of control over their health and cervical cancer had a significantly lower likelihood of completing the HPV vaccination series.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, affecting more than 79 million people. Nationally, Kentucky has some of the highest rates of HPV-related cancers; according to the Kentucky Cancer Registry, these elevated cancer rates are primarily attributable to cancer disparities observed in the 54-county Appalachian region of the state.
Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, and several other cancers are linked to the virus as well, including head and neck, anal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal malignancies. Completing the vaccination series is the best way for young women (and men) to protect themselves against HPV infection and HPV-related cancers.
Personal beliefs like fatalism can serve as barrier to preventive health care measures such as HPV vaccination. Findings from the study indicate that fatalistic beliefs should be addressed in a culturally sensitive manner through education and tailored communication messaging. Such efforts may help increase HPV vaccination rates and decrease cervical cancer rates in Appalachian Kentucky.
"Results from this study may encourage health care providers to proactively assess and address young women’s personal health beliefs and develop a strategy for helping them complete the HPV vaccination series," Robin Vanderpool, associate professor in UK's Department of Health Behavior and deputy director of the Rural Cancer Prevention Center, said.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Dentistry graduate Jonathan Francis and Assistant Professor Lina Sharab were recognized for their research efforts by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), and they presented their research during the recent 2015 AAO Annual Session in San Francisco. The AAO is the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty organization, representing more than 17,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad.
Francis was awarded second place, receiving $750, in the basic science category of the 2015 Charley Schultz Resident Scholar Award for his research titled, “Screw Diameter and Orthodontic Loading Influence Adjacent Bone Response.” A total of 23 research presentations were submitted for the award this year. Francis also received second place for this research in the UKCD College Research Day in the Graduate Student Clinical/Translational category. His mentor was UKCD Division of Orthodontics Chief Dr. Sarandeep Huja.
The Charley Schultz Resident Scholar Award was established by the AAO in 2004 as a means of offering graduate students/residents the chance to present clinical science and basic science research using narrative material and a posterboard.
"It’s exciting to be a part of research that can help advance the field of orthodontics. I am very grateful for all the guidance and help I received throughout this project," Francis said.
Sharab was one of four people awarded the 2015 Thomas M. Graber Award of Special Merit, established by the AAO in 2002, for her research titled, “Genetic and treatment related risk factors associated with external apical root reabsorption (EARR).” Sharab was mentored by UKCD Professor of Orthodontics Dr. James Hartsfield and also supported by Assistant Professor Dr. Lorri Morford, UK Center for Oral Health.
“Most people work hard to have their goals achieved. A variety of life obstacles start filtering away many of the hard working people, slowing them down, or leaving them deeply stressed," Sharab said. "Having enthusiasm as a motivation is the only guarantee to eventually reach one’s goal. When one reaches her/his goal, the best reward is a symbolic gift of the same nature; an award that was passionately created, named after one of the most passionate educators in orthodontics, and given to re-energize and nurture a young growing passion like mine.
"The Graber Award is the most rewarding gift to my love of both orthodontics and education. While it is true that research was required as part of earning the orthodontic degree; it was also a labor of love. I was lucky to get the inspiration and support from my mentors at UK.”
The AAO Awards selection process is very competitive, Huja said. "It is significant that two individuals in the Division of Orthodontics at the University of Kentucky were recognized and received awards in the same year. This is really a tribute to the graduate students’ hard work and the college’s mentors who work diligently to develop these research ideas."
“I am delighted to see these superb young orthodontists receive national attention for the quality of their work. This is yet another indication of the high quality of our orthodontic program,” said Dean Sharon Turner. “Our faculty are world-class as demonstrated by their achievements and, even more impressive, by the achievements of those whom they so carefully mentor.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — There is growing excitement among headache specialists about initial research into a new class of anti-migraine drugs.
Called CGRP monoclonal antibodies, these drugs appear to significantly reduce the frequency of migraine in human clinical trials.
"We know that levels of CGRP are elevated during migraine attacks and decrease with resolution of the attacks," said Sid Kapoor, MD, Fellow of the American Headache Society and Director of the Headache Program at the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute (KNI). "This new class of drugs aims to reduce CGRP levels either by inactivating CGRP or disabling the receptor that binds to it, effectively disrupting the chain of events that causes migraine pain."
These drugs have significant potential to change the landscape for migraine treatment, Kapoor said.
"Currently, my only course of action is to patiently and methodically work through a morass of drugs for blood pressure, depression, or epilepsy, and if those don't work, it's on to more complex and expensive therapy options like Botox," Kapoor said. "It's a frustrating process for both the doctor and the patient."
"If these CGRP drugs can deliver as promised, they will represent the first new class of anti-migraine drugs in more than 20 years -- and those only treated migraines after they occurred, and rarely prevented them."
What's particularly exciting to headache specialists is the profound effect the drugs appear to have on migraine incidence. Initial results from Phase II studies on each of the four drugs currently in development reveal huge reductions in the incidence of migraine — one drug, from Alder BioPharmaceuticals, has demonstrated reductions from 50 percent to almost 100 percent.
So why aren't these drugs being rushed to market? Not so fast, Kapoor said.
"We don't yet fully know how blocking CGRP affects other organ functions long term. Previous attempts at modifying this pathway were too dangerous for patients and studies had to be discontinued. It is exciting that we are succeeding with a fresh approach."
CGRP monoclonal antibody drugs are at least five years away from public distribution. The next step is Phase III trials, which aim to establish efficacy and long-term safety compared to a placebo.
"Pain studies are notorious for a high placebo response and hence this step will be critical," Kapoor said.
According to the American Headache Society, more than 36 million Americans suffer from migraine attacks, and about four million of those people experience more than 15 migraine days a month. Migraine can be extremely disabling and costly, accounting for more than $20 billion in direct and indirect expenses each year in the United States.
The Best Places Organization ranks U.S. cities by migraine prevalence according to several factors, including the number of migraine-related drug prescriptions per capita, lifestyle and environmental factors, and the consumption of migraine-triggering foods. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Area, which includes large parts of Northern Kentucky, ranks first, and both Louisville and Lexington are in the top 30.
"Our hope is that KNI will be a Phase III test site," Kapoor said. "We have notable expertise in migraine treatment, and we are located at the epicenter of migraine incidence."
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — In a corner of Larry Goldstein's office on the fourth floor of the Kentucky Clinic sits a Captain's chair — a common sight in faculty offices everywhere. But a closer inspection of the emblem on the chair reveals the "Eruditio et Religio" motto of Duke University.
You don't see that often at the University of Kentucky.
"As the (NCAA men's basketball) tournament progressed, I was more and more fatalistic," said Goldstein, who accepted the chairmanship of the UK Department of Neurology in January. "I knew that if UK and Duke played in the final, either way, I couldn't win. The University of Western Siberia was starting to look like a better career option."
But as soon as the conversation veers away from the storied Duke-UK rivalry, he gets serious.
A highly acclaimed expert in stroke and other related neurological disorders, Goldstein comes to UK with a resolve to apply his skills and experience to propel the department — and its sister, the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute — to the next level of research, patient care, education and service.
"There is so much talent here (at UK ) already, and so much to offer Kentuckians in terms of specialty neurology care," Goldstein said. "I hope to organize our resources in a way that maximizes the efficiency of clinical care, clinical research, and translational/biomedical collaborations at the same time we provide service and leadership for the citizens of the commonwealth."
Goldstein received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University in 1977 and his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1981. He then completed his internship and neurology residency at Mount Sinai before venturing to Duke University in 1985 for a research fellowship, where rose through the ranks to become a professor of neurology, chief of the Division of Stroke and Vascular Neurology, director of the Duke Stroke Center and an attending neurologist at the Durham VA Medical Center until his arrival here last month.
Most people are drawn to Kentucky for its unique landscape. Goldstein came to Lexington in part because of something less appealing.
"Kentuckians suffer from strokes at a higher rate than almost anywhere else in the U.S.," Goldstein said. "Since medical school, I've had a focused interest in stroke prevention, acute intervention, post stroke recovery, and systems of care."
"This seemed to be the perfect place at the right time to apply my research focus and career interests." “When I combined this with the opportunity to work with outstanding colleagues at UK to develop programs that will make a real difference in people’s lives, I was convinced there was no better place in the country for me to work.”
Goldstein has published more than 650 peer-reviewed journal articles, editorials, book chapters, abstracts, and other professional papers. He indicated that, “the faculty at Academic Medical Centers are in a unique position to influence public policy for the benefit of the patients we serve.” As a member of the American Heart Association National Spokesperson panel and past national chairman of the AHA Advocacy Committee he is a noted voice in educating the public, medical professionals and policymakers about stroke and cardiovascular disease. By helping to promote the AHA’s adoption of stroke as one of its primary missions, Goldstein assisted with the AHA's initiation of the development of stroke centers and the Get with the Guidelines-Stroke program. He has also supported the specialty of neurology nationally through work on several committees of the American Academy of Neurology.
Goldstein has won numerous awards, including the AHA’s Chairman’s Award, its National Volunteer Advocate of the year, the Stroke Council Leadership Award and the Feinberg Award for excellence in stroke. He has been awarded more than 15 million dollars in grant support throughout his career studying cerebrovascular disease, pharmacological approaches to recovery after stroke, motor recovery, and mechanisms of behavioral recovery after focal brain injury.
His clinical and research interests are complemented by his commitment to educating the next generation of neurologists, and he is particularly proud of his several teaching awards. To that end, Goldstein hopes to enhance programs at UK that foster faculty career development and enhance the Department’s educational programs.
“Dr. Goldstein brings to the university a great balance of clinical experience and research expertise,” said Dr. Frederick C. de Beer, dean of the UK College of Medicine. "His interest and skill in the area of stroke is particularly relevant to our patient population, since cardiovascular events, including stroke, occur at such high rates."
“I am thrilled to be at UK and to have been given the opportunity to work with outstanding colleagues to continue to help build what I am convinced will be one of the best neuroscience programs in the country,” Goldstein said.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2015) — The University of Kentucky's Health Care Committee of the UK Board of Trustees were presented a strategic plan that will guide UK HealthCare through 2020. The committee met Thursday during their annual retreat.
Building upon the success of the past 10 years, the plan continues to emphasize caring for the most complex, critically ill patients in Kentucky and beyond.
Some of the statistics and figures presented that reflect UK HealthCare's growth include:
In approving the new strategic plan, UK HealthCare officials asked for a commitment from its leaders, stakeholders and partners to move forward and achieve its vision by giving latitude for collaborative models, committing to clinical excellence and providing an outstanding patient experience as well as service line integration. From its statewide partners, it was asked for participation in a statewide collaborative that fosters success against the challenges of the future.
"The 2020 Strategy is built on a foundation of patient-centered care and a patient-centered culture that includes growth in complex care as well as ambulatory care; strengthening partnership networks to reduce costs, and increase efficiency; and value-based care and payments which improve predictability of outcomes and cost while adopting evidence-based leading practices," said UK Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf.
