LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 30, 2015) — Kentucky Children’s Hospital is giving Lexington families another great reason to beat the heat with a chilly soft-serve treat on Thursday.
The 10th Annual Miracle Treat Day will raise funds to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital, a member of the Children’s Miracle Network. For today only, one dollar of every Blizzard sale at Dairy Queen (DQ) and DQ Grill and Chill locations across the country will be donated to a local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Last year, DQ operators raised more than $5 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals on Miracle Treat Day.
Lexington DQ Grill and Chill locations include 2300 Palumbo Drive, 350 Virginia Ave., 464 New Circle Road and 3509 Lansdowne Drive. This year the Miracle Treat Day Blizzard treat of the Day is Oreo, the franchise’s most popular Blizzard treat.
Help spread awareness of Miracle Treat Day on Twitter by using the hashtag #MiracleTreatDay and tagging @DairyQueen. Blizzard fans are also encouraged to post about their Miracle Day treat at www.facebook.com/dairyqueen.
Since 1984 DQ and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital have partnered to provide life-saving treatments to children across the U.S. and Canada. More than $100 million has been raised through donations from DQ franchisees, fans and the corporate office. Funds raised by DQ stay local to fund critical treatments, health care services, pediatric medial equipment and charitable care.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 30, 2015) — Dr. Enrique Bimstein, professor and University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Division Chief of Pediatric Dentistry, has been named as the first holder of the John Mink Endowed Chair in Pediatric Dentistry.
“The last four years at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry have been a most enjoyable, exciting, and fruitful period of my academic career,” said Bimstein. “The John Mink Endowed Chair in Pediatric Dentistry will help facilitate my continuous quest for improvement, with my colleagues in the UKCD Division of Pediatric Dentistry, in the division’s pre- and postdoctoral programs, patient care and research efforts.”
Bimstein was recruited in 2011 from the University of Florida to serve in his current position at UK. Originally from Mexico, he attended dental school at the Escuela de Odontología de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, completed a fellowship in pediatric dentistry at the Hadassah Faculty of Dental Medicine-Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel, and completed a fellowship in medical education at the University of Florida.
An accomplished and active clinician for more than 40 years, Bimstein treats children in both the ambulatory and operating room settings. He holds board certification in the United States as a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, as well as specialty status in Israel as a specialist in pediatric dentistry through the Israeli Health Ministry.
He has authored over 100 peer reviewed publications with articles focusing on basic science research, clinical science research, and teaching methodology research. Additionally Bimstein has a highly regarded textbook on periodontal and gingival health issues and diseases among children and adolescents, and has contributed invited chapters to other textbooks. His areas of research interest include periodontal health and disease in children, child development, oral characteristics of children with special needs and dental education.
“Dr. Bimstein has been a clinician, teacher, and researcher in the field of pediatric dentistry since completing his specialty training in 1971. His experience, accomplishments, and commitment to pediatric dentistry fully support the intent of the new endowed chair position,” said UKCD Dean Sharon Turner.
Dr. John Mink, a UKCD founding faculty member in the Division of Pediatric Dentistry, played an instrumental role in recruiting core faculty members for pediatric dentistry and in helping to establish UKCD’s mobile dental program.
“The hard work and legacy of Dr. John Mink provided the foundation of a division characterized by excellence in teaching, research, and patient care. I am honored to follow and emphasize his legacy,” said Bimstein.
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2015) —Two University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences faculty members will receive the highest award given by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Robert C. Marshall, and Joseph C. Stemple, professors in the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, will be recognized with the Honors of the Association at the ASHA annual convention, which will be held in in November in Denver.
The Honors of the Association recognizes members for their distinguished contributions to the discipline of communication sciences and disorders and is the highest honor the association bestows. The Honors of the Association recognize individuals whose contributions have been of such excellence that they have enhanced or altered the course of the field of speech, language and hearing professions.
Marshall and Stemple are the first from Kentucky to receive the Honors of the Association.
“This award of national prominence demonstrates the excellence of our faculty,” said Scott M. Lephart, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “The fact that Drs. Marshall and Stemple are the first recipients from the Commonwealth further underscores the importance of the work we are doing at the College of Health Sciences. Our faculty is making a local, statewide, and national impact.”
“It’s a tremendous honor for Drs. Marshall and Stemple that exemplifies one of the highest levels of achievement in communication sciences and disorders,” said Anne Olson, division director Communication Sciences and Disorders. “Dr. Marshall’s career in aphasia and Dr. Stemple’s career in clinical voice disorders have been experienced through multiple lenses: clinical, academic, and research. Thus they understand the impact of speech and language disorders from both the human and scientific dimensions. As colleagues, we are proud of them, but more importantly we are thrilled for our graduate students in speech language pathology who have the opportunity to learn from true giants in their respective fields.”
Marshall’s selection was based on his years of sustained research, scholarship, teaching and service activities within the profession that spanned from the public schools, to the Veterans Administration and academia in Oregon, Rhode Island and Kentucky. He has held clinical and leadership positions in all employment settings and is widely regarded for his scholarly expertise in aphasia.
“Receiving the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Association is a high point of a very satisfying professional career. I am humbled by this award,” Marshall said. “I am grateful to my sponsor, Dr. Lee Ann Golper, my co-sponsors Drs. Kathryn Yorkston and Rosemary Lubinski, and the many professional colleagues who supported my nominations. I feel blessed to have been taught by those who overlooked my weaknesses and nurtured my strengths and inspired by my patients, students, professional colleagues, and employers. These forces, along with the support of my family every step of the way, have been the ‘wind beneath my sails.’ I feel very blessed to have had a job in which going to work every day was something to truly look forward to.”
Stemple’s selection was based on his unique ongoing research, scholarship, teaching and service activities within the profession, that include his development of centers of excellence for voice care, voice research and educational opportunities, his prolific publication record, including textbooks and scholarly manuscripts, as well as his international reputation as a dynamic presenter on issues related to the voice across the lifespan.
The UK College of Health Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate/professional programs in: Athletic Training, Clinical Leadership and Management, Clinical Nutrition (in collaboration with the College of Medicine), Communication Sciences and Disorders, Human Health Sciences, Medical Laboratory Science, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and Rehabilitation Sciences.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2015) — Who would think that an innocent looking tiny green flower would produce copious amounts of pollen, making us miserable with a stuffy, runny nose, itchy throat and eyes? This member of the daisy family is the culprit for hay fever, also known as ragweed allergies.
Ragweed season rears its ugly head in late summer through November with pollen counts at its highest levels in mid-September in most regions of the U.S. Some people with hay fever also develop asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.
People whose parents or siblings have allergies to plant pollen are more likely to develop ragweed allergies. Also, people who have allergies to dust, animals, grass or mold tend to develop allergies to pollens, and people who already have an allergy to one type of plant pollen tend to develop allergies to other pollens.
Seasonal allergies develop when the body's immune system in a genetically susceptible person becomes sensitized and makes allergic antibodies to something in the environment that causes no problem in most people.
