Changing lives through screening & prevention
Six in 10 Americans live with at least one chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke or diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. At UK HealthCare, our challenge goes beyond diagnosing and treating these conditions. We’re working to help Kentuckians lead longer, healthier lives through education, screenings and prevention. We want to remove obstacles to care for all Kentuckians.
UK HealthCare cares about you as a whole person. We want to help you live the best and healthiest lives possible. We ask questions to learn more about your life and health. We do this so that we can provide our patients with the best care we can. Social needs can have a major impact on health, well-being, and quality of life. Examples include safe housing, transportation, neighborhoods, discrimination, violence, education, job opportunities, income and more. Social needs contribute to wide health disparities and inequality. People who don’t have transportation or access to a grocery store with healthy food are less likely to have good nutrition. That raises their risk of other health concerns like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Powering the fight against diabetes
In Kentucky, more than 13% of adults have diagnosed diabetes, a rate that’s doubled in the last two decades. We’re meeting this challenge head-on – through specialized care, research, education and outreach. At our Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, we provide a full range of services for patients with diabetes, along with outpatient diabetes education and prevention services.
Providing the right tools and resources to Kentuckians with diabetes and prediabetes is key to our fight. Our licensed diabetes educators offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), available to Kentuckians across the region. This 12-month program helps participants change eating and lifestyle habits to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
The Barnstable Brown center’s other community-focused programs include traveling clinics, outreach programs and a telehealth program for prisoners. Exciting new outreach efforts, funded through UK HealthCare’s Healthy Kentucky Initiative, include cooking classes, the Be a Diabetes A.C.E. (Active. Confident. Educated.) program and the Be Healthy Bash – a healthy lifestyle festival scheduled for fall.
Helping Kentuckians be cancer-free
The cancer burden in Kentucky is significant – our state leads the nation in new cancer cases and deaths each year. But at the UK Markey Cancer Center, we are striving to reduce cancer burden with a focus on Kentucky and its most vulnerable populations. We do this through research, prevention, treatment, education and community engagement.
Working to prevent cancer in Kentucky and in Appalachia takes a team effort. Together with our partners in the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, we host local activities, such as health fairs and cancer screening programs. We have formed a new statewide collaborative that focuses on equitable implementation of lung cancer screening.
We also carry out our important mission of cancer prevention and screening through Markey’s Community Impact Office (CIO). This office oversees Markey’s community outreach and engagement. The CIO team targets underserved areas of Kentucky to make cancer screening more accessible. We provide screenings for breast, cervical, head and neck, lung, colon and ovarian cancer.
Reducing the risks of heart disease & stroke
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in Kentucky, and stroke is the fifth. To give Kentuckians a better understanding of the shared risk factors for stroke and heart disease, a special committee at UK HealthCare is reaching out into the community. Specialists and staff from the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute and the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute are working with groups across the region to make cardiac/stroke screenings and education easily accessible to Kentuckians through an array of community events.
We also work closely with hospital partners across Kentucky to reduce heart disease and stroke risks in all corners of the state. Through our affiliate networks – the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute Affiliate Network and the UK/Norton Stroke Care Network, we’re reaching Kentuckians where they live to provide advanced stroke and heart care when needed.
Removing barriers to care across Kentucky
Seventy percent of what contributes to overall health is related to social and economic factors. We have several teams in place to help our patients and families to overcome these barriers and work towards their most optimal health.
Since 1994, Kentucky Homeplace, a University of Kentucky initiative, has linked tens of thousands of rural Kentuckians with medical, social and environmental services. Kentucky Homeplace helps medically underserved residents across Eastern Kentucky access health services and preventive care.
Closer to home, our Population Health team works to help patients who need additional support. Our Community Health Coordinators connect patients to resources and services to help with basic needs and additional medical needs. For patients over 65 our Eldercare Navigators can assist with follow-up questions and additional support services.
Keeping Kentucky kids safe
In collaboration with more than 25 offices and organizations across our campus and community, we're working to prevent accidental injuries in children. Safe Kids Fayette County is a childhood injury prevention program led by UK HealthCare Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Safe Kids offers a variety of education, advocacy and outreach programs, including free monthly child car seat safety inspections for parents and caregivers.
UK HealthCare's 2025 strategic plan provides a road map for achieving our vision: One community committed to creating a healthier Kentucky. We are committed to positively impacting our community and our Commonwealth by understanding and responding to health needs through engagement, outreach and collaboration.