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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2015) – Amanda Fallin, assistant research professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, has been selected as one of eight distinguished nurse educators to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) Faculty Policy Intensive (FPI) program.
Now in its third year, FPI is a fully-funded, four-day immersion program designed for faculty at AACN member schools interested in elevating their role in shaping health policy as well as enhancing their existing knowledge of policy and advocacy.
The 2015 cohort was chosen from a highly competitive pool of more than 30 applicants throughout the country. Fallin will travel to Washington D.C. on March 23-26 to participate in the program.
"It is important for nurses to take an active role in shaping public policy. If policymakers considered the health implications of all policies, we could make great strides in improving the health of the community and in reducing health disparities," Fallin says.
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 21, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center will host a special gala on Saturday, Feb. 7, to support its second annual Expressions of Courage exhibit this summer.
Markey's Expressions of Courage exhibit is a yearly art showcase featuring original, artistic expressions connected in some way to an experience with a cancer diagnosis, or crafted by or in memory of a Markey patient whose battle has ended. The exhibit takes place in June, which is National Cancer Survivorship Month.
The Expressions of Courage Gala will help raise funds to support the exhibit, which allows patients and family members to showcase their original art, dance, poetry and music in a celebratory environment.
The Gala will take place at the DoubleTree Suites at Hilton Hotel at 2601 Richmond Road
in Lexington. The gala's events include:
6 p.m. Appetizers, cocktails, and a silent auction
6:30 p.m. Musical performances by Dr. Jay "Zwisch" Zwischenberger and Kayla Smith
7:30 p.m. Buffet dinner
8:45 p.m. Entertainment by the Donnie Brooks Band.
Tickets for the Gala are $50. To purchase tickets, visit ukmarkey.org/markeyevents or buy in person at the Markey Administrative Offices on the first floor of the Ben F. Roach Building at the Markey Cancer Center.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 20, 2015) -- Despite its name, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) isn’t actually a disease of the ovary.
PCOS got its name after researchers and clinicians in the 1930s associated abnormalities in ovarian function and appearance with endocrine abnormalities in women. Since then, we have realized that the ovarian dysfunction is a secondary issue that is caused by the underlying metabolic and endocrine changes seen with PCOS. Let’s explore some of the common questions about PCOS.
What are the common symptoms of PCOS?
Menstrual irregularities are the most common reasons that lead to women with PCOS seeking evaluation. Other common symptoms include excess hair growth on the face and body, acne, and obesity.
What other health issues does PCOS contribute to?
Patients with PCOS are more likely to have infertility, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and endometrial cancer.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
There isn’t one specific diagnostic test that is used to diagnose PCOS. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the use of specific clinical and diagnostic criteria to make a diagnosis of PCOS. The NIH criteria include:
1. Abnormal menstruation/ovulation
2. Clinical and or biochemical evidence of increased androgen hormones (increased hair growth on the face and body, acne, balding)
3. Exclusion of other known diseases that could cause the excess androgen hormones
Using these criteria, it's estimated that roughly 10 percent of women in the US have PCOS.
How would my doctor evaluate me for PCOS?
A doctor would discuss your menstrual pattern and history, perform a physical exam, and order lab tests. If the evaluation fits the NIH criteria, then you will be diagnosed with PCOS.
What causes PCOS?
The ovaries are not the primary cause of PCOS. Therefore, removing the ovaries will not cure this problem. We don’t fully understand all the factors involved in PCOS. We do know that it is caused by the interplay of many complex genetic factors among genes that control energy metabolism as well as hormone synthesis and secretion.
Can PCOS be treated?
PCOS cannot be cured, but the disease can be managed. Lifestyle changes and behavior modification can have the most impact on the clinical symptoms of PCOS. Exercise, healthy eating, weight control, and some medications can counteract some of the metabolic changes, thus decreasing the clinical characteristics of PCOS. It is just as important to monitor and treat the other health issues associated with PCOS, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Does PCOS affect the ability to become pregnant?
