LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 5, 2015) — With her tiny body too vulnerable to withstand the world outside her mother’s womb, infant Emma Lewis continued to grow and develop inside an incubator during the first four days of her life.
But the life-preserving incubator at Kentucky Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) also separated Emma from her mother’s nurturing touch, which plays an important role in comforting and strengthening newborns. Those days were emotionally grueling for parents Katie and D.J. Lewis, who feared they were missing out on a critical time of bonding with their baby.
“I just always thought I’d have a picture-perfect delivery,” Katie Lewis said. “That I will get to hold her, and all the family will come and see her and hold her.”
Halfway through Katie’s pregnancy, a serious and rare complication expedited Emma’s delivery, making Katie’s vision of a perfect birth impossible. Obstetricians at St. Joseph East diagnosed Lewis with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening variation of preeclampsia that causes a depletion of red blood cells and liver failure in the mother. As symptoms worsened, Katie’s brain swelled and liver started to fail. Because the only way to stop the progression of HELLP syndrome is through delivery, doctors sent Lewis to UK HealthCare where an obstetrics teams delivered baby Emma via emergency cesarean section at 26 weeks gestational age.
One-pound, 15-ounce Emma arrived on July 13, 2015, attached to intravenous lines, beeping monitors and a breathing ventilator to support her underdeveloped lungs. The neonatal care team watched Emma closely because of the risk of brain bleed, and monitored her red blood cell count and bacterial infections. While the team focused on giving Emma the best chance for survival and recovery, they did not neglect the essential function of maternal and paternal bonding during her stay in the NICU. Even in cases involving the earliest born and weakest babies, the NICU nursing staff attempts to accommodate maternal-paternal bonding with families through postponed Kangaroo Care.
In 2015, three Kentucky Children’s Hospital nurses, LaQuinta Bailey, Tara Hunt and Lisa McGee, received special training to facilitate Kangaroo Care for parents whose baby required treatment in the NICU. A standard method for initiating the maternal-infant bonding process of skin-to-skin contact, Kangaroo Care is typically conducted immediately after birth by placing the baby on the mother’s chest. Skin-to-skin contact soothes infants under stress, stimulates the nervous system, regulates an infant’s heart rate, and improves weight gain, among other benefits for mothers and babies. In the busy NICU environment, where intravenous lines, incubator isolation, heart monitors, and feeding tubes complicate the process, nurses must work within their environment and parameters to engage families in bonding practices.
Lisa McGee, a NICU clinical nurse specialist, said the additional expertise has prepared KCH nurses to help families navigate the challenges of implementing Kangaroo Care hours, days or even weeks after birth.
“There is a lot of science behind Kangaroo Care,” McGee said. “Actually, the biggest thing it does is to decrease stress in the baby, and it helps parasympathetic nervous system to come into play, so that the baby calms down.”
Katie Lewis recalls nurses in the operating room encouraging her to look at Emma immediately after the cesarean delivery. Because Emma required immediate placement in an incubator, the medical team couldn’t spare any time for maternal bonding. Instead, the nurses initiated paternal bonding with D.J. Lewis after birth by allowing the new dad to touch Emma as she was relocated to an incubator.
A day later, Katie recovered from surgery and reunited with Emma, who was still inside the incubator. After four days passed, the eager parents were able to hold Emma outside the incubator for the first time. During this interaction, nurses helped initiate skin-to-skin contact by setting Emma on the chests of her parents.
At first, the couple held Emma for increments of an hour and a half because getting the baby in and out of the incubator frequently was a risk. Emma relied on the warmth of her parents’ bodies to retain heat, calories and body temperature. As Emma gained strength, the nursing staff gradually introduced the parents to new bonding opportunities, such as giving Emma a bath, pushing her food through a feeding tube, giving her a bottle of Katie’s breast milk and reading her books.
Bonding was especially important for D.J. Lewis, a sergeant in the U.S. Army. At the time of Emma’s birth, Lewis was preparing for a yearlong deployment to Kuwait in September. He couldn’t wait for IV lines and monitors to disappear to begin the bonding process with their daughter.
“He loved it,” Katie Lewis said of D.J.’s role in paternal bonding. “He would just fall asleep with her and rub her head and read books.”
Katie Lewis said the NICU nurses encouraged and affirmed the parents in interacting with their fragile child. The nurses shifted equipment and rearranged areas in the NICU pods to accommodate peaceful Kangaroo Care time for the family, even in the middle of the night. As Emma’s chances of survival increased with each day, the nurses transitioned the responsibility of care to the parents. The parents learned the baby’s signals indicating breathing problems or a loss of body heat.
“None of them made me feel like I didn’t know what I was doing,” Katie Lewis said of the nursing staff. “They would help reposition us, they would move the incubator — to make us feel as at home as possible.”
By the time Emma was ready to leave the hospital in September, Katie Lewis felt terrified but also excited.
“When we got home, I sat on my couch and I held her and I cried because it’s such an exciting feeling,” Katie Lewis said. “To be able to reach that milestone and go home for good was a very exciting feeling.”
More NICU nurses will receive formal training to become certified Kangaroo Care Caregivers. McGee said low birth weight infants received Kangaroo Care in about 45 percent of cases, with efforts underway to increase the number of families benefiting from Kangaroo Care.
And paternal bonding was worth the extra effort for D.J. Lewis, who came home to visit his family in November. Emma had no trouble snuggling and sleeping on her dad’s chest after his time away.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 4, 2016) — Want a free chair massage? An aromatherapy hand massage? A chocolaty fruit treat? If you "Go Red" tomorrow, you can get all of this and more.
February is Heart Month and Feb. 5 is the American Heart Association's "Go Red Day" celebrating women's heart health. Beginning at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the atrium of Chandler Hospital's Pavilion A, the Gill Heart Institute will celebrate Go Red Day with heart-healthy tips, treats and prizes.
According to Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the Women's Heart Health Program at the Gill Heart Institute, women's hearts are different from men's in certain ways, which can affect the way women develop heart disease and experience heart attack symptoms.
"People assume all heart attacks feel like a crushing in the chest, but often, and for women in particular, the symptoms of a heart attack can be quite different," Wells said. "Events like Go Red Day give us another opportunity to teach women what to look for and how to take the best care of your heart."
There will be free chair massages and aromatherapy hand massages beginning at 11 a.m. in the Pavilion A atrium of Chandler Hospital. At noon, Wells will offer tips for women's heart health. Afterward, there will be delicious treats, gifts and take-home information. Anyone wearing red is encouraged to participate in a group photo session at 12:30 p.m.
To be eligible for a prize, take a selfie wearing red and post it to the Gill Heart Association's Facebook page with the hashtag "#GillGoesRed." You can also visit http://twibbon.com/Support/gill-goes-red-2016-2 for instructions on how to customize your photo.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 3, 2016) — Parents and caregivers are urged to take a moment to pause and talk to children about the importance of good oral health and make sure good dental habits are being formed during National Children’s Oral Health Month.
“More people are beginning to understand that good dental health is linked to good overall health," said Dr. Enrique Bimstein, chief of the Division of Oral Health Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. "But we still have work to do around helping people understand that good habits need to be formed early in life.”
Some people believe primary, or “baby” teeth are not very important. However, primary teeth have significant jobs to do, including helping children chew and speak and holding space for permanent teeth, he said.
"A healthy mouth helps keep a child healthy overall," Bimstein said. "Dental pain, from something like a toothache, can be very distracting in a classroom setting and may require children to miss school time in order to receive necessary treatment. If left untreated, problems can sometimes lead to more serious infections, placing a child at risk for larger health problems."
Bimstein provides a few oral health reminders:
· Brush two minutes, two times a day with fluoride toothpaste.
· Floss daily to help reach where brushing misses.
· Schedule a child’s first dental visit no later than age 1 year old, and schedule regular checkups following their first visit.
“With proper care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits, children’s primary teeth can remain healthy and strong — helping to maintain their overall health,” said Bimstein.
To celebrate National Children’s Oral Health Month, UK Oral Health will be providing free children’s dental supplies, while supplies last, on Thursdays in February. More information is available at dentistry.uky.edu/pediatric.
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 2, 2016) — It's National Heart Month — a good time to think more deeply about your health and how to make heart-healthy lifestyle choices.
“More people know about heart health now than they did 20 years ago," said Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of Women's Heart Health at the Gill Heart Institute. "But we still have a lot of work to do, especially with women, whose symptoms can be different than men's.”
Many believe that heart health involves strenuous tasks and countless hours at the gym. But just 30 minutes of exercise five out of seven days a week can reduce heart attack risk by up to 50 percent.
"You can kill two birds with one stone by doing a few simple tasks around the house," Wells said. "Even a little bit of physical activity can have a big benefit on your health. "
According to the Calorie Control Council, activities such as dusting or vacuuming can burn up to 216 calories in the comfort of your home.
Dr. Wells provides a few reminders to begin living heart-healthy:
· Be active for at least 30 minutes a day
· Choose foods that are low in sodium and saturated fat
· Take steps to quit smoking
· Know your numbers. If your blood glucose (sugar), cholesterol, blood pressure, and/or BMI are abnormal, get treatment.
Wells cautions that you should always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine. "They know your health status and can help you tailor a program that fits into your needs and your schedule -- both of which are important factors for success."
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 1, 2016) — Dementia is a "family disease." The patient, their loved ones and their caregivers are all affected.
Dementia refers to a decline of cognitive health that interferes with everyday life. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most recognizable form of dementia, but many other conditions can also affect cognitive health. There is no cure for AD, and almost all patients with dementia will eventually require constant care from a caregiver or loved one. In 2015, there were 5.3 million Americans suffering from this devastating disease.
In the creation of art, multiple aspects of learning take place and multiple domains related to learning are engaged, including focus and concentration, problem-solving skills, tolerance to ambiguity, image and concept formation, imagination, and visual-spatial thinking, just to name a few. On top of that, feelings and emotional sensitivities are involved in producing a work of art, as well as important motor skills like hand-eye coordination.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky are looking further into the notion that visual arts can have a positive effect on patients with mild to moderate dementia. This study will also explore the potential effects on the patient's caregiver.
By having participants create art — such as drawing, sculpture, and/or paper mache, we hope to enhance problem solving skills, focus/concentration, and hand-eye coordination. We also hope to see an improvement in mood and in overall thinking, all of which contribute significantly to quality of life.
This study will be eight weeks long and will meet once a week at the School of Arts and Visual Studies. Each session will last about an hour and a half. Participation in the study, including all art materials, is free of charge. To be involved in this study the patient must live at home, have intact hearing/vision, and have mild to moderate dementia. The caregiver needs to have at least ten contact hours a week with the patient and be able to accompany and assist the patient during the study.
If you would like to know more about the study, contact Dr. Allan Richards, 859-361-1483 or Ann Christianson-Tietyen, 859-312-4553.
Ann Christianson-Tietyen is an Instructor of Art Education in the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies
This column appeared in the January 31, 2016 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2016) — At noon on Friday, Feb. 5, UK's Gill Heart Institute will be "going red."
February is Heart Month and Feb. 5 is the American Heart Association's "Go Red Day" celebrating women's heart health. The women — and men — of the Gill Heart Institute use the day to educate women about the differences in women's vs. men's hearts, heart disease and heart attack symptoms.
According to Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the Women's Heart Health Program at the Gill Heart Institute, women's hearts are different than men's in certain ways, which can affect the way women develop heart disease and experience heart attack symptoms.
