LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2016) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fifth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last week. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Bluegrass Baptist School (BBS) in Lexington, Ky., and Kenneth King Middle School (KKMS) in Harrodsburg, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/ Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a tour of cancer research lab space in the BBRSB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment from Gao, Garretson Epperly, and Jianhang Jia. The event also featured short talks by Henry Clay student and cancer survivor Rod Jackson, the LLS Honored Hero, and UK pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the Student Series of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year's campaign, 445 schools across the region participated. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. BBS and KKMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $3,617.64 for LLS.
To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit http://www.studentseries.org/.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2016) — What does your blood pressure have in common with a garden hose? Quite a lot, in fact.
Increasing the pressure in a garden hose (whether by opening your faucet to full force or by plugging the end of the hose opening) can cause it to become rigid or even burst.
Blood in the arteries functions in much the same way. Consistently high blood pressure -- also called hypertension -- damages the tissues of the artery walls. While it's fairly easy to replace a garden hose, hypertension can lead to serious medical problems and even death.
Hypertension is defined as a chronic condition in which the systolic blood pressure (the top number in the measurement that your health care provider gives you) exceeds 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) exceeds 90 mmHg. Although it's normal to experience minor fluctuations throughout the day, one in three Americans experience high levels of blood pressure (exceeding 140/90) even without activity or stress. That can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and even death. This increased risk is compounded in people with diabetes, high cholesterol, or smokers.
Generally, patients with hypertension can help control their high blood pressure by adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as:
· Losing weight
· Exercising more
· Stopping smoking
· Reducing stress
· Eating a balanced low-salt diet
When lifestyle changes aren't adequate, there are numerous drug therapies that can be used separately or in combination to reduce hypertension. Occasionally, however, some people have what's called "resistant hypertension," which despite lifestyle changes and medications cannot be brought under control.
Researchers are exploring a novel approach to treat hypertension by manipulating the sympathetic nervous system signals that contribute to high blood pressure. The sympathetic nervous system regulates the vital functions of the body by connecting the brain to major organs such as the heart, kidneys and blood vessels. If the sympathetic nerves connecting the kidney to the brain are overactive, blood pressure rises.
One study is exploring the effect of renal denervation, a minimally invasive procedure that may potentially decrease the sensitivity of nerves lining the walls of the kidney arteries, thereby reducing the signals that cause hypertension.
Because it has no direct symptoms, hypertension is known as the "silent killer." The best first step is to know your blood pressure readings and work with your doctor to control high blood pressure if necessary. If you've exhausted all other options, talk with your doctor about clinical trials such as this one that may contribute to better control of your hypertension.
For more information about this study, call 859-323-5259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Khaled Ziada is an interventional cardiologist at UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart Institute
This column appeared in the May 1, 2016 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2016) — A cloudless sky and temperatures inching into the 80-degree range motivated many Lexington residents to dust off the grill for barbecuing on April 17.
And while barbecuing outdoors was an enticing thought for Jessica Lowery and Tyron Campbell, the couple was preoccupied with a much more important matter — the health of their newborn baby Elizabeth.
The couple from Richmond, Kentucky, checked in at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) early that Sunday morning and planned to camp out inside the hospital for the remainder of the day. They were taking advantage of every moment to bond with Elizabeth, who was born March 30, three months before her due date, and suffered from an underdeveloped respiratory system. They stayed with a relative in downtown Lexington and walked across town just to linger near Elizabeth’s incubator. Even when they were not at the hospital, they called to check in on Elizabeth every couple of hours.
For families whose babies are receiving extended care in the NICU, meals and housing accommodations are secondary concerns to spending time with a sick and vulnerable child. On April 17, a group of volunteers and employees from the NICU served hot barbecue, baked beans, coleslaw and cupcakes to families with a child admitted to the NICU. The option to provide a meal for NICU families was a prize chosen by UK HealthCare Obstetrics and Gynecology employee Julia Snow, who won a raffle drawing during a March of Dimes event last fall. Gigi’s Cupcakes and Roll ‘N’ Smoke owned by Justin Taylor provided the food for the event.
With her personal connection to the NICU, Snow intended to use the winning raffle ticket to help NICU families. Snow experienced the shock and distress of having a baby sent to the NICU 30 years ago after she delivered her son, who was born with minor complications related to his heart and jaundice. Snow remembers going to the nursery to admire her newborn, only to discover he’d been relocated to the NICU.
“He was going to be okay, but you don’t know that when you walk back there and your baby is covered in monitors,” Snow said.
The complications Snow’s son experienced were soon resolved, and her baby grew up to become a successful lawyer and businessman. But Snow remembers her own stress and uncertainty during the short time he was in the NICU, and delivering food to NICU families was a simple way for the NICU staff and volunteers to help ease that burden.
“I just want to soften an hour of their day,” Snow said. “We can’t do anymore than that. They are in a huge state of stress, and we just want to let them know that someone was willing to give them a meal and that they care.”
Shelly Marino, the NICU nursing administrator, said caring for sick and vulnerable babies also means attending to the needs of their families. Those needs include bonding time with the baby and encouragement, as well as basic needs such as food and a place to rest.
“The NICU experience is a time fraught with uncertainty, inconvenience and stress for any family,” Shelly Marino, nursing operations administrator for the NICU, said. “Providing a barbecue is just one more way our staff can show these families we care about their wellbeing. We also provide support to families by encouraging Kangaroo Care, conducting daily family-centered rounds, and providing journey beads, which serve as symbols of progress during the time a baby is receiving care. We understand nurturing the family is an important component of NICU care.”
Debbie Bruderle, who waited for a foster child being treated in the NICU, visited with Snow while enjoying a plate of barbecue. She said the meal was a nice break for families that spend several weeks waiting for children to come home from then NICU and often don’t get away for meals, showers or other duties part of their daily lives.
“I can’t imagine what these families have spent every day on food,” Bruderle said.
Lowery said she hopes to bring baby Elizabeth home to Richmond in July. With months of waiting ahead, she was grateful for the simple gesture of an indoor barbecue.
“It’s wonderful,” she said of the meal, pulling the wrapper off a cupcake.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2016) – Health Data Management, the information resource for medical and information technology (IT) professionals, executives and administrators, is honoring 75 of the Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT, which includes Dr. Carol Steltenkamp, professor of pediatrics at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and chief medical information officer (CMIO) at UK HealthCare.
The awards are broken into three categories: thought leaders, provider/payer executives and CIOs/IT leaders. All 75 health care providers will be honored at The Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT conference which will be held May 12 in Boston.
Steltenkamp is chair of the Kentucky eHealth Board which successfully launched and maintains the Kentucky Health Information Exchange (KHIE). She also is the principal investigator for more than $10 million in health care information technology (HIT) grant funding including the foundational grant establishing the Kentucky Regional Extension Center from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (HHS/ONC).
As the first CMIO at UK HealthCare, Steltenkamp selected and ultimately led implementation of an electronic health record system across the clinical enterprise. She then became a leader for HIT in Kentucky and was named chair of the Kentucky eHealth Board, a position she still currently holds. Steltenkamp also has been an active volunteer member of the Health information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) for many years.
"Dr. Steltenkamp is a shining example of excellence within the UK HealthCare enterprise,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2016) – The Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala, benefiting the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center at the University of Kentucky, will be 8 p.m., Friday, May 6 in Louisville.
