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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."
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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.
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