"People assume all heart attacks feel like a crushing in the chest, but often, and for women in particular, the symptoms of a heart attack can be quite different," Wells said. "Events like 'Go Red Day' give us another opportunity to teach women what to look for and how to take the best care of your heart."
Wells also points out that there are biological, social and psychological factors that change the way women experience heart disease and act on its symptoms.
"Awareness is key to helping women understand what to look for and when to seek treatment," she said.
On 'Go Red Day' at noon, Wells will offer tips for women's heart health in the atrium of Pavilion A in UK Chandler Hospital. Afterward, there will be special treats, gifts and take-home information. Anyone wearing red is welcome to participate in a group photo session at 12:30 pm.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2016) – Today, 10 health care systems across the Commonwealth of Kentucky, collectively known as the Kentucky Health Collaborative, announced its primary objectives of raising the standards of care across the state, addressing the Commonwealth’s poor health statistics and reducing the cost of care through greater operational efficiencies.
The founding health systems’ chief executive officers or appointed executives are serving on a steering committee guiding the formation and development of the collaborative.
The initial health systems which have signed on as charter members of the collaborative are:
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (Lexington, KY)*
Baptist Health (Louisville, KY)
Ephraim McDowell Health (Danville, KY)
LifePoint Health (Brentwood, TN)
Norton Healthcare (Louisville, KY)
Owensboro Health (Owensboro, KY)
St. Claire Regional Medical Center (Morehead, KY)
St. Elizabeth Healthcare (Edgewood, KY)
The Medical Center (Bowling Green, KY)
UK HealthCare (Lexington, KY)
*Parentheses designate location of organization’s headquarters
Kentucky Health Collaborative is still in its early stages of development, and there are many details yet to be finalized, such as which issues and opportunities for improvement the group will tackle first. As the collaborative develops the systems and infrastructure needed to accomplish its goals, the opportunity to join will extend to a wider pool of potential members across the Commonwealth.
In addition, the collaborative’s steering committee has hired William “Bill” L. Shepley as the organization’s inaugural executive director. Shepley, who has more than 25 years of experience as a health care executive at organizations such as the Southern Atlantic Healthcare Alliance and the Coastal Carolinas Healthcare Alliance, has devoted his career to developing and managing multi-facility alliances and networks to guide organizations through changes in the health care delivery system.
“Being offered this opportunity to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky was one of the proudest moments of my career,” said Shepley. “The Kentucky Health Collaborative has created a governance structure that supports the inclusion and participation of health care providers regardless of location within the Commonwealth, size or profit structure. The solutions we expect to develop through the collaborative have worked well for similar networks across the country, and I am honored to be a part of this important process.”
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, firstname.lastname@example.org; 859-806-0445
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2016) – In response to low national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has joined 68 of the nation’s top cancer centers in issuing a statement urging for increased HPV vaccination for the prevention of cancer. The 100 percent consensus among the nation's 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers demonstrates that these institutions collectively recognize insufficient vaccination as a public health threat and call upon the nations’ physicians, parents and young adults to take advantage of this rare opportunity to prevent many types of cancer.
"Although we have made progress in the past several years, Kentucky continues to rank first in the nation for both cancer incidence and mortality," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "We are still in the top 10 nationally for cervical cancer deaths, and increasing the HPV vaccination rates will significantly lower this grim statistic."
National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers joined in this effort in the spirit of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union call for a national “moonshot” to cure cancer, a collaborative effort led by Vice President Joe Biden.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infections are responsible for approximately 27,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the U.S. Several vaccines are available that can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers. In Kentucky, particularly the Appalachian region of Kentucky, the rates for these cancers are higher than the national average.
Vaccination rates remain low across the U.S., with under 40 percent of girls and just over 21 percent of boys receiving the recommended three doses. In Kentucky, roughly 37 percent of girls and just over 13 percent of boys complete the vaccine schedule. Research shows there are a number of barriers to overcome to improve vaccination rates, including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians and parents not understanding that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer.
"It bears repeating that the HPV vaccine can prevent cancer and our low rates of adolescent vaccination in Kentucky can be improved with novel, coordinated community-clinical linkages," said Robin Vanderpool, co-lead on a recent NCI HPV vaccination supplement awarded to Markey and associate professor in the UK College of Public Health. "We have projects on-going throughout the state to improve healthcare provider education and awareness of the vaccine, including working with local pharmacies. Among other initiatives, we also have a comprehensive public awareness campaign spearheaded by the Kentucky Department for Public Health."
To discuss strategies for overcoming these barriers, experts from the NCI, CDC, American Cancer Society and more than half of the NCI-designated cancer centers met in a summit at MD Anderson Cancer Center last November. During this summit, cancer centers shared findings from 18 NCI-funded environmental scans, or detailed regional assessments, which sought to identify barriers to increasing immunization rates in pediatric settings across the country.
The published call to action was a major recommendation resulting from discussions at that summit, with the goal of sending a powerful message to parents, adolescents and health care providers about the importance of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2016) — The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry is offering limited dental screenings for the reduced cost of $5 on select dates. Screenings include limited x-rays and a limited review for tooth decay. Participants can support UK dental students as they prepare for their licensing exam and get their oral health checked in the process.
No appointment is necessary. Screenings will be completed at the UK College of Dentistry (see directions and parking information) from 5:30-7 p.m. on the following dates:
· Thursday, Feb. 11
· Thursday, Feb. 25
· Thursday, March 10
· Thursday, March 24
· Thursday, April 7
In order to qualify for a $5 screening, participants must be:
· Age 14 or older;
· Available to attend the dental students’ licensing exam on either Friday, April 22 or Saturday, April 23, if selected as a dental patient. Dental services provided during the exam will be at no cost to patients.
Patients requiring care in excess of licensing exam requirements will be referred for a full dental screening and treatment. Please call (859) 323-6525 with any questions.
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 20, 2016) — UK HealthCare and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have finalized an agreement to partner for pediatric heart care and other services. A Letter of Intent (LOI) for a partnership was announced between the two health care systems last September.
The collaboration combines the strengths of the region's leading provider of advanced subspecialty care in UK HealthCare with one of the country's leaders in children's health care, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and will enable more Kentucky children to receive care closer to home.
The initial focus of the partnership will be pediatric heart care services with the goal of delivering outstanding surgical and clinical care, education and research in pediatric cardiology. In addition, the master services agreement will provide the option of extending the partnership beyond these services in the future.
As part of the agreement, a heart surgeon will be jointly recruited and have a primary appointment at Cincinnati Children's in a 'one program, two sites' model; the surgeon will be based in Lexington and perform services at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
"By partnering with Cincinnati Children's we will be teaming-up with one of the top children's hospitals in the country and a Top 10 pediatric heart care program," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "Our goal is to keep patient care close to home when clinically appropriate with patients traveling to Cincinnati for the most complex surgical procedures but eventually having some surgical procedures, as well as post-surgical care and pediatric cardiology subspecialty care, available in Lexington."
The first surgical procedure at UK will likely be targeted for late 2016 or early 2017. UK HealthCare will also work toward having cardiac subspecialists performing diagnostics and therapeutic interventions at Kentucky Children's Hospital with the support of Cincinnati Children’s subspecialists when necessary.
Training, support, infrastructure development and reactivation of on-site surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital will be done in a manner to ensure sustained outstanding outcomes as measured by national registries and reporting mechanisms. This includes developing and implementing shared and common clinical standards for environment, design, equipment and operations. Additionally, training will be provided by Cincinnati Children's initially and on an ongoing basis for Kentucky Children's Hospital personnel.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with UK HealthCare to serve pediatric cardiac patients and their families in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Andrew Redington, executive co-director of the Heart Institute and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s.
Currently the majority of Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatric CT surgery patient families who need clinical referrals for care already are choosing Cincinnati Children’s. However, this new 'one program, two sites' model will provide an even more seamless process for these patients and families as well as the new patients and families needing these services each year throughout the Commonwealth.
UK HealthCare voluntarily suspended Kentucky Children's pediatric cardiothoracic (CT) program in October 2012 and a task force charged with providing recommendations regarding the future of the program was established and convened in 2013. Initial joint negotiations with Cincinnati Children's began in early 2015 and led to the LOI being signed in September.
"We said we would only re-open the program when we were ready to provide the best care for our patients and their families and we are confident that this collaborative arrangement meets that mark with the highest quality surgical and clinical care, education and research in pediatric cardiovascular services for patients of Kentucky and their families," Karpf said.
Video on benefits of partnership with Cincinnati Children's: https://youtu.be/-FTdnEt_-8M
UKPR CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com, 859-323-6363 or 859-806-0445
CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S CONTACT: Jim Feuer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 513-636-4656
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 15, 2016) — Students from the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) will perform a free Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration concert in the Pavilion A Atrium of the UK Chandler Hospital on Friday, Jan. 15.
The celebration blends spiritual songs, such as "Oh Freedom," with Martin Luther King Jr. readings, choreographed movement and theatrical performance. This year marks the fifth year a group of SCAPA middle schoolers will perform a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial concert at the hospital atrium.
The SCAPA students have performed concerts with the Lexington Philharmonic and at Alltech's Annual Symposium. Coordinated by the UK Arts in HealthCare program, the celebration begins and 12 p.m. and is open to the public.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2016) – Dr. Mark V. Williams, professor and vice chair in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky, has been named to the advisory board of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. The Joint Commission Journal is a monthly peer-reviewed journal that provides both empirical studies and practical instructions on how to understand and implement interventions to improve patient safety and quality.
At UK, Williams also serves as chief transformation and learning officer for the UK HealthCare and director of the Center for Health Services Research.
Williams graduated from Emory University School of Medicine and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also completed a Faculty Development Fellowship in General Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Woodruff Leadership Academy at Emory, the Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice at Harvard and the Advance Training Program in Health Care Delivery Improvement sponsored by Intermountain Healthcare's Institute for Health Care Delivery Research.
Williams established the first hospitalist program for a public hospital in 1998 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and built two of the largest academic hospitalist programs in the U.S. at Emory (1998-2007) and Northwestern (2007-2013) Universities. As chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at UK HealthCare he has doubled the faculty of the unit since 2014 to 60 clinicians. A past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine (SMH) and the founding editor of the Journal of Hospital Medicine, he actively promotes the role of hospitalists as leaders in delivery of health care to hospitalized patients.
He has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Consumer Reports. Notably, he also serves as principal investigator for SHM’s Project BOOST (Better Outcomes by Optimizing Safe Transitions). Grant funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois and other foundations, supported dissemination of Project BOOST to nearly 200 hospitals across the U.S. In 2015, he became principal investigator on Project ACHIEVE (Achieving Patient-Centered Care and Optimized Health In Care Transitions by Evaluating the Value of Evidence), funded with a $15 million contract from PCORI.
With a history of more than $29 million in grants and contracts as principal or co-principal investigator and more than 130 peer-reviewed publications including in journals such as JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine, Williams’ research focuses on quality improvement, care transitions, teamwork and the role of health literacy in the delivery of health care.
This column first appeared in the Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 12, 2016) — "Have you gotten your 10,000 steps today?" As more and more people are wearing activity or fitness trackers, the number of daily steps has become a common topic of conversation.
And if you are wearing one, chances are you have heard you should be striving for 10,000 steps per day. However, the more important goal for many people may be just to increase physical activity in all of their daily routine.
The idea of 10,000 steps can be traced back to the 1990s to several research articles that demonstrated the benefit of walking at least this many steps every day. At the time, these articles were promoting the usefulness of pedometers to count the number of steps taken and compare that to health benefits.