The plan includes developing a cultural change program in order to support the 2020 strategic vision. The program will identify key cultural strengths and opportunities. The goal will be to design a patient-centric experience that positions UK HealthCare to be Kentucky's destination provider for complex care and it will enable staff and leadership to be ambassadors of the patient-centered culture and UK HealthCare brand.
Also detailed in the Strategic Plan is growth in complex care and in ambulatory (outpatient care). As part of this goal, substantial service line growth is needed in the next five years. Additionally, ambulatory specialty care will also need to grow by improving access to UK HealthCare specialists and developing a patient-centered care model as well as partnering with community physicians.
As part of the service line growth, the focus will continue to be on treating the most complex patients and partnering with community providers to keep lower acuity patients in their home community.
Service line areas of primary focus for growth will be the Gill Heart Institute, Kentucky Children's Hospital, Markey Cancer Center, Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, High-Risk Obstetrics and Neonatal Intensive Care, Solid Organ Transplantation, Digestive Health, Musculoskeletal, and Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.
Clinical and support services that UK HealthCare will invest in to enable growth in these service lines includes excellence in quality and operational efficiency; redesigning the transfer management processes in order to create capacity and treat patients in the appropriate care setting and return them to our community partners; and develop a service line operating model to support and coordinate comprehensive, multidisciplinary care across the continuum and community.
These same strategies will be used to expand ambulatory specialty care.
To achieve this plan, a new service line operating model will be implemented to enable and enhance the organization's strategic initiatives. This new model will incorporate the transition from department and specialty driven care to multidisciplinary, multi-specialty care; episodic and high-acuity focused care to disease and cross continuum focused care; from provider centric to patient centric; from individual physician or specialty care to team care delivery involving multiple specialties; and UK HealthCare management of high-acuity care to collaboration with external partners to optimize site and level of care.
Integrated technology that standardizes data across the organization and enables population health management will be utilized.
Another overarching premise of the 2020 Strategic plan is the strengthening of partnership networks including acute care partnerships, post-acute care partnerships, primary care and community care. As part of future planning, UK will develop a primary care network to ensure a seamless experience across the care continuum and position the organization for value-based care and population health.
The third selected strategy in the plan is value-based care. In order to provide enhanced value for patients, UK HealthCare will develop a "best in class" quality management program.
This strategy includes improving the predictability of outcomes, cost of care, and adoption of evidence-based practices throughout the enterprise across all settings of care.
"To be successful, patient care in the future must be affordable, accessible, coordinated, efficient and high quality with a shift to improving health outcomes and rationalizing but not rationing care," said Karpf.
He added that although a significant amount of time and effort has been invested in developing this strategic plan, UK HealthCare’s strategic journey does not end here.
"We will continue with work in the weeks and months to come to set priorities, develop timelines, and track progress and results."
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, 859-323-6363, Kristi.firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear joined child safety advocates at Kentucky Children's Hospital on June 15 to sign a bill aimed at improving safety for child passengers in motor vehicles.
House Bill 315 brings Kentucky’s current booster seat law in line with 31 other states, including all seven neighboring states. The previous law required children younger than 7 years old who are between 40 and 50 inches in height to ride in booster seats before graduating to adult seat belts. The enhanced bill increases the height requirement to 57 inches and the age requirement to 8 years old, the size and age at which children begin to fit properly in adult seat belts.
“Passage of this bill provides greater safety and protection to our most precious asset – our children. I commend the Kentucky Senate and House for their effort on enhancing our existing booster seat law,” Gov. Beshear said.
House Bill 315, which passed with a vote in March, was championed by child safety experts in the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center (KIPRC), the Kentucky State Safe Kids led by KIPRC and the Kentucky Department for Public Health, and the Fayette County Safe Kids Coalition led by Kentucky Children's Hospital. The bill also received support from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, safety advocates from Kosair Children’s Hospital, and Safe Kids coalitions, law enforcement officials, emergency responders, pediatricians and booster seat advocates from around the state.
“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children above the age of 1 in Kentucky," Dr. Susan Pollack, a Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatrician, Safe Kids Kentucky coordinator and director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Injury Program at KIPRC, said. "We know many Kentucky children are saved every year, even in serious crashes, by being properly restrained and protected in a booster seat. The revised law gives parents better guidance for safely transporting their children.”
A properly installed, belt-positioning booster seat lowers the risk of injury to children by nearly 60 percent, compared with seat belts alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“The reason is simple: Motor vehicle seat belts were designed for adults, not children. The added height of the booster seat enables the child to fit into a seat belt properly,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said.
Effective on June 24, the bill requires law enforcement officers to issue citations with a $30 fine with no court costs. In addition, violators will have the option to purchase a booster seat instead of paying the fine.
Click here for a link to House Bill 315.
For more information about the bill:
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Kentucky Children's Hospital
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center
Safe Kids Kentucky
Safe Kids Fayette County
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) – Retired University of Kentucky professor Dr. Ardis D. Hoven was elected the first female chair of the World Medical Association (WMA) at the organization’s 200th council meeting in Oslo, Norway.
Hoven has served as chair of the American Medical Association delegation to the WMA for the past few years and now will serve a two-year term as chair of the WMA. The WMA is the international organization representing physicians from 111 national medical associations.
“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to do this,” Hoven said. “I see myself not so much as a woman in this role, but as a leader of a global organization of physicians who are working to support their peers around the world and improve the lives of their patients.”
Born in Cincinnati, Hoven received her undergraduate degree in microbiology and then her medical degree from the University of Kentucky. She completed her internal medicine and infectious disease training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Board-certified in internal medicine and infection disease, Hoven is a member of the American College of Physicians, and the Infectious Disease Society of America.
Hoven has been the recipient of many awards, including the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Kentucky Medical Association Distinguished Service Award. In 2015, she was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni for UK. She was president of the Kentucky Medical Association from 1993 to 1994 and served as a delegate to the AMA from Kentucky.
Hoven hopes for the WMA to raise its profile internationally and increase the impact of its policies and advocacy on behalf of physicians and patients.
“I want to make our footprint bigger and our voice stronger,” Hoven said.
Hoven was recently inducted into the UK Alumni Association's Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Click on the video below to watch the role UK played in Hoven's medical career.
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MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 17, 2015) — The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
While the news brings an incredible amount of uncertainty to patients and their families, there is a valuable resource at the University of Kentucky providing information, support and hope.
UK's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) was established in 1979 and is one of the original 10 National Institutes of Health-funded Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers. SBCoA is internationally acclaimed for its work in the fight against age-related diseases.
Faculty and researchers work together within the framework of the Center's mission to explore the aging process and its implications for society. Research spans bench to bedside, from defining disease mechanisms in the brain and exploring cellular changes that lead to AD, to studies exploring healthy aging and ways to lower risk of dementia, to clinical trials testing potential new therapies that slow or stop the progression of age-related diseases of the brain.
Watch the Big Blue Family video above to discover how Sanders-Brown has impacted Carolyn and Ron Borkowski and why philanthropy is so integral to ensuring UK researchers will contribute to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease while also helping other Kentucky families.
This video feature is part of a regular series produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community. There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields or who are impacted by UK’s reach through the Commonwealth. The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday.
Since the "Big Blue Family" series is now a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas. If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us. Who knows? We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!
For more information on the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, visit: http://www.uky.edu/coa/contact-information.
VIDEO CONTACTS: Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940, firstname.lastname@example.org or Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, KY. (June 15, 2015) -- In Kentucky, a trifecta of risk factors contributes to high prevalence of lung cancer.
While high smoking rates and weak or non-existent smoke-free laws in Kentucky are undeniably linked to high rates of lung cancer, the soil underground also poses considerable dangers. Exposure to radon -- an odorless, tasteless gas that escapes from our limestone-enriched landscape, also increases a lung cancer risk. Finally, our laws don't adequately protect Kentuckians through mandated testing and monitoring of radon levels or smoke-free protections.
We need to be vigilant about monitoring both exposure to radon and second- and third hand smoke particles in the home. The risk of lung cancer increases 10-fold when a person is exposed to both high levels of radon and tobacco smoke. In fact, most cases of radon-induced lung cancer occur in those also exposed to tobacco smoke. Here are a few ways to reduce your risks:
Minimize your exposure to second- and third hand smoke. Radon gas and tobacco smoke particles stick to each other, and when both are inhaled, the damage to DNA in the body is elevated. Don't permit smoking in your home and car, where recirculating particles give off third hand smoke long after the visible smoke is gone. Do not permit smoking at least 20 feet from all entryways, vents and windows. When smoking outside, smokers need to cover their clothes with a jacket to avoid bringing third hand smoke into the home. Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to protect your health and your family.
Don't assume your home is radon-free. Testing your home for radon is easy and low-cost. Some health departments provide free test kits or you can buy one at most home improvement stores. If you're buying a home, test for radon during a home inspection. If you're a renter, ask your landlord about radon testing.
Test your home for radon every two years. All homes and buildings need to be monitored for radon levels every two years. If your home tests at an EPA rating of 4.0 or above, it's imperative to invest in a radon mitigation system. It doesn't matter if your home is old or new, or if your neighbors have low radon levels.
Get a professional to install a system to solve the problem. Cracking windows or ventilating a basement won't reduce levels of radon. If your radon levels are high, call a certified radon mitigation company to test your home.
If someone in your home smokes cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, you may be eligible to participate in a research study underway at the University of Kentucky examining combined effects of radon and smoke. For more information about the study, send an email to UKFRESH@LSV.UKY.EDU or call 859-323-4587.
Ellen Hahn, Ph.D., is a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and College of Public Health, and she directs the Clean Indoor Air Partnership and Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy.
This appeared in the June 14, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
Facts about the Ebola Virus: October 2, 2014. The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has involved the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. This has become the largest outbreak of Ebola to date. At the end of September, the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Texas from West Africa. Although an outbreak in the United States is unlikely, it is important to know the facts.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 8, 2015) — On Sunday, June 7, 8-year-old Cassie Rickerson boarded a Delta Air Lines flight to Atlanta, Georgia, to kick off the first leg of her Champions Ambassador Tour for Children's Miracle Network hospitals.
Cassie, a Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) patient, will join 52 other “champion” children who have personally benefited from donations to the charity and exemplify how vital community support is for local children’s hospitals.
Cassie was selected to represent the state of Kentucky for bravely facing her unique medical challenges and will serve to illustrate the impact of local donations to KCH. When Cassie was 2, she had unexplained leg pain, nosebleeds, bruising and recurring fevers. Her mother brought her to KCH, where Cassie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). After an aggressive round of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Cassie is now in remission, and is happy and healthy. She is very devoted to her cheer team and loves her pets, reading and the 80s.
The 2015-2016 Champions program is presented by Delta Air Lines, Marriott International and Chico’s FAS, Inc. The tour includes a gathering in Atlanta, Delta’s headquarters and largest hub. The champions will then be transported to the nation’s capital where they meet with local representatives on Capitol Hill, participate in a satellite media tour and continue to raise awareness for the charitable needs of children’s hospitals.