Some things you can do to avoid or limit contact with ragweed pollen are:
· Wash your hands often
· Limit time outdoors when ragweed counts are high and avoid mid-day when counts peak
· Windows closed, air conditioning on
· Wear a dust mask if working outside
· Don't wear outdoor work clothes inside to avoid bringing pollen in the house
· Clean and replace HVAC filters often using HEPA filters which remove at least 99 percent of pollen and other particles
· Use a clothes dryer rather than outdoor clothes lines
Climate can affect the level of pollen particles, which in turn influences symptom severity. Kentucky has recently experienced an unusual amount of rainfall, and pollen counts can actually soar after rain. Ragweed pollen thrives during cool nights and warm days. Mold grows quickly in heat and high humidity.
There is little we can do about the weather, but preparing for ragweed season now might avoid misery later. Some allergy medicines should be taken one to two weeks before ragweed season begins. Ask your allergist which medicine(s) you should take, and begin your regimen now.
Your health care provider may also recommend allergy shots. The shots contain a tiny but increasing amount of the allergen you're sensitive to. Over time, your body becomes used to the allergen and no longer reacts to it. Alternatively, sublingual drops for ragweed are also available, although this treatment will only treat ragweed allergy.
Dr. Beth Miller is division chief of Allergy and Immunology at the University of Kentucky and director of UK Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Clinics.
This column appeared in the July 26, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 24, 2015) – Few people think of a health care facility where they go to see their physician as a 'home,' but that's exactly the kind of environment Dr. Jonathan Ballard, medical director for the University of Kentucky's Family and Community Medicine (FCM) Clinic, and a team of health care providers strive to give every patient that walks through the clinic doors. Their efforts to make the care and comfort of every patient, from the beginning of life through the golden years a priority, has earned UK Family and Community Medicine the national recognition of being a 'Patient Centered Medical Home.'
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced recently that UK Family and Community Medicine has received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships.
The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients' experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient's care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.
"NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "Recognition shows that the University of Kentucky Family & Community Medicine has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time."
To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, the practice demonstrated the ability to meet the program's key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.
The UK Family and Community Medicine is a primary care clinic recently relocated to the UK HealthCare Turfland location on Harrodsburg Road. The pristine new space, roughly the size of two football fields, provides ample free parking, is easy to navigate.
The clinic employs faculty physicians, resident physicians, nurses, psychologists, and patient care coordinators who are divided up into teams. Each patient is assigned to a team, led by a personal clinician, that follows them in all aspects of their care throughout their life. The staff are trained to assist with insurance, referrals, and other issues within the health care system that can often be difficult for patients to navigate.
"The system as a whole works to function more efficiently to streamline care and provide a more positive experience for the patient which is first and foremost in everything we do," Ballard said.
Arnold and Earlene Cool from Lancaster, Kentucky, became patients because they followed their physician, Dr. Ginny Gottschalk, from her Danville practice to Lexington, and their bond with the doctor has only intensified since that time because of their positive experience with her and UK Family and Community Medicine.
Initially, Arnold Cool accompanied his sister to an appointment at the clinic and Gottschalk came out to the waiting room to say hello.
"She is a wonderful, caring doctor and I was really touched that she took the time to come out and speak to me," Cool said. "The facility is gorgeous and the care and efficiency of the staff is outstanding. There are no long lines and we don't have to wait long to be seen. We're very impressed with the clinic."
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2015) — UK HealthCare employees are collecting supplies to assist with relief efforts in Johnson County after flash floods swept through the area July 14.
On July 22 and July 23, faculty, staff and employees at UK HealthCare are encouraged to donate rescue and cleanup supplies at one of four locations on the medical campus. Donations will be transported to the Johnson County Relief Center, which is assisting members of the Flat Gap community who were affected by the flood. More than 150 homes were destroyed by the floodwaters, with hundreds more damaged by water and debris. After two people died from drowning in floodwaters, officials continue to search for several residents of Flat Gap who were reported missing during the flood.
Jessica LaRue, a native of the flood-prone city of Inez in Martin County, realized the immense devastation of the July 14 flood through photos and posts on Facebook. LaRue works in the Department of Pediatrics at UK HealthCare, and coordinated the donation drive in collaboration with the help of UK HealthCare administrative leadership.
Items requested for the relief effort include:
· Fans and extension cords
· Water hoses
· Laundry detergent
· Large trash cans
· Heavy-duty trash bags and work gloves
· Large zip lock bags and paper plates
Drop off stations are located in the North Lobby of Pavilion H in the UK Chandler Hospital from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for night shift employees at the Pavilion H Information Desk from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 22 and July 23. Donations will be accepted at a station in Room CC401B on the fourth floor of the Markey Cancer Center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. UK Good Samaritan employees can drop off donations at the administrative offices on the ground floor.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2015) -- Although the term didn’t surface until the 1980s, the concept of biomarkers has been around for almost a century. Today, doctors routinely test blood for signs of anemia or the antigen associated with prostate cancer. Urine samples can hint at the presence of infection or diabetes, and EEGs diagnose electrical abnormalities in the brain.
But scientists are now advancing the concept, looking for ways to identify a host of diseases early in the process to provide opportunity for early intervention and improve the chances that treatment will be effective.
This is particularly true for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), where evidence points to the fact that the disease process begins long before someone has clinical symptoms, and the ramifications of the disease – both financial and emotional – are disastrous.
At the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, researchers are looking for biomarkers that might serve as an early warning system for AD. The process is not without complications, but these scientists possess a collective “Rosie the Riveter” spirit.
Mark Lovell is one of them. According to Lovell, the only definitive way to diagnose AD is through autopsy, though other options, such as PET imaging to identify the presence of AD pathology, are becoming more widely used. The challenge, explains the bioanalytical chemist and Jack and Linda Gill Professor of Chemistry, is finding a biomarker that 1) is an accepted predictor of the disease and 2) can easily be identified by a physician at the clinic level.
“Multiple studies show alterations in levels of the proteins associated with AD – tau and beta amyloid-- in cerebrospinal fluid, but a spinal tap to obtain that fluid is often a hard sell for patients”, Lovell said. “Furthermore, there appears to be variability in the data connecting the levels of these proteins in CSF and the diagnosis of AD, which has limited the use of beta amyloid and tau clinically."
But in the spirit of Sanders-Brown’s iconic first director and Lovell’s research mentor, William Markesbery, Lovell is willing to explore unconventional ideas so he started searching for alternative biomarkers.
Working with Bert Lynn, director of UK’s Mass Spectrometry Center, Lovell began to sort proteins in CSF samples by weight. As the results came in, two particular proteins (transthyretin and prostaglandin-d-synthase) caught his attention.
“We were able to tease out that these two proteins, when subjected to oxidative damage, tended to stick together and fractionate at a higher molecular weight than expected,” said Lovell.
Further study suggested that these proteins may signal dysfunction in the choroid plexus, a brain region responsible for the production and filtration of cerebrospinal fluid.