Yes, it can. The menstrual irregularities seen in PCOS are due to abnormal ovulatory function. When ovulation does not occur, an egg is not released, thus decreasing the chance of pregnancy. Treating PCOS as described previously can decrease the risk of infertility. Ovulation induction medications can also be used to help improve ovulatory function.
Dr. Bryan Rone is an OB/GYN specialist at UK HealthCare.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2015) – In her first State of the College address as dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Janie Heath told faculty and staff when people hear Kentucky in the days and weeks to come, they’ll think of nursing excellence as often as they do basketball. Citing an impressive list of College innovations and firsts in nursing, including the first doctorate (PhD) program in the region and the first Doctor of Nursing Program (DNP) in the nation, Heath said, “It is time to start moving off of the #21 spot on US News & World Report’s rankings to the #10 spot for graduate nursing programs. We have the right talent and it is the right time to make a significant impact in lives of Kentuckians and beyond."
In discussing her thoughts and plans for the future, Heath made reference to three key areas of focus for the journey to top 10: fiscal health, operational health and structural health. While each identified areas for improvement in processes, academic program growth and resource management, the opportunities were abundantly clear. “I have never been in an environment with so much academic nursing strength,” Heath said. “It will be a joy to see how we test new innovative models of education, expand our research portfolio, grow nursing faculty practice and ramp up our philanthropic efforts."
"That’s not to say the road will be easy,especially given today’s fiscal challenges. No doubt there will be some twists and turns. Unfortunately, there is no GPS that guarantees a way to success. We have to be nimble and ready to adjust and move forward as we learn together, refocus together and move forward together.”
Heath emphasized, “Although this is a general roadmap, not the tactics—my hope is to give you a sense about our direction and to assure you that my vision for the College is a shared vision, one that builds on the success and excellence of this College and all that it stands for.”
Heath said that as dean her overriding goal is to create healthy working and learning environments, build sustainable relationships, focus on measurable and reportable outcomes and ensure meaningful impact. “It will take all of us working together as partners to successfully achieve quality improvement processes at the College, advance nursing science and graduate more students that improve patient–family centered outcomes, implement care coordination and care transition and lower costs."
The College’s mission is solid and the partnerships and opportunities are there to move the needle on health and wellness inside and outside Kentucky," Heath said. “We must strengthen our communication efforts as an institution and as individuals to get the word out. We want everyone to know about our nursing excellence and the impact it’s having in the region, in the nation and around the world for education, research, practice and service.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 13, 2015) — Within 30 days of discharge, 20 percent of fee-for-service Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital. The frequency of readmission for Medicare patients costs the nation an estimated $17 billion annually, but research suggests 75 percent of these readmission cases are preventable.
The University of Kentucky Department of Family and Community Medicine, in partnership with St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Kentucky, and Kentucky HomePlace recently launched a pilot study to evaluate the impact community health workers have in reducing hospital readmission rates. Using a multidisciplinary model of transitional care, the one-year study will attempt to reduce 30-day readmission rates for high-risk hospital patients in Eastern Kentucky.
The study's goals include assessing the 30-day readmission risk during client intake; addressing psychosocial and health determinants of high-risk patients before and after discharge through assistance from a community health worker; and monitoring the impact of the community health worker intervention based on measures such as compliance with discharge orders, follow-up appointments and readmission rates.
According to Dr. Roberto Cardarelli, chief of Community Medicine in the UK Department of Family and Community Medicine and principal investigator for the study, a range of socioeconomic and personal factors influence hospital readmission rates. Personal circumstances influencing readmission include accessibility to community health providers, unstable living environments, costs of medication, lack of transportation, and failure to comply with discharge orders.
Preceding research on hospital readmission reduction programs indicates a patient navigator, such as a community health worker, can improve the patient's quality of life and health outcomes, consequently reducing 30-day readmission rates. While the study is based in Appalachia, Cardarelli said its findings could have implications for both rural and urban settings.