The 2015-16 Champions will reunite in February 2016 for the final leg of their Ambassador Tour in Orlando, Florida. To learn more about the champions, and for a short video of last year’s Ambassador Tour, visit CMNHospitals.org/Champions.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raise funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the United States and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and health care services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 5, 2015) — A resolve to breastfeed her child resulted in many tearful nights for first-time mom Jenny Tzeng. Feeling desperate and alone, she struggled for months to establish a breastfeeding routine with son Jacob.
"It was the biggest stressor from my first pregnancy," Tzeng said. "I cried a lot."
When her second child Jackson was delivered by caesarian section at UK HealthCare Birthing Center last March, the baby was immediately placed on Tzeng's chest to initiate skin-to-skin contact, a technique known as "Kangaroo Care." Tzeng was overjoyed when son Jackson began suckling on his own in the recovery room. Once discharged from the hosptial, Tzeng and baby Jackson received ongoing breastfeeding support through the Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH) Mommy and Me Clinic.
Tzeng is one of many moms who have succeeded with breastfeeding through resources and instruction provided by the UK HealthCare Birthing Center. By fostering a birthing environment that encourages optimal infant nutrition and mother-baby bonding, the center recently obtained accreditation from Baby-Friendly USA. Baby-Friendly USA is a global initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages hospitals to provide breastfeeding mothers with information, confidence, support, and skills necessary to initiate and continue breastfeeding. The UK Birthing Center is the first academic medical center in Kentucky and the second hospital in the state to gain the Baby-Friendly USA accreditation.
Baby-Friendly USA facilities have achieved a gold standard of care in maternity care practices and education. The criteria for this accreditation is based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which were developed by a global team of health care professionals representing the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Nurses, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more. To achieve the accreditation, facilities must demonstrate adherence to the 10 steps, which include routine communication about a breastfeeding policy, informing mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding, helping mothers initiate breastfeeding and in-room practice, keeping mothers in-room with their baby 24 hours a day, eliminating the use of artificial nipples or pacifiers for breastfeeding infants, and providing follow-up support after mother and baby are discharged from the hospital.
During her first pregnancy in Houston, Texas, Tzeng read books about breastfeeding and discussed what to expect with her obstetrician. But her decision to breastfeed baby Jacob was complicated by several unforeseen circumstances during and after his birth. Jacob was delivered by emergency caesarian section, which can sometimes interfere with an important period of maternal-infant bonding known as the "golden hour." In addition, the hospital staff prematurely exposed Jacob to bottles and pacifiers, which hindered his motivation to latch to his mother's breast. Once Tzeng brought Jacob home, her breastfeeding challenges continued to persist. Tzeng was producing a small amount of breast milk and had to pump breast milk for six months.
Tzeng could tell the difference in maternal care when she delivered her second child at a facility that upheld Baby-Friendly USA standards. She said every nurse, doctor and lactation specialist at the UK HealthCare Birthing Center encouraged and supported her efforts to breastfeed her second baby. She felt empowered to achieve what she believed was the best decision for her baby and herself.
"This time around it was such a better experience," Tzeng said. "I think a little encouragement goes a long way."
Many evidence-based studies have shown breastfeeding promotes the long-term health of mothers and babies. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are breastfed have a reduced risk of acute diseases, including otitis media and gastroenteritis, and a reduced severity of infections and long-term diseases such as diabetes and certain types of cancer. Breastfeeding babies are also at a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). They are also less likely to suffer from obesity as adults. Moms who breastfeed reduce their risk of ovarian cancer, anemia and osteoporosis. The decision to breastfeed is also economical for every household. All of these benefits are dose related, so the longer a couplet breastfeeds, the higher their protection.
KCH pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Collins emphasizes the numerous benefits of breastfeeding to her patients, colleagues and pediatric residents. Beyond nutritional and health benefits for both members of the couplet, Collins said breastfeeding strengthens an emotional bond between mother and child that will last a lifetime.
"We're teaching moms to act as a couplet with their baby from the very beginning," Collins said. "It's not just about nutrition, it's about bonding."
Extending information and resources about breastfeeding to parents is especially important in Kentucky. Kentucky trails national averages in breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. A 2011 state report cited Kentucky as 48th in the nation in breastfeeding rates, with a 59 percent initiation rate. The national average of breastfeeding initiation is 75 percent.
Gwen Moreland, the assistant chief nursing executive for Kentucky Children's Hospital, led the interdisciplinary effort to transition UK Birthing Center to a Baby-Friendly USA facility. The accreditation, which took two years and several on-site evaluations to obtain, required the entire staff to adopt a new mindset in how to approach maternal bonding and feeding. Even the way the nurses handle and administer formula are strictly regulated to promote a "baby friendly" environment. Moreland applauds collaborative effort of the departmental team in implementing the highest standards of maternal care and infant nutrition.
”Our staff is consistently focused on how to support new mothers and babies," Moreland said. "The goal is to help mothers be successful in providing the best start for their babies.”
For more information about breastfeeding and Baby-Friendly USA, click here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2015) — This Friday, June 5, hundreds of patients, friends and family of patients, and University of Kentucky faculty and staff will gather in the UK Markey Cancer Center courtyard to participate in "Expressions of Courage," a creative exhibit celebrating the work of those who have been affected by cancer.
This year's event will feature the creative work of more than 50 participants.
Exhibits include visual art, poetry readings, dance exhibitions, and vocal and instrumental performances by patients, survivors, and friends and family. Light refreshments will be served.
Art displays of survivor contributions will go on display today in the Combs Atrium Building of the UK Markey Cancer Center. On Friday afternoon, Dr. Edward Pavlik will officially welcome attendees at 1 p.m., followed by a few remarks from Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers and Markey oncologist Dr. Edward Romond.
The full schedule of events include:
· 1:45 p.m. - Literary readings
· 2:15 p.m. - Dance exhibitions
· 3 p.m. - Literary readings
· 3:45 p.m. - Vocal and instrumental performances
· 4:30 p.m. - Closing remarks by cancer survivor Darwin Holloway
Markey is currently running two fundraisers that directly support this event. The "Tastes of Courage" cookbook contains more than 500 recipes contributed by Markey patients and staff. The cookbooks are $20 each or two for $30.
Additionally, Expressions of Courage t-shirts are available for sale. The purple short-sleeved shirts are $10 each; the white long-sleeved shirts are $15.
To purchase a cookbook or a t-shirt, send an email to email@example.com with your request.
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MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 1, 2015) -- Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among people ages 1-44 years. As with most U.S. hospitals, the University of Kentucky experiences the highest number of trauma related hospital visits between April and September.
Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are devastating and the effects can be irreversible. Your brain is the “boss of your body" because our brain "tells" our body to do virtually everything. Unfortunately, once the brain is damaged, there is not much a physician can do to reverse it. The good news is that most injuries are easily preventable. This is why we need to use our brain to protect our body and to think before we act.
As the school year ends and summer activities pick up, here are some helpful tips on how you and your family can stay safe during "trauma season."
Always wear a helmet and wear it properly. Whether it’s a casual family bike ride or cruising the back trails on an ATV, you should always wear a helmet. According to the ThinkFirst Foundation, helmets are up to 87 percent effective in reducing the risk for a brain injury. If it has wheels but no roof, you need to wear a helmet.
Feet first! First time! Most diving accidents occur in lakes, rivers or other natural bodies of water. If you are unsure of how deep the water is, enter the water feet first the first time to prevent potentially life-threatening brain or spinal cord injuries.
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012 a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes due to traffic accidents in the U.S. alone. Be a smart and predictable pedestrian. Walk only on sidewalks or paths. If there is no sidewalk, walk as far away from traffic as possible on the left side of the road. Stay alert and don’t be distracted by electronic devices; make eye contact with drivers and be predictable by following the rules of the road.
More than 200,000 children visit emergency rooms each year due to playground injuries, and 79 percent of those injuries are due to falls from playground equipment.
Never leave your child unsupervised on a playground. Make sure the equipment is sized properly for your child: equipment 4 feet tall or lower is appropriate for children up to age 5; equipment up to 8 feet tall is sized for children ages 5-12. Make sure there are guardrails on all elevated platforms and remove your child's drawstring hoodie or jacket before they play to prevent strangulation injuries.
The University of Kentucky Trauma Program and the National Injury Prevention Foundation offer education programs free of charge. If you would like more information or would like to schedule a program, visit us at: http://www.mc.uky.edu/traumaservices/ or The National Think First Foundation at: http://www.thinkfirst.org/
Have a safe and fun summer!
Amanda M. Rist, RN BSN, is Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator for the University of Kentucky Trauma Program
This column ran in the May 31, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 1, 2015) -- Two-week old Bransen Roberts sleeps peacefully despite the bustle of the Pediatric Clinic at UK Healthcare. When his mother Becky Triplett removes him from his car seat to be weighed and measured, he grimaces slightly and stuffs his fist into his mouth, annoyed at the interruption, but otherwise submits quietly to the gentle poking and prodding.
Bransen appears the picture of health, with 10 perfect fingers and toes that his parents, like so many parents before, counted when he was born. But he's here today to be examined by Dr. Ali Ziada, a pediatric urologist, who will evaluate Bransen's condition and map out a treatment strategy.
Before Bransen was born, he was diagnosed with hydronephrosis, a rare condition where urine backs up in the kidney as a result of an obstruction in the ureter or backward flow of urine from the bladder. The condition is potentially dangerous and can result in the loss of one or both kidneys without proper intervention.
"They way they described it to me was it was like a kink in a garden hose," Becky said.
Early diagnosis and intervention in most instances is key to assuring the best possible health outcome, and hydronephrosis is no different. In Bransen's case, a new UK HealthCare program called The Blue Angels made this early intervention possible.
Becky and Bransen's father Jason are from Manchester, Kentucky. Kentucky is well known for its poor marks on health measures like obesity, diabetes, smoking and heart disease, and Clay County is among the worst of its 120 counties. The situation is further exacerbated by the lack of specialty health care nearby.
UK HealthCare saw an opportunity to fulfill its institutional mission to keep patients as close to home for their treatment as possible and worked with Manchester Memorial Hospital (MMH) to forge a partnership providing high-level specialty care to MMH patients in several areas, including cardiology, optometry, and obstetrics. In the latter case, UK HealthCare set up a twice-a-month clinic where highly trained obstetricians use special equipment to review fetal ultrasounds remotely, in real time, and talk with the patient simultaneously.
Dr. John O'Brien, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at UK HealthCare, says the program fills a need in a meaningful, expedient and personal way.
"Before Blue Angels, patients had two choices: they had to travel to Lexington for their high-risk consult, or a technician did the ultrasound in their hometown and it was shipped up to Lexington for us to assess," he said.