Since, in AD, current data suggest there are changes in the transfer capacity of the choroid plexus it made sense to Lovell and Lynn that these two proteins might make a good biomarker for AD.
The next step, says Lovell, was to go “downstream” to blood or urine, for example to determine whether this same protein combination appears there as well.
“I’ve historically been skeptical that blood can be as strong a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a reasonable correlation in samples of CSF and blood taken from the same patients,” Lovell said.
Lovell cautions that further evaluation in larger sample populations is necessary before this can be called a definitive success, but if the hypothesis is borne out, “we will have a blood based biomarker that might be more predictive than amyloid beta peptide.”
Ultimately, Lovell thinks AD will be diagnosed by a panel of three or four biomarkers, rather than a single “up or down” test. And that’s where Brian Gold comes in.
Gold, a cognitive neuroscientist, is fascinated by CSF protein biomarker findings of Lovell and others and is conducting his own research in the hopes of using brain imaging to find non-invasive AD biomarkers. However, up until now, Gold explains, most MRI studies of preclinical AD have been restricted to structural volumetric characteristics of the brain.
“We’ve instead been focusing on microstructural brain changes detectable with a form of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which assesses the diffusion of water molecules in the brain," said Gold. "As cellular structures begin to degenerate, tissue barriers degenerate as well, allowing for increased water diffusion DTI-based changes in the brain are thus somewhat analogous to hairline cracks in a house’s foundation that precede visible structural damage.”
Gold and his colleagues are one of just a handful of U.S. groups exploring how CSF protein biomarkers correlate with microstructural brain changes using DTI and dynamic physiological changes using functional MRI.
His work, published last year in the Neurobiology of Aging, found tantalizing correlations between reduced white matter microstructure in the brain and the presence of CSF markers of AD.
“In other words, if our findings using DTI and functional MRI are highly correlated with Lovell’s CSF biomarkers, we have potentially uncovered a minimally invasive way to diagnose pre-clinical AD.”
While Gold and Lovell look prospectively for the Holy Grail, others at Sanders-Brown are taking a retrospective look using big data.
Dick Kryscio and Erin Abner help manage the Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) database, a collection of thousands of data points from more than 1300 research volunteers enrolled in the Biologically Resilient Adults in Neurological Studies cohort. With literally thousands of blood samples, CSF samples, results from cognitive testing, medication history, physical and neurologicalexaminations, and medical history, the database size probably approaches the inventory of a mid-sized grocery store. Abner and Kryscio troll the reams of data looking for consistencies that might constitute an early warning of disease.
Kryscio notes that biomarkers serve two purposes -- as a predictor of disease and as a means to a diagnosis. While most biomarkers today serve the latter function, "a marker truly earns its keep when a person is on his or her way to disease," he says.
And, while not a biomarker in the strictest sense, their most promising work in predicting disease has been in the area of self-reported memory complaints.
Both Abner and Kryscio have published studies in Neurology and Journal of Prevention demonstrating a link between self-reported memory complaints and the development of cognitive impairment later in life.
"In other words, people usually are the best judges of their own memory -- they can detect subtle problems years before there are more obvious symptoms," says Abner. She points out that it's an enormous oversimplification. "You aren't likely to have AD just because you can't remember where you put your keys one day," she said but added it has potential as a candidate for the "panel of tests."
Abner and Kryscio's efforts have international ramifications, as they are two of the gatekeepers for the ADC biospecimens, which are shared worldwide.
"The number of data parameters, and the longitudinal nature of the data available, makes this database world-class, but there are nonetheless a finite number of studies for which we can provide specimens before the supply is exhausted," Kryscio said. "It's a service to our research participants to help researchers with a study design that eliminates waste and maximizes the quality of the science, and we don't take that responsibility lightly."
Regardless of the path -- whether looking forward or backward -- the ability to detect AD at its earliest stages will have huge ramifications on the race to treat and eventually cure the most expensive malady currently known to man.
Media Contact: Laura Dawahare; Laura.Dawahare@uky.edu; (859)257-5307
"UK Healthcare has developed a robust response plan for communicable diseases, such as Ebola," said Dr. Derek Forster, UK HealthCare enterprise medical director for infection prevention and control. "This plan includes screening and triage, patient transport, provision of care, laboratory testing and staffing of our volunteer communicable disease team."
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, firstname.lastname@example.org
MCKEE, Ky. (July 20, 2015) — Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers joined public health and university officials today to announce a new dentist recruitment program aimed at promoting sustained oral health and well-being in eastern Kentucky.
The new loan forgiveness program is supported by $500,000 in state funds and is available for dental students who practice in the region. The dental schools at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville will administer the program, providing two to five awardees $100,000 each for a two-year commitment.
“Reversing the oral health issues facing eastern Kentucky has been a major goal of mine throughout my administration,” Beshear said. “The vast majority of both childhood and adult dental problems could be avoided through routine dental care and other preventive efforts. This unique program and partnership will truly expand dental hygiene and help counter oral disease as a major health risk for our people.”
“One of the reasons why access to dental care has been traditionally low in our region is the sheer fact that we have shipped our talent out for education, with very little incentive to return home to practice dentistry,” said Rogers. “This program will help address the outmigration of our talented young Eastern Kentuckians and serves as another step to improving dental healthcare for our people.”
“The University of Kentucky is deeply invested in improving the health of eastern Kentucky – our work and strategic priorities are focused on transforming those we serve and answering Kentucky questions,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The Appalachian Dental Loan Forgiveness Program allows Kentucky’s leading dental education programs to put more practitioners on the front lines and improve the oral health of our Appalachian region.”
“This loan repayment program fits within our mission at the University of Louisville to enhance the lives of Kentuckians,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “This program will help UofL dental graduates establish practices in underserved, rural areas to ensure ALL people of the Commonwealth have access to oral health care.”
The announcement today was made in conjunction with the Shaping Our Appalachian Region or SOAR Executive Board meeting at the Jackson Energy Cooperative in McKee.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dentists completing dental school now come out with a debt of around $280,000. With that in mind, the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) worked with staff at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville colleges of dentistry to develop a loan forgiveness program as an incentive to attract more providers to eastern Kentucky.
DPH is funding the program, and the universities will offer awardees a $50,000 “up front” payment and $50,000 at the end of the first two-year award cycle.
Eastern Kentucky counties as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will be the designated location for the program. Additionally, priority will be given to dental students from eastern Kentucky wishing to return to practice in the designated geographic area.
Eligible candidates include someone who is establishing or joining a new private practice, or purchasing an existing practice in an ARC distressed county. The original intent of the program is to recruit current graduates. Recent graduates are also eligible.
“Many of our UK and UofL dental graduates from the Appalachian counties want to return home to practice – but high levels of student debt complicate their decisions about starting a practice in rural Kentucky,” said M. Raynor Mullins, associate director of the Kentucky Oral Health Research Network. “This new program will help a new cohort of dental graduates return home to serve and realize their dreams.”