"Nobody is usually looking into these social aspects," Cardarelli said. "Why did the patient not pick up their medicine? Well, it's because they have no money. Those subtle things are often overlooked but can make a big impact."
Lay community health workers, who will receive training from Kentucky HomePlace, will act as a link between discharged patients and local health care services. In the first four to six months of the study, community health workers will collect baseline data from high-risk readmission patients at St. Claire Regional Medical Center. The workers will conduct patient wellness needs assessments to measures risks such as depression, health literacy, adherence and compliance risks, support, social factors and financial barriers to care. They will follow-up with patients four weeks after discharge to review the client's status.
In the second phase of the program, community health workers will intervene with follow-up care for consenting patients discharged from the hospital. After conducting the wellness needs assessment, they will work individually with patients to develop a client-centered care plan. Post-discharge, the health workers will monitor the patient's progress with reminders for follow-up visits and assistance accessing community health resources.
"Essentially they will navigate patients to identify social barriers," Cardarelli said of the community health workers. "They will help address and find community resources, and contact patients to see how they are doing, if they are making their follow-up appointments."
UK Family and Community Medicine and St. Claire Regional Medical Center launched the program last fall. The study is supported by a grant from PassPort Health Insurance company and is in partnership with St. Claire Regional Medical Center and Kentucky Homeplace in the Center for Excellence in Rural Health, which has provided community health workers in 27 Eastern Kentucky counties for the past 20 years.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky (Jan. 12, 2015) -- Another one of our most joyful seasons has passed, and we start to wonder if our low energy levels and our not so merry moods are a result of trying to create the perfect holiday or worrying about the financial pressures from gift giving. While it might be a simple case of holiday blues, it could actually be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) -- also known as seasonal depression.
Approximately 10 percent of Americans suffer from SAD. Although it is unknown how many of these individuals may also suffer from holiday blues or a combination of both, the symptoms can be very similar. Symptoms typically associated with SAD include irritability, low energy, hypersensitivity to rejection, sense of hopelessness, sluggishness/heaviness in arms or legs, oversleeping, social withdrawal, craving foods and beverages with high carbohydrates, and weight gain.
The specific cause for SAD is unknown but a contributing factor is lack of sunlight. During the change of seasons lack of sunlight can disrupt the circadian rhythm (biological clock) and cause chemical imbalances with serotonin, a brain chemical /neurotransmitter impacting moods, and melatonin, a hormone impacting sleep patterns. The obvious factor that increases the risk for SAD is living far from the equator where there is less daylight, but others include being female, being a younger age adult, and having a family history of SAD.
The good news is that SAD is treatable. Several lower level treatment interventions for SAD include making the environment warm and bright, spending time outside, and exercising. Higher-level treatment interventions include phototherapy to mimic natural outdoor light, medication such as extended-release antidepressants, and counseling to manage stress and reframe negative thoughts and behaviors.
There is no way to prevent SAD, but you can manage symptoms before they worsen. Exercise releases naturally occurring feel-good hormones called endorphins. Smoking and heavy drinking disrupt chemical balances and can exacerbate symptoms, so avoiding tobacco and alcohol can help.
If symptoms of depression continue or elevate to the point of suicidal thoughts, seek immediate professional help.
There are many types of health care providers, including advanced practice nurses and nurse researchers, who are integrating preventive measures and treatment interventions to improve health and wellness of those suffering from SAD. Often a dose of the basics: getting adequate sleep, consuming healthy foods and beverages and obtaining regular exercise is the best prescription for a happy and healthy life.
Janie Heath, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, Warwick Professor and dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, is a national leader in nursing education, advanced practice and healthcare outreach research.
This column appeared in the January 11, 2015, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2015) — Pockets on the backside of pants are useless for people who sit in a wheelchair all day. And low-waist jeans can be uncomfortably tight and, even worse, an embarrassment when exposing skin.