According to Dr. O'Brien, neither option was ideal, since it meant that either the patient wasn't with him while her ultrasound was evaluated, or she would have to travel -- sometimes a far distance -- for her ultrasound. Furthermore, explains O'Brien, if the patient's ultrasound didn’t answer all of his questions, it had to be repeated.
"It was a burden for the mother to travel, or it was expensive, or both," he said. "And the time spent traveling or waiting and wondering was stressful for the mother."
Now ultrasound techs travel to locations throughout Kentucky with a portable videoconference device, seeing patients whose hometown obstetricians have identified as high-risk based on their own ultrasound technology.
The briefcase-size video system, which includes a camera and microphone, connects to the ultrasound equipment in each location and allows O’Brien to see the ultrasound as it is being performed, guide the technician through difficult studies and communicate with the patient just as if they were in the same room.
"I can talk directly with the patient to explain right away what I see and what the next steps should be," O'Brien said. "It provides a measure of comfort to the mother when we can tell her immediately what’s going on and if necessary we can intervene more quickly, which is always the best option for both mother and baby."
In Becky's case, the ultrasound scheduled as a routine part of her checkups with her obstetrician in Manchester revealed some troubling abnormalities in one of Bransen's kidneys. She was immediately scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound with Dr. O'Brien via the Blue Angels.
“Based on my review of the ultrasound, I was concerned that Bransen's condition was worsening," he said. "I felt it was imperative that we preserve Bransen's kidney function and the best way to do that would be follow up with a pediatric urologist. So I reviewed the information with Bransen's parents and referred them to Dr. Ziada."
"I really appreciated how much time they spent with us explaining the situation, the next steps, and the possible outcomes," Bransen's father Jason said.
Bransen will continue to be followed by Dr. Ziada, who will schedule periodic tests to ensure that Bransen's condition isn't worsening. Ultimately, should the "kink in the garden hose" not resolve on its own, Dr. Ziada might recommend surgery to correct it.
"No matter what," Dr. Ziada said, "Bransen is likely to come out of this a healthy boy."
Dr. O'Brien firmly believes that Blue Angels and programs like it increase access to the highest level of health care for the poor and the rural, both of which are numerous in this state, and therefore promote more equity in the health care system. In particular, by improving access for high-risk pregnant women, the program helps build faith in the healthcare system and reinforce the connection between mothers and their physicians -- both of which serve to maintain good health long term.
"Obstetrics is the most cost-efficient way to invest healthcare dollars, since it helps prevent mortality and improves healthcare outcomes for decades," said Dr. O'Brien. "And Blue Angels is a cost efficient way to bring the highest level of obstetric care to the patient, wherever she may live."
Media Contact: Laura Dawahare, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center held its sixth annual Markey Cancer Center Research Day, highlighting the work of UK students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty from the past year.
Research Day provides an opportunity for investigators to showcase their work and also view the work of their colleagues across the campus. Markey researchers are housed all across the University, spanning seven colleges and 26 departments.
“We’ve investigators interested in cancer research from all across the campus coming together to talk about their latest findings and sharing those findings,” said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. “We’re seeing new collaborations being formed through this day, and overall it’s just a wonderful event that brings researchers together.”
UK College of Pharmacy graduate student Sherif El-Refai, who presented a poster for the first time at Research Day this year, echoed Evers’ sentiment.
“This is the best way to get a feel for the research being done all across campus, and to find collaborators interested in the same subjects that you are,” El-Refai said, noting that he’d already met several professors and statisticians to collaborate with in the future.
This year’s event featured 122 posters; oral presentations from a current medical student, two graduate students, and one postdoctoral fellow; and faculty oral presentations from Ellen Hahn, the Marcia A. Dake Endowed Professor in the UK College of Nursing, and Dr. John D’Orazio, Drury Pediatric Research Endowed Chair in the UK Department of Pediatrics.
Dr. Edward Romond, breast oncologist at Markey, was honored for his years of breakthrough research and stellar patient care with a lifetime achievement award from the Markey Cancer Foundation.
Additionally, Evers presented his annual State of the Cancer Center Address, highlighting major accomplishments from Markey over the past year. Evers’ annual address is a highlight for many attendees.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to hear Dr. Evers talk about the Cancer Center – especially everything we’ve done well over the past year, and also what we need to do in the future,” said Jamie Studts, associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Kentucky and director of the Kentucky LEADS Collaborative.
To finish the afternoon’s presentations, Kentucky native Phil Sharp, Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor for the Koch Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gave the Susan B. Lester Memorial Lecture.
The event concluded with an award ceremony. Awards were presented in two different categories - basic science and clinical/translational science - for both graduate and postdoctoral fellows. An Overall Winner was honored, as well as a Researcher's Choice Award, based on a popular vote by people who attended Research Day.
The winners are:
Basic Sciences - Graduate
FIRST: Lin Ao
SECOND: Payton Stevens
Basic Sciences - Postdoc
FIRST: Yekaterina Zaytseva
SECOND: Jie Chan
Clinical and Translational Sciences - Graduate
FIRST: Meghana Kudrimoti
SECOND: Kristine Song
Clinical and Translational Sciences - Postdoc
FIRST: Rachel Stewart
SECOND: Swati Yalamanchi
Researcher's Choice Award
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2015) — Chance Ridgeway hasn’t stopped moving for 45 straight minutes.
Sweat beads form on the brow of the 11-year-old as he vigorously touches his left elbow to his right knee, then meets his right elbow to his left knee. This jerky dance move is repeated again and again. To his right, exercise partner Chris Brown challenges Chance to pump his knees up a little bit higher.
When the hip-hop song blaring from a nearby lap top computer stops, Chance collapses to the bed of grass beneath his feet. Right now, Chance isn’t interested in counting calories or heeding his doctor's recommendation of daily exercise. As evident by the grin sealed across his face, Chance is fixated on having fun with Brown, a third-year medical student who pushes him to try harder every few seconds.
“It’s a team effort,” Chance said, sipping a bottle of water before springing back to his feet.
Since February, Chance has gathered with about 25 to 30 patients from the UK Pediatric High BMI Diagnostic Clinic every Sunday at the UK Arboretum or the Charles Young Community Center gymnasium to exercise with a UK medical student mentor. The patient-student pairs stretched their muscles, ran laps, performed aerobic routines and played active games during the clinics, which were held throughout the spring season.
The weekly outdoor clinics, or "fun runs," were organized by UK medical students committed to helping pediatric BMI patients incorporate an hour of outdoor exercise into their weekend schedules. Patients were assigned at least one medical student partner before every clinic. Some children set a goal of running a full lap around the arboretum's paved trail, which is about 2 miles long. Other children experienced the delight of group exercise and exercise partner accountability for the first time.
Nazeeha Jawahir, a third-year medical student, introduced the idea of a weekly exercise clinic for pediatric BMI patients after working in the clinic and volunteering with children at a hospital in rural Asia. She realized unhealthy habits were spreading to children in underdeveloped parts of the world, and she wanted to do something to prevent more children from suffering from the dire effects of inactivity and obesity.
She recruited a group of her medical student peers, some of whom already had experience working in the Pediatric BMI Clinic, to serve as exercise mentors to children on a weekly basis. Rather than shaming or forcing children to work out, the medical students modeled physical activity as something fun, easy and rewarding.
"I think we can make little signs of progress," Jawahir said. "I don't know if we can overcome it, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Emphasizing the importance of being active and making exercise a part of daily life can only help them."
Chance's mom Tonya Ridgeway notices her son is more energized when he's engaged in some form of physical activity. Instead of napping, Chance chooses to go play outside, fly a kite or ride his bike. Chance has worked with Dr. Aurelia Radulescu, a pediatrician at Kentucky Children's Hospital, for two years, and he is maintaining his current weight.
"As long as there's a game involved, he's interested," Ridgeway said of Chance.
Stephanie Day knew her son Travis Lowery needed to change his habits when he had trouble with snoring and breathing at night. Since the 11-year-old started being seen at the UK BMI Clinic, he's lost 13 pounds. Travis plays team sports including football and baseball, but the Sunday clinic with the medical students is his favorite event of the week.
"You can tell the kids are so excited," Day said. "They get so involved. The medical students being with them makes it even better because they have a partner."
More than 50 UK medical students volunteered as exercise partners for children this spring. Jawahir and a team of students are working to continue offering outdoor clinics to pediatric patients starting again in August.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) — Keeneland Concours d’Elegance will host the Maserati Mingle Friday, May 15, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Court House Square in downtown Lexington.
Sponsored by Maserati of Cincinnati, event admission is free to the public and will feature a variety of exotic automobiles, including vintage models from Maserati, Ferrari and Porsche. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on site.
“This will be a fun, memorable event with a number of local classic cars on display at downtown Lexington’s Court House Square,” Connie Jones, Concours co-chair, said. “It serves as a warm-up for the upcoming Keeneland Concours d’Elegance on July 16-19, and all proceeds will benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital."
Tickets and information for the Keeneland Concours will be available at the Maserati Mingle.
For the 2015 Keeneland Concours d'Elegance on Saturday, July 18, the featured marque is Maserati, in celebration of the company's 100th anniversary in 2014. Supporting sponsors for the Maserati Mingle event include the UK Federal Credit Union, WEKU and Harp Enterprises.
Since the first event in 2004, the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance has showcased the finest in automobiles and the attractions of central Kentucky on the lush grounds of the Keeneland Race Course. Activities include a Bourbon Tour, Hangar Bash and the Tour d’Elegance of scenic Kentucky back roads. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital to help bring better health care to the children of Kentucky. For more information, visit www.keenelandconcours.com.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2015) — Bullying, peer pressure, substance abuse and suicide — these are all serious issues voiced by teens in the opening segment of a Kentucky Educational Television (KET) special report on teen health. Dr. Hatim Omar, chief of the University of Kentucky Division of Adolescent Medicine, is one expert featured in the program who is committed to helping teens overcome these issues as they progress toward adulthood.
KET Health's "What Does Every Teen Need?" explores the unique generational challenges confronting Kentucky's youth and offers insight into how parents can support teen health. During the documentary, Omar describes his comprehensive approach to teen health, which emphasizes prevention and the principles of Positive Youth Development. Omar claims three essential components are necessary to foster positive youth development: a caring adult, a safe place to connect with others and a meaningful activity.
The documentary also highlights partnerships forged by Omar between the UK Division of Adolescent Medicine and two rural Kentucky school systems. Through these partnerships, the UK Adolescent Medicine conducts health screenings to identify at-risk teens and provides in-school clinical hours at middle and high schools. The programs have helped improve accessibility to treatment for many teens in Harrison and Lincoln Counties.
"What Does Every Teen Need" was produced by Laura Krueger and premieres on Monday, April 20, at 9 p.m. on KET. To view a preview of the program, click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2015) — Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatrician and child safety researcher Dr. Susan Pollack was recently honored as one of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s 2015 Public Health Heroes. The award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to improving the health of Lexington residents.