The number of steps that is "doable" and "measurable" and is enough to have some demonstrable benefit was determined to be 10,000 for adults ̶ about the equivalent of walking five miles.
By meeting the goal of walking 10,000 steps per day, you may see health benefits such as:
· modest weight loss
· improving the function of your heart and lungs
· improving your stamina
· helping you sleep
· improving your mood/relieving stress
· improving your mobility
· help improving sugar control for overweight diabetics.
However, accumulating 10,000 steps over the course of the day is what is important and it doesn't have to be gotten all at once through exercise. Health benefits extend to routine physical activity so people can be encouraged to increase physical activity in all of their daily routine.
Some relatively easy ways to increase your steps and your activity include:
· Taking the steps instead of the escalator/elevator
· Parking in the back of the parking lot rather than at the door of a store
· Walking to work
· Push mowing the yard
And while 10,000 steps is a good number for most people, it should be a goal approached gradually for those who are not already active. Start counting your steps and try to increase your daily number by 10 to 20 percent each week or so until you reach 10,000. If you are trying to lose weight, walking more than 10,000 will burn extra calories but be careful not to increase your steps to the point that you risk injury. In addition to striving for 10,000 steps, eating a nutritious, well-rounded diet is equally important for your overall health. And if it is your goal to lose weight, it is nearly impossible to do this through exercise alone. You also have to cut back on calories.
The three greatest health risks and cause of as many as one-third of premature deaths are tobacco, poor diet and lack of physical activity. By taking a few steps ̶ or even 10,000 ̶ you can make a personal choice to make a difference in your overall health.
By Dr. Scott Black is director of the Division of Physician Assistant Studies at the UK College of Health Sciences
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2016) – While Friday the 13th is traditionally associated with bad luck, it now represents an important anniversary for 64-year-old Louisville resident Stan Burch.
Stan, who had been waiting on a heart transplant in Kentucky since 2012, received a phone call late in the day last Friday, Nov. 13 from UK HealthCare Heart Transplant Coordinator Donna Dennis with good news – an appropriate donor heart had just become available.
He and his wife, Patti, came immediately to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where Burch received his new heart in the early morning hours of Nov. 14.
"I will never be afraid of Friday the 13th again," Stan said. After the successful surgery, it was just a matter of weeks before Stan was cleared to return home.
The new heart was a long time coming – after dealing with a heart murmur as a child and more recent episodes as an adult, Stan went to local doctors and underwent a variety of procedures to help his failing heart: an implantable defibrillator, a cardiac ablation procedure, medications. Nothing was working.
"I couldn't even breathe well," Stan said. "The old heart just wouldn't let me do anything."
After being told by a local doctor he would never qualify for a heart transplant, Stan sought a second opinion at a medical center out of state, who advised him to go back to Kentucky, find the closest transplant center, and get listed. Though he was initially listed for a transplant in Louisville, he and his wife made the decision to transfer his care to UK in July 2014.
"I had my days of feeling hopeless," Patti said. "But when you went to UK, everyone was so positive."
That positivity didn't just come from the staff, but through other patients as well. While walking through the cardiovascular intensive care unit for his post-transplant exercise, Stan came upon another patient making the same rounds: 58-year-old Dennis Hamilton, who had received a heart just five days prior to Stan. They represent two of the 43 heart transplants UK performed in 2015, a state record.
"I saw him walking around like me, and I said, 'Hey, did you just have a transplant, too?'" Stan said. "And he had!"
Dennis, who has a strong family history of heart disease, is the fifth person in his family to have needed a heart transplant. He had been seeing a cardiologist pre-emptively for 15 years, and he exercised regularly and ate a healthy diet, determined to do anything in his power to prevent needing a transplant.
However, his genetics eventually caught up with him, and his congestive heart failure became too severe to be managed with less invasive treatments.
"Last winter, it really started to catch up with me," Dennis said.
Norton HealthCare cardiologist Dr. Janet Smith referred him to UK to see Dr. Navin Rajagopalan, medical director of heart transplantation at UK HealthCare. Though it was a longer trip for the Mount Washington resident, he didn't hesitate to heed his doctor's recommendation.
"I didn't question it at all," Dennis said. "If that's where I need to be, that's where I'm going."
Because of the similar trajectory in their surgery and treatment, the Burches and Hamiltons bonded during their recovery, frequently meeting up to chat at appointments, offering each other post-transplant advice, and meeting for lunch at local Lexington restaurants after their follow-up visits. Being able to talk with another person who knew exactly what each was going through has been hugely beneficial to their recovery process, they say -- and both plan to keep in touch now that they're back home.
"I'm just tickled to death that we met the Burches," Dennis said.
Meanwhile, both men are looking forward to returning to their regular daily lives this year. Dennis is ready to get back to his grandchildren and spend as much time as he can with them. Stan, who owns a home in Naples, Fla., has been too sick to travel there for many years, and is ready to go back down to warm weather and sunny skies. These days, his outlook on life is nothing but bright.
"Everything is beautiful," Stan said. "Everything is positive."
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
Physicians and other leaders from HMH and the UK Markey Cancer Center – Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated center – celebrated the new partnership at the HMH Cancer Care Center in Elizabethtown. In recognition of this higher level of patient care, HMH cancer patients attended the event and hung holiday ornaments in awareness of some of the area’s most prevalent cancers.
“For patients and physicians, cancer treatment is a battle. The UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network is a tremendous opportunity because it brings them new weapons,” said HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson.
As a member of the UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network, HMH will be able to conduct Markey-led and some major NCI-led clinical trials because of Markey's position as an NCI-designated cancer center.
"By becoming a member of the Markey Research Network, Hardin Memorial is showing a commitment to helping us conquer cancer in the Commonwealth," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "Clinical trials represent the latest, best treatment options for most patients, and being able to participate in major national and regional clinical trials right here in Elizabethtown means that patients are able to stay closer to their own support systems at home and under the direct care of their doctors here."
Clinical trials are key to developing new methods to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and most treatments used today are the results of previous clinical studies. These may include studies in which patients who need cancer treatment receive their therapy under the observation of specially trained cancer doctors and staff. Patients who volunteer for cancer treatment studies will either receive standard therapy or a new treatment that represents the researchers’ best new ideas for how to improve cancer care.
"Cancer care is constantly improving, due in part to the groundbreaking work being done in clinical research," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network. "Our state has some of the worst cancer incidence and survival rates in the entire country, and we at Markey have an obligation to address this devastating disease. By increasing access to many of our current clinical trials through the Markey Research Network, we have an opportunity to make real progress in improving cancer statistics in Kentucky."
The portfolio of available clinical research studies is targeted, with clinical trials in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancers with the highest incidence and mortality in Kentucky. These include lung, colorectal and cervical cancers.
HMH now is one of four research sites of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. The HMH cancer care team was invited to join the network based on previous performance in research, including a study to identify the best approaches to help cancer patients quit smoking, which will help improve their response to cancer treatments, Johnson said.
Inclusion in the research network is an extension of an existing partnership of HMH and the UK Markey Cancer Center. In 2014, HMH joined the center’s affiliate network, which focuses on sharing new evidence-based findings and access to refer patients to clinical trials.
“Unfortunately, cancer is more prevalent in Kentucky than in any other state, and this disease has touched too many lives in our region,” Johnson said. “We are committed to doing all we can to battle this disease, and we’re honored to join the UK Markey Cancer Center Research Network and help bring the most advanced care possible to the communities we serve.”
Since 2013, the Hardin Memorial Cancer Care team has also participated in the Kentucky Clinical Trials Network (KCTN), housed at the UK Markey Cancer Center, which focuses on lung cancer research. The KCTN is a primary initiative of the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program, a joint program of the UK Markey Cancer Center and the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center.
Additionally, the HMH Cancer Care Center has offered clinical trials in Elizabethtown for about two years through a partnership with the Baptist Health Cancer Research Network (BHCRN). Clinical trials through BHCRN may focus on breast cancer, brain cancer, lung, colon, cervical, melanoma and others.
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About HMH. Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) is an integrated system of health care providers throughout a 10-county region of Central Kentucky. HMH is committed to delivering the highest-quality patient-centered health care to the more than 400,000 people it serves. With more than 2,000 medical professionals including 230 first-in-class physicians in over 40 specialties as well as primary care and a 300-bed hospital, HMH provides comprehensive health care close to home for the residents of Hardin, Meade, Nelson, LaRue, Breckinridge, Grayson, Hart, Bullitt, Green and Taylor counties. HMH is a county owned system under a management contract with Kentucky’s Baptist Health, headquartered in Louisville.
About UK Markey Cancer Center. The Markey Cancer Center was founded in 1983 and is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and the UK HealthCare enterprise.
In July 2013, Markey was designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to receive research funding and many other opportunities available only to the nation’s best cancer centers. Markey is the only NCI-designated center in Kentucky and one of only 69 in the country.
The clinical programs and services of the Markey Cancer Center are integrated with the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Markey's cancer specialty teams work together with UK Chandler Hospital departments and divisions to provide primary patient care and support services as well as advanced specialty care with applicable clinical trials. All diagnostic services, clinical and pathology laboratories, operating rooms, emergent and intensive care, and radiation therapy services are also provided to cancer patients through UK Chandler Hospital.
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. (Dec. 23, 2015) — Surrounded by an army of “elves” wearing red hairbows and headbands with pointy ears, Owen Sayers waited backstage for his microphone check during a dress rehearsal for the holiday performance of “Elf Jr.”
The freckled 11-year-old prepared to play the role of Michael, a young boy who befriends Buddy the Elf, in the musical adaptation of the popular Christmas movie, “Elf.” Wearing a green sweater and navy blue pea coat as his costume, Owen warmed up his soprano voice for a full run of the show in the Lucille Little Theatre of Saints Peter and Paul School on Dec. 17. The Academy for Creative Excellence, a preparatory performing arts program offered by UK Opera Theatre, produced the musical, which starred up-and-coming vocal performers the weekend of Dec. 19-21.
All cast members, even the swarms of elves, were acquainted with Owen, a vocal major at the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) who freely gives out hugs. But not everyone knew about Owen’s traumatic brain injury earlier in the year. When asked about his accident, Owen parted his red hair on the side to show the proof: a pink scar from the incision. He related his injury to the story of Humpty Dumpty.
“Because he was fragile,” Owen said, comparing himself to the character that cracked his head in the nursery rhyme. “Because really, everybody’s head is fragile.”
While riding his bicycle on the first warm day in May, Owen hit a curb and flew headfirst over the handlebars and into a tree. Tim Sayers, Owen’s father, found his son at the crash site dazed and worried about his glasses. A former football player, Sayers suspected a concussion and took Owen to the emergency department of St. Joseph East as a precaution. A CT scan revealed Owen was suffering from more than a concussion — he was diagnosed with an epidural hematoma, or serious brain bleed. While in the emergency department, Owen became drowsy and his vital signs started to drop. Doctors knew every second counted and Owen’s life was in danger. The medical staff expedited Owen to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in Eastern and Central Kentucky, where a team of surgeons, doctors and nurses waited at the doors to rush him into emergency surgery.
KCH surgeons brought Owen into a recovery room around 1 a.m. While the surgery was successful, the medical team told Tim and Becky Sayers only time could tell whether Owen suffered any loss of cognitive function from the injury. It was impossible to know the full extent of the trauma until Owen regained consciousness.
“We embraced — we were really scared,” Becky Sayers said. “We said, ‘Whatever we find in there, we have to be strong,’ and we went back to recovery.”