For spinal cord injury patient Heidi McKenzie, finding a fashionable yet functional pair of jeans to wear was just one more challenge related to living with a disability.
A lifelong fashion enthusiast, McKenzie thinks men and women in wheelchairs deserve a chic pair of jeans to accommodate their needs. She's in the process of launching a business called Alter UR Ego, a fashion-forward clothing line specially designed for people in wheelchairs.
No stranger to the spotlight, the former Ms. Wheelchair America contestant is already a natural spokesperson for her products. She got the idea for her business while meeting other women competing in the 2012 Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, who also expressed an interest in hip and youthful clothing for people with disabilities.
"Most disability clothing is targeted toward the elderly — so flower pots and cats," McKenzie said. "I want an everyday pair of jeans for someone. Because that is your go-to article of clothing."
Founding her own start-up company is only the latest of many endeavors for the paraplegic patient at the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Cardinal Hill Hospital. Now living in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, McKenzie graduated from Morehead State University in 2011 and competed in the Miss Wheelchair America pageant the following year. She drives her own wheelchair-adapted van, works at her father's company in Morehead and currently lives independently in her apartment. She's tried out a number of adapted sports, including horseback riding, tennis, scuba diving and kayaking.
With every opportunity life brings, McKenzie consults with Dr. Sara Salles, professor in the UK Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, to ensure her health and physical condition permits an active lifestyle. After sustaining a complete spinal cord injury in a car accident in 2007, McKenzie moved back to Kentucky to live with her father, and began rehabilitation with Salles at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. She received inpatient care at the hospital for two weeks. In addition to her spinal cord injury, McKenzie needed cognitive therapy from a brain injury caused by the accident. McKenzie worked with Salles to set realistic, attainable goals, which included living a completely independent lifestyle.
Seven years later, McKenzie maintains her health and lifestyle through "tune-up" appointments with Salles every few months. Salles monitors her patients with a holistic approach, addressing any health issues related to the injury, discomfort caused by her wheelchair, or other physical or psychological problems. Salles said normal tasks able-bodied people take for granted, like putting on shoes and using the bathroom, are challenges for her patients.
"Daily life is challenging for folks with spinal cord injuries," Salles said. "The beauty of our patients is they do it with grace. The struggle is there, but most of them will not tell you or share that struggle with you on a regular basis."
Because spinal cord injury patients require long-term care, Salles frequently develops personal relationships with her patients and their families. Salles introduced McKenzie to many extracurricular and leadership opportunities available to people with disabilities, including an adaptive sports camp in Colorado. A model patient, McKenzie has played an active role in regaining her independence and keeping a positive attitude about her condition. Salles said McKenzie will communicate when something's wrong and proactively follow her advice to stay healthy.
In addition, McKenzie serves as a volunteer counselor and mentor to Salles' patients who have recently sustained a spinal cord injury. Warm, endearing and optimistic, McKenzie has a special ability to shed positive light on hard situations. She emphasizes to Salles' patients that life post-injury can be exciting and rewarding.
"I think everyone who comes to know Heidi loves Heidi," Salles said. "Just because she is who she is. She lights up a room. You know when Heidi is around because usually she is doing her (Miss America) wave."
McKenzie relates her relationship with her doctor to a "long-distance marriage." While she lives in Eastern Kentucky, she contacts her doctor often. McKenzie appreciates Salles for being frank but compassionate when discussing the pursuit of goals. Salles gives her patients the freedom to make decisions about their lifestyles, but counters that freedom with advice to stay healthy and not further complicate their conditions.
"She has always been so supportive in living an active lifestyle at your convenience," McKenzie said. "Because everybody takes a while to adapt to disability, and she doesn't rush that. So when you're ready to go out and adventure and experience new things, she is going to be encouraging."
For more information about Alter UR Ego, and to learn how to support McKenzie's start-up company, visit http://www.alterurego.co.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2015) -- Staying physically active is especially important as we age. Beginning around age 50, we lose 1 percent of our muscle mass each year. Over time, this can negatively affect quality of life and our ability to maintain functional independence.