Pollack has advocated for injury prevention and safety measures for children of all ages. Her areas of expertise include safe sleeping areas for infants, car seat safety, drowning and fire prevention, teen driving, and head protection for bicyclists, skateboarders and ATV riders.
She frequently assists with the Child Care Health Consultant Program, which promotes healthy child development in safe environments. Pollack is the coordinator of the Pediatric and Adolescent Injury Prevention Program at the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center, and an assistant professor in the UK Department of Pediatrics and the UK Department of Preventive Medicine. She serves on the Child Fatality Review committee in Fayette County and on the state level through the Department for Public Health.
Pollack considers her advocacy of revisions to booster seat laws in Kentucky and work to improve child care programs among her most important contributions to child safety. She thanked the many collaborators in Fayette County and at the Kentucky Department for Public Health who joined her efforts to make environments safer for teens and children.
"It's an incredible honor," Pollack said of the award. "I'm really proud of how much working together has made things possible, even when resources were scarce. We couldn't have done it without each other."
Pollack was selected for the honor with Marian Guinn, the CEO of God's Pantry Food Bank. The two women were recognized during an April 13 meeting of the Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health.
Past winners of the award include the Rev. Willis Polk and baby Health Service (2014); Anita Courtney and Teens Against Tobacco Use (2013); Vickie Blevins and Jay McChord (2013); Jill Chenault-Wilson and Dr. Malkanthie McCormick (2011); Dr. Jay Perman (2010); the Lexington Lions Club (2009); Dr. David Stevens and the late Dr. Doane Fischer (2008); Dr. Ellen Hahn, Mary Alice Pratt and Therese Moseley (2007); Dr. Andrew Moore and Rosa Martin (2006); Jan Brucato and Dragana Zaimovic (2005); and Dr. John Michael Moore, Ellen Parks and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (2004).
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 9, 2015) — On a Sunday night in March, 16-year-old Jessie Sharp munched on an order of breadsticks delivered to his hospital room at the Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH) pediatric intensive care unit. He asked to delay his bedtime to complete Spanish homework. At the same time, machines at the side of his bed facilitated the function of two vital organs.
Life in the PICU was a drastic change for the teen who was shoveling snow on his family's Cynthiana farm only days earlier. With a system of catheters running through his body, diverting the flow of blood to external machines doing the jobs of his lungs and kidneys, Jessie was at the very beginning of his road to recovery. But Jessie's capabilities through the course of critical care — working on homework, communicating with his family and even walking throughout the hospital — reflected some semblance of normal life.
"I’m thinking, this is unbelievable," Dr. Scottie Day, chief and medical director of the pediatric critical care unit at KCH, said. "We have a kid whose kidneys and lungs essentially don’t work, and he’s sitting here eating pizza and doing his Spanish homework."
To the KCH health care providers aware of Jessie's critical state, watching him stay active, alert and mobile, in spite of lung and kidney failure, was an incredible sight. His activity was only possible through an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine and a multidisciplinary health care team with the expertise to integrate the machine into pediatric care. Getting a patient to ambulate, or walk, while connected to ECMO is a milestone only a few pediatric hospitals around the nation have accomplished.
After showing ongoing symptoms of a common stomach virus in late February, Jessie visited a local hospital where he underwent precautionary tests. His mom, Dianna Sharp, was waiting in line at the local pharmacy when she received an urgent call from Jessie's pediatrician. By the time Jessie was transported to KCH, his kidney and lungs were declining from the effects of a rare and undiagnosed autoimmune inflammatory disease. A pediatric critical care team led by Day and Aftab Chishti, a pediatric nephrologist at KCH, intervened quickly to support Jessie's failing organs.
Ultimately, the pediatric team determined Jessie's damaged kidneys and lungs were too weak to continue working on their own. Jessie was started on supportive treatment through dialysis for kidney failure, but a more pressing concern for the critical care team was managing the condition of Jessie's lungs. The state of his lungs continued to progressively deteriorate, and on March 1 Jessie was placed on a mechanical ventilator, but this intervention was not a long-term solution.
In the early morning of March 2, pediatric surgeon Dr. Sean Skinner led a surgical team in placing a large catheter in a neck vein to connect the ECMO machine to Jessie's body. A tracheostomy enabling Jessie to breathe was also placed in Jessie's neck to allow for easier mobilization. ECMO technology reroutes the flow of blood to the lungs to an external perfusion machine, which replicates the job of the lungs by oxygenating blood, removing carbon dioxide gas and replenishing oxygen to healthy blood cells. This process gave Jessie's lungs a needed break, improving the likelihood that the organs would recover from the damage of the disease and eventually function normally again.
"The thought behind using this modality is it gives time for the lungs to rest," Day said. "It’s like a big scratch — if you keep beating it, it continues to get bruised. But if you give it rest, it will get better."
Before pediatric hospitals had access to revolutionary ECMO technology, children whose lungs were as damaged as Jessie's were often sedated and placed on ventilators, which forcibly oxygenated the lungs and could cause further injury. If these children required support through ECMO, they would remain sedated and paralyzed to prevent problems with the circuit. With ambulatory ECMO, Jessie avoided complete sedation, and was able to eat and drink on his own, start physical therapy right away and stay caught up with school work, all while his lungs were completely out of commission. During several weeks of recovery at KCH, Jessie managed to stand and walk as far as 350 steps to the hospital Welcome Center while on the ECMO machine.
"Before ambulatory ECMO, these kids would be fully sedated in a coma," Day said. "Today, that’s not the way of thinking."
Day believes ECMO was a life-saving intervention in Jessie's case. A team of health care professionals representing more than 14 divisions at Kentucky Children's Hospital, including pediatric critical care, surgery, nephrology, nursing, physical therapy, perfusion, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, pulmonology, rheumatology, psychiatry, occupational therapy, speech therapy and child life, represented a true team approach to Jessie's care. UK HealthCare's transplant division and cardiothoracic surgery program were early adopters of ambulatory ECMO technology, using the machines to support patients waiting for organ transplants. The majority of hospitals conduct ambulatory ECMO as a bridging measure to organ transplantation.
"As a children's hospital within a larger health care system, we are able to utilize some of the same approaches in a child-friendly manner," Day said. "We are one of the few children's hospitals in the nation doing ambulatory ECMO."
Because of the complexities of caring for children on ECMO and the multiple professions involved in Jessie's treatment, morning rounds in Jessie's room lasted as long as 45 minutes. Krysta Clark, one of Jessie's primary nurses, said morning rounds were essential for ensuring every health care professional was in agreement of Jessie's goals and therapies for the day. Jessie and his family were also participants in the discussions centered on his care.
"Everyone was so respectful and collaborative," Clark said. "And I think it's what's got him to progress so quickly."
Jessie was taken off the ECMO machine on March 27 and in early April returned to his beloved farm, his dog, 50 head of cattle and the tractor. Jessie will receive long-term treatment and regular dialysis at KCH, but starting physical therapy while an inpatient, with the help of ECMO, shortened Jessie's time in the PICU and sped up his overall recovery. Dianna Sharp was grateful the pediatric team utilized ECMO — seeing her son walk around the hospital was a welcome reassurance during a stressful and uncertain time.
"That was very hopeful, and it made me feel good that they were working with him," Dianna Sharp said of watching Jessie walk while on the ECMO machine. "I love the doctors and the nurses here — you couldn’t ask for better people."
Video courtesy of UK HealthCare Marketing.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2015) — Nearly a third of all children nationwide and in Kentucky aren't up-to-date with the vaccination schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but not because their parents are refusing vaccines. Evidence suggests parents tend to forget appointments when children are scheduled to receive immunizations.
A group of pediatricians at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine are helping parents remember vaccination appointments through a new text message alert system. Parents of babies born at the Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH) Birthing Center are presented with the option to receive a sequence of text message reminders the week before their child's vaccination appointments.
Dr. Akshay Sharma, Dr. Anil George and Dr. Kimberly Northrip are testing the impact of the text message alert system and its ability to prevent missed appointments for publicly and privately insured patients. The ongoing project, which was awarded a grant from the Community Access to Child Health fund of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014, was launched last August.
"The most common reason (for missed appointments) is parents don't have information or forget when their children’s vaccinations are due," said Sharma, principle investigator of the research and a pediatric resident at KCH.
Sharma stressed that timing is crucial for the efficacy of childhood vaccinations. Children receive vaccinations and booster shots at their two-month, four-month, six-month, one-year, 15-month and 18-month appointments. These vaccinations protect against infectious diseases including polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, pneumonia, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC-recommended vaccination schedule is designed to immunize the child at a point in their life when they are most vulnerable to contracting or spreading these diseases.
An outbreak of the measles linked to an amusement park in California that started in December 2014 has spread to about 150 children in seven states, calling attention to the public health consequences of children with incomplete vaccinations. In Kentucky, an estimated 70 percent of children complete the recommended vaccination schedule by 35 months of age, which should ideally be completed by 18 months of age. George said parents attempt to update their child's medical records in preparation for preschool or kindergarten, as late as 5 or 6 years of age, only to learn their child has aged-out of certain vaccines.
"Like we are seeing with the measles outbreak, it's not that all the children were unimmunized, it's that they were not completely immunized," George said. "Getting vaccines for school entry is okay, but it doesn't help the community at large because there are still vulnerable children in the community."
In the United States, 90 percent of people carry a cellphone, and text messages are typically accessed faster than voice messages. The text message alert system adopted at Kentucky Children's Hospital was designed by the same software developers that created a successful nationwide vaccination reminder system for the Indian Academy of Pediatrics a few years ago. The system reminders are individualized, providing an alert for each KCH child in the family.
Sharma said previous research suggests publicly insured patients are less likely to complete the recommended vaccination schedules. With the text alert system in place, preliminary results of the study show publicly insured patients are more likely to adhere to the immunization schedule when they opt to receive text message reminders.
"In this study, we found that while the immunization rates improved for all children when their parents received the reminders, the immunization rates for the publicly insured patients increased to the same levels as their privately insured counterparts," said Northrip, who is mentoring the residents.
The researchers are working to collect data from 1,000 patients, with 500 children already registered for the study. Half of the study's subjects will receive the alert system and half will not receive the alerts. The group recently presented some preliminary results at the Southern Regional Meetings in New Orleans and intend to publish their findings in a national medical journal on completion of the study. After the initial testing phase, the text message alerts will be available to any parent in Kentucky or the rest of the country.
To register for the text message alert system, visit www.vaccinereminder.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2015) — Neonatologists at Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH) recently acquired an incubator compatible with magnetic resonance technology (MRI) to examine brain development and injuries in newborns.
The addition of the MR Diagnostics Incubator System nomag IC will allow KCH neonatologists to visualize the brain structures of high-risk infants born before 25 weeks of gestation, as well as infants who suffered from oxygen deprivation, also known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, before delivery.
The state-of-the-art incubator will prevent the need for sedation in newborns, who are already susceptible to hypothermia and other complications that could exacerbate their conditions. As a benefit for the neonatal intensive care unit staff, the incubator, which custom fits into the MRI machine, will simplify the process of transporting an infant.