The celebrity packed gala, known for its musical extravaganza, has raised and donated approximately $11.2 million to the center at UK over the past nine years.
Internationally recognized as the “premier” Kentucky Derby gala and counted among the “Ten Best Parties in the World” by Condé Nast, the celebrity lineup for the 28th annual gala will include:
· Kid Rock
· Alabama Shakes
· Kate Upton
· Megyn Kelly
· Aaron Rodgers
· Lindsey Vonn
· Boyz II Men
· Jon Voight
· Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory)
· Stephen Amell
· Taylor Kinney
· Robert Herjavec (Shark Tank) and Kym Johnson (Dancing with the Stars)
· Brian McKnight
· Richie Sambora and Orianthi
· Elin Nordgren
· Jordan Smith (Winner of The Voice)
· Terri Clark
· Tanya Tucker
· Travis Tritt
· Gretchen Wilson
· Liam McIntyre
· Gayle King
· Clay Walker
· Mary Wilson
· Montgomery Gentry
· Bode Miller
· Joey Fatone
· Taylor Dayne
· Sean Payton (Head Coach of New Orleans Saints)
· Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings QB, formerly of University of Louisville)
· Star Jones
· Ray J
· Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers, formerly of University of Kentucky)
· Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers)
· Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks)
· Carson Kressley
· University of Kentucky Basketball Stars:
o Tyler Ulis
o Alex Poythress
o Jamal Murray
o Skal Labissiere
· University of Louisville Basketball Stars:
o Trey Lewis
o Damion Lee
· D'Angelo Russell (Los Angeles Lakers)
· Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets)
· Nerlens Noel (Philadelphia 76ers)
· Jay Williams (ESPN, former Duke and NBA basketball player)
· Julius Randle (Los Angeles Lakers, formerly of University of Kentucky)
· Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns, formerly of University of Kentucky) and his father, retired NBA player Melvin Booker
· Crystal Taliefero (Billy Joel Band Member)
· Charissa Thompson (EXTRA)
· Russ Smith (Memphis Grizzles, formerly of University of Louisville)
· Luke Hancock (University of Louisville basketball)
The star-studded bash is held at the Louisville home of Patricia Barnstable Brown, who co-hosts the event with her twin sister Priscilla Barnstable. The gala was founded by the twins, along with Patricia’s late husband Dr. David E. Brown.
Media inquiries: Chris Barnstable-Brown, email@example.com and Corky Coryell, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2016) – An editorial by University of Kentucky’s Dr. Larry Goldstein concerning the use of screening tests to detect narrowing of the carotid artery was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine last week.
With more than 35 years of practice, Goldstein is the chair of the Department of Neurology at the UK College of Medicine and co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute.
Practice guidelines developed by professional societies to screen for narrowings in this major artery supplying blood to the brain are intended to summarize the best available evidence for specific questions to support clinical decisions. However, noted Goldstein, guideline recommendations from different organizations or groups can vary in minor or substantial ways.
"Evidence-based medicine is a linchpin of contemporary clinical practice,” said Goldstein. "However, these disparities among guidelines can lead to considerable uncertainty and variability in clinical practice."
According to Goldstein's editorial, screenings for carotid disease are offered in a variety of settings, yet there is no validated proof showing it is useful for identifying those in the general population who do or do not have a clinically important ACAS. There is a high proportion of carotid imaging studies performed for uncertain indications.
Goldstein wrote that “[S]creening for a disease or condition is rational only if its identification has a meaningful impact on patient management." In the case of narrowing of the carotid artery that is not associated with symptoms, the best approach is currently uncertain. “Specific educational programs, the use of alerts embedded into the electronic health record and audits with feedback, among other interventions, may be helpful in reducing inappropriate testing.”
Knowing the dilemmas that they are now facing, it can be difficult for physicians to understand when it is appropriate to recommend testing. Issues facing clinicians include:
· How can inconsistent guidelines be balanced?
· How are these complicated issues being presented and discussed with patients who look to their clinician for guidance?
· Should a screening test be performed in the face of equivocal, limited, or conflicting data regarding the intervention that would be considered if the condition was detected?
· To what degree should the potential for false-positive or false-negative test results and the attendant need for confirmatory testing be factored into the decision?
According to Goldstein, "despite the available evidence from randomized trials and practice guidelines, decisions regarding whether to proceed with testing are often a matter of informed opinion."
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2016) – This June, taking your bike for a ride could help save lives.
UK HealthCare and the Lexington Cancer Foundation are teaming up to present the Survive the Night Triathlon and the Roll for the Cure on June 17-18. All proceeds from these events will benefit the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, providing funding for patient care, research and more.
Survive the Night is a unique overnight triathlon relay created by Markey radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock, who is also an avid triathlete himself. Participants will swim, bike and run for a combined 140.7 miles. Participants can choose to compete solo or put together a team of up to 10 people to complete the relay.
Roll for the Cure is the Lexington Cancer Foundation's annual bike event to raise awareness and funds for cancer care. Participants can choose the length of their ride: 95, 50, 35, or 10 miles through Kentucky Horse Farms, or a short Family Fun ride around Commonwealth Stadium. The longer rides will include rest stops at Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve.
Survive the Night begins Friday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. beginning at Commonwealth Stadium on the UK campus. Registration is $450 per team through April 30 and $500 per team thereafter until May 30.
Roll for the Cure will also begin at Commonwealth Stadium, starting on Saturday, June 18 with the 95- and 50-mile rides at 8 a.m. The 30- and 10-mile rides will begin at 10 a.m. and the Family Fun ride begins at 11 a.m. Registration for the longer rides is $75 and the Family Fun ride is $10.
For more information or to register for Survive the Night or Roll for the Cure, visit lexingtoncancerfoundation.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2016) – After losing four sisters to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Bardstown native Brenda Conder found herself on the same path: breathless, exhausted, and barely able to move around her home.
"I couldn't breathe," Conder said. "I couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs."
After being diagnosed with COPD in 2008, an oxygen tank became Conder's constant companion. Dragging the tank around kept her blood oxygen levels up and gave her some relief, but it limited her ability to go out and do the things most of us take for granted -- exercising, shopping, even playing with her young grandchildren. At the peak of her disease, she estimates that she would have to stop and take about a dozen breathing treatments a day.
"I had no life at all," she said. "I didn't move anywhere without the oxygen."
Conder, like many of her generation, began smoking at a very young age. The effects of smoking took her sisters and her father, who passed away from the complications of emphysema.
For years, Conder dealt with her COPD, regularly visiting her pulmonologist, Dr. Lebnan Saad with Louisville Pulmonary Care. Though a double lung transplant was looking more and more like the only solution, Conder was hesitant because one of her sisters had undergone the procedure but didn't survive the surgery itself.
It wasn't until she came down with crippling pneumonia twice in less than a year that she decided to broach the possibility of a transplant with Saad, who then referred her to the University of Kentucky Transplant Center. Conder was evaluated by Dr. Maher Baz, medical director of the lung transplantation program at UK.
But before she could be listed for a lung transplant, Conder faced one major task: to quit smoking.
"She was an ideal candidate once she quit smoking," Baz said. "She's a very positive lady with high morale."