The couple stayed awake all night waiting for Owen to regain consciousness. Around 3 a.m., Owen reached for something then drifted back to sleep. At 5 a.m., the Sayers turned on the hospital room television to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. As the characters danced on the screen, the Sayers looked up to see Owen, who was still supported by a breathing tube, shaking his “jazz” hands to the rhythm of the song.
“Tim and I looked at each other and said, ‘Are you dancing?’” Becky Sayers said. “And he nodded his head. We knew that he understood he was dancing to the TV, and we just cried.”
Owen, who at the time of the accident was cast as Flounder in an upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid,” regained his voice at a whisper after the breathing tube was removed the next day. A few weeks after he was released from the hospital, he auditioned for a role in “Into the Woods,” and two months later he played the lead role of Simba in “The Lion King Jr.” Aside from the embarrassment of a shaved head and a few headaches in the weeks after surgery, Owen was able to return to the stage untarnished by the incident.
Unintentional injuries are the most common cause of death and disability in children and adolescents. Dr. Scottie Day, chief of the pediatric critical care at KCH, said Owen’s remarkable recovery is attributed in part to collaborative efforts of his entire medical team, from the emergency department to the PICU.
“We do not consider it a job, but a privilege as a team, to take care of patients like Owen and their families,” Day said. “We want each and every family to know that they are part of our story as well. “
After he hit his head on the tree, Owen wondered whether he’d be able to sing and dance again. He was relieved to be back to normal soon after he got home from the hospital. He said he doesn’t really ride bikes anymore, but sometimes rides a scooter with his helmet. Becky Sayers said Owen’s resilience helped him bounce back after the injury.
“I feel really lucky,” Owen said. “I got back up again. I didn’t give up.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org; Whitney Hale, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2015) – UK HealthCare has been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures in seven categories by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.
UK HealthCare — which includes the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Kentucky Children's Hospital — was recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for:
UK HealthCare is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction.
The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions. The performance measures included in the recognition program including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke, venous thromboembolism, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco treatment and substance use.
To be a 2014 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2014 accountability measure data, including:
“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend the efforts of UK HealthCare for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.
“Quality and safety is vital to our success at UK HealthCare in providing the best care for patients across the Commonwealth and beyond," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "This recognition is an acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication of our staff working hard day in and day out."
For more information about the Top Performer program, visit www.jointcommission.org/accreditation/top_performers.aspx.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, (859) 323-6363, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2015) -- Last year at UK HealthCare, about 140 families experienced the loss of an infant from stillbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death. To honor and acknowledge the lives of the infants and the loss experienced by their families, UK's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Labor and Delivery unit hold an annual event to remember these loved ones.
UK HealthCare's annual Walk to Remember is held the first Sunday in October each year at The Arboretum at UK and is an event that has been occurring now for more than 20 years.
"This service provides a way for families to honor and remember their child that they have lost," said Michelle Steele, chair of the NICU/Labor and Delivery Bereavement Committee. "We walk to previously planted trees that were planted in honor and memory of the babies that had died during previous years. At the end of the walk, our grieving families help plant a new tree for that year in memory of their loved one."
In addition, families can write a message to their baby and plant it with the tree that includes an inscription and bronze plaque provided by UK HealthCare administration that reads, "In memory of your baby's life, gone but still cherished. Your baby will always be remembered."
For UK HealthCare Palliative Care and Oncology Chaplain Diana Hultgren the Arboretum at UK is a very symbolic setting for the event. "It not only provides a beautiful, family-friendly setting, but a living framework for reflecting on and experiencing the cycles of life," She said. "In many cultures, trees are symbols of life and renewal, the span of generations and hope for the future and by blessing and dedicating these trees, we share in one another’s sadness and joy, knowing we are not alone and do not remember alone."
Families take pictures by the trees year after year, and it is amazing to watch the trees grow, Hultgren added. "Through these gestures and rituals of healing, we strengthen the bonds between us, draw our UK community closer together and let our love and remembrance take form in new ways to bless family and stranger alike."
Steele, a NICU nurse who has been a member of the committee for 16 years, said the event is a time of healing not only for the families but also the nursing staff. "We feel that it’s a way to give back to the families and help provide closure," she said. "We want them to know that we share in their loss by providing a service where they can remember and honor their beloved child."
Sandy Mojesky, divisional charge nurse in Labor and Delivery, is also a longtime committee member and says providing a memorial and remembrance for these babies and their families has been her calling since she first became a labor and delivery nurse 27 years ago.
"The ceremony means so much to the families and I find especially it is important for the families who have experienced a miscarriage or early loss because it gives them an opportunity to memorialize their baby that they may not otherwise have had."
For more information about the event, contact Shannon Haynes at
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2015) — On Dec. 10, a lucky ticket holder will walk away with a new 2016 Lexus ES 350 because they chose to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) through the third annual Lexus for the Little Ones raffle.
Every raffle ticket sold through Lexus of Lexington will improve facilities for children receiving treatment at KCH. Lexus of Lexington has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 for the 2015 raffle. Lexus of Lexington sponsors the Ocean Pod, a section of aquatic-themed patient rooms at KCH.
“Giving back to the community has always been an important part of our business, and who better to support than KCH, the pediatric care center that takes care of Kentucky’s kids,” Lexington businessman Rick Avare, co-owner of Lexus of Lexington, said.
Raffle tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at www.givetokch.org/lexus, in person by visiting the Lexus dealership on 1264 E. New Circle Road, or by contacting the KCH Development office at (859) 257-1179. There is no limit on the number of tickets purchased, and ticket holders do not have to be present to win. A maximum of 1,000 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be held at 1 p.m. in Pavilion A of the UK Chandler Hospital on Dec. 10.
“Lexus of Lexington’s annual raffle has allowed us to create a more vibrant and kid-friendly care environment at KCH,” Dr. Carmel Wallace, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, said. “The improvements in our facilities made possible by their fundraising contributions have benefited everyone at the hospital, from our patients and families to our providers.”
The KCH Development office welcomes groups or individuals who would like to sell raffle tickets to family, friends and colleagues. If your group is interested, please contact Chloe Hurley at (859) 859-257-1121 or email@example.com.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — The reasons why a teen might consider, attempt or commit suicide are complex. But according to Dr. Hatim Omar, University of Kentucky professor and chair of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, reducing youth suicide begins with a simple act — caring for teens.
“It’s not rocket science to help kids,” Omar said. “It’s just getting people to understand the message.”
Omar believes getting to the bottom of the problem of youth suicide requires dialogue among parents, ministers, school staff, health care providers, and counselors — but most importantly, teens themselves. For this reason, he helped to establish the Stop Youth Suicide Conference, which celebrates 15 years preventing and educating communities about youth suicide in Kentucky this week.
The Stop Youth Suicide (SYS) Conference on Nov. 5-6 will engage teens, parents, counselors, health professionals, and University of Kentucky employees in conversations about suicide risks and prevention. World-renowned teen health experts will discuss achievements of SYS through the past 15 years, risky behaviors, self-image, mental health, LGBT suicide risks, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, anxiety disorders and more during the full-day conference at the Doubletree Hilton and Suites in Lexington. In addition, teens will participate in an evening of socializing with Miss Kentucky 2013 Jenna Day during the Teen Event on Thursday, Nov. 5.
Since coming to UK in 1998, Omar has focused on enhancing teen wellness and preventing suicide through his efforts with the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign, a community-based youth suicide prevention program. In addition, Omar provides comprehensive teen health services through the Adolescent Health Clinic at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital and school-based outreach clinics in Lincoln and Harrison counties. He has advocated legislation to improve teen health and make resources available to families and youth with disabilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, physical health peaks during the adolescent years, but this age group is susceptible to mental health problems and suicide. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for teens and young adults across the nation and in Kentucky.
Since the UK Division of Adolescent Medicine, led by Omar, introduced the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign in 2000, suicide attempts in Kentucky’s youth have dropped in areas where school-based access to teen health services is available.
Omar’s recently published book, “Youth Suicide Prevention: Everybody’s Business,” chronicles the experiences and successes of the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign. The book describes a holistic approach to youth suicide from several perspectives, as well as strategies for reducing suicide that have worked in Kentucky.
Teens can attend the conference free of charge. For more information about the conference, visit www.stopyouthsuicide.com.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2015) — Presley Collins spent the first 12 hours of her life like most newborns — swaddled in blankets and fawned over by family members in a hospital room.
On the outside, Presley appeared healthy and normal. But on the inside, Presley’s small intestines, the portion of the gastrointestinal system responsible for absorbing nutrition, were cut off from blood flow and oxygen. Only a couple inches of viable tissue remained in the small intestines of the 2-day-old baby.
After Presley was born in August 2014, a pediatrician at Baptist Health in Richmond suspected a serious problem with her gastrointestinal tract. She was sent to the neonatal intensive care unit at Kentucky Children’s Hospital where pediatric surgeon Dr. Sean Skinner received the family’s permission to perform emergency surgery to diagnose the condition. The operation revealed tissue death in most of Presley’s small intestines, with only 1-centimeter sections at opposite ends of the intestinal tract viable.
Skinner diagnosed Presley with ischemic bowel, a condition in which diminished blood flow prevents oxygen from getting to the cells in the digestive system. During development in the womb, a blockage in the vessels prevented blood flow to the intestines, and the damage to the baby’s vital organ was irreversible.
“We got a call from (Dr. Skinner) pretty much saying we needed to get to UK as soon as we could because chances were slim our daughter would live,” Derrick Collins, Presley’s dad, said. “He explained what he found and told us she had a 10 percent chance of living.”
Presley would likely need a bowel transplant, but even as a full-term newborn, she was too small and vulnerable for the procedure. Skinner obtained second opinions from colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, who confirmed his conclusion that Presley was not yet a candidate for bowel transplant. He held a teleconference with the family, the KCH medical team and specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The medical teams offered two possible courses of action for Presley: take her off her breathing ventilator and go home or put her through an additional surgery to remove the dead bowel and begin the long and risky wait for a transplant.
Neither action seemed desirable for the parents. The parents didn’t want the memory of their daughter dying at home. And removing the dead bowel was a temporary intervention to protect Presley from infection while awaiting a transplant. To receive the transplant, she needed to survive without small intestine until she gained 20 pounds and turned 1-year old.
NICU nurse Mary Smith, who was Presley’s primary nurse, gained the family’s trust and empathized with their struggle. While caring for Presley, she talked to the parents about their options. Even after receiving consultation from the pediatric palliative care team, Jessie Roney, Presley’s mom, believed her daughter was going to survive. During casual conversation in their NICU room, Collins and Raney asked Smith what she would do in their position.
“I had this gut feeling, and as a nurse you always follow your gut,” Smith said. “I just wondered if it would be different if Dr. Skinner went back in? I couldn’t live with myself wondering, ‘What if?’”
Smith’s advice encouraged the parents to allow Skinner to perform the second procedure and remove the dead bowel in preparation for transplant. The next day, Skinner took Presley into a second surgery to remove the dead bowel. When he opened Presley’s abdomen, he found only two-thirds of the original portion of dead bowel measured during the first procedure. He couldn’t explain why, but Presley’s body rejuvenated a portion of the intestines enough, Skinner determined, to salvage the entire organ.
“That was letting the body sort out what it could,” Skinner said. “Kids’ bodies are more resilient that adults.”
Skinner extracted 75 centimeters of dead bowel and left 50 centimeters of viable bowel. After two hours of surgery, Skinner reported the news of a medical “miracle” to the family.