The UK Division of Neonatology specializes in caring for the smallest and most fragile newborn babies, some of them weighing less than 700 grams. UK has the only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit - the highest level for the most complex care - in the region and last year had nearly 900 patient admissions. The division offers a well-developed and comprehensive clinical care service and a rapidly growing research program.
While most premature infants will not need an MRI right away, Dr. Peter Giannone, chief of the Division of Neonatology and vice chair of Pediatric Research, said conducting MRIs on extremely premature babies prior to discharge is becoming a standard of practice in major medical centers specializing in care for these patients.
The incubator will also serve an important function enabling the collection of data for an ongoing study within the UK Department of Pediatrics, which is investigating the developmental implications of brain bleeds commonly diagnosed in premature babies.
"We will be able to put the baby in the incubator, connect specially designed monitoring equipment, and take the baby down to the MRI, with the anticipation of doing the MRI without sedation," Giannone said. "This will be a much safer way to do MRIs on our babies."
Giannone and John Bauer, Ph.D, a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics, are leading a randomized placebo-controlled trial looking at whether the delayed clamping of the umbilical cord at birth can improve blood flow to the brain and reduce the risk of brain lesions in the earliest premature babies. The research trial is supported by a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) — At one time, the plastic mesh head and neck mask Richard Powers wore during 33 rounds of radiation therapy was bound for the bottom of a lake. When asked what he’d do with the mask after six weeks of treatment, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center patient told nurses he planned to hurl the mask into the water on a fishing trip.
But once he completed his treatment, Powers changed his mind about the fate of his mask. For the 75-year-old who’s battled three different types of cancer in his lifetime, an art therapy workshop at the UK Markey Cancer Center allowed him to reimagine the mask as a symbol of victory over his disease. Powers, a descendant of the Cherokee Nation, decided to transform the mask into a sculpture of a decorated Native American chief.
“I have Cherokee blood in me from my grandmother – they’re very strong people,” Powers said. “So I’m making him up as a warrior.”
During an art therapy workshop hosted at the UK Markey Cancer Center on May 29, Powers smeared handprints of bright red “war” paint across the cheeks of his Cherokee warrior. With help from his stepson Eddie Roberts, he assembled a headdress of feathers on the top of the chief head and attached a sheet of leather cut from an old purse across as a chest piece. A former member of the military, Powers hung an anchor symbolizing his service on one ear and a tiny fleur de lis, a token from a memorable trip, on the other ear.
“I’m going to take it home and put it in my living room somewhere hopefully or my hall entry way, and it will be a reminder and a conversation piece,” Powers said. “People will come in and say, ‘What is that?’ And I’ll be able to tell them that’s the mask I wore to cure my throat cancer.”
Throughout the summer, Fran Belvin, an art therapist with the UK Markey Cancer Center and UK Arts in HealthCare program, is hosting a series of mask-making workshops for head and neck cancer patients. The workshops include both a therapeutic and expressive component.
Belvin starts the day by leading the participants in a discussion of their experiences with radiation treatment, providing patients with the opportunity to share both positive and negative emotions tied to the treatment process and their mask. Then, the patients transition to an art studio setting where they use a varied array of art materials provided by Belvin, as well as personal items, to paint and embellish their masks.
Radiation treatment to the head and neck requires patients to wear a stiff plastic mesh mask to secure their positioning. Patients feel supressed and confined during the treatment process. Radiation for throat and head cancer causes patients to feel weak and tired, and can have long-term side-effects such as a hoarse voice and difficulty swallowing. Patients commonly fantasize about elaborate ways to rid themselves of the masks after treatment.
But given the opportunity to repurpose the mask, patients finished with radiation treatment are eager to let loose their imaginations and creativity. As a medium for art, Belvin said the large masks tend to inspire dramatic themes and extravagant interpretations of the self. The themes displayed through the masks range from humorous and gaudy to powerful and spiritual.
“It’s a way for the patient to transform the experience of having cancer and having radiation – which can be an uncomfortable and confining feeling – into something really positive and beautiful – or dramatic and exciting,” Belvin said.
Belvin is offering the workshops to any head or neck cancer patient from the Markey Cancer Center who has completed radiation treatment. If a patient did not keep their mask, one is provided. The workshops are scheduled one Friday per month throughout the summer. Participants may come just for the morning or the afternoon, or may stay all day. Patients also may come more than once to complete their sculptures and may bring a friend or family member to help them. Future workshops are scheduled to take place on June 26, July 24 and Aug. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To register or for more information, call Christina Jewell at (859) 323-4895.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2015) – Erica Radhakrishnan has always been an athlete. The 41-year-old Lexington resident has been active all her life, playing sports as a teenager before moving on to train for more challenging endeavors, including half-marathons and Olympic-distance triathlons.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34, Radhakrishnan's training was put on hold, though she says remaining active was extremely important to her overall well-being.
"Throughout the entire experience, I did try to stay physically active and physically fit," Radhakrishnan said. "Even though you feel like you can't do it, remarkably, it makes your body feel better... and exercise is a good way to purge the mind of negative thoughts and feelings. So I did try, even though some days it was physically challenging just to walk to the front door."
After a round of surgery and chemotherapy, Radhakrishnan was in the clear, but temporarily – less than three years later, she was diagnosed with a local recurrence of breast cancer. Local recurrence, or the return of a cancer to its original location, is a relatively uncommon circumstance. But most of the time, a local recurrence will happen within the first five years following diagnosis.
Luckily, the second cancer was detected early. At the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, Radhakrishnan underwent more surgery and chemotherapy. She also received radiation, where she was treated by Markey radiation oncologist – and accomplished triathlete – Dr. Jonathan Feddock.
"When I initially met him, I pegged him for a triathlete as soon as he walked in," Radhakrishnan said.
The two bonded over their mutual interest in competing, and Radhakrishnan names Feddock as a driving force in helping her get back to fighting form. Just one year after finishing her last radiation treatment, she completed her first post-treatment half-marathon.
"The next time I saw him, he said, 'I'm so proud of you,'" Radhakrishnan said. "It was such a motivator for me, to realize that what I was doing was pretty amazing... to have that support has spurred in me the desire to continue to be fit and to share that information with others patients out there."
One way Radhakrishnan is helping to share that message is by competing in this weekend's Survive the Night Team Triathlon. The triathlon is the main event of the Healthiest Weekend in Lexington, a fundraiser developed by Feddock himself. Participants will swim, bike and run for a combined 140.7 miles — nearly the same distance as Feddock's Ironman race last summer, where he fundraised and brought in more than $150,000 for the Markey Cancer Foundation.
This weekend, 22 teams and one solo participant will compete in Survive the Night, beginning their long journey at 7 p.m. Friday night and finishing up sometime Saturday morning at The Club at Spindletop Hall. Radhakrishnan's team is composed of mothers and their children — including three of her own daughters.
"Each person on my team has been affected by a cancer diagnosis, whether it be a parent, grandparent, cousin, aunt or uncle," she said. "Each child has had to live through what it's like to have a cancer diagnosis. I'm very proud of the fact that they feel this desire to do something more — they can't work in a lab right now, but they can run, they can swim, and they can bike. And they're willing to do that in the hopes of raising money and awareness for Ironcology and for Markey."
Video by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.
The triathletes competing this weekend aren't the only ones helping raise money to support cancer research and patient care. On Saturday morning, the Healthiest Weekend event will host a Something for Every Body Exercise Event and Expo, also at Spindletop Hall next to the finish line.
Numerous local fitness centers have volunteered their time and expertise to create a choose-your-own-exercise format, where attendees can participate in a variety of small group fitness classes throughout the morning including yoga, TRX, Silver Sneakers, water aerobics, boxing, barre, body rolling and more.
Each fitness class will be available for a $5 donation, with proceeds going to the Markey Cancer Foundation.
"I had the idea to create an event where anyone could participate and feel like they were able to contribute something to improve cancer care, while also promoting a healthy lifestyle," Feddock said. "Not everyone can, or wants to, compete in a long triathlon – but maybe you'd be willing to try out a class you've never done before and donate to a great cause at the same time."
For more information on the Healthiest Weekend in Lexington event including a schedule of classes, visit healthylex.com. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to make a donation toward improving cancer research and care at Markey, visit ukmarkey.org.
ABOUT MARKEY CANCER FOUNDATION
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation’s mission is to reduce cancer mortality in Kentucky and beyond by supporting innovative cancer research and treatments, education and community engagement, state-of-the-art facilities, and compassionate patient care at the UK Markey Cancer Center.
Ironcology is an exercise-based fundraising effort started by UK Markey Cancer Center radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock in 2014. Feddock, a long-distance triathlete, originally set out to raise $200,000 through crowdfunding pledges for his efforts in the 2014 Ironman Louisville to put a downpayment on a new, state-of-the-art radiation implant suite at the Markey Cancer Center. With that goal now attained, Feddock is expanding Ironcology to the masses to engage others to participate in pledge-based competition and events to raise money on behalf of the UK Markey Cancer Foundation.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2015) -- Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt has been named the Division Chief of Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.
Hildebrandt's clinical focus is cancers of the blood and lymph system. He sees patients before and after blood or marrow stem cell transplantation and treats patients suffering from acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease. He also serves as a professor of medicine in the UK College of Medicine.
Hildebrandt received his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz Medical School, Germany, in 1997. Upon completing his doctoral research thesis, he was awarded the "doctor medicinae" with magna cum laude.
He then completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a Hematology and Oncology fellowship at the University of Regensburg, Germany and became Bone Marrow Transplant and Hematologic Malignancies Attending at the University of Regensburg. In 2009 he was awarded the "Habilitation," the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by own pursuit in Germany.
After moving to the United States in 2009, Hildebrandt was a faculty member at Louisiana State University in Shreveport and served as director of their bone marrow transplant program. He later moved to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to become director of the Utah Blood and Marrow Transplant program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Hildebrandt is a member of the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the American Association for Cancer Research. He has authored more than 40 articles, books and book chapters, and is strongly involved in clinical trials.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2015) - Through his Ironcology fundraising organization, University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center oncologist and local triathlete Dr. Jonathan Feddock is partnering with the Markey Cancer Foundation to host "The Healthiest Weekend in Lexington," a two-day event June 12-13 that will focus on community engagement, cancer awareness, and promoting a healthy lifestyle while raising funds for cancer care at Markey.
The weekend includes the first-ever “Survive the Night Triathlon,” an overnight team relay that covers 140.7 combined miles of swimming, biking and running. The triathlon begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 12 at Spindletop Hall, 3414 Iron Works Pike, Lexington, Ky. Registration for the triathlon is $350 for individuals or $425 for a team of up to 10 athletes, and participants must register by June 1.