Sixty-one years old at the time of referral, Conder had been smoking for more than 50 years – a lifelong addiction tough to break. She had tried unsuccessfully several times in the past, using the smoking cessation drug Chantix for nearly five years, but knew she needed to make the commitment stick this time. Now motivated by the possibility of eliminating her disease, she gradually tapered her cigarette consumption until she was completely smoke-free.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," she said.
Nearly a year after quitting cigarettes, Conder was officially listed for transplant at UK. Over the next month and a half, she received the call for potential lungs four different times, but all fell through for various reasons. But when she got the fifth call – on Friday, Nov. 13 no less – she was ready and optimistic.
"I had a good feeling," she said. "I just knew these lungs were it."
Her instincts were correct: the lungs were a match and viable, and UK cardiothoracic transplant surgeon Dr. Alexis Shafii performed a successful double-lung surgery on Conder.
"When I woke up, I knew I had a new life," Conder said.
Her ability to breathe immediately improved. Conder says she thinks about her organ donor's sacrifice every day, and was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the gift she had received right after receiving the lungs.
"I think I cried the entire day after the surgery," she said. "Not for me, but for the donor family."
Conder's husband, Roger, has been by her side throughout her diagnosis, treatments, and the surgery. Expressing gratitude for such a monumental gift is difficult if not impossible, he says.
"I mean, what can you possibly say?" he said. "What can you say to thank someone for this gift?"
Conder got the all-clear to go home in mid-December, just in time for the holidays. These days, she's living her life to the fullest, filled with more energy than she's had in a long time. She attends pulmonary rehab in Elizabethtown several days a week, using the trip as an excuse to go out to eat lunch, shop, and so many other things she wasn't able to do before.
But perhaps most importantly, she gets to spend quality time with her grandchildren, even coming outside to participate in a snowball fight with her youngest back in January -- a task made impossible by her disease prior to transplant.
"I feel great," Conder said. "So far, this is the best life I've had in 15 years."
Although hospitals are obligated by law to identify potential donors and inform families of their right to donate, anyone can sign up to become an organ donor by joining the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. The registry is a safe and secure electronic database where a person’s wishes regarding donation will be carried out as requested.
To join the registry, visit www.donatelifeky.org or sign up when you renew your driver’s license. The donor registry enables family members to know that you chose to save and enhance lives through donation. Kentucky’s “First Person Consent” laws mean that the wishes of an individual on the registry will be carried out as requested.
Lexington, Ky. (April 22, 2016) — Most people think of a pharmacist as someone who counts pills or measures out medicine — more of a behind-the-scenes provider than someone on the front lines of patient care. In reality, a pharmacist can be a patient's first line of defense against health problems such as heart disease.
When a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that patients had more success regulating their hypertension when their pharmacist was involved in their care, the American Pharmacists Association - Academy of Student Pharmacists (AphA- ASP) founded Operation Heart so that pharmacy students could facilitate healthy lifestyle behaviors, provide simple health screenings, and educate the public about heart medications.
Within a year of the national program's founding, the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy (UKCOP) started their first Operation Heart committee. Since then, UK pharmacy students — under the supervision of pharmacists — have held several free local events to screen patients for some of the warning signs of heart disease: high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and/or high cholesterol.
“The profession of pharmacy is very progressive in finding new ways for positive interaction with patients. Pharmacists can provide immunizations, medication therapy management, medication counseling, disease management counseling and more,” said Natalie Rosario, co-chair of this year’s Operation Heart Committee.
Each year they are encouraged to "dream big" in order to expand the program outside of Lexington, where they reached approximately 726 participants in the first few years.
In 2012-2013, the group expanded the screenings to the Hazard community in Eastern Kentucky. There, they were able to screen and educate 350 individuals about the health risk of heart disease and the benefits of living a health modified lifestyle.
Over the span of six years, they have been able to screen approximately 1,800 individuals all over Kentucky, targeting high-risk people who are more prone to heart disease.
“Each co-chair has different ideas for goals, but this allows room for growth and development within the committee each year. Having a variety of goals is what has made Operation Heart have such high impact over the last six years,” Rosario said.
This year's committee realized how important it is for mothers of small children to follow through with heart health screenings, but knew that it is impossible for some due to lack of childcare. After teaming up with Chrysalis House, they hosted a family day where the mothers received patient-centered care while program staff entertained their children with activities such as corn hole and coloring.
“Sometimes it is more than a blood pressure reading,” Rosario said. “It's about listening to patient concerns and addressing them with guided help.”
As the years come and go, the committee makeup varies as members graduate and new members join, events grow, and more people are reached, but in the end the University College of Pharmacy has an individual's best interest at heart.
“It is so refreshing to know you have made an impact on someone’s life,” Rosario said.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue
Media Contact: Laura Dawahare, Laura.Dawahare@uky.edu, (859) 257-5307
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2016) — Spring is here which means children will begin playing outside more often. With the change in the weather, it also means time to add another chore to the list: mowing the lawn.
Depending on where you live, you may mow your lawn 30 times or more this year. However, every time you start your mower, you are dealing with a dangerous, potentially deadly piece of equipment.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics, 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors each year and more than 600 of those incidents result in amputation. In addition, 75 people are killed and 20,000 injured by mowers with one in five deaths involving a child. For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers.
Injuries are caused most often when children run behind a mower; slip under the mower while riding as a passenger; collide with mower blades when machines were steered in reverse; or are struck by a mower that rolled over due to an uneven and/or wet surface. In many cases, adults did not realize children were near the mower when injuries occurred.
This spring, the Amputee Coalition and Limbs Matter, a group of parents who have children who have undergone amputations due to lawn mower accidents, began a campaign to raise awareness of limb loss prevention. The group urges parents to keep children indoors when mowing the lawn and to practice safety measures when operating lawn mowers.
One split second can change a child and family’s life forever, making it important to practice safety measures when mowing the lawn. Children should not ride as passengers on a lawn mower and to provide the safest conditions, should not even be outside while mowing is being done.
Besides children, adults and teenagers who mow, should also take safety precautions to prevent injuries.
Injury prevention tips include:
Remember to use your lawnmower safely and keep children indoors while mowing. To watch the PSA produced by the Amputee Coalition and Limbs Matter, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1xdp6hMubY.
Dr. Lesley Wong is an associate professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a plastic surgeon at UK HealthCare.
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2016) - Losing weight is difficult, and keeping it off can be even harder. Many people regain the weight because typical weight loss diets involve drastic, unsustainable changes. Alternatively, learning to eat “mindfully” can fundamentally shift our relationship with food for long-term weight loss maintenance.
In our busy, convenience-oriented lives, eating has become an automatic behavior. Research shows we make more than 200 eating decisions daily, but we sometimes don’t take time to think about them. Instead, we often eat mindlessly, or out of habit. In a culture where we are surrounded by unhealthy food options, this has understandably led to a lot of weight gain.
Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment — without placing judgment. Mindfulness-based approaches have been used with success in the treatment of health issues like stress, depression, eating disorders and chronic pain. When we apply mindfulness to eating, it helps us support our long-term health and wellbeing, because we learn to slow down and recognize when we’re truly hungry and when we’ve had enough to eat.