“I fell down and started crying like a baby,” Collins said of hearing the outcome of the surgery. “But her mom didn’t even budge — she knew the whole time her baby was going to be fine.”
The surgery signified a turnaround in Presley’s treatment. Skinner’s ability to keep several centimeters of Presley’s bowel negated a transplant, and subsequent procedures performed by Skinner enabled the baby to eventually go home with a feeding tube. Presley transitioned from breast feeding to formula within a year of her treatment at KCH, and now eats regular food. Collins said he wouldn’t have trusted anyone but Skinner to work on his daughter.
“Even though he gave us all the bad news, there was just this trust there that I felt like she was in good hands every time she went into surgery with him,” Collins said of Skinner.
The family also praised Smith for the support she provided during an uncertain time. They felt Smith was the best person to parse down complex and overwhelming medical information when they were facing decisions concerning their daughter’s fate. Smith became an advocate for their daughter’s care.
“We owe everything to Mary and the support that she gave us,” Collins said. “She treated us like we’d known each other our whole lives.”
Smith has heard of dramatic recoveries and unexplained phenomena in the NICU, but Presley was the first miracle baby under her care. She won’t ever forget the resilience of Presley, who is now a toddler and recently visited Mary in the NICU.
“She is why I love my job,” Smith said. “I’ve never felt this way about a patient — I’ve never seen a miracle like this.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Gill Heart Institute and UK Transplant Center are hosting the Kentucky Advances in Heart Failure 2015 conference on Saturday, Oct. 24 in Pavilion A of the Albert B. Chandler Hospital.
The conference will feature talks from Dr. Rita Jermyn, medical director of Heart Failure at North Shore University in New York; Dr. Maya Guglin, medical director of the UK Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program; Dr. Navin Rajagopalan, medical director of the UK Cardiac Transplant Program; and other UK faculty.
Designed for cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, primary care and family care physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses and nurse practitioners, as well as students, residents, fellows and other providers interested in learning more about advanced heart failure and its treatments, the Advances in Heart Failure conference will look at various developments in medical treatment of both acute and chronic heart failure patients.
The conference will begin at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m., followed by a tour of the cardiovascular floor.
Day-of registration will open at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 24. You can register online at visit http://www.cecentral.com/live/10732. The cost of the conference is $30 for physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers. There is no charge for University of Kentucky faculty, residents and medical students, Gill Heart Affiliates, and UK HealthCare Organ Failure and Transplant Affiliates.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, 859-323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2015) — The rosy flush of Ethan Abel’s cheeks comforted school nurse Cassandra Artrip as she watched the 10-year-old doze with a plush dog in his arms.
“He’s pink and breathing on his own, and I am tickled to see he’s doing so well,” Artrip said during her visit to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Kentucky Children’s Hospital on Oct. 9.
Only a few days earlier, Artrip found Ethan unconscious and with a blue tone to his skin before she started administering CPR and rescue breathing on the playground of Robinson Elementary School. Her entire body was still sore from pushing chest compressions as she worked to save Ethan’s life.
Speaking to Ethan’s mother Marla Miller at KCH the first time since the day of the emergency, Artrip said she pleaded with Ethan to stay strong as she replenished his lungs with oxygen during a rescue period that seemed like “an eternity.” When the emergency responders arrived at the remote rural school, Artrip was given affirmation that Ethan’s heart was still beating. Moments later, she delivered the news to Miller in the school’s parking lot, where the worried mother collapsed in a wave of panic.
Now, as a hospital heart monitor attached to Ethan beeped in a rhythmic pattern, Artrip could release a sigh — and a few tears — of relief.
“The truth is no matter how much fight he had in him, if you weren’t there, he wouldn’t be here right now,” Miller said. “You are my angel.”
Around 2 p.m. on Oct. 6, as students at Robinson Elementary were lining up from recess, a classmate spotted Ethan lying on the playground struggling to breathe. A teacher reached Ethan in time to hear him mention a feeling of “being hit in his chest” before he passed out.
As soon as the front office received an emergency call from the playground, Artrip bolted down the school’s main hall. After reading Ethan’s faint pulse, she utilized the school’s automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock his heart back into a regular pattern — a decision emergency responders and cardiologists at Kentucky Children’s Hospital credit with saving his life. With the help of another volunteer nurse who was visiting the school that day, Artrip continued chest compressions and rescue breathing until emergency responders arrived at the country school in Perry County.
“The whole time I am thinking, ‘Please, God, don’t take him. He’s just kid — he has his whole life ahead of him,’” Artrip said.
The moment Ethan’s heart beat out of sequence on the playground marked the first time his chronic heart condition disrupted his life since birth. As a newborn, Ethan was treated at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for an infection in his heart. Although Ethan recovered from the infection as baby, pediatricians were concerned with the long-term risks associated with a scar left from the infection. The abnormal tissue put Ethan at heightened risk of arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, which could one day result in a cardiac event.
Kentucky Children’s Hospital cardiologists Dr. Louis Bezold and Dr. Mark Vranicar, who travels to the KCH clinic in Hazard, followed Ethan’s case as he continued to grow older. Vranicar prescribed medications to help control the condition, and until the incident on the playground, Ethan lived a normal life.
According to Vranicar, a number of factors and influences might have triggered the ventricular arrhythmia in Ethan’s already vulnerable heart. Vranicar said the principal and school nurse’s assertiveness in retrieving the AED saved Ethan’s life, but also averted long-term damage to the lungs and brain.
“I believe it was life-saving in Ethan’s case,” Vranicar said of the AED. “And there may be other children that develop arrhythmias that could be saved by AEDs too.”
Estill Neace has served as the principal of Robinson Elementary School for four years and as a school administrator in Perry County for more than 20 years, and in that time he’s never had to access a school’s AED. Neace, who knows all 300 children at his school by name, followed the ambulance to Appalachian Regional HealthCare where the Pediatric Transport Team transported Ethan to Kentucky Children’s Hospital. In addition to the principal, Ethan’s homeroom teacher, physical education teacher and school nurse Artrip were aware of Ethan’s heart condition prior to the emergency. When Neace learned Ethan was the child down on the playground, he knew there was a chance they were going to need the AED.
“It doesn’t matter how small a school you are or how large, if there is one child that for whatever reason has his heart stop beating, (the AED) is the difference in that child having a chance to live,” Neace said. “You have to have it.”
Through Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s developing pediatric heart program with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Ethan underwent surgery Oct. 13 to receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). If his heart goes out of rhythm, the device will automatically administer a shock to bring the rhythm back to normal. Vranicar said the device serves as a reliable preventive measure to ensure Ethan’s safety no matter where he’s located in the event of cardiac distress.
“Obviously, we don’t want it to happen again, but despite what we do, there is still a chance,” Vranicar said. “We are treating him to prevent another episode. The goal is to get him back to where he was before and let him run and play and lead as normal a life as he can.”
Miller feels some comfort knowing the ICD will administer an automatic shock if Ethan is struck with another cardiac event. But she was most touched by the dedication to keeping her child alive demonstrated by the Robinson Elementary School staff.
“If he was home, he would have been dead because (we don’t have) an AED,” Miller said. “I can say I am not scared to send him back to school because I know they’ll do everything possible and more for my son.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2015) – Time for Three, a string trio known for defying tradition and reinventing classical music in the contemporary world, will perform four pop-up concerts at UK HealthCare locations and in the Lexington community this week.
Known for their virtuosity and showmanship, Time for Three takes an innovative approach to classical composition by incorporating a variety of musical styles, including country western, Bluegrass and jazz, in their high-energy performances. Violinist Zach DePue, violinist Nick Kendall and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer share a passion for improvisation, composition and arrangement, which are prime elements of their musical ensemble. The classically trained musicians blend Bach with the Beatles, specializing in original mash-ups with hits from artists including Katy Perry, Kanye West and more.
The group went viral on YouTube and debuted as a top-10 album on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart. In addition to appearances on the BBC and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, the group has performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and at Carnegie Hall. Individual soloists have performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and completed prestigious residences at the Kennedy Center.
Pop-up concerts will be held:
· October 21 at Noon, UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A Atrium
· Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m., Eastern State Hospital
· October 22 at 10 a.m., Discovery Education Concert at Keeneland and Keeneland National Anthem
· Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., Ethereal Brewery
The pop-up concerts build momentum to the group’s Oct. 23 performance and presentation at the Singletary Center for the Arts as part of the UK HealthCare Saykaly Garbulinska Performer in Residence Series. The UK Arts in HealthCare program in partnership with the Lexington Philharmonic and the UK School of Music will present Time for Three Music Entrepreneurship Assembly at 1 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
The UK School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition and music theory.
The UK Arts in HealthCare program's mission is to harness the healing power of art to create a comfortable environment focused on the spiritual and emotional well-being of patients, visitors and employees.
The mission of the Lexington Philharmonic is to foster excellence and innovation in the performance and presentation of great music; to enrich the lives of our diverse citizenry; to educate current and future audience and to bring distinction to our community through the orchestra’s presence and standing.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2015) – UK HealthCare has more than 125 physicians practicing medicine with UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Shriner's Hospitals for Children who appear on the Best Doctors in America list for 2015-16 – more than any other hospital in Kentucky. Only 5 percent of doctors in America earn this honor, decided by impartial peer review.
The Best Doctors in America list, assembled by Best Doctors Inc. and audited and certified by Gallup, results from polling of more than 40,000 physicians in the United States. Doctors in more than 40 specialties and 400 subspecialties of medicine appear on this year’s List.
The experts who are part of the Best Doctors in America database provide the most advanced medical expertise and knowledge to patients with serious conditions – often saving lives in the process by finding the right diagnosis and right treatment.