On Saturday, June 13, the event continues at 9 a.m. with the Something for Every Body Exercise Event and Expo, also at Spindletop Hall. Numerous local fitness centers have volunteered their time and expertise to create a choose-your-own-exercise format, where attendees can participate in a variety of small group fitness classes throughout the morning including yoga, TRX, Silver Sneakers, water aerobics, boxing, barre, body rolling and more.
Each fitness class will be available for a $5 donation. Participants will need to register at the event to reserve a spot for their preferred classes and times.
During the exercise event, local businesses will be on hand with information highlighting a healthy lifestyle for the prevention and treatment of cancer. The expo is free and open to the public.
Feddock, a seasoned triathlete who regularly competes in Iron Man competitions, began using his talents as an athlete to raise money for patient care at Markey last year. He raced in four long-distance events in 2014, using crowdfunding to raise more than $142,000 for Markey.
"After seeing the success I had raising money racing in triathlons, a lot of people expressed an interest in helping raise money for Markey in a similar way," Feddock said. "So I created the Healthiest Weekend in Lexington fundraiser with the idea that there would be something for everyone, whether you are a seasoned athlete or brand-new to fitness."
The Healthiest Weekend in Lexington is sponsored by UK HealthCare, Audi of Lexington, Big Ass Fans, Clark Material Handling Company and West Sixth Brewing. Fitness services will be provided by CycleYou, Fit4Mom Lexington, Legacy All Sports, LiveWell Training Club, Proof Fitness, PureBarre, Source on High, SweatLex and the YMCA of Lexington.
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation’s mission is to reduce cancer mortality in Kentucky and beyond by supporting innovative cancer research and treatments, education and community engagement, state-of-the-art facilities, and compassionate patient care at the UK Markey Cancer Center.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) – Storytelling has always been an essential part of the human experience. From prehistoric tales of the hunt, to fairytales, and even modern blockbusters, stories have reflected the culture, values and experiences of not only the characters but the storyteller himself.
Though storytelling has always been a powerful force in society, only recently has its power been used to encourage healing. The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is working to recognize the powerful patient stories that result from a cancer diagnosis and use these stories to help patients through a method known as narrative medicine.
During a narrative medicine session, patients sit one-on-one with a health professional to share their personal stories, whether it's as simple as their actual day-to-day experiences or their emotional journeys. As patients share their unique experiences, the narrative medicine facilitator will help to tease out important details and insights and help patients use their story as a way to cope and recover mentally.
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Though talking points vary greatly from patient to patient, one thing that remains consistent in each session are a series of questions asked by Markey's Narrative Medicine Facilitator Robert Slocum.
"What is your source of hope?"
A cancer diagnosis changes a person's life overnight. For many people, fighting cancer can mean taxing treatments, unexpected financial burdens, time away from loved ones and time away from activities they enjoy. It can be easy to focus on treatment, and healing the body, and forget about the toll that the experience takes on the mind.
At Markey, staff is always concerned with finding ways to keep patients engaged and maintain their sense of hope throughout treatment.
Slocum believes that one way to achieve this is through patients sharing their story and experiences.
"This is a person who happens to have cancer," Slocum said. "A person with a life, with dreams, hopes, responsibilities, and ways to share. Staying connected to that during the process of treatment can be very important."
Many patients are open to sharing their experiences but are unsure of how to do it. They feel holding these conversations might burden loved ones or health professionals. They might feel that their personal experience is not important.
Narrative medicine is a chance to express to them that their experiences do matter.
"It is important to hear again and again that we are here to listen," Slocum said. "We want to hear your experience. Your experience matters. That can be the opening that many people felt 'oh there was never a good time to talk,' well, this is a great time to talk."
This adjunct therapy becomes especially helpful for cancer patients in isolation, where they may be confined to a room with few approved visitors for a month or more. Lola Thomason, the patient care manager for Markey's blood and marrow transplantation and medical oncology floor, notes that these patients are at a particularly high risk of developing psychosocial issues, simply due to lack of interaction and conversation.
"Narrative medicine gives patients an opportunity just to get their story out," Thomason said. "Just being able to get those feelings off their chest means so much to them."
Slocum is frequently referred to patients by Thomason and her team, a system that is working well so far.
"Lola has a sixth sense for who needs to be seen and when they need to be seen," Slocum said.
"Where do you get your strength?"
There is, without a doubt, strength that comes from being able to share your personal story.
When Slocum holds these important conversations with patients, he focuses on helping patients discover what their personal strength is and helps them find the strength to share their experience with others, if they choose.
"It is possible to draw out and draw on a patients sense of strength," Slocum said. "It is an opportunity for a patient to come to a clearer understanding of their life and what they are going through presently in the context of everything they have faced before."
Narrative medicine begins with a referral from a health professional and a simple conversation.
"It can be simply 'how are you feeling today', 'what brings you to the hospital' or 'how has treatment been going'," Slocum said. "That can be the start of a conversation that begins to go a little bit deeper."
Once patients choose to participate in narrative medicine, they can share their story in the way that they are comfortable. Patients are free to share as much or as little as they would like to. The purpose is for patients to begin to share their story and also provide an opportunity for them to process their experiences.
One of Slocum's patients at Markey, Dr. David Gagnon, has been very open to sharing his experiences dealing with a rare blood cancer and subsequent brain cancer diagnosis.
Gagnon has a unique story to tell as both a doctor and a cancer patient. Because he understands the doctor and patient viewpoint, he has gained an understanding of the importance of sharing experiences and emotions.
"Patients who don't talk don't seem to do well," Gagnon said. "I have found that talking and sharing with physicians and other patients who are going through this is helpful for me and helpful for them."
During his session with Slocum, Gagnon's topics run the gamut of his life experiences, including thoughts on his career as a physician, to his hobbies and fitness goals, to his spirituality. While Gagnon has an interesting perspective, every patient offers a unique viewpoint that Slocum hopes to help draw out and build upon as a source of strength for the patient.
"Patients come in all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and with different perspectives," Slocum said. "I try to work with whoever they are and whatever they bring."
"What gives you the courage to face the future?"
For some patients, narrative medicine has allowed them to find the courage to share their story with others. This might mean sharing what they are feeling with family members or even writing it down for other patients to read and hopefully relate to.
Many patients come out of a narrative medicine session with a fresh outlook on their treatment, and on life in general.
"I've had patients say wonderful things about how their perspectives have changed in cancer treatment," Slocum said. "They don't take things for granted anymore. Cancer is a terrible diagnosis, but it's also a second chance."
Narrative medicine is just one of the ways that Markey has worked to foster hope, strength and courage in their patients. Their integrative medicine program helps to find alternative medicine practices that complement a patient's existing treatment. Markey offers a wide range of integrative programs including narrative medicine, art therapy, music therapy and Jin Shin Jyutsu.
For more information on narrative medicine or for referrals, contact Robert Slocum at (859) 324-0955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, email@example.com or (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fourth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last Thursday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Bondurant Middle School (BMS) in Frankfort, Ky., and Shelby County West Middle School (SCWMS) in Shelbyville, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a a tour of cancer research lab space in the BBSRB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured presentations by BMS student and cancer survivor Tyler Calhoun, the LLS Honored Hero, and UK pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the School & Youth division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year's campaign, more than 340 schools across the region participated. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. BMS and SCWMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $5,027.12 for LLS.
To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit www.schoolandyouth.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) -- Dr. Mark Evers, director of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery, has been elected treasurer for the American Surgical Association. Evers will serve as treasurer through 2020.
The American Surgical Association is the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. They strive to benefit the patient and the profession of surgery by advocating and promoting excellence, innovation and integrity. Its members include the nation's most prominent surgeons from the country's leading academic medical institutions, many surgery department chairs, and leading surgeons from around the world.
Evers is an internationally recognized clinician-scientist, surgeon, educator and administrator. As a surgeon, his primary interests are in GI, endocrine and soft tissue/skin cancers, and he continues to maintain an active clinical practice.
His laboratory research, which has been continuously funded for more than 20 years from the National Institutes of Health, is predominantly focused on signaling mechanisms for proliferation of colorectal cancers and in hormonal control of cancer growth.
Under his leadership, the UK Markey Cancer Center became the only Kentucky medical center to receive National Cancer Institute designation and only the 68th NCI-designated cancer center in country.
Evers currently sits on the Council of the Southern Surgical Association, having also served as secretary and president of the organization. He has held leadership positions in various national societies including the Society for Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Society of University Surgeons.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) - The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Jin Shin Jyutsu Integrative Medicine program recently received a grant of more than $10,500 from the Lexington affiliate of Susan G. Komen to produce 10 Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help videos for patients and families.
Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy. JSJ uses light touch on 52 points on the body in sequences known as “flows” with the purpose of promoting relaxation and healing of the body and mind. JSJ has been offered at the Markey Cancer Center since 2009. Jennifer Bradley, who heads the program, and her staff provide up to five free JSJ sessions for patients.
Jennifer also teaches patients, caregivers and staff how to utilize this light touch therapy on their own bodies for self-care in a form called Self-Help. Self-Help training is offered to all patients receiving sessions. Self-Help classes at Markey, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and the Lexington YMCA LiveStrong program are ongoing for patients, caregivers and staff.
The JSJ Self-Help videos will teach simplified versions of the techniques Bradley uses in her sessions for viewers to use at home.
“The majority of the videos will address specific needs of cancer patients, but many of the techniques shown will be useful to caregivers as well,” said Bradley.
The videos will be posted on the UK HealthCare YouTube channel along with videos Bradley has previously produced. As part of the grant, Bradley will also be subtitling new and existing videos in Spanish.
“As part of UK HeathCare and the University of Kentucky, Markey Cancer Center is a resource for all Kentuckians," said Bradley. "These self-help videos make Jin Shin Jyutsu available to all of the Commonwealth, whether one is a patient at Markey, one of our Affiliate hospitals or being served elsewhere."
At Markey, Bradley and her staff use JSJ to assist patients with the physical and emotional effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. In 2012, Bradley presented a pilot study that showed that patients experienced significant improvement in the areas of pain, stress and nausea starting with their first session. To learn more about Jin Shin Jyutsu and the Markey program, view the informational video.
"These videos are a rich resource for patients, caregivers and all of us and can be accessed and shared from every corner of the state," said Bradley. "I’m grateful that Lexington’s Susan G Komen affiliate has made this possible."
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center recently launched a new iPhone app featuring a searchable database of the open clinical trials at Markey. The app gives Markey patients and their treatment teams an easier way of identifying the clinical trials currently offered that might be beneficial for the patient’s treatment plans.
At any given time, Markey has more than 100 active cancer clinical trials open to accrual. Each trial represents an opportunity for cancer patients to participate in research designed to improve cancer care or measure the effectiveness of different types of treatments and drugs.
The app is also an effective way for referring physicians to quickly find out if there is an appropriate Markey trial for which their patients may qualify.
The new app allows users to search for clinical trials by the site of the disease, the drugs used in treatment, the trial’s identification number (protocol number), the phase of cancer being treated, or by the trial’s principal investigator – the researcher, often an oncologist, who is the leader on the research being performed.