It’s not about meditating over breakfast — but about continually paying attention to how food affects us, so that we can make better eating choices. With gentle and attentive practice, we can reprogram the behaviors and reactions that cause us to eat mindlessly. This can lead to lasting changes from to how we react when there’s food in social situations to how we shop for and prepare food.
It might seem daunting to learn eat mindfully, but with practice it can become a habit. Here are few tips and resources to get started:
– Before you eat, stop and ask yourself why you’re eating. Is your body actually hungry?
– Your stomach is about the size of your clenched fist, so try to eat just that amount at one time. It actually takes 20 minutes for the brain to recognize that you are full, so try to wait before getting a second helping.
– Pay attention to physical signs of hunger and fullness. Eat when you’re slightly hungry (not starving), and stop when you don’t feel hungry anymore (not full or stuffed).
– Take time to look at your food, smell your food, and taste your food more slowly to really experience it.
– Minimize distractions (like screens) while eating. Sit down and focus your attention only on your food and your body.
For more information, some useful resources include The Mindful Diet from Duke Integrative Medicine (https://www.dukeintegrativemedicine.org/research/the-mindful-diet/) and the “Am I Hungry?” Mindful Eating Program (amihungry.com).
Researchers at the University of Kentucky are looking for people who are interested in participating in a study about how mindfulness affects weight loss. For details, please contact Teresa Lee at 859.619.3640 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ukclinicalresearch.com.
Teresa Lee, RD, LD, is a teaching assistant in the University of Kentucky Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition.
Media Contact: Mallory Powell at email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2016) − University of Kentucky’s Dr. Larry Goldstein and Donna Arnett, Ph.D., took part in drafting a policy statement that was published in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) flagship journal Circulation this month.
The statement was intended to provide a thorough review of the scientific underpinnings of the AHA’s public advocacy strategies as they pertain to the association's 2020 Strategic Impact Goals, which target a 10-year 20 percent improvement in the cardiovascular health of all Americans and a 20 percent reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke.
"Our goal was to assist the AHA in determining how well the best available science aligns with the AHA’s public policy goals and identify research opportunities that would help fill gaps and support their further development," said Goldstein, the paper's co-lead author.
According to Arnett, the consensus was that there was generally close alignment between current policy and the 2020 metrics; however, some policies require a more robust evidence base.
"We were particularly concerned about cardiovascular health metrics by age, which currently are divided into just two groups: children up to age 20 and adults," Arnett said. "Since there are important differences in policy needs for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, we'd like to see research that informs policy for each of these subgroups."
The intent of the AHA 2020 Impact Goals is to improve epidemiological factors (physical activity, healthy diet, tobacco use, and healthy weight) that contribute to cardiovascular health and refine clinical response (improved acute care processes and secondary prevention therapies) to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Policies stemming from these goals include efforts to promote smoking cessation, improve BMI, reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and encourage behaviors that promote healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.
"We hope that this intensive review will aid in translation and implementation of current policies, provide a roadmap to expand and strengthen the evidence base for the development of new policies, and help evaluate their overall impact in terms of targeted improvements in population health," said Goldstein.
With more than 35 years of practice, Goldstein is the chair of the University of Kentucky's Department of Neurology and co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute. He served as the co-chair of the writing group, providing his expertise on how evidence-based research can help public health organizations realize their organizational goals and policies.
As a transformative leader with core values of excellence, Arnett serves as dean of the UK College of Public Health and is also the former president of the American Heart Association. Her professional efforts have focused on bringing public health, medicine and other health-related disciplines closer together to improve population health.
Media Contact: Laura Dawahare, Laura.Dawahare@uky.edu, (859) 257-5307
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2016) — President of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Pam Cipriano will discuss the influential role of nurses at a turning point in the nation’s health care system during a lecture at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital on Friday, April 22.
The 35th president of the largest nurses association in the nation will deliver the final presentation part of the Nursing Leadership Lecture Series, presented by UK HealthCare, the UK College of Nursing, and the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA). Open to UK students, faculty and staff, and members of the KNA, the lecture starts at noon in the UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A Auditorium.
Throughout her career, Cipriano has held executive positions in health care systems, academic institutions and national professional organizations. In 2015, she was named one of the “Top 100 People in Health Care” and one of the “Top 25 Women in Health Care” by Modern Healthcare magazine. Prior to becoming ANA president, Cipriano was senior director for health care management consulting at Galloway Advisory by iVantage. She has served in faculty and leadership positions at the University of Virginia (UVA) since 2000 and currently holds a faculty appointment as research associate professor at the UVA School of Nursing.
“Hosting Dr. Cipriano is an honor and pleasure for the entire nursing community at UK and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Janie Heath, dean of the UK College of Nursing, said. “We know nurses are playing a integral role in transforming health care environments, and exposing our nurses and students to distinguished leaders, who are positioned at the very height of our profession, inspires us to achieve even more and work harder to advance health policy and nursing practice.”
Throughout the spring, the Nursing Leadership Lecture series brought three all-stars of the nursing profession to campus for presentations on the future of nursing leadership. Cipriano’s lecture, UK HealthCare community and UK College of Nursing students and faculty, the series is designed to cultivate an influential future generation of nurses and health care leaders. For more information about the lecture series, click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2016) – Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Alberto de Hoyos has joined the thoracic oncology team at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.
De Hoyos’s clinical interests include treatment of lung and esophageal cancers, neuroendocrine tumors and mediastienal tumors, with specialties including minimally invasive and robotic surgery.
De Hoyos earned his medical degree from the Universidat Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. He then completed his residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Northwestern University in Chicago.
De Hoyos completed a fellowship in minimally invasive thoracic surgery at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, a pulmonary fellowship at the University of Toronto, and a research fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
De Hoyos is certified by the American Board of Surgery as well as the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2016) - The fifth annual International Conference on Opioids, founded by Dr. Paul Sloan, professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, will be June 5 - 7 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
"Opioids: The New Normal, The Future of Opioid Prescription," is an intensive three day program led by world renowned specialists and is designed to inform primary care physicians, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, pain specialists, pharmacists and other opioid prescribers in the uses, abuses and legal ramifications of opioid analgesics.
"We will present the latest research and medical opinion regarding the use of opioids for chronic pain, the current difficulties with prescription opioid misuse, abuse and overdose and death," Sloan said.
The conference will close on Tuesday, June 7 with a panel of governors from Vermont, Rhode Island and Maine. “We are looking forward to a spirited discussion with the governors as they work to address the opioid abuse and heroin death epidemic in their states,” said Sloan, who has co-chaired the event since its inception in 2012 and also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Opioid Management.
"This year we are pleased to be joined by Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, the immediate past medical director at SAMHSA. Dr. McCance-Katz brings her unique perspective and skills to this important conference,” added Sloan. “The future of opioid prescription is in flux as the medical, legal and regulatory fields seek a new normal that balances adequate pain management with reducing risk to patients.”
Sloan has directed his career on the management of cancer and chronic pain (100 papers) with a particular interest in opioid pharmacology and spinal analgesics. His research has focused on the treatment of chronic and cancer pain, including opioids and adjuvant analgesics. He also serves on the editorial boards three other journals in the pain management, palliative medicine and oncology fields.
To register for the conference, go to: http://www.opioidconference.org/Register.html
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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. (April 7, 2016) — University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare employees seldom need convincing to wear blue in support of UK athletic teams.