“Clearly, one of the greatest obstacles that are evolving in oral health care is that the cost of education has escalated to the point that student debt in some instances is in excess of $300,000,” said John Sauk, dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. “Such economic burdens are limiting many individuals in their choice of where and how to practice. Consequently, going home to serve the community in which they grew up is often not a feasible economic option. The dental loan repayment program that the governor is announcing today will significantly enhance the opportunity for our young highly trained dentists to establish or join a rural practice and ensure oral health care manpower for rural Kentucky. I personally thank Gov. Beshear for his vision and commitment to oral health within the Commonwealth.
According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits; 45th in the percentage of children with untreated dental decay; and 47th in the percentage of adults 65 and older missing six or more teeth.
“Oral disease is a major health risk for Kentuckians of all ages – particularly our children,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “These problems are even more pronounced in many of our Appalachian counties where access to care is limited,” “With this new program to recruit providers – along with other initiatives to increase access to care and provide clinical services like screenings and varnish treatments – we have reasons to be optimistic about fixing the problems plaguing Kentuckians’ health.”
As part of his statewide health initiative, kyhealthnow, Gov. Beshear identified oral health as one of the seven target areas for improvement. Specifically, the program aims to reduce the percentage of children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent and increase adult dental visits by 10 percent by the year 2019.
In fact, Beshear created the Smiling Schools initiative in 2011 to provide a protective tooth varnish treatment for elementary-age children in Appalachia during the 2011-2012 school year. The Governor is looking to provide another round of varnishing this school year, as well as expand the number of counties participating in this year’s initiative. His office hopes to make this announcement in the coming weeks.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2015) – To most people, a "family doctor" is who they visit when they aren’t feeling their best. For Dr. Ana Lia Castellanos, the term takes on a whole new meaning.
Castellanos, a nephrologist with the University of Kentucky Transplant Center, comes from a family of physicians – her father, uncle and cousin are practicing nephrologists in her home country of Honduras. With the help of her family and some of her colleagues here at UK, she's helping develop a kidney transplant program back in Honduras.
Honduras has one of the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease in Latin America, and overall kidney disease is on the rise. The country's current lack of a transplant program means there are many sick patients traveling for countless hours to undergo dialysis at the few medical centers that offer it. Castellanos' own family had tried to create a transplant program many years ago, but it eventually stalled due to several bureaucratic issues and lack of funding.
Castellanos thought it was time to try again. Shortly after she arrived at UK, Castellanos met a Honduran patient who had come to Kentucky for a kidney transplant because she could not receive it back home. The patient had insurance and the means to travel outside of her country for the procedure, but there were many others back in Honduras who did not have that luxury.
“I talked to my family about it, and I said I really wanted to help the patients with kidney disease in Honduras,” Castellanos said.
In September 2013, Castellanos traveled to Honduras with transplant surgeon Dr. Roberto Gedaly and urologist Dr. Stephen Strup. They began training a team of physicians in Honduras to complete kidney transplants on their own, allowing the program to be sustainable. During their first trip, the team performed four transplants.
According to Castellanos, the Honduran medical care system is completely different from medical care in the U.S. There is no organ donor program in Honduras, so all kidney transplants will have to be performed using living volunteer donors.
Many people living with kidney disease in Honduras die before they can get proper treatment due to lack of readily available care and high costs. A fully developed transplant program could make an enormous impact on mortality in this patient population.
"The goal is to create a team that is self-sufficient and can do these procedures on their own," Castellanos said. "The impact of this is going to be larger than just affecting four people."
In April 2015, Castellanos, Gedaly and Strup returned to Honduras for a second round of training and performed four more transplants. So far, all patients are doing well post-op and their health is being monitored by Castellanos’ family in Honduras.
The lives of the patients helped by the UK physicians and the team in Honduras have improved greatly following the transplants. No longer having to undergo constant dialysis is one of the major benefits, saving the cost and time of travel.
“These are patients who really want to do well and improve their health,” Castellanos said. “One of the patients who received a transplant during our first trip was traveling to the dialysis unit two hours away from his home on a bus three times a week to receive treatment.”
As for their next steps, Castellanos hopes to work with the team in Honduras at least one more time, by either traveling to the country again for more training, or by bringing the team here to UK to meet and work with more members of the transplant team.
One of the best parts of the experience, she said, was working with her own family to initiate such a huge, life-changing program for her home country.
“It was really rewarding to be able to give back, with my family at my side, to the country that trained me,” Castellanos said. “Seeing that the patients are so grateful and that you can really change their life is amazing.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, KY. (Jul. 20, 2015) — Have you ever noticed that a family member becomes confused, irritable or restless as night falls? Or as the night progresses, they become agitated and pace throughout the house? This person could be showing signs of sundowning, a phenomenon commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Sundowning, or Sundown Syndrome, is the materialization of different symptoms that occur at a specific time of day. Symptoms present most commonly as the day changes from day to dusk, hence the name "sundowning." Symptoms can vary and include restlessness, irritability, becoming disoriented or confused, pacing and mood swings.
While doctors are unsure of what causes sundowning, many think that someone’s internal body clock gets altered with the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In people with Alzheimer’s, doctors know that the area of the brain that controls sleep patterns (waking up, falling asleep) deteriorates. This could also explain sundowning.
Though sundowning typically occurs late in the day, other "triggers" have been shown to cause symptoms. Lots of activity or noise and even nonverbal cues from another person can cause a shift in behavior.
Although sundowning can be frustrating for everyone involved, there are many ways to cope with and reduce the gravity of the symptoms:
· Keep the house well-lit. Shadows can cause disorientation and can be frightening.
· Maintain a sleep schedule and try to reduce daytime napping. Keeping a daily routine will emphasize sleeping at a certain time and will make it easier for he or she to sleep at night.
· Avoid stimulants like caffeine.
· Avoid alcohol, which can disrupt sleep patterns.
· At night, try to stifle any background noise or stimulation that could be upsetting.
· Maintain a familiar environment, which can be more soothing.
· Try to avoid over-the-counter sleep aids and other medicines, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, which cause drowsiness.
· Research shows that a low dose of melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that aids in sleeping, can be helpful. However, talk to a doctor before starting a melatonin regimen.
If a loved one is presenting with symptoms of sundowning, as a caregiver it is important to remain calm and not get flustered. Nonverbal indicators of frustration can further agitate an already irritated individual. Instead, approach your loved one calmly and reassure them that everything is okay. Ask if there is anything that he or she needs to be comfortable. If he or she needs to pace, let them do so but continue to supervise them. Try to avoid arguing at all costs, which could exacerbate the situation.
If you or someone you love is showing symptoms similar to sundowning, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Sundowning usually presents during the middle phases of Alzheimer’s disease and goes away as the disease progresses. If you are concerned, contact your family doctor or neurologist.
Ronan Murphy is an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.
This column appeared in the July 19, 2015, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2015) — Positioned beside a large poster and wearing a short white lab coat, high school student Julie Volpeheim rationalized findings from a study on Kawasaki’s Disease in the UK College of Pharmacy Atrium.