Exercise is the best medicine to protect our quality of life and independence as we age. Physical activity benefits literally every organ in the body, from our muscles to our brains, promoting not only physical health but also mental and cognitive well being. Physical activity can also help to prevent and alleviate or manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
Here are some reminders for staying physically active throughout our older years:
It's never to late to start. You can benefit from physical activity and exercise even if you’ve never been an athlete or don't start exercising until a relatively old age. Start with whatever activity level fits your ability and lifestyle.
Combine endurance and strength training for overall health.
Keep up endurance with aerobic exercise like walking, stationary biking or rowing. This helps maintain energy and stamina to prevent fatigue.
Keep up your strength with resistance or weight training. Free weights, resistance bands, and body weight exercises like squats and push-ups help maintain muscle mass and strength to prevent frailty.
150 minutes of activity is recommended each week. That's five times a week for 30 minutes.
But some studies show that short bouts of intense exercise are also beneficial. If you don't have 30 minutes, take the stairs quickly or walk as fast as you can for ten minutes. Any and all movement is good.
Make it social. Find a walking buddy or try an exercise class. Not only is there more fun and accountability with an exercise companion, studies suggest that positive social interactions are just as important to our health as physical activity.
Make it part of your routine. You're more likely to exercise regularly if it's part of your daily schedule and fits in with the rest of your life.
Remember that your body changes with age. Your body likely won't respond to exercise the way that it did at age 25, and you may not respond to exercise just like your gym buddy does. This physical variability increases as we age, so keep your expectations in line with your own abilities.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky are currently studying why some older adults respond better to exercise than others. If you are over 65 and interested in learning about participating in this research, please submit your information at the following link and a member of the research team will contact you in January 2015.
Charlotte Peterson, Ph.D., is professor and associate dean for research in the UK College of Health Science and serves as associate director of the UK Center for Clinical & Translational Science and co-director of the UK Center for Muscle Biology and UK Human Performance Lab.
This column appeared in the December 28, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) – UK HealthCare has temporarily amended its inpatient hospital visitation policy to be proactive in helping protect the health and well-being of patients and health care workers during this flu season. Visitation restrictions are in effect as of 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22.
The measures include:
o No visitors under the age of 12
o No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness
o Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time
o Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting
o Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women's and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.
o Compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
"Due to an increasing number of flu cases in Kentucky, UK HealthCare will be instituting these procedures designed to help protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu and are in effect at all UK HealthCare inpatient units including University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Eastern State Hospital," said Kim Blanton, enterprise director for infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the flu was widespread in 29 of the 54 states and territories that it tracks -- including Kentucky. This time last year, it was widespread in only four.
It is still recommended everyone six months of age and older who hasn't received a flu shot yet, receive one, Blanton said. "A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza," she said.
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu antiviral drugs are available and work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) — The U.S. Department of Defense identifies mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, as one of the signature injuries impacting veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Often associated with the blast of an improvised explosive device (IED) in the field, an mTBI is commonly diagnosed in concurrence with posttraumatic stress disorder, a separate condition triggered by the traumatic event. A recent study suggests that 12 to 16 percent of all veterans involved in the Iraqi conflict have a history of mTBI and an estimated 13 to 17 percent of veterans return with a diagnosis of PTSD resulting from an injury. One-third of all veterans with a TBI also suffer from PTSD.
Since the time both conflicts began, medical researchers have studied the short- and long-term psychological and neuropsychological effects of PTSD and mild TBI as independent conditions. Recently, researchers at the University of Kentucky published findings from a collaborative, multi-site study considering the collective, as well as individual, effects of mTBI and PTSD on psychological and cognitive functioning.
The results, which are scheduled to appear in The Journal of Neurotrauma, suggest veterans suffering from both conditions have poorer cognitive and psychological outcomes than veterans diagnosed with only one of the conditions. The research also raises the possibility that mTBI results in persistent but mild cognitive challenges for some veterans.