But on Friday, April 8, wearing blue signifies support for a greater cause — the safety and welfare of children across the Commonwealth — as UK HealthCare and Kentucky Children’s Hospital observe Commit to Prevent Wear Blue Day, which brings attention to child abuse awareness.
UK HealthCare and Kentucky Children’s Hospital employees can wear blue and join the official photo for UK Wear Blue for Child Abuse Awareness photo at 1 p.m. on April 8. The photo will take place in the Pavilion A Auditorium main lobby. Participants can use the hashtag #committoprevent in social media posts or make a pledge to safeguard children in their community by clicking here.
According to Ginny Sprang, executive director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children, studies show adverse childhood experiences predict a host of short- and long-term health and behavioral consequences, including violence, smoking, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, risky sexual behaviors and more. In 2012, more than 15,000 children in Kentucky were victims of abuse and neglect.
Commit to Prevent Kentucky recommends several actions to help prevent child abuse in Kentucky:
If you suspect a child is a victim of maltreatment or abuse, call 1-800-CHILDREN. If you fear a child is in imminent danger, call 911.
For more information on preventing child abuse, click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 21, 2016) — In the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a shared sense of loyalty to patients unites neonatologists, nurses, surgeons and support staff in their work.
NICU caregivers exert every effort to achieve the best possible outcome for patients and their families — through whatever means, and to whatever end.
The NICU staff’s unflinching commitment to caring for families reminds KCH Development Council Chair Missy Scanlon of someone who instilled in her the importance of pushing forward until the job was done — her mother.
“They serve the families, whether it’s a good outcome or not a good outcome” Scanlon said of the NICU staff. “They see the tiniest of babies with these situations and they don’t give up, and that’s how my mom was.”
Scanlon, the chair of the Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) Council, said her mother Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor wouldn’t quit working until she finished the task at hand. While Taylor confronted a number of setbacks in her life, she faced conflict head-on and fought her battles with grace and dignity. Scanlon used the metaphor of a duck on water to describe her mother’s handling of tough situations — gliding across the surface but paddling with urgency underneath.
“She was a good soul, and she tried her best,” Scanlon said of Taylor. “You keep going until it’s done and you just don’t stop — whatever you have to do, whatever you have to make happen, you have to keep going until you get it done.”
Nearing the end of her second and final term as KCH Council chair, Scanlon has mirrored her mother’s determination through years of leadership, volunteerism and fundraising on behalf of KCH. Sealing the completion of a renovation and relocation of the NICU, Scanlon has donated a $2 million legacy gift to name the new facility after her mother. The March 20 gift announcement occurred on the would-be 90th birthday of Taylor, who passed away in 2002. The Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU, set to open in the spring of 2018, will equip the NICU staff with more resources and greater capacity to care for Kentucky families.
The new Betti Ruth Robinson Taylor NICU will feature spacious patient rooms and areas for family consultation and privacy. The 47,000-square foot facility will accommodate the rising number of patients and families receiving care at the region’s only Level 4 Pediatric Trauma Center. Patient rooms, themed after Kentucky native wildlife and landscape, will include conveniences for the long-term stay of patients, including sleeper sofas, wardrobes and kitchen spaces.
The new location on the first floor of the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital will improve the flow of patient care with direct access to the Pediatric Emergency Department. The facility also provides new spaces for procedures and training, including a new procedure room, a simulation room for training exercises, and “huddle” rooms for staff mentoring and team building.
The KCH NICU serves as a regional hub for advanced neonatal care, with pediatric transport services from 22 hospitals across Eastern and Central Kentucky. In 2015, the KCH NICU admitted 913 babies and the NICU Graduate Clinic scheduled more than 1,500 appointments.
UK Executive Vice President of Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf recruited Scanlon to serve on the KCH Council more than a decade ago. Scanlon brought to the Council experience increasing awareness and fundraising for causes in the Lexington community. Scanlon’s civic life has centered on efforts to improve the health and welfare of children.
Scanlon steps down as KCH council chair in June but plans to continue advocating and organizing on behalf of KCH. The KCH Development Council consists of volunteer community leaders who provide organizational support and advisory council to strengthen KCH and elevate the awareness of KCH in the community. Scanlon credited the cohesiveness of a hardworking KCH Council and an exemplary KCH staff for gaining ground to transform KCH facilities. Channeling the wisdom of her mother, Scanlon emphasized that the job isn’t finished for the KCH Council.
“KCH is near and dear to my heart — it’s my happy place,” Scanlon said. “There are so many things that are happening there, and there are so many things that need to happen there.”
To learn more about KCH, click here. For more information about giving to KCH, click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 14, 2016) – The Transplant Games of America's National Flag Tour will stop at UK HealthCare this Thursday, March 17, to celebrate organ donors and recipients on its way to the 2016 Games in Cleveland this June.
The Transplant Games of America (TGA) is an Olympics-style sport festival held every two years to show how transplants can transform lives. To compete, participants must be either transplant recipients, living donors, or a member of a donor family.
Prior to the TGA, the official flags of the event travel across the country to help raise awareness of organ donation and of the event itself. The flags are also signed by the members of each state's TGA team. Members of Team Kentucky will be present to sign the flag this Thursday.
Karen Michul, a UK HealthCare employee and living kidney donor, will be participating in the Games for the second time this year, competing in several bowling events.
"Seeing the comraderie of the donor families and recipients at the Games is amazing," Michul said. "And some of these people are meeting for the first time! It's an emotional ride."
The flag will be on display and available for Team Kentucky to sign this Thursday at 10 a.m. inside the atrium of University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital Pavilion A. Attendees are encouraged to wear blue and green, the colors of the Donate Life organization. Following the flag-signing and a few short remarks, attendees are encouraged to stay for a short photo session to celebrate the gift of life.
Registering to become a donor is the most effective way to ensure you can save lives through donation and serves as a sign of hope to those who continue to wait. Everyone can register as a donor today at www.donatelifeky.org or by saying “YES” when you renew your driver’s license.
This article first appeared as the Lexington Herald-Leader Your Health column on Feb. 21.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2016) — Humans have consumed gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye, for at least ten thousand years. Only in the past decade has celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity captured the public’s attention with the rise of the gluten-free diet.
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that requires a clinical diagnosis. A disease often misdiagnosed and incorrectly self-diagnosed, celiac entails an immune response to gluten, which results in the deterioration of the gastrointestinal (GI) lining and prevents proper absorption of vital nutrients. Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because it affects people in different ways.
A few children have no symptoms whatsoever, but most have one or more of the several hundred known symptoms and long-term complications that can occur in the digestive system or other parts of the body. These include abdominal pain, diarrhea, malnutrition, growth failure, development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, and intestinal cancers.
At Kentucky Children’s Hospital, the pediatric gastroenterology team provides the required individualized care that is crucial for children and their families diagnosed with celiac disease. Although some children with celiac disease are symptom-free, all children with celiac disease are still at risk for long-term complications, whether they display any symptoms or not. At this time, lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet is the only effective therapy to minimize symptoms and prevent complications of celiac disease. While gluten is not an inherently dangerous food property, even a small amount will disrupt the GI tract of people with celiac disease.