Volpeheim, who spent the past two weeks immersed in scholarly research at the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Heath Researchers Youth Academy, employed the terminology of a doctoral-level student to describe the study’s methodology and results. Showing mastery of the science with her co-presenter Hayley Anderson, Volpeheim suggested future studies should address the genetic origins of a rare disease of the pediatric coronary arteries.
When asked if she foresees subsequent research on Kawaski’s Disease in her future, Volpeheim, an incoming senior from Boone County, wouldn’t rule out the possibility. But Anderson, who is from Versailles, Kentucky, expressed ambitions in other areas of the medical field.
“I’m more of a ‘neuro’ person,” Anderson said, referring to the field of neuroscience.
This summer, 51 high school students from around Kentucky explored future careers in health research and the medical profession during the Summer Enrichment Program for incoming juniors and the Health Researchers Youth Academy for incoming seniors. The camps are designed to prepare Kentucky’s youth for careers within the health care industry and expose students to the processes involved with scientific research at an early stage of academic decision-making. The academy concluded July 10 with poster presentations of scientific studies, which were chosen by pairs of students during the camp.
Only 40 new campers were selected from 285 applicants to attend the competitive Summer Enrichment Camp. During the four-week program, students were housed on campus and attended biology, chemistry and physics classes. The students participated in clinical rotations every Wednesday and attended presentations by representatives from the six health colleges on UK’s campus.
Simultaneously, the two-week Health Researchers Youth Academy imparted the importance of medical research to students who are interested in non-clinical career paths in health care. During the camp, students attended morning physiology classes and spent time examining laboratory research. Teams of students are partnered with a current graduate student, who provides guidance for developing a final research presentation.
Twelve participants in the Health Researchers Youth Academy were graduates of the 2014 Summer Enrichment Program. Carlos Marin, assistant dean for community and cultural engagement in the UK College of Medicine/AHEC Program Director, said previous graduates of the programs have entered successful research and medical careers at UK and other academic institutions.
“Since it was start 10 years ago, this program has served as a starting point for youth who want to know about opportunities in medicine, and more specifically medical research,” Marin said. “At many points during the camp, our faculty members and graduate students create memorable experiences that will follow the students for a lifetime. These camps help them decided early on if a career in research and medicine is right for them.”
Senior Isaac Li, who is from Kenton County, presented a study from Duke University, which tested whether a virus can be used to treat a cancer of the brain and spine. During the camp, Li and his camp partner J.D. Roe gained a greater appreciation of how medical research can translate to improved treatment options for patients with cancer.
“I like how this just happened — it’s a new study,” Li, who said he might want to become a researcher one day, said. “It’s really ground-breaking.”
Roe, on the other hand, learned he’s not cut out for a career in academic research. He thinks he’ll either become a farmer or a radiologist. The study he chose for his presentation took 25 years to complete, which Roe said requires extraordinary patience and persistence.
“You have to be really dedicated,” Roe said of what he learned about careers in research.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2015) – The 12th annual Keeneland Concours d'Elegance at Keeneland Race Course on July 18 will showcase a diverse array of exciting classic cars while raising funds to benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of famed Italian automaker Maserati, the featured marque for 2015, the event will display two classes of historic and modern Maserati automobiles on the field. The show runs 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Road, in Lexington. Tickets are $20 at the gate and $15 in advance online.
Classics scheduled for the Saturday show range from cars of the early 20th century such as Dodge, Marmon and Ford, to later beauties such as Auburn, Packard and Pierce Arrow as well as coach-built rarities such as Bugatti and Stutz. Other classes include European sports cars such as Jaguar and Porsche, American performance cars, and pick up trucks. Racecars on display range from a 1914 Duesenberg to a 2001 Audi LeMans racer. A class of rare micro cars from the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, joins the lineup this year.
Saturday’s event includes a silent auction, an exhibition of world-class automotive artists, a Porsche raffle, the Wells Fargo stagecoach and a number of other attractions throughout the day. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on the grounds.
As part of a campaign to introduce children to classic cars, free automotive coloring books will be handed out to young attendees. Additionally, car owners who are willing to talk with children and their parents about their cars will be wearing a “Kid-Friendly Car” sticker. Since many Concours automobiles are priceless and irreplaceable, each car owner will decide the degree of interaction children can have with their cars.
“We hope this program will help the children develop an appreciation for classic cars and continue the hobby when they get older,” Tom Jones, Concours co-chair, said.
Tickets are still available for the Hangar Bash on Friday, July 17 at the door or visiting the website www.keenelandconcours.com. The bash is held at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky at Bluegrass Airport. The event includes music and heavy hors d’oeuvres, and vintage airplanes, including a PT-19, PT-22, and AT-6 warbirds, along with a selection of classic cars, will be parked in the hangar for the evening. Tickets are $75.
The Concours weekend also includes the Bourbon Tour on Thursday, July 16, and the Tour d'Elegance on Sunday, July 19. Tickets for all events are available on the website.
The event is ranked as a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society as well as a Top 10 Festival by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association. The Concours was featured on a recent episode of My Classic Car with Dennis Gage.
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. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital to help bring better health care to the children of Kentucky. For more information, visit www.keeenelandconcours.com
Video produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2015) – His big brown eyes stare up at the camera dolefully, as if to say, "I couldn't help myself, can you forgive me?"
Apparently, this isn't the first time Sarge has had to beg for Myrl Sizemore's forgiveness. The 116-pound lab has a reputation around Manchester, Kentucky, for his antics.
"For starters, he happily accepts – and then rips apart – all packages delivered to our home," Myrl said with a laugh. Then he ticks off some of Sarge's other more dubious accomplishments:
1. Eating the driver's seat in Myrl's ATV
2. Chewing the wires on the underside of Myrl's camper
3. Ripping the running boards off of Myrl's SUV
4. Eating the Sizemore's patio umbrella
However, according to Myrl's wife Leslie, Sarge has now shown his true worth. That's because Sarge helped save Myrl's life.
Myrl hadn't been feeling well for weeks. The 50-year-old had no reason to believe he was desperately ill; his BMI was 25, his cholesterol numbers were excellent and he didn't smoke. He had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes two years ago, but it was well under control. Myrl thought he had a bronchitis he just couldn't shake.
One evening in late January as he returned from work, Myrl collapsed in his front yard. Inside the house, his family had no idea Myrl was in serious trouble.
But Sarge was out. He licked Myrl's face and shoved his nose under Myrl's shoulders to wake him, then supported Myrl as he crawled back into the house.
At first, Myrl refused to go to the hospital. By the next morning, however, Leslie said he "looked gray" and insisted he see the doctor. An abnormal EKG in the offices of Dr. Neeraj Mahboob and Karen Cheek earned him a trip to the Emergency Department at Manchester Memorial Hospital (MMH).
The Gill Heart Institute at the University of Kentucky had just recently formalized a partnership called the Gill Affiliate Network to provide MMH staff with supplemental expertise for their sickest patients. Chief of Staff Dr. Jeffrey Newswanger at the MMH Emergency Room knew Myrl needed that expertise: Myrl was having a massive heart attack.