Dr. Walter High, an adjunct associate professor in the UK Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery and Psychology, and researchers at the University of Kentucky Department of Psychology, worked with veterans at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Hospital on the UK campus to conduct a series of neuropsychological tasks measuring their cognitive function. Participating veterans were classified as mTBi only, PTSD only, or both mTBI and PTSD. The tests evaluated cognitive processing speed, IQ, verbal memory, psychological distress and more. Participants were also grouped according to their similarities in IQ, age and other characteristics.
“Most previous studies have not adequately separated out the cognitive effects due to mTBI from the cognitive effects due to PTSD,” High said. Our study is relatively unique because it includes a comparison group of veterans with PTSD only. This is extremely important because the effects of mTBI and PTSD can be very similar. The inclusion of a group of veterans with both mTBI and PTSD also allowed us to look at the interactive effects of these conditions."
While research has suggested that infrequent isolated concussions (mTBI) have minimal long-term effects, PTSD has been linked to long-term impairment of psychological functioning and memory loss. The set of data was distinctive from other research trials on long-term effects of mTBI in that the researchers were able to rule out confounding variables influencing cognitive processing. Through an analysis of the data, High and UK doctoral student Hannah Combs, who published the paper as her master's degree thesis, found small decrements in information processing efficiency, attention and memory that could be attributed to the mTBI. David Berry, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Psychology, was a key collaborator in the study helping to characterize the validity of veteran performances and chairing Combs' master’s committee.
"We feel we know this phenomenon, but this shows there is more to it than we originally expected," Combs said of the effects of mTBI. "If a veteran is complaining about these issues, there's a good chance they are true."
High said the decrements attributable to mTBI are small and not disabling. Veterans can overcome the mild cognitive impairment caused by mTBI with proper education about mTBI and therapies. The study will help guide psychologists implement proper cognitive therapies for injured veterans suffering from these mild effects.
“The take-home message is that we need to validate to the veteran that the problems they are experiencing are real, but to reassure them that their cognitive abilities are within normal limits and they can still be successful,” High said. “There are strategies to rehabilitate and exercise their memory.”
Researchers at UK, the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Southern Arizona Department of Veteran Affairs collaborated on the study. One-third of the study’s participants represented patients at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Hospital. The study was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2014) — On the morning of Dec. 16, Dr. Shannon Voogt warmed up her classically trained opera voice before coming to work at UK HealthCare.
At 11 a.m., she applied resin to the bow of her violin in the Pavilion A lobby of the UK Chandler Hospital. Moments later, an audience of patients, employees and hospital visitors circled around the atrium lobby as Voogt, a soprano, showed off her vocal range performing "O Holy Night."
A family physician in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine, Voogt has dedicated more time in her busy schedule to pursuing — and sharing — her love of music. She started playing the violin at age 3 and taking voice lessons at age 13.
While earning her medical degree from Michigan State University, she studied opera with an instructor, singing every day and eventually recording a CD. While starting her own family and finishing her residency at UK, she struggled to find time to seriously pursue music. In the past year, and with opportunities to volunteer with the UK Arts in HealthCare program, Voogt has returned to opera and musical performance.
"Over the past year, I have started practicing again, and it's been so rewarding," Voogt said. "No matter how stressed out I am, singing opera completely focuses me — I have to think about the notes, my breath support, relaxing my body, the line, the words, the translation. It's very meditative."
As a volunteer with the UK Arts in HealthCare program, Voogt integrates her musical gifts with her profession. During two holiday performances on Dec. 11 and Dec. 16, Voogt performed several traditional Christmas songs with accompaniment from volunteer pianist Daniel Porter. Their selection of music included "The First Noel," "O Holy Night" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
"I started singing at UK because I thought it would be a nice way to give back — to give passers-by something nice to listen to and also sneak in some practice for my voice on busy days at work."