For parents who suspect their child is reacting to foods containing gluten, a simple blood test screening can suggest the presence of celiac disease with good accuracy. If a child tests positive, then a diagnosis will be made through an endoscopic biopsy, a procedure that allows physicians to see inside the GI tract. Myriad inflammatory bowel disorders, not just celiac disease or gluten intolerance, must be ruled out through a diagnostic process.
As with any disease that requires a dietary exclusion, parents must also ensure children with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet receive a balanced diet. Parents and caregivers should collaborate with their pediatrician and nutritionist to optimize nutritional choices for children diagnosed with celiac disease. Like most inflammatory bowel diseases, the variant nature of celiac disease requires individualized and continuous pediatric care.
Dr. George Fuchs is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2016) – UK HealthCare has achieved Magnet Status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. Out of nearly 6,000 health care organizations in the United States, less than 7 percent have achieved Magnet designation.
"Magnet recognition is a mindset and an approach in patient-centered care,” said UK HealthCare Chief Nursing Executive Colleen Swartz. “Our team has been extremely dedicated, focused and committed in achieving this goal and it shows in every interaction we have with patients and their families.”
UK HealthCare has 4,473 nursing services employees including 2,006 full-time registered nurses.
Achieving Magnet Status is a process that culminates in a rigorous review to demonstrate the hospital's commitment to sustaining nursing excellence and improving professional practice. The status represents a solid commitment to continuing education and nursing specialty certification, a cultural transformation of the work environment involving a shared governance model and laser focus on patient safety.
“Our nursing staff have worked very hard to achieve this important distinction and have been committed to this goal and truly deserve this Magnet recognition,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.
In 2001, UK HealthCare became just the 38th Magnet-recognized organization. The hospital maintained its designation until it was up for renewal in 2009, when the ANCC restructured the Magnet Recognition Program criteria. The fundamental shift from a process-structured infrastructure to an outcomes-based infrastructure led to UK HealthCare needing to make changes to regain its status.
“From a nursing practice perspective, we used the loss of Magnet as a call to action for us to really focus on quality outcomes, patient experience and staff experience,” Swartz said. “The end goal for us was superb clinical care; Magnet status is a byproduct of that goal and we should embrace it as such.”
From 2010 to 2013, UKHC began an improvement process that signified a cultural change toward patient- and family-centered care. That process included evaluating the nursing strategic plan, identifying areas in need of quality improvement, and developing strategies for improvement, measurement and accountability.
“While Magnet recognition is awarded by a nursing organization, it is truly an honor resulting from the leadership of our nurses to demonstrate that it is all of our caregivers who focus on meeting the needs of our patients, their families, and one another each and every day in our hospitals and clinics,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare vice president and chief clinical operations officer. “Everyone at UK HealthCare is proud to be one of less than ten hospitals in Kentucky and one of less than 500 in the nation to have earned this distinction.”
To achieve Magnet recognition, organizations must pass a rigorous and lengthy process that demands widespread participation from leadership and staff. The process begins with the submission of an electronic application, followed by written documentation demonstrating qualitative and quantitative evidence regarding patient care and outcomes. If scores from the written documentation fall within a range of excellence, an on-site visit will occur to thoroughly assess the applicant. After this rigorous on-site review process, the Commission on Magnet will review the completed appraisal report and vote to determine whether Magnet recognition will be granted.
Magnet recognition, which hospitals must reapply for every four years, has become the gold standard for nursing excellence. The recognition is based on adherence to Magnet concepts and demonstrated improvement in patient care and quality. U.S. News & World Report’s annual showcase of “America’s Best Hospitals” includes Magnet recognition in its ranking criteria for quality of inpatient care.
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com or 859-323-6363
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 12, 2016) — With his mom dragging an IV pole in the wake of his excitement, 8-year-old Isaiah Thompson paraded down the hallway of Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) flaunting his detective skills to the nursing staff.
“I found the hotel,” Isaiah said, turning to a group behind the nurse’s desk. “They said the hotel was the hardest to find, and I found it. It was hiding under a flower.”
Isaiah found the elusive hotel — a red Monopoly game piece about the size of a thumbnail —in the dense brush of paper flowers on the Valentine’s Day mural hanging in the KCH lobby. The hotel piece was one of more than 20 hidden items in the heart-shaped mural composed of frilly red and white construction paper flowers, gems, bows and ribbons. More than just a piece of Valentine’s-inspired artwork, the mural served as a life-size “eye spy” game to occupy the minds of families and children receiving care at the hospital. Directions taped to the wall beside the mural instructed patients, siblings, visitors and family members to find figures camouflaged into the heart’s design, including a wrench, a cow, a butterfly and a tiny chair.
Since mural appeared in the lobby window at the end of January, nurses, doctors, Child Life workers and families checked off every item on the list of hidden items — except for the mysterious hotel piece. Isaiah and 12-year-old patient Anna Shelton were the first to spot the hotel, thanks in part to a tip they received from the mural’s creator, Debbie Van Leeuwen.
Van Leeuwen, a Lexington artist and volunteer for KCH who designs murals for children receiving treatment, watched from the edge of the lobby as Isaiah and Anna explored the Valentine’s mural on Feb. 9. An uncover artist for KCH since early 2015, Van Leeuwen assumes a background volunteer role as the silent source of artwork for children and families at KCH.
With the help of the Child Life team at KCH, Van Leeuwen paints individualized murals for children staying in the hospital for extended periods of time. The Child Life team at KCH recognizes when a patient or sibling of a patient needs extra encouragement or a positive distraction from their treatment. The Child Life team gathers four to six facts about the child’s interests, such as his or her favorite cartoon characters, toys and sports teams, and reports the information to Van Leeuwen, who then begins designing and painting a mural based on those details. The murals are 3-feet by 3-feet and attach and detach from walls without causing damage to the room. Van Leeuwen has created 34 vibrant murals depicting images such as Spider Man and G.I. Joe, as well as the Frozen princesses and Dalmatians.
While she only receives a child’s first name, age and a list of their favorite things, Van Leeuwen feels like she bonds with the young patients through her creative process. The artist doesn’t know why the recipients of her artwork are in the hospital, and she never meets them in person. When she first volunteered to create murals for children, she struggled with a lack of closure, wondering whether her artwork provided a glimmer of hope or moment of joy for children in the midst of a negative circumstance. She wondered if she got the child’s personal preferences right and if her compassion was translated through art.
The Child Life team provided Van Leeuwen with some resolution when they started writing down word-for-word the comments of children and family members upon receiving their special mural. After they deliver the artwork to the child’s hospital room at an appropriate time, they type all the comments from the child and family members in an email. Van Leeuwen said one of the emails reported that a young girl wanted to hug her Mini Mouse mural.
“Honestly, it is that email that I wait for, and it charges me for the next painting,” Van Leeuwen said. “It is one of the most precious things in my life.”
Last summer when Van Leeuwen was dropping off paintings at KCH, Judi Martin, the Child Life coordinator, showed her a window in the lobby overlooking a brick wall. Martin asked Van Leeuwen to help obstruct the view with a piece of artwork. Van Leeuwen created a Christmas mural to hang in the window during the holidays, and replaced the Christmas mural with the Valentine’s Day mural in January.