Myrl was transferred to ARH Hazard, where Dr. Rao Podapati determined Myrl's ejection fraction (EF), a measure of the heart's ability to pump blood, was just 7 percent. A normal EF is 55-60 percent.
"Dr. Podapati was baffled that Myrl could even walk and talk," Leslie said. Then he gave them "horrific" news: Myrl likely needed a heart transplant. An ambulance would take Myrl to Lexington for further evaluation.
When Gill cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Ted Wright met Myrl in Lexington, he had a hunch: there had been discussion among the Gill faculty about a relatively new concept called "hibernating viable myocardium," and one of Wright's colleagues, Dr. Vince Sorrell, had a particular interest in this condition.
Sorrell uses the metaphor of a hibernating bear to illustrate.
"If you come across a hibernating bear, you might think it's actually dead because its temperature is low, its heartbeat is down and its respirations are slow, but as we know that bear will be wide awake come springtime," he said. "In some cases, our heart muscle is so sick that it actually hibernates to conserve itself. An ECHO test will look like the heart muscle is dead and a nuclear scan will usually look the same. But a contrast-enhanced cardiac MRI can tell us whether heart muscle is hibernating (alive) or dead (scarred). If it's hibernating, restoring blood flow to the heart with bypass surgery is usually sufficient treatment and obviously preferable to a heart transplant."
"That MRI changed our lives," Leslie said. Instead of a heart transplant, Gill Surgical Director Dr. Michael Sekela gave Myrl a triple bypass.
"He just flew through the surgery," Sekela said. Myrl's ejection fraction has improved to 45 percent – a statistic Sorrell pronounces "phenomenal."
It has long been an institutional philosophy at UK to partner with other health care institutions so that patients could stay as close to home as possible for their treatment, bringing only the very sickest patients to Lexington. There is perhaps no better example of the effectiveness of this team approach than the journey Myrl Sizemore took. At each level of care, the best expertise pointed Myrl in the right direction: from Mahboob to Newswanger to Podapati to Wright to Sorrell to Sekela.
Leslie is convinced that having the Gill Network in place made a huge difference in Myrl's outcome.
"I serve on the board of Manchester Memorial Hospital, and I'm very proud of their work," she said. "I'm grateful they had the foresight to partner with Gill, and now I know first-hand the benefit the network provides for our citizens."
"We were able to use high-tech to justify a less dangerous, more 'low-tech' treatment for Myrl's condition," Wright said. "In doing so, we avoided a lifetime of costly and high-risk care for Myrl."
Last May, Myrl walked his daughter Maggie down the aisle.
"Sarge was not invited for obvious reasons," Leslie said. "But he will be a trusted and beloved member of our family forever, and will always share a special bond with Myrl."
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jul. 13, 2015) – Macrophages are cellular sentinels in the body, assigned to identify “attacks” from viruses, bacteria or fungi and sound the alarm when they are present. However, these cells are a “double-edged sword” in spinal cord injury, providing both neural repair-promoting properties and pathological functions that destroy neuronal tissue
“We know from previous research that macrophages are versatile, and signals at the injury site can stimulate repair or destruction—or confusingly, both,” John Gensel, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky, said. “But the mechanisms through which these signals stimulate the good and/or bad functions in macrophages are not known. So the next big question to answer in the efforts to understand and treat SCI was, ‘Why?’”
Gensel teamed up with Phillip Popovich, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair (CBSCR) at The Ohio State University, to explore the mechanisms governing the positive and negative processes that occur in macrophages following spinal cord injury.
“On the cellular level, the body’s response to spinal cord injury is similar to the immune response to attacks by bacteria or viruses,” Gensel said. “The functions that macrophages adopt in response to these stimuli were the focus of our study.”
Gensel and Popovich looked at more than 50 animals with spinal cord injury to try to identify which macrophage receptors promoted neuronal repair and which directed the destructive process.
“We found that activating bacterial receptors boosted the macrophage response and limited damage to the spinal cord following injury, while activating fungal receptors actually contributed to pathology,” Gensel said.
While this study oversimplifies the complex process by which macrophages promote repair and destruction of neuronal tissues, it nonetheless sheds light on opportunities to modulate macrophage responses after spinal cord injury, potentially reducing – or even reversing – damage and the resulting side effects.
“The implications are exciting: we now can look for treatments targeted to the receptors that jump-start the macrophage’s restorative effects without activating the receptors that modulate the destructive processes in that same cell.”
The study has been published as a Featured Article in the most recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
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. (July 28, 2015) — Carrying a baby with a fatal heart condition, Morgan Drury was presented with a devastating picture of how her pregnancy might end. As soon as her fragile daughter received the gift of life, it would almost certainly be stripped away.
When Drury was nine weeks pregnant, a genetic test detected an abnormal chromosome in her baby Alex’s genetic makeup. Additional tests conducted at 12 weeks confirmed the genetic disorder caused a heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. In nine out of 10 cases, the condition is fatal.
After first coming to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, the Drury family sought out second opinions from pediatric heart specialists around the region. All returned with the same grim outlook: no medical intervention could save Alex’s life. Because of complications with her lungs, Alex wasn’t a surgical candidate. She wouldn’t survive the stress of traveling through the birth canal, so a cesarean section was the only option for keeping Alex alive during delivery. Doctors also questioned whether the pregnancy would remain viable until the time of delivery — most babies with Alex’s condition don’t survive the first trimester.
“We were told she would eventually stop growing, and more than likely she would be stillborn,” Drury said.
Soon, the Drury family became accustomed to getting “no” as an answer from health care workers. But in the midst of a dire prognosis, Drury couldn’t deny the image of Alex’s heartbeat flickering on an ultrasound monitor. A little heart doctors deemed unfixable continued to beat, and the baby continued to grow.
Drury decided to carry out the pregnancy until 36 weeks — giving her daughter a chance at life, even if that life was momentary. With mixed emotions and instances of self-doubt, Drury prepared for a cesarean section schedule for Dec. 31, 2014. The plan was to celebrate the birth of Alex, and then grieve her passing, before the close of the year.
During conversations with the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Drury learned not every question regarding Alex’s fate warranted a negative response. Dr. Lindsay Ragsdale, a KCH pediatrician and director of the PACT, met with Drury throughout her pregnancy to develop a birth plan specific to the needs and wishes of the family. PACT, which consists of Dr. Ragsdale, a pediatric intensive care unit doctor, a nurse practitioner, a social worker and a chaplain, is devoted to guiding families through the process of treating a seriously ill child and, in some cases, the bereavement process. PACT members empower families facing an inevitable loss by giving them options, affirming their medical decisions, and providing ongoing emotional support during the many stages bereavement.
“It seemed like everybody was telling her, ‘No, we can’t do anything,’” Ragsdale said. “I told her, ‘Sure, we can take pictures. We can make this a memory for your family that’s not all about saying no,’ and that was a turning point for her.”