2015-16 Best Doctor's List:
Sadiq Ahmed Nephrology
Kenneth B. Ain Endocrinology and Metabolism
Michael I. Anstead Pediatric Specialist
Rony K. Aouad Otolaryngology
Susanne M. Arnold Medical Oncology and Hematology
Henrietta Salvilla Bada Pediatric Specialist
Hubert O. Ballard Pediatric Specialist
Robert J. Baumann Child Neurologist
Louis Bezold Pediatric Specialist
Peter James Blackburn Ophthalmology
Christopher A. Boarman Pediatrics
David C. Booth Cardiovascular Disease
Edwin A. Bowe Anesthesiology
Robert A. Broughton Pediatric Specialist
Raeford E. Brown, Jr. Pediatric Specialist
Scottie B. Day Pediatric Specialist
Christopher P. DeSimone Obstetrics and Gynecology
Philip A. DeSimone Medical Oncology and Hematology
David J. DiSantis Radiology
John Draus Pediatric Specialist
John H. Eichhorn Anesthesiology
Eric D. Endean Vascular Surgery
Deborah R. Erickson Urology
B. Mark Evers Surgery
John L. Fowlkes Pediatric Specialist
Peter J. Giannone, Jr. Pediatric Specialist
Jacqueline S. Gibson Internal Medicine
Larry B. Goldstein Neurology
Donna G. Grigsby Pediatrics
John C. Gurley Cardiovascular Disease
Wendy Fetterman Hansen Obstetrics and Gynecology
Andrew Hoellein Internal Medicine
Robert Hosey Family Medicine
Joseph A. Iocono Pediatric Specialist
Mary Lloyd Ireland Orthopaedic Surgery
Henry Iwinski Pediatric Specialist
Gregory A. Jicha Neurology
Darren Lee Johnson Orthopaedic Surgery
Raleigh O. Jones Otolaryngology
Jamshed F. Kanga Pediatric Specialist
Dennis Karounos Endocrinology and Metabolism
Edward J. Kasarskis Neurology
Douglas G. Katz Ophthalmology
Philip A. Kern Endocrinology and Metabolism
Stefan G. Kiessling Pediatric Specialist
Mahesh R. Kudrimoti Radiation Oncology
Cheri D. Landers Pediatric Specialist
Philip B. Latham Pediatrics
Steve W. Leung Cardiovascular Disease
Robert W. Lightfoot, Jr. Rheumatology
Richard Lock Anesthesiology
Grace F. Maguire Pediatrics
Scott D. Mair Orthopaedic Surgery
Hartmut H. Malluche Nephrology
Jeremiah T. Martin Thoracic Surgery
Erich C. Maul Pediatrics
Hanna W. Mawad Nephrology
Ronald Charles McGarry Radiation Oncology
Patrick C. McGrath Surgical Oncology
Adrian W. Messerli Cardiovascular Disease
Todd Milbrandt Pediatric Specialist
David J. Minion Vascular Surgery
Amr El-Husseini Mohamed Nephrology
David J. Moliterno Cardiovascular Disease
Alba E. Morales Pediatric Specialist
Peter E. Morris Critical Care Medicine
Timothy W. Mullett Thoracic Surgery
Kevin R. Nelson Neurology
Nicholas J. Nickl III Gastroenterology
M. Elizabeth Oates Radiology
John M. O'Brien, Jr. Obstetrics and Gynecology
Hatim A. Omar Pediatric Specialist
Amit Patel Plastic Surgery
Kevin A. Pearce Geriatric Medicine
P. Andrew Pearson Ophthalmology
Luther C. Pettigrew, Jr. Neurology
Barbara A. Phillips Sleep Medicine
Thomas Pittman Pediatric Specialist
Andrew R. Pulito* Pediatric Specialist
Marcus E. Randall Radiation Oncology
Annette Rebel Critical Care Medicine
Hassan K. Reda Thoracic Surgery
Aru Reddy Pediatric Specialist
L. Raymond Reynolds Endocrinology and Metabolism
Julie Ribes Pathology
Scott A. Riley Hand Surgery
John J. Rinehart* Medical Oncology and Hematology
Kimberly Ringley Pediatrics
William C. Robertson, Jr. Child Neurologist
David W. Rudy Clinical Pharmacology, Internal Medicine
Sarah S. Rugg Cardiovascular Disease
Sibu P. Saha Thoracic Surgery
Sheila P. Sanders Ophthalmology
B. Peter Sawaya Nephrology
Douglas J. Schneider Pediatric Specialist
Jeffrey Bryan Selby Orthopaedic Surgery
Lori Shook Pediatric Specialist
Michael Sekela Thoracic Surgery
John Slevin Neurology
David A. Sloan Surgical Oncology
Charles D. Smith, Jr. Neurology
Mikel D. Smith Cardiovascular Disease
Susan Smyth Cardiovascular Disease
Vincent L. Sorrell Cardiovascular Disease
William Henry St. Clair Radiation Oncology
Carol Steltenkamp Pediatrics
Julia C. Stevens Pediatric Specialist
Stephen Strup Urology
Lisa R. Tannock Endocrinology and Metabolism
Vishwas R. Talwalkar Pediatric Specialist
Alice C. Thornton Infectious Disease
Kathryn M. Thrailkill Pediatric Specialist
Phillip A. Tibbs Neurological Surgery
Dale E. Toney Internal Medicine
Fred Rand Ueland Obstetrics and Gynecology
Joseph Valentino Otolaryngology
Craig Van Horne Neurological Surgery
Woodford S. Van Meter Ophthalmology
John R. van Nagell Obstetrics and Gynecology
Henry C. Vasconez Pediatric Specialist, Plastic Surgery
Lars M. Wagner Pediatric Specialist
Carmel Wallace Pediatrics
Gretchen Lois Wells Cardiovascular Disease
Thomas French Whayne, Jr. Cardiovascular Disease
Michael L. Wittkamp Pediatric Specialist
Thomas L. Young Pediatrics
Khaled M. Ziada Cardiovascular Disease
Joseph B. Zwischenberger Critical Care Medicine, Thoracic Surgery
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 4, 2015) — UK HealthCare and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to move toward a significant partnership to provide pediatric heart care services in the region.
The partnership combines the strengths of the region's leading provider of advanced subspecialty care in UK HealthCare with one of the country's undisputed leaders in children's health care, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The collaboration will enable more Kentucky children to receive care closer to home.
"In partnering with Cincinnati Children's we will be teaming-up with one of the top three children's hospitals in the country and a Top 10 pediatric heart care program," said Dr. Bernard Boulanger, UK HealthCare chief medical officer, who led a review of UK's program and has helped lead discussions with Cincinnati Children's.
Under the terms of the proposal, a heart surgeon will be jointly recruited and have a primary appointment at Cincinnati Children's in a "two sites, one program" model; the surgeon will be based in Lexington and perform services at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
In addition, a director of the pediatric heart program will be recruited immediately to oversee the program and drive its development.
The program director position also will be based in Lexington and serve as program liaison for both sites. The director will be employed by UK HealthCare, report to UK HealthCare's chief medical officer and will also have reporting responsibilities to Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute leadership team.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with UK HealthCare to serve pediatric cardiac patients and their families in the Commonwealth,” Dr. Andrew Redington, executive co-director of the Heart Institute and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s, said. “Our collaboration will be a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, team-based approached focused on quality and safety in cardiac care.”
Initial joint negotiations began earlier this year and led to the LOI being signed. Details of the program are to be finalized during the next few months. Once the program is operational, a clinical team of physicians from both hospitals may direct regional patients needing care to Kentucky Children's Hospital or Cincinnati Children's according to the complexity of their case. Initially, more complex cases will be sent to Cincinnati Children's. Over time as the Lexington site program matures, more complex cases may be performed at UK.
Although details are still being worked out, the first surgical procedure at UK would be targeted for late 2016 or early 2017. UK HealthCare will also work toward having cardiac subspecialists performing diagnostics and therapeutic interventions at Kentucky Children's Hospital with the support of Cincinnati Children’s subspecialists when necessary.
"Overall, it is the aim to keep patient care local and close to home, when clinically appropriate. This will include post-surgical care and pediatric cardiology subspecialty care that will be available in Lexington even for patients who travel to Cincinnati for complex surgical procedures," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.
Training, support, infrastructure development and reactivation of on-site surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital will be done in a manner to ensure sustained outstanding outcomes as measured by national registries and reporting mechanisms, he said.
This includes developing and implementing shared and common clinical standards for environment, design, equipment, operations, staffing and personnel. Additionally, training will be provided at Cincinnati Children's initially and on an ongoing basis for Kentucky Children's Hospital personnel.
UK HealthCare's pediatric cardiothoracic surgical program was temporarily suspended after questions were raised internally about how best to improve the program.
"When we voluntarily suspended Kentucky Children's pediatric cardiothoracic (CT) program in October 2012, we said we would only re-open the program when we were ready to provide the best care for our patients and their families. We are confident that this collaborative arrangement meets that mark with the highest quality surgical and clinical care, education and research in pediatric cardiovascular services for patients of Kentucky and their families," Karpf said.
A task force was formed in 2013 and charged with providing recommendations regarding the future of the Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Heart Program including program scope, resource planning, strategy for launch and a post-launch monitoring and oversight plan.
At the time of the release of the task force's findings in October 2013, Boulanger said the commitment was to re-open the program as soon as possible, but only after the resources and process improvements are in place to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate cardiac care for the children of Kentucky and beyond.
"There is also a firm commitment to transparency and as we iron out the details and development of this program, we are committed to fully reporting our data and measures that detail our performance for everyone to see," he said.
The plan is to establish a transparent data-driven quality and safety program with outcomes reported jointly to the Society for Thoracic Surgeons (STS) as well as other regional and national programs that monitor surgical and clinical outcomes.
"Already, the majority of Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatric CT surgery patient families who need clinical referrals for care are choosing Cincinnati Children’s," Boulanger said. "This new two site, one program model will provide an even more seamless process for these patients and families as well as the new patients and families needing these services each year throughout the Commonwealth."
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2015) – For women younger than 40, cervical cancer is among the leading causes of cancer-related death. With modern vaccines to protect against the underlying cause, human papilloma virus (HPV), cervical cancer is also one of the most preventable types of cancers.
As a society, we have the opportunity to wipe out or significantly reduce a disease by vaccinating the population. Still, many American health care providers and families aren’t getting their children and teens vaccinated, and our youth are suffering the consequences.
Cervical cancer, as well as cancers of the throat, penis, rectum, vulva and mouth, can develop from changes in cells caused by HPV. Since the FDA approved the first versions of the HPV vaccine in 2006, nearly 7 billion doses have been administered worldwide. HPV continues to spread because of a national resistance to accepting the vaccine as part of standard preventive care.
Because of social stigmas surrounding HPV vaccinations, only around 30 percent of men and women under the age of 25 have been vaccinated in both Kentucky and nationwide. Only 27 percent of women between the ages 13 to 17 have received the recommended dosages of the HPV vaccine. Many health care providers and parents view these vaccinations as elective or irrelevant unless a youth is sexually active. In reality, HPV can be transmitted a number of ways, including from a mother to a child during delivery. Statistics show most people will contract one form of the virus at some point in their lives.
Until 2014, the two vaccination options were Gardasil 4 and Cervarix, both of which protect against HPV strains 16 and 18 or the strains responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancers and Gardasil 4 also protects against 90 percent of genital warts (Strains 6 & 11). Last year, Gardasil 9 entered the market targeting strains 16 and 18, as well as five additional strains, covering HPV types responsible for almost 90 percent of cervical cancers. The vaccine also protects against HPV strains 6 and 11, which cause genital warts.
Parents and adolescent providers must seize the opportunity to vaccinate their youth before infection occurs. Countries that provided massive free vaccination such as Australia have experienced a 70 percent drop in cervical cancer rates, as well as other cancers associated with HPV.
Next time you visit your pediatrician or adolescent health provider, insist on including an HPV vaccine in your child’s preventive health care plan. Both boys and girls should be vaccinated. The vaccine is safe and effective, and prevents 70 to 90 percent of the disease. As a parent, doing everything in your capacity to protect your child from harm means making the decision to get the HPV vaccine — the only certain way to prevent these forms of cancer.
Dr. Omar is the chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Kentucky Children's Hospital.
This column appeared in the Aug. 16 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
Media Contact: Elizabeth Troutman Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 14, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear held a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 82 on Thursday at the University of Kentucky.
The measure aims to increase research dollars designated for the study and treatment of pediatric cancer by creating a “check-the-box” option for an individual’s tax refund to be diverted to a newly created Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Max Wise, of Campbellsville, whose young son is a pediatric cancer survivor. Senate Bill 82 became law June 24.
“Every child deserves to live a healthy, active life, but many children in this state - and all across the country - are battling cancer,” said Gov. Beshear. “In fact, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children. This law will help us raise more funding for research for pediatric cancer in the hope that one day we can celebrate finding a cure.”
The Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund will be administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. A board will be established to provide additional oversight and guidance.
“As the first pediatric cancer bill to be signed into law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this bill is dedicated to the families who have been affected or are dealing with pediatric cancer,” said Sen. Wise. “SB82 is a testament to our republican & democrat legislators working together to do what is right for Kentucky families.”