Van Leeuwen, an empty nester who created murals for her three children while they were growing up, has also supplied murals for major milestones in the lives of KCH patients, including individualized murals for high school graduation ceremonies of cancer patients and a memory tree mural for a KCH remembrance service. She relies on her Child Life team informants to ensure her work for individual patients accomplishes its purpose. She said the support provided by the Child Life team allows her share art and bring joy to patients without having a physical presence in their lives.
“My thing is painting and their thing is the relationship with the child,” Van Leeuwen said. “And they know when it’s the right time and they know who needs it and who could use it.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2016) — Lexus of Lexington will raffle away a brand new Lexus ES 350 to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) at 1 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Lexus Store located at 1264 East New Circle Road. Tickets can still be purchased to enter the drawing.
Funds raised through raffle tickets will improve facilities for children receiving treatment at KCH. Lexus of Lexington has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 for the 2015-2016 raffle and supports Ocean Pod renovations 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,” said Lexington businessman Rick Avare, co-owner of The Lexus Store of Lexington.
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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 859-323-6363 or 859-806-0445
CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S CONTACT: Jim Feuer, email@example.com, 513-636-4656
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. (April 13, 2016) — University of Kentucky researchers Robin Vanderpool and Mark Dignan are leading projects funded by the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities to continue Markey Cancer Center’s community-based efforts aimed at reducing cancer rates in Appalachia. Both programs are funded for three years.
Appalachian regions, particularly in Eastern Kentucky, have disproportionately high rates of both incidence and mortality due to cancer when compared to other regions in the United States. Poverty, lack of access to health care, poor diet, tobacco use, and lack of exercise conspire together to produce high rates of preventable cancers in Appalachia.
The UK Markey Cancer Center brings together numerous disciplines and universities throughout Appalachia to research and implement community-based solutions to help reduce the rate of cancer in the region. The additional funding received supports two projects: the National Outreach Network (NON) and a Geographical Management of Health Disparities Program (GMaP).
The NON program provides funding to support a community health educator (CHE) who will be strategically integrated into Markey Cancer Center’s cancer prevention and control activities. Through NCI’s National Outreach Network, the CHE is linked to a collection of evidence-based resources and programs to increase access to accurate and culturally tailored cancer information, education and outreach activities to improve local cancer health disparities.
The CHE role will enhance coordination of cancer prevention and control activities with the Markey Cancer Center, GMaP investigators, Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP), Kentucky Cancer Consortium, and other state, regional, and local community partners. Mindy Rogers, who recently served as regional cancer control specialist with KCP in the Cumberland Valley region of the state, will serve as the NON CHE covering Kentucky’s Appalachian communities.
GMaP includes partners at the cancer centers of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia, as well as health disparities researchers at the University of South Carolina. GMaP will focus on increasing research training opportunities in our region, mentoring students and investigators early in their careers, and work with the NON CHE to reach out to the community.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 12, 2016) — Five weeks at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center seemed like an eternity for bone marrow transplant recipient Earl Harris.
Two days after he started the treatment, his 91-year-old mother died, and the demands of the transplantation process meant he couldn’t attend her funeral. As days of inpatient treatment turned into weeks, the bus driver who transports special needs children to school in Jefferson County was anxious to return to his bus route — and his golf clubs.
Harris, a lymphoma survivor from Valley Springs, Kentucky, spent the entire month of April 2015 in isolation after receiving a bone marrow transplant at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Even close family members were discouraged from visiting Harris because his compromised immune system was vulnerable to infection. Harris experienced a number of medical scares, such as a sudden drop in his blood level counts and an episode of colitis, and needed highly specialized care just to recover from the transplantation.
Harris benefited from the specialized care of Tia Thistlewood, his primary care nurse who reminded him of the many reasons to persevere through the transplantation process. Thistlewood, a student on the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) track of the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program at the UK College of Nursing, is tailoring her education to provide advanced clinical expertise caring for patients undergoing the risk-laden process of bone marrow transplantation.
“She was just a relief to see,” Harris said of Thistlewood. “Her expertise seemed to standout.”
Thistlewood has learned the priceless skill of coaching Markey patients through the trial of a bone marrow transplantation, which can require weeks or even months of inpatient care. While blood cancer patients who receive a bone marrow transplant can extend their life by several years, the temporary trade-off is subjecting their bodies to a stripping of all abnormal cells, which also devastates the immune system. Bone marrow transplant patients receive stem cells or donor cells, which migrate to their bone marrow and replenish damaged or destroyed cells. A number of complications can arise during the transplantation process, and nurses must know how chemotherapy and cancer affects the entire body and immune system.
“They can become critically ill very quickly and it takes a lot of training and skill to recognize when your patient needs extra care,” Thistlewood said. “It humbles me to think I’m that person keeping you well and getting you those interventions.”
In addition to the isolation from their daily lives and families, the transplantation process puts an emotional, physical and mental strain on patients. Nurses must monitor vital signs and watch for numerous complications during recovery, but they also help patients keep their eye on the prize of getting home to their families and lives.
“You get to know your patients and their family, and you become almost as close as family with your patients,” Thistlewood said. “You learn so much about life and relationships — you almost forget cancer is part of the equation.”
While the CNS track helps develop leadership and organizational skills, its primary purpose is to prepare advance practice nurses with a specific clinical expertise to assist patients and care providers in complex health care settings. This specialized training and emphasis on leadership gives nurses a competitive edge in their workplaces and equips them with the knowledge to enact positive change in health systems management.
“In my experience as a staff nurse, I have identified many ways to make the system better,” Thistlewood said. “In order to make the most impact, I chose to go back to school. The CNS track was attractive to me because of the role’s diversity.”
Thistlewood said applying her knowledge in clinical practice is an important component of the CNS track. In addition to providing individual care directly to patients, CNS students are also trained to identify ways to improve patient outcomes through systematic health care delivery.
In applying her advanced knowledge to clinical practice at Markey, Thistlewood is identifying checkpoints along the bone marrow transplant trajectory where nurses have the opportunity to clarify information for patients. Through her interactions with patients, Thistlewood has noticed many patients are unclear or confused about what to expect during transplantation, and tension builds as they spend more time away from their homes and families. This tension can lead to conflict and adverse patient outcomes.
In response to these concerns, Thistlewood has formed a patient and family education committee at Markey to develop written materials that explain the transplantation process to patients and their caregivers prior to admittance. In addition, Thistlewood’s committee is introducing a two-hour transplant preparation class for patients and their caregivers.
Thistlewood has also turned her attention to the need for more nursing staff training on basic bone marrow transplant team and in March 2015 held courses for nurses to teach evidence-based practices and improve the confidence of staff nurses in this area. Thistlewood also hopes to develop a system for patient follow-up, as many patients leave Markey needing long-term care and support from home.
“Since Tia started in the clinical nurse specialist track in the DNP program, she has demonstrated outstanding initiative to improve the care of oncology patients receiving bone marrow transplant,” Martha Biddle, assistant professor and coordinator of the CNS track in the UK College of Nursing, said. “Her desire and ability to recognize unmet patient needs and develop programs that will improve patient care outcomes are a true asset to the Markey Cancer Center."