Ragsdale, who completed a fellowship in pediatric palliative care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, walks through the birth and dying process with patients whose babies and children suffer from a terminal illness or condition. Ragsdale said often families confronting the loss of a newborn baby aren’t fully aware of the opportunities to bond with their child, even if death is imminent. PACT professionals coordinate special services, such as newborn photography through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and facilitate opportunities for families to create lifelong memories with their children.
“In my mind, there are always things we can do to make a situation that’s not optimal better for the family,” Ragsdale said.
Early in her medical training, Ragsdale remembers feeling helpless when a grieving mother asked her why her newborn baby was dying. While Ragsdale doesn’t always have answers to her patients’ toughest questions, she’s now more prepared to assist patients in a state of grief. Ragsdale believes patients shouldn’t have to bear the weight of making life and death decisions for their babies alone. PACT members share the decision-making process, so parents are reassured their children are receiving the most compassionate care from a medical professional’s perspective.
In Drury’s case, the PACT plan was designed to keep Alex safe, warm and comfortable until her passing. Drury expressed a desire to hold Alex as soon as possible, so the team arranged for maternal-fetal bonding immediately after the surgery. Ragsdale and Drury discussed the family’s wishes regarding the use of medication if the baby was experiencing discomfort after birth. The baby wouldn’t be bombarded with standard procedures or painful pricks. They discussed whether Alex would receive ointment and what clothes she would wear on the day of her birth. The team also addressed different scenarios and what to expect if each scenario should arise on delivery day. PACT informed Drury’s obstetrics team of the plan, so no question about Alex’s care was left unanswered on delivery day.
“It was a way she could control an out of control situation,” Ragsdale said of the PACT plan. “Parents want to help their kids, and making these plans is a way to put them in control.”
Drury’s only additional wish was to receive some sign of proof the baby was alive. A cry or a heartbeat — something only Alex could give.
On delivery day, Drury, overwhelmed with emotion, hesitated to check into the hospital. Ragsdale, who communicated with the family in the waiting room and was at Drury’s side during delivery, eased her patient’s stress by recounting the plan and describing the goals Drury originally set for Alex’s life. Drury believes having a PACT plan in place helped to create realistic expectations, keep Alex’s care fluid and prevent any surprises, which could have provoked more grief on an already emotional day.
“We were glad she was there because we had built that trust and a relationship,” Drury said of Ragsdale and the PACT. “They are not just there because that’s their job; you can tell that's what they want to be doing.”
The moment Alex was delivered, a sense of relief fell over Drury as she listened to her newborn baby cry. Ragsdale reported Alex’s arrival to family and friends waiting in the lobby, who received the news with joy and relief, but sorrow too. Immediately after surgery, Drury, her 2-year-old daughter Isabella and her husband Russ were able to hold, touch and bond with Alex. Nurses swaddled Alex in a blanket and put a cap on her head.
“That’s the part I love to see,” Ragsdale said. “They are beautiful parents and they cried over her and loved over her and really enjoyed looking at her face, and her ears, and her nose — and just seeing how cute she was.”
With no lingering questions about care or decisions to make in the moment, Drury was able to focus all her attention on the baby. Alex’s heart beat for three hours before Dr. Ragsdale officially called her passing. During this critical time, Drury was granted much-needed closure, which could only come from intimate time with her daughter.
“I just want proof of life — to know that she did live. I wanted her to tell us, ‘I'm okay,’” Drury said. “And she did just that. Then she went on peacefully.”
While Drury recovered from surgery, a pair of butterfly wings was hung on her hospital door to symbolize the passing of a child. Later, Drury got a tattoo of purple butterfly wings and Alex’s footprints as an enduring reminder of the daughter she lost.
“I still dream about her and look at her pictures — she is still my daughter,” Drury said. “But I have that sense of relief that I did what I had to do to keep her alive.”
Now 15 weeks into her third pregnancy, Drury, a nurse in the UK Department of Pediatrics, looks forward to welcoming another child, whose heart is developing healthy and strong.
This article first appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader July 12 edition.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 13, 2015) – As we enter the dog days of summer, when the heat and humidity seems unbearable at times, it’s important to remember steps to protect our children against heatstroke.
Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children younger than 14. In 2014, 32 children died from heatstroke, and heatstroke deaths have been reported in all 50 states, 11 months out of the year. Since 1998, more than 636 children across the U.S. have died from heatstroke when unattended in a vehicle.
Tragically, most child deaths caused by heatstroke are preventable. More than half of all heatstroke deaths occurred when a busy or distracted caregiver forgot a child was riding in the backseat of a vehicle. One-third of heatstroke deaths resulted from a child becoming trapped inside a vehicle after climbing in on their own.
Heatstroke dangers are entirely avoidable when caregivers take time to observe safety protocols. Remember to ACT against heatstroke through these safety tips recommended by Safe Kids Worldwide:
· A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child unattended in a vehicle. A young child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body, and the internal temperature of a car can increase 20 degree in just 10 minutes. Cracking windows won’t make the car environment any safer.
· C: Create reminders for those chaotic days. Hang a note on your rearview mirror or make a habit of placing your purse or briefcase beside a car seat. Create an alarm or alert on your Smartphone. Be accountable to someone else for dropping a child off at a daycare.
· T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.
On July 31, National Heatstroke Awareness Day, Safe Kids Fayette County will host an event at Buy Buy Baby in Hamburg to spread awareness of the Never Leave Your Child Alone in a car campaign. The event will take place from 3 to 6 p.m., with car seat checks until 5:30 p.m. In addition to car seat checks, Safe Kids representatives will provide information and tips for preventing heatstroke deaths. For more information about heatstroke prevention, visit kidsandcars.org.
Sherri Hannan is a registered nurse and director of Safe Kids Fayette County based at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2015) — In the Melton household, the reality of fighting cancer was never an excuse to stay home from school.
So, like most second-graders in Science Hill, Kentucky, Kelly Melton started public school in the fall of 2014. Unlike his classmates, Kelly, a patient at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic, went to school with a compromised immune system. A month and a half later, he ended up back in the hospital because of complications with his disease.
Ever since Kelly was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012, the Melton family's primary focus has been getting Kelly well again. But despite the frequent late-night trips to the UK Emergency Department and routine inpatient chemotherapy treatments at Kentucky Children's Hospital, Kelly's mom Lisa refused to watch Kelly slip behind in his education. When he was well enough to go, Lisa Melton sent her son to school.
"In our home we think education is one of our top priorities," Lisa Melton said. "We couldn't allow him to not take his education seriously."
For nearly two years of Kelly's treatment, Lisa Melton was responsible for communicating with the school system about Kelly's missed days and coordinating at-home learning opportunities. In addition to taking care of a young child and managing doctor's appointments, Melton was tasked with meeting with school administrators and filing paperwork for special learning accommodations for her son. Now, a new program at the DanceBlue Clinic, which is funded in part by the DanceBlue Marathon and the nonprofit Cowboy Up for a Cure, provides a school intervention specialist to serve as a liaison between educators and the medical teams and families of children who must miss school to fight cancer.