From 2008-2012, Kentucky had approximately 200 cases each year of cancer among children up to the age of 19, according to the National Cancer Institute. The American Cancer Society, meanwhile, reports that about 10,380 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015.
“This legislation will fuel innovative pediatric cancer research being done here at the University of Kentucky and will directly benefit some of the sickest children in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. “Thanks to this bill, now all Kentuckians will have the opportunity to advance pediatric cancer research.”
The bill also allows individuals to designate a portion of their tax refund to a new trust fund to support rape crisis centers throughout Kentucky.
“I was proud to include this provision in the law, because these centers play such a critical role in giving rape victims the care and support they need,” said Rep. Chris Harris, of Forest Hills. “This additional revenue will provide better financial stability and enable the centers to do even more to help.”
Gov. Beshear encouraged Kentuckians to look for the check-off option when filing their taxes next year so they can donate a portion or all of their refund to the Pediatric Cancer Trust Fund, or the Rape Crisis Center Trust Fund.
“I hope all Kentuckians will take advantage of these new check-off options and join us in the fight to end childhood cancer and support for victims of assault,” said Gov. Beshear.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2015) — University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry researchers Edith Glazer, Sean Parkin and students Erin Wachter and Diego Moyá recently published a study showing that specialized compounds containing the metal ruthenium may be able to visualize or damage specific DNA structures relevant for cancer.
Published in "Chemistry - A European Journal," the work was named a "Hot Paper" for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of high interest, and was highlighted with the back cover.
The ends of chromosomes and some genes associated with cancer have regions where DNA can form unusual structures known as G-quadruplexes, of which there are several subtypes. For cancer cells to continue growing and dividing, they need to untangle these G-quadruplex structures. Researchers have long thought it would be possible to halt tumor growth if there was a way to lock these G-quadruplex structures in place.
Graduate students Erin Wachter and Diego Moyá synthesized ruthenium-containing compounds they thought might bind and stabilize G-quadruplex structures. They designed these potential drugs to act as “light switches” so they would only give a response when bound to G-quadruplex structures. Using a rapid screening approach, they found two compounds that were exquisitely specific for distinct G-quadruplex structure subtypes. Out of 32 biomolecules they tested, two different G-quadruplexes showed the greatest response to the ruthenium compounds.
In collaboration with Parkin, they used X-ray crystallography — a technique that allows researchers to determine the chemical structure of molecules — to investigate the structural differences in the two complexes that could relate to the differences in selectivity.
"It's pretty rare to have molecules that recognize or damage specific DNA structures," Glazer said. "Most molecules prefer [the more common] double helix DNA and the selectivity within different subclasses of molecules is really unusual."
In the future, derivatives of these compounds may be used to visualize or damage cancer cells.
This research was funded by the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2016) – Five days before Christmas, University of Kentucky researcher Ying Liang, MD, PhD, received what she described as the best gift ever: a letter of notification that she received a prestigious R01 grant, totaling $1.88 million over five years, from the National Institutes of Health. Not only was it her first such award, she scored at the second percentile, an uncommonly high score indicating that her proposal was nearly flawless.
A glimpse of her CV and her obvious passion for research render the award somewhat less surprising. Liang, assistant professor of toxicology and cancer biology, describes research as “thrilling," and she's dedicated her career to studying a gene that affects stem cell damage from chemotherapy and radiation. She actually helped to discover the gene, called Latexin, about 10 years ago while she was a PhD candidate at UK and member of Dr. Gary van Zant’s lab. When they published their findings in 2007 in the journal Nature Genetics, she was listed as first author.
“It was the first time this gene’s known function in the stem cell was published,” she said.
The Latexin gene, as it turns out, could hold a key to protecting healthy blood and stem cells during cancer treatments, the ultimate aim of Liang’s work. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy target cells that multiply rapidly, as do cancer cells, but healthy cells that rapidly multiply are also damaged in the process. This includes not only hair cells (which is why many cancer patients temporarily lose their hair during treatment), but also blood cells and stem cells in the bone marrow. The damage to these blood and stem cells causes serious short-term consequences, such as bleeding problems and elevated risk of infection, that can drastically increase mortality for cancer patients. Long-term problems loom, too, as cancer therapy-induced stem cell damage can lead to cell toxicity and secondary cancers years later.
Liang hopes that understanding the molecular mechanisms of the gene that affects stem cell vulnerability to cancer therapies could eventually lead to methods to protect these cells during treatment.
“No matter what you study, you have to understand what’s going inside the cell and underlying mechanisms before you can have any kind of drugs or treatments for patients. That’s something I feel really excited about,” she said.
It was this excitement for understanding the why that led Liang away from clinical practice and into the research world 15 years ago. Before moving to the U.S. to pursue her PhD, Liang completed medical training in China at Beijing Medical University and treated patients for three years as a physician. The whole time, though, she couldn’t shake the excitement she’d felt during her limited research experience as a student.
“I had a chance to work in a lab a little bit in the last year of medical school and I really, really liked it. I was kind of thrilled by doing research,” she said. “And when I worked in a hospital for three years I always wanted to be doing research. I was trying to find opportunities to do any kind of research.”
She decided to pursue such opportunities in the U.S., and in 2000 came to UK for a PhD in physiology. She was among the inaugural class of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program.The following year she joined Van Zant’s lab, which focused on stem cell biology, genetics and aging. After helping to discover the Latexin gene, publish their findings, and apply for several related patents, she continued to study the gene’s function as a postdoctoral fellow. She then served as a research assistant professor at the University of Illinois from 2009 to 2011 before returning to UK as an assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine.
Coming back to UK “felt like coming home” and quickly presented a significant boost to her research efforts. In 2012, she received a KL2 Career Development Award, from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which offers robust support to foster junior investigators in obtaining independent awards. The program provides salary support for protected research time, didactic coursework, interdisciplinary engagement, and mentored research training. Liang credits the program as crucial in catalyzing her research towards a top-scoring R01 application. She has also received substantial support from the Markey Cancer Center, the departments of internal medicine and toxicology and cancer biology, and the Office of Grant Development.
“I feel so lucky to be supported by this KL2 program because it gave me protected time to really focus on the research project,” she said.
She describes the multidisciplinary mentorship of the program as especially helpful in navigating the challenges of clinical and translational research. Her KL2 mentors included Van Zant; Charlotte Peterson, PhD; Daret St. Clair, Phd; Subbarao Bondada, PhD; Kathleen O’Connor, MD, PhD; Susan Symth, MD, Phd; and Mary Vore, PhD.
“They put in a lot of time and effort, and provided whatever help I ask. Not just about research — whenever I have any kind of problem, I can always go to them. They always help us figure out a problem or who to contact”
Her KL2-supported research focused on identifying the function of the Latexin gene in bone marrow stem cells in both normal and diseased conditions. Specifically, she examined the impact of the gene on human leukemia stem cells that were transferred to mice.
“This is the unique thing about this model — it allows human cells to be grafted into mouse models to observe in vivo changes.”
She found that 80 percent of mice exposed to radiation after the gene was down-regulated survived without stem cells problems and didn’t die from secondary illnesses, compared with only 20 percent that received radiation without inhibiting the gene.
Over the next five years, her R01 grant will build on this research to determine if deleting the Latexin gene makes stem cells more resistant to damage during cancer treatments and to understand the mechanism of the effect. She will also employ human models as well as state-of-the-art molecular and genomic techniques. Vital to the research project are interdisciplinary collaborations with Gerhard Hildebrant, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and Chi Wang, PhD, assistant professor of cancer biostastics.
“We want to understand why. Why is that if you inhibit this gene’s activity, you can protect the stem cell from cancer therapy-induced damage?”
Liang hopes that understanding the mechanism of the gene could allow the development of a treatment, before or after radiation, to protect against radiation-induced damage to bone marrow. Such a treatment could benefit the many patients who receive cancer therapy or bone marrow transplants. She’s aware that this pursuit could be a lifelong process, or could even extend beyond her own career, but she’s comfortable seeing herself in the lineage of accumulated research knowledge. In the context of helping to discover the Latexin gene she now studies, she quickly acknowledges the years of preliminary work conducted by other researchers before she even joined the lab.
“I’m the first author (on the paper about the gene’s discovery), but there was years and years of work by people before me. My mentor, Dr. Gary Van Zant, put his whole career into this project. Knowledge and models get passed down, and I’m lucky to be able to continue it. Maybe in my life I’ll just identify part of this gene’s function, and then pass it to someone else. But somehow we have to figure out what’s going on,” she said.
Now as a mentor and professor herself, she’s already working to further the lineage of her research, and knows that cultivating curious and self-motivated students is essential.
“I always ask my students, ‘Why do you want to do this?’ The answer I want is that they’re interested. I always emphasize interest first. Motivation will come. When you have interest, when you have motivation, then it doesn’t matter how hard the work is. Everything has to come from the inside,” she said. “If you’re really interested or want to know whether your stuff works, no matter how hard or how much effort, it doesn’t feel that way. You have to be interested in what you’re doing. Otherwise you’ll suffer.”
Her first mentor, Van Zant, asked her a similar question when he first met her: What do you want to do in the future? She told him that she wanted to continue doing science with good publications. If she wanted a near-perfect score on an R01, she didn’t ask for it directly.
In her fastidiously uncluttered office, only one paper is visible, adhered to the wall just beside her computer. It’s a half-sheet of regular printer paper that Van Zant gave her 15 years ago, and it’s the only thing she’s displayed in each of her offices over the years. The visible holes from pushpins suggest that she’s had about 12 distinct workplaces; otherwise, the page is in surprising good condition for its age.
The paper reads:
Van Zant’s Six Cardinal Questions of Scientific Investigation
1. What is the burning question?
2. Why is it important?
3. How are you going to answer the question?
4. What are the results?
5. What are the conclusions? Can you formulate a model?
6. What do you do next?
She generously passes the gift of this wisdom to the upcoming generation of researchers she works with.
“When I have students in my lab, I give them this. I think it’s really important.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2015) – This week, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is hosting an online wreath auction to raise money for their annual Expressions of Courage Celebration in June.
Wreaths will be displayed in the lobby of the Combs Center Research Building Dec. 7-10. During this time, the online auction will be live and will stay open through midnight on Dec. 10. Bids for the wreaths will be in increments of $5 with an opening bid of $25.
Prizes will be given to the designers whose wreaths receive the highest bid, as well as most creative and most heartwarming selected by a panel of judges comprised of Markey patients.
The auction is just one of many fundraising events for Expressions of Courage, a creative exhibit celebrating those who have been affected by cancer. Expressions of Courage began in 2014 and is held in June to coincide with National Cancer Survivorship Month.
“Expressions of Courage is very important to help celebrate an individual’s journey from their diagnosis to their survivorship,” said Amber Silberman, a Markey nurse and member of the Expressions of Courage committee.
Local businesses House by JSD Designs, Patty's Petals in Carlisle, Ky., and Monticello Wayne County Florist, as well as Markey patients and UK employees have donated this year’s wreaths. To make a bid on a wreath, visit ukhealthcare.uky.edu/markey/wreath.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Delzotti, CFRE, CSPG, as new president and chief executive officer. Delzotti will begin his new role in early December.
The UK Markey Cancer Foundation serves as the fundraising arm for the UK Markey Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center serving Kentucky and the surrounding Appalachian area. The Foundation underwent a nationwide search for their new president and chief executive officer this past summer.
Delzotti comes to Markey from the world-renowned and number one-ranked University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he served as senior director of philanthropic resources. There his role focused on two successive $1.25 billion campaigns. He also directed a $60 million campaign focused on discovering novel drug therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.