When Earl Harris was yearning for the golf course on the fifth week of his treatment, Thistlewood provided him with as much information as possible to give him hope, but also managed his expectations. Harris said the extra time she spent ensuring he was engaged and informed led to a long-term friendship. Harris and his wife Bonnie related to Thistlewood on their shared backgrounds in Louisville, and after his treatment was complete, they celebrated with Thistlewood and her boyfriend — a bone marrow transplant recipient — at their mutual favorite restaurant, Captain’s Quarters.
Now a year out from his transplant, Harris is cancer-free and driving his school bus. He’s getting good reports from his doctors. He makes trips to Lexington to volunteer and serve meals to other patients receiving long-term cancer care at the Markey Cancer Center. He and Bonnie maintain contact with Thistlewood, who sometimes consults them for gardening advice.
“Not everyone has a happy ending, but to see Earl happy and healthy was the best payment of all,” Thistlewood said. “Having the ability to make positive impacts for people who were once complete strangers is the entire reason why I do what I do.”
For more information about the CNS track part of the UK College of Nursing DNP program, click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 16, 2016) – Fifteen years ago, Kentucky was ranked first in the nation for both the highest incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer. These statistics are made more dire by the fact that colorectal cancer is largely a preventable disease, thanks to regular colorectal screenings.
However, at that time, Kentucky was also ranked next-to-last in the country for colorectal cancer screenings, with just over one-third of people age 50 or over having ever received a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy exam.
These startling statistics spurred several major cancer groups in Kentucky into action, leading to the launch of a program encouraging primary care physicians to recommend and schedule colorectal screening. In rural areas of the state where access to primary care is limited, individuals from the community were recruited for screening and asked to encourage their age-eligible friends to also be screened.
The Kentucky Cancer Consortium (KCC) brings together more than 60 state agencies and organizations and is funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Control Program. Working together the agencies and organizations participating in the KCC were able to introduce two successful policy initiatives: the first resulted in a bill passed by the state General Assembly that requires all health insurers in Kentucky to cover the cost of screening for age-eligible patients; the second resulted in a bill passed by state legislature to establish a program for screening age-eligible patients who are uninsured, and to educate the public about the importance of being screened for colorectal cancer.
In the seven years following this new focus on colorectal cancer, the screenings rates nearly doubled, from 34.7 percent of the age-eligible population receiving screenings to 63.7 percent. This raised Kentucky’s rank from 49th in the country to 23rd compared to other states. No other state has had such a dramatic increase in colorectal screenings in such a short period of time.
As a result, the lives of many Kentuckians have been saved: the incidence rate for colorectal cancer is down nearly 25 percent, and the mortality rate has dropped 30 percent. Through colorectal screenings, doctors can find precancerous lesions and remove them before they become cancer. Screenings also allow physicians to find these cancers at an earlier stages, when they are more likely to respond to treatment.
Thomas Tucker, associate director for the UK Markey Cancer Center, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, puts this in perspective.
“A 25 percent reduction in colorectal cancer means that each year 230 Kentuckians who would have developed colorectal cancer in the past no longer get the disease," Tucker said. "This is a remarkable public health success story, and it demonstrates that when we work together and truly coordinate our efforts, we can make a meaningful difference.”
Though much progress has been made, there’s still a long way to go: roughly a third of eligible Kentuckians still aren’t seeking these life-saving screenings. Melissa Hounshell, the community outreach director for the UK Markey Cancer Center, is focusing her efforts on reaching these individuals by distributing FIT kits in the population centers where individuals are least likely to pursue screening. FIT kits are at-home tests that are then mailed to a lab and screened for blood in the stool, a potential marker of colorectal cancer.
“Markey is committed more than ever to leading a comprehensive cancer screening education and prevention program,” Hounshell said. “It’s about reaching some of those people who have been unreachable and really embedding ourselves in the community.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2016) – Dr. Natasha Kyrpianou has been chosen as the 2016 Urology Care Foundation Distinguished Research Scholar Alumna. The award recognizes those in the urologic community who have compiled significant and substantial research and demonstrated academic leadership as well as a commitment to scholarship to advance urology care. Dr. Kyprianou will be honored at the Urology Care Foundation Research Honors Program on May 7.
Currently serving as a professor of Urology, Biochemistry, Pathology and Toxicology and Cancer Biology in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Kyprianou has done extensive research in the field of urology; in 2002, Kyprianou joined the Markey Cancer Center as the James F. Hardymon Chair in Urologic Research.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue
Media Contact: Olivia McCoy, email@example.com, 859-257-1076
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) — University of Kentucky researchers Ren Xu and Gaofeng Xiong at the Markey Cancer Center and the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences show it is possible to create a three-dimensional (3-D) model system to investigate how breast cancer cells invade lung tissue in a study that was featured on the front cover of the journal, Integrative Biology.
Advanced breast cancer tumors shed cells that can colonize other tissues in a process known as metastasis. If physicians detect malignant breast tumors early, they can remove tumors before they metastasize. After tumors gain the ability to traverse the bloodstream, they become much more difficult to treat. In order to develop treatments targeting metastatic cancers, researchers need new models that more accurately reflect cancers physicians treat in the clinic.
3-D models like the one Xu developed may give researchers the model they need.
Xu’s laboratory created the 3-D lung tissue matrix by removing the cells from the tissue while preserving the extracellular matrix (ECM) that make up the tissue’s structural components. The researchers then showed breast cancer cells could colonize in the lung matrix in a manner resembling metastasizing breast cancer in patients in the clinic.
Xu believes the 3-D model may help develop drugs that inhibit breast cancer progression.
This work was supported by the UK Markey Cancer Center, American Heart Association (AHA), Department of Defense (DOD), and a COBRE pilot grant and does not necessarily reflect the views of those institutions.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2016) – Dr. Natasha Kyprianou, professor of Urology, Biochemistry, Pathology and Toxicology and Cancer Biology in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, recently was invited by the director of the Institute of Biological Chemistry of Academia Sinica, Dr. Ching-Shih Chen, on an eight-day academic tour of Taiwan that provided unique opportunities to establish global collaborations in cancer research.
The James F. Hardymon Chair of Urologic Research at the Markey Cancer Center, Kyprianou was a distinguished scholar at Academia Sinica and nominated to become a member of the Academy in Taipei.
During her visit in December 2015, she gave presentations at prestigious national institutions and universities in Taiwan including: the National Health Research Institute (NHRI), Taipei Medical University and Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU), where she interacted with the senior leadership and other faculty. Kyprianou was also honored with the invitation to give the keynote address at the international conference on Frontiers in Cancer Research organized by KMU. Finally, she gave a lecture to the departments of Biochemistry and Urology at the National Cheng Kung University in the historic Tainan City. "I was honored and humbled by the recognition I received in Taiwan on a national level," Kyprianou said.
Kyprianou's trip was more than a lecture series on her work on prostate cancer, she also sat on the international advisory board for the NHRI, the international equivalent of the National Institutes of Health, led by NHRI President Kung, and was invited by KMU President Dr. Ching-Kuan Liu to become an adjunct chair professor in the College of Biomedical Sciences. Kyprianou discussed the significance of this appointment, her trip and its impact to UK and the Markey Cancer Center. She said she believes it will foster "creative research interactions between investigators and scholars among the leading academic institutions in Taiwan and UK and also nurture mentoring programs in cancer research between the two countries."
Media Contact: Olivia McCoy, 859-257-1076
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
Video produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.
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.
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.