With many families needing assistance with education during a child's cancer treatment, the DanceBlue Clinic introduced the Providing Assistance With School (PAWS) program in August 2014. Courtney White, a certified K-12 teacher who has taught general education as well as special education, was the first interventionist hired with PAWS.
White performs multiple roles, including individualizing academic programs for children unable to attend traditional school hours, communicating with doctors about the learning capabilities of each child, teaching educators in the school system about how cancer treatment interferes with a child's daily life, and working with families to ensure a child remains engaged in learning activities at the home, hospital or school. White accommodates children who are physically unable to attend school on a regular basis by arranging for Homebound, a state-funded program permitting students to progress academically at home with two visits per week from a certified teacher.
"With Courtney helping us, he could have Homebound on a more consistent basis," Lisa Melton said. "As a parent, you don't always know these things. You are so wrapped up in getting your child well that some things fall behind."
Before accepting the job with PAWS, White served as a volunteer for the Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatric oncology survivors' picnic and attended a couple DanceBlue marathons. She remembers crying through her first DanceBlue Marathon.
"I was just in awe over the commitment of the students and their willingness to make a difference," White said of her first DanceBlue experience. "The support of DanceBlue makes me want to be in this position — I know I am not alone in this job."
As part of her position, White advocates at the state legislative level for laws accommodating at-home education for pediatric oncology patients. White is pushing to reform laws to increase the number of Homebound instructional hours to five per week for children who are receiving education at home due to illness. She would like to see laws allowing children who miss school for serious illness to have the opportunity to make up more lost hours through Homebound sessions. Currently, in all Kentucky jurisdictions, missed days at school cannot be made up through Homebound, even when a child misses school as a result of the cancer treatment process.
White also assists children with re-integrating back into the school system once their treatment period has come to an end. Chemotherapy and other medications during cancer treatment can stall a child's cognitive development long-term. White can help recommend special education for children encountering learning disabilities.
Dr. Lars Wagner, the chief of pediatric oncology and hematology at Kentucky Children's Hospital, said White's position and the PAWS program was only possible through fundraising efforts of students and the local community. The PAWS program widens the scope of services provided to families at the DanceBlue Clinic. Wagner said offering this kind of specialized service to patients puts the DanceBlue Clinic on par with some of the top pediatric oncology centers in the country.
"Many parents don’t understand what could be accomplished in the school system or how to educate their child fully," Wagner said. "The PAWS program adds a more comprehensive dimension to the care we give kids."
According to Wagner, 80 percent of pediatric cancer patients will survive and grow up to become adults. He believes cancer treatment shouldn't cause major setbacks for people at such a young age. With the PAWS program, Wagner hopes his patients will seamlessly transition back into academic environments and leave the cancer journey behind them.
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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
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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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399; email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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. (July 7, 2015) – A new study led by University of Kentucky researchers suggests a new approach to develop highly-potent drugs which could overcome current shortcomings of low drug efficacy and multi-drug resistance in the treatment of cancer as well as viral and bacterial infections.
Published in Nanomedicine, the study identified a new mechanism of targeting multi-subunit complexes that are critical to the function of viruses, bacteria or cancer, thus reducing or possibly even eliminating their resistance to targeted drugs.
The study was led by Peixuan Guo, director of UK's Nanobiotechnology Center and one of the top nanobiotechnology experts in the world. Guo holds a joint appointment at the UK Markey Cancer Center and in the UK College of Pharmacy.
"Efficacy is the key in drug development,” Guo said. "Inhibiting multisubunit targets works similar to the series-circuit Christmas decorating light chains; one broken bulb turns off the entire lighting system."
By targeting RNA or protein subunits that have multiple sites for inactivation, but that are inextricably linked, this method allows for killing or disabling the RNA or protein without requiring the inhibition of multiple pathways that might be used by the organism to remain active and viable (and thus, multiple drugs are not needed, as well). Using this method, a single subunit targeting to the target RNA or protein subunits that is unique and assenting for the organism, the organism will be disabled or die and thus, no longer able to cause disease.
“One of the vexing problems in the development of drugs is drug resistance,” said Tim Tracy, former Dean of the UK College of Pharmacy and current UK provost. “Dr. Guo's study has identified a new mechanism of efficiently inhibiting biological processes that are critical to the function of the disease-causing organism, such that resistance is minimized or eliminated.”
Guo focuses much of his work on the use of ribonucleic acid (RNA) nanoparticles and a viral nano-motor to fight cancer, viral infections and genetic diseases. He is well-known for his pioneering work of constructing RNA nanoparticles as drug carriers. Guo's research team also includes Dan Shu, Farzin Haque, Mario Vieweger, Fengmei Pi, Hui Zhang, Yi Shu, Chi Wang, Peng Zhang, Ashwani Sharma, Taek Lee and more than 10 graduate students.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2015) — Ephraim McDowell Health last week announced that Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center (EMCCC) in Danville has joined the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation, but EMCCC sees this relationship as stepping up the fight against cancer. The UK Markey Cancer Center is the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
Ephraim McDowell Health’s President and CEO Vicki Darnell said the announcement meant great things for their patients.
“The Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center affiliation with the UK Markey Cancer Center will allow us to provide new treatment options for our patients that are only available to National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers," Darnell said. "We believe this is a big step in the continuing battle against cancer.”
"We are extremely excited and proud that our cancer treatment program is of the caliber that Markey Cancer Center would want to partner with us," said Dr. Tom Baeker, medical director of EMCCC Cancer Program. "This alliance means great things for our patients. It will enable us to offer access to the latest practices in diagnosis and treatment of cancers and blood disorders, including clinical trials – which means providing a higher level of cancer care."
The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high-quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region, and to minimize the effects of cancer through prevention and education programs, exceptional clinical care, and access to research.
By becoming a UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate, EMCCC is keeping with the organization’s mission to provide safe, compassionate, high quality, and cost-effective services to the communities served. The Ephraim McDowell Health system will now be able to offer their patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and care, including clinical trials and advanced technology, while allowing them to stay in Danville for most treatments.
The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network supports UK HealthCare's overall mission of ensuring no Kentuckian will have to leave the state to get access to top-of-the-line health care.
"Unfortunately, Kentucky is home to some of the worst rates of cancer in the country," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. "By collaborating with our affiliate hospitals across the state, we have the potential to make a serious impact on cancer care here in the Commonwealth."
"UK HealthCare doesn't just serve Lexington and central Kentucky – our mission is to provide all Kentuckians with the best possible care right here in the state," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network allows us to collaborate with community hospitals to provide top-notch cancer care much closer to home — saving both travel expenses and time for the patients, in addition to keeping them close to their personal support system."
Markey is one of only 68 medical centers in the country to earn an NCI cancer center designation. Because of the designation, Markey patients have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.
Video Produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org; Allison Perry, email@example.com
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.