Prior to Delzotti’s tenure with MD Anderson Cancer Center, he held major leadership positions with Rice University, UCLA and the Special Olympics of Southern California.
“I am honored to have been chosen by the UK Markey Cancer Foundation Board to join them in their effots,” said Delzotti. “This Center has such a distinguished history of providing world-class care for the citizens of Kentucky and producing cutting-edge research for the entire field of cancer care.
“Our number one goal will be to build the relationships necessary to support Dr. (Mark) Evers’s vision of elevating Markey to NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status. This designation is so important because it means additional advanced research and comprehensive care for our patients and their families. The Center and the Foundation have one focus – to care for the patient and cure this disease.”
In his new role with the UK Markey Cancer Foundation, Delzotti will also serve as the Foundation’s chief development officer, focusing on major gift development and corporate and foundation grants, as well as overseeing capital campaign initiatives and all other aspects of the Foundation.
"With government funding for cancer research waning, philanthropy is critical to the continued success of NCI-designated cancer centers," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "I look forward to working with Mike to help support and grow so many of the outstanding clinical and research programs we have here at Markey."
With Kentucky’s status as the nation’s leader for overall cancer incidence and mortality, the UK Markey Cancer Center plays an important role in supporting patients around the Commonwealth. Since achieving NCI-designated status in 2013, the Markey Cancer Center has undertaken several new initiatives in the areas of research, treatment and prevention.
“From the moment the search committee sat down with Mike for the first time, we knew he had so much to offer, said UK Markey Cancer Foundation Board Chair Sally Humphrey. “Mike’s experience at MD Anderson, one of the world’s most respected cancer centers, and his thorough knowledge of healthcare fundraising will allow him to best equip the Foundation to secure financial support for groundbreaking research and ultimately help Dr. Evers and his team to achieve NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status.”
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 14, 2015) — A University of Kentucky study shows that withaferin A, a component of Withania somnifera (winter cherry) plant extract, may hold promise as a new treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Winter cherry extract was used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for thousands of years before it caught the interest of Subbarao Bondada, a University of Kentucky College of Medicine professor and researcher for the UK Markey Cancer Center. Because withaferin A shows promise in treating other cancers without the side effects associated with current treatments, Bondada’s laboratory tested it against lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. and is known for being particularly aggressive.
Unlike other studies using withaferin A to treat cancer, Bondada’s study, published in the journal Cancer Biology and Therapy, is the first to test the chemical against a blood cancer. Previous studies using withaferin A focused on cancers producing tumors that grow as a mass in tissue, more commonly known as solid tumors.
Katie McKenna, a graduate student in Bondada’s laboratory, found that withaferin A prevented the lymphoma cells from dividing and ultimately killed them. Specifically, they found withaferin A directly targeted a signaling pathway in the cancer it needs to survive.
“It may be possible to develop orally administered versions of withaferin A that could be used in lymphoma patients with fewer side effects than current chemotherapy regimens,” Bondada said.
Because withaferin A shows promise in treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Bondada’s team is now testing the chemical on chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.
Bondada's group collaborated with University of Louisville Professor Ramesh Gupta, who aided in the isolation of withaferin A. This work was funded by the National Cancer Institute to the UK Markey Cancer Center, the National Institutes of Health, Office of Vice President for Research for Core Research facilities and the Sabinsa Corporation and does not necessarily represent the views of these institutions.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 2, 2015) – This Saturday, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is hosting its second annual "Tealgate" event before the UK vs. University of Louisiana at Lafayette football game.
The event was created to raise ovarian cancer awareness. UK offers an UK Ovarian Cancer Screening Program, a free program that offers ultrasound screenings to Kentucky women over the age of 50 and women over the age of 25 who have had a family history of ovarian cancer.
Tealgate is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to wear teal, the color that represents ovarian cancer. Parking is free beginning at 5 p.m., but participants must request a parking pass in advance by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, email@example.com or (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 8, 2015) -- An investigational medical device for the treatment of late stage lung cancer, pioneered by researchers at University of Kentucky, has been approved for clinical trials by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). UK is the only site in the country approved to test this new treatment on advanced lung cancer patients.
The Exatherm Total Body Hyperthermia System (Exatherm-TBH) was developed at UK in a public-private partnership with Exatherm Inc. The project is supported by grant funding from the National Institutes of Health.
The research team includes Dr. Jeremiah Martin, surgical director of the UK Markey Cancer Center’s Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Clinic; and Dr. Kevin Hatton, chief of anesthesiology critical care at UK.
“Cancer cells are more susceptible to damage from heat than normal tissue, so the development of a safe method to deliver heat throughout the body may be a key step forward for advanced lung cancer patients,” said Martin.
Whereas most thermal treatments are specific to the area of the body where a tumor is located, UK researchers are examining total body hyperthermia, a treatment utilizing a perfusion circuit that circulates the blood through the patient’s vascular system at a target temperature.
“Patients with advanced lung cancer, who have completed standard therapy and for whom there are no additional conventional options, are invited to learn more about this trial,” Martin said. “This initial safety trial will lay important groundwork for patients with other tumor types in the future.”
The goal in any cancer treatment is to attack the diseased cells and leave the healthy cells alone. Healthy cells have a signaling mechanism that protects them from increases in body temperature. This mechanism is defective in cancer cells, which the potential new treatment aims to exploit.
The treatment, which lasts approximately four hours under a general anesthetic, uses the Exatherm-TBH System to heat and circulate the blood throughout the body. The device heats the patient’s blood to a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius, or about 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because systemic hyperthermia attacks cancer cells throughout the body all at once, the research team hopes the project will lead to a new and safe method for treating patients whose cancer has metastasized through the body.
"If results meet our expectations, the approach would present an advantage over other methods of thermal treatment, particularly in later stages of the disease," said Martin.
Patients who want to find out if they are eligible to participate in this study may visit UKClinicalResearch.com or call the division of UK Cardiothoracic Surgery at 859-323-6494.
Physicians: to refer a patient, contact Dr. Jeremiah Martin through the UK physician referral service toll free at 800-888-5533 or 859-231-9922.
To learn more about participating in research, including current opportunities at UK and across the country, visit http://www.ccts.uky.edu/ccts/participate-research.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Mallory Powell, email@example.com
GLASGOW, Ky. (Aug. 27, 2015) – T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, Ky., announced that it has entered into a formal collaboration with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center to further develop its oncology service line.
“At T.J. Samson we have wonderful medical professionals that are excellent at providing individualized treatment options. By collaborating with the Markey Cancer Center, we have just provided them a whole new world of resources to offer their patients locally,” Bud Wethington, CEO/President of T.J. Regional Health.
Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation. By working with Markey, T.J. Samson is committed to providing top-notch care for its cancer patients. The hospital is considered a candidate member of the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN) and is making steps toward becoming a full affiliate member.
As part of the formal collaboration, the UK Markey Cancer Center will assist T.J. Samson in preparing for their American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer accreditation, which is the quality standard for all MCCAN sites.
"We are excited to work with T.J. Samson in building a strong oncology program," said Dr. Timothy Mullett, medical director of the MCCAN. "Our state unfortunately ranks at the top in terms of cancer incidence and mortality, but by working together with hospitals across the state, we have the potential to make a serious impact on cancer prevention and care."
T.J. Samson currently provides oncology services at the T.J. Health Pavilion under the direction of Dr. Donald Goodin. Goodin is board-certified in hematology/oncology and works closely with Dr. William Tyree at the Barren River Regional Cancer Center, a joint venture between T.J. Samson Community Hospital and The Medical Center of Bowling Green. Tyree is board-certified in radiation oncology and has been practicing in southcentral Kentucky since 2013.
These physicians, along with their highly trained staff, provide complex oncology services including diagnostic imaging, surgery, radiation, palliative care and chemotherapy close to home. The new relationship with Markey will strengthen patient navigation, psychosocial support, survivorship and rehabilitation services.
“I look forward to being able to expand the scope of services at T.J. Samson Community Hospital,” Goodin said. “Our specialized physicians desire to provide opportunities for their patients to participate in clinical trials through a collaborative affiliation with a nationally recognized program such as the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.”
The Markey Cancer Center was founded in 1983 and is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and the UK HealthCare enterprise. Markey functions as a multi-faceted, multidisciplinary complex whose mission is to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality through a comprehensive program of cancer education, research, treatment and community engagement.
The clinical programs and services of the Markey Cancer Center are integrated with the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Markey's cancer specialty teams work together with UK Chandler Hospital departments and divisions to provide primary patient care and support services as well as advanced specialty care with applicable clinical research studies. All diagnostic services, clinical and pathology laboratories, operating rooms, emergent and intensive care, and radiation therapy services are also provided to cancer patients through UK Chandler Hospital. Attending Physicians affiliated with the Center are board certified in their respective oncologic specialties, and its research scientists are generously funded by nationally prominent funding agencies, including the National Cancer Institute.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2015) – The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently awarded a $750,000 grant to University of Kentucky researcher Fredrick Onono to study the potential link between obesity and breast cancer.
Obese women are four times more likely to develop treatment-resistant breast cancer, but the exact mechanism for this observation is still largely a mystery. The link between high-fat diets and cancer development provides a clue that fats themselves may somehow be responsible for causing cells to malfunction.
Onono, who recently became an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, will work with fellow UK researchers Andrew Morris, Ashwini Anand Professor of Cardiology; Dr. Susan Smyth, Jeff Gill Professor of Cardiology; Kathleen O’Connor, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry; and Andrew Lane, professor of toxicology and cancer biology.
This research is made possible by an award from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number 1K01CA197073-01 and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2015) – The University of Kentucky's Dr. John D'Orazio recently received grant funding totalling $375,000 over three years to further his research on melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Three organizations provided an equal share of the funding: the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), the largest private funder of melanoma research; the Markey Cancer Foundation; and DanceBlue, the University of Kentucky's student-run fundraiser for pediatric cancer. Additionally, much of the preliminary data used in the MRA grant application was facilitated by pilot funding from the University of Kentucky’s Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences.
D'Orazio's research focuses on the hormonal pathways that protect the skin from sun damage and how efficiently the skin's DNA may be able to repair itself. In a previous study, D'Orazio's team discovered a genetic defect in the melanocortin1 receptor (MC1R) leads to a reduced ability to repair DNA, making people more susceptible to developing melanoma.
The new project will focus on the specific hormones that appear to "turn off" MC1R signaling, also leading to an increased likelihood of developing the cancer.
Melanoma of the skin is one of the most common cancers in the United States and among the top 10 causes of new cancer cases. In the United States each year, more than 76,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma, and it is one of the most common cancers for young women. While the overall five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with melanoma is high at 92 percent, the survival rate decreases dramatically once melanoma spreads to other parts of the body.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2015) – Jennifer Bradley, the Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, has been nominated for a Buffalo Trace Distillery Eagle Rare Life Honor for her hard work and devotion to Markey's Jin Shin Jyutsu program.
Buffalo Trace Distillery recognizes and honors those who share a passion for excellence with their Rare Life Award. The nominee in each of five categories who receives the most public votes will win $5,000 for the charity of their choice and the top overall winner receives $50,000.
Bradley became interested in Jin Shin Jyutsy after seeing how the practice helped two of her own family members who had been diagnosed with cancer. Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy. Studies have shown that it can help to reduce the physical and emotional effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Jin Shin Jyutsu has been offered at the Markey Cancer Center since 2009.
Voting for the award is open through December and you may vote up to once each day.