The app works in conjunction with Markey's online clinical trials database, updating information in real time. Although some other cancer centers have used outside developers to put together similar apps, Markey's app was designed in-house by a team that includes lead software architect Isaac Hands and senior software developer Chaney Blu.
Eric Durbin, director of the Cancer Research Informatics Shared Resource Facility at Markey, says it was important for UK to develop this project in-house.
"It was essential for us to have complete control over the application ourselves," Durbin said. "That way, we can introduce new features for our users as we receive feedback on what can help them help these patients."
Markey Associate Director for Clinical Translation, Dr. Susanne Arnold was one of the first physician-researchers to offer feedback on the app.
"Simplifying the search for clinical trials for busy clinicians and patients will help more people participate in clinical research trials designed to help improve their outcomes," Arnold said. "Apps like this one are critical to move cancer treatment into the modern age, and I love the simplicity of this one – it’s very easy to use and very helpful."
The app is currently for iPhone users only, although Durbin says the next step will be gathering feedback to develop an Android version.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 16, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center announced today that St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky., has joined the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, a newly launched initiative conducting high priority cancer research through a network of collaborative centers with expertise in the delivery of cancer care and conduct of research studies.
Thousands of patients across eastern Kentucky will have close-to-home access to innovative clinical research studies in the treatment and epidemiology of cancer as well as research studies in the prevention and early detection of cancer.
The team at St. Claire Regional Medical Center was invited to participate based on their previous experience in conducting oncology research. St. Claire has participated in research with Markey for more than 10 years, enrolling more than 120 patients from seven surrounding counties in nearly 20 different cancer clinical studies in that time. St. Claire’s clinical research studies included those initiated at UK in priority areas of lung cancer screening and early detection, smoking cessation, treatment therapies for lung cancer, and environmental risk factors for lung cancer.
St. Claire’s long-standing oncology research portfolio will expand as a result of joining the Markey Research Network. Clinical research studies currently open at St. Claire include a study to identify the best approaches to help cancer patients quit smoking which will help to improve their response to cancer treatments, with studies coming soon in lung cancer screening and survivorship.
“St. Claire continually works to provide an advanced level of healthcare to the 160,000 plus people in our service area,” said Mark J. Neff, president/CEO of St. Claire Regional Medical Center. The unfortunate truth is that Eastern Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation which is why St. Claire is so excited to join the Markey Cancer Center Research Network in the battle to reduce cancer deaths in our region by offering close-to-home access to some of the most advanced clinical cancer trial treatments available.”
Clinical research studies are key to developing new methods to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and most treatments used today are the results of previous clinical studies. These may include studies in which patients who need cancer treatment receive their therapy under the observation of specially trained cancer doctors and staff. Patients who volunteer for cancer treatment studies will either receive standard therapy or a new treatment that represents the researchers’ best new ideas for how to improve cancer care.
The portfolio of available clinical research studies for each Markey Research Network member will be targeted, focusing both on the areas with the highest burden of disease, and the types of cancers that most affect these overburdened regions. Appalachia has some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the country, especially for lung, colorectal, and cervical cancers.
As a member of the Markey Research Network, the physicians at St. Claire Regional Medical Center will offer the opportunity to consider participation in clinical research studies to their patients, with the patients remaining under their direct care and closer to home during their treatment.
"Being able to offer not only our own trials on site, but also major NCI trials, is a huge benefit to the members of our Research Network," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "The patients who chose to enroll in one of these trials at St. Claire should be assured that they are receiving the latest, best treatment options for their disease, with the added benefit of staying much closer to their own support system at home."
By disseminating Markey's clinical research studies across the region, the collaborative Research Network will offer better, more progressive treatment options to patients without the burden of traveling away from home and their physicians.
"Clinical research is the best way to advance cancer treatment protocols and move forward with the most effective new therapies," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. "As the only NCI-designated cancer center serving the Appalachian region of Kentucky, we have an obligation to address the most devastating cancers in this area by continually improving cancer prevention, detection, and treatments. The Markey Research Network will play a vital role in improving the grim cancer mortality rates in our region."
To be invited into the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, medical centers must demonstrate a capacity to deliver the highest caliber of clinical expertise and demonstrate quality work in clinical research and complying with federal regulations. Other medical centers are expected to join the Research Network in the coming months.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 3, 2015) – Scott Logdon of Salvisa, Ky., seldom needed to visit the doctor. But in September 2012, a troublesome sore throat prompted him to make a rare visit to his primary care physician. Expecting a diagnosis of strep, he got some far worse news.
"I just thought it was strep throat," Logdon said. "It turned out to be leukemia."
Logdon was immediately referred to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, where he was officially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
Because this type of cancer can worsen quickly, treatment began right away. Logdon underwent a rigorous round of chemotherapy at Markey, getting his infusion nonstop 24 hours a day for seven straight days.
The chemo put him into temporary remission. But further testing suggested that Logdon's cancer was likely to return at some point. While taking the “wait and see” approach was an option, it was risky.
“Statistically speaking, in high-risk patients like Scott, the cancer is probably going to come back,” said Dr. Greg Monohan, the Markey hematologist/oncologist who treated Logdon. “And if you wait and see if the cancer returns, the chemo may not take as well the second time around.”
Monohan’s team began discussing the option of a bone marrow transplant, a procedure that replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Markey performs more than 80 bone marrow transplants each year.
Logdon agreed to try the transplant in October 2012, and the search for a viable donor began. The likelihood of transplant success is highly dependent on how closely the donor’s stem cells matches the recipient’s, and usually the best donors are siblings.
However, Logdon's brother and sister were tested, and neither were a match. His medical team then contacted the National Marrow Donor Program where he could potentially be matched with an anonymous donor from one of the international bone marrow registries.
In the meantime, Logdon underwent several rounds of ‘maintenance’ chemotherapy, aimed at keeping the cancer at bay until a match was found. Every 30 days, he endured five straight days of treatment, followed by a 10-day inpatient stay at Markey where he was monitored closely by Monohan’s team. Waiting took its toll on Logdon and his family, but an unexpected phone call of encouragement from UK Men's Basketball Coach John Calipari brightened the UK fan's spirits.
"Scott has had some dark days," said Angela Logdon, Scott's wife. "But he really appreciated Coach Cal taking the time to do that."
In January 2013, Logdon and his family got the call they’d been waiting for. An ideal donor had been found: a 20-year-old male who matched 10 out of the 10 major categories of proteins that determine the likelihood of the immune system accepting the transplantation.
While walking toward the campus library one afternoon three years ago, University of Wisconsin freshman Christopher Wirz passed by tables for a national bone marrow registry donor drive. Wirz’s cousin was one of the UW students working the drive, and when he stopped to chat, she convinced him to register.
“I signed up on a whim,” Wirz said. “I just happened to be walking that way that day.”
Wirz was told that his chances of actually getting matched were slim – only about one in 100,000. But in just over a year, Wirz got the call to be a potential donor twice – the first time, he wasn’t a close enough match. But the second time, he was a perfect candidate. He agreed to do the procedure.
Wirz was flown to Washington D.C. on two separate occasions, once for major testing and evaluation, and once for the stem cell harvesting. Prior to extraction of his cells, he received a series of injections to help his stem cells move from the bone marrow to the blood. He was tested again before the extraction began to ensure his blood counts were optimal.
“You’re kind of rooting for it, even though you don’t know the person,” Wirz said. “I was really cheering for good numbers.”
His stem cells were collected using a process called leukapheresis, which is similar to giving plasma. Wirz was hooked up to an IV for several hours to extract the stem cells from his blood, filling a large IV bag with the life-saving fluid, while another IV returned the blood to his body. After his donation was complete, Wirz felt a little tired, but spent the rest of his day touring DC before heading home. He thought about where that little piece of him could be going.
“I was wondering, ‘What happens to it now?’” Wirz said. “Where is it being delivered?”
Logdon received his bone marrow transplant on Jan. 31, 2013, following one last round of chemo. After nearly four weeks in the hospital, he was allowed to go home, though he continued to have weekly checkups for many months. Logdon's strength gradually returned, and he was able to return to his job at the Woodford County Detention Center, initially working part-time, in October.
“It took about a year to feel ‘normal’ again,” Logdon said.
Unrelated hematopoietic cell donations are anonymous – and any contact between the donor/recipient remains anonymous during the first year. After that mark, direct contact is allowed if both parties consent to release their personal information. Wirz received a handful of letters thanking him for his donation – from Scott, Angela, and their four children, including one carefully scrawled by their eight-year-old son.
Curious about the family, Wirz found them on Facebook, where Angela and Scott had documented every step of his illness.
“I saw his entire journey, from diagnosis and after,” Wirz said. “He was going through this life-threatening disease, but stayed so positive throughout it.”
That included some big moments: statuses about their joy at finding a match, and the happy outcome of the procedure, where Logdon was deemed cancer-free.
“I thought, ‘That’s me!’” Wirz said. “He has a part of me growing in him, and that’s what’s helping him.”
The two communicated via Facebook for several weeks, but their first phone call came early in April 2014 -- just a few days, in fact, after the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team knocked off the University of Wisconsin in the semifinal game of the NCAA tournament.
Logdon, who describes his whole family as “die-hard UK fans,” couldn’t resist making a joke to the young Wisconsin student.
“I told him, ‘You know, I knew I felt kind of bad about beating Wisconsin in the tournament,’” Scott said. “’I guess it’s because I’ve got a little Badger blood in me now!’”
Later that summer, the Logdons invited Wirz and his family to come to Kentucky for the opportunity to celebrate and thank them in person. The first meeting between donor and recipient was emotionally overwhelming.
"There were a lot of tears," Logdon said. "I didn't want to let go of him when I hugged him."
Wirz, his sister, and his mother stayed for three days, touring the area and meeting dozens of thankful friends and family. One of the tour stops included Rupp Arena, where they convinced Wirz to try an Ale8 -- and, Logdon jokes, to show off UK's basketball tradition.
"We took him to Rupp Arena to show him where championships happen," Logdon said with a laugh.
Wirz, who described the whole experience as "amazing," said seeing how beloved Logdon was in his community made the whole experience finally seem real.
"Getting to see his community, and seeing how everything would be different without him," Wirz said. "That was really overwhelming."
"He's a very giving guy," Logdon said. "You don't see many 20-year-olds like him."
Wirz, now a senior and a triple-major at UW, said he wouldn't hesitate to help out another anonymous patient in need again.
"I would do it again in a heartbeat," Wirz said.
Signing up to become a donor in the marrow registry is easy – participants only need to fill out about five minutes of paperwork and complete a set of cheek swabs.
On Monday, April 13, the UK College of Pharmacy is hosting a Be the Match registry drive at the UK Markey Cancer Center. The drive will be set up at the Combs Research Building atrium at Markey from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. If you can't make it to a local drive but would like to join the registry from home, visit Be the Match for more information.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, 606-782-7735, firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristi Lopez, 859-323-6363 or email@example.com