Voogt will perform a free holiday opera concert at First Alliance Church at 2201 Old Higbee Mill Road at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2014) -- University of Kentucky graduate Mosoka Fallah is among the Ebola fighters in West Africa that has been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year.
A native of Liberia, Fallah received his bachelor's degree in his home country and a master's degree from Kent State University in the United States. He studied at the University of Kentucky from 2005 to 2011, obtaining his doctorate in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics in 2011. He subsequently received a master's in public health from Harvard University.
"For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time's 2014 Person of the Year," the magazine said in a statement.
Members of the UK College of Medicine's Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics recall Fallah's enthusiasm for learning. Department Chair Beth Garvy, who served on Fallah's doctoral committee, said at the end of every year, Fallah asked members of the department for old textbooks to send home to Liberia.
Fallah, despite the known risk of exposure to the virus, is following a trail of Ebola, instructing neighborhood leaders to report cases of sick victims of the disease and urging cooperation with government officials. After receiving his education in the United States, Fallah returned to his home country to set up a health clinic for women and children. He has also worked on community-based initiatives to stop the spread of Ebola for the United Nations Development Program.
To see the Time article, go to http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-ebola-doctors/.
Media Contact: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2014) -- Patient portals are health care-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their health care providers. Much like electronic health records, they are taking medicine into the next era of patient-provider communication.
Portals allow patients to access their medical information, see results of medical tests, and ask for a renewal of a prescription. Some portals also offer features as the ability to request, cancel or reschedule appointments.
For patients, having an email address is usually the only requirement for accessing a portal and typically, since they are internet-based, patients can access information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Some portal applications are integrated into the existing website of a health care provider while others are modules added onto an existing electronic medical record (EMR) system. Either way, the goal is for patients to interact with their medical information and health care providers via the Internet in a secure fashion.
Patient portals benefit both patients and health care providers by increasing efficiency and productivity.
Although patient portals may vary some among health care providers, features currently available from most medical provider's portal -- or likely available in the future -- include:
Other features may include:
Patient portals can help you be more actively involved in your own health care. Additionally, if you are a parent or caregiver for another family member, you may be able to access your family members’ health information helping you take care of them more easily.
To get access to a Patient Portal and to find out what options are available for you, ask your health care providers if they offer a patient portal. They can then provide you with instructions for setting it up.
Generally, there are only a few steps involved in setting up your account such as creating a secure password. This is to make sure only you have access to your health information.
Always remember that your health information is private, secure and protected and that all patient portals have privacy and security safeguards in place to protect your health information.
To make sure that your private health information is safe from unauthorized access, patient portals are hosted on a secure connection and accessed via an encrypted, password-protected logon. However, always remember to protect your username and password from others and make sure to only log on to the patient portal from a personal or secure computer.
Overall, the patient portal is a convenient and secure health-management tool you can use anywhere you have access to the Internet that benefits patients by supporting care between visits, and, most importantly, improving patient outcomes.
This column originally appeared in the Sunday, Dec. 14 edition of The Herald-Leader.
Dr. Carol Steltenkamp is UK HealthCare's Chief Medical Information Officer and executive director of the Kentucky Regional Extension Center.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2014) – Two University of Kentucky researchers have been awarded $1.62 million in grants through special interest projects from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The grants fund projects that focus on methods for improving the dire cancer statistics in Appalachian Kentucky, which has some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the country.
Robin Vanderpool, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior in the UK College of Public Health, was awarded a 5-year, $1.37 million grant to fund the Appalachian Center for Cancer Education, Screening, and Support (ACCESS), a collaboration between the University of Kentucky's Rural Cancer Prevention Center (RCPC) and the national Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN).
CPCRN is supported by both CDC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). ACCESS will work to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based cancer prevention and control programs in Appalachian Kentucky communities and reduce the cancer burden in these underserved populations. The goal of the project is to use existing primary care resources in efficient and effective ways to promote guideline-recommended cancer screenings and improve overall health in the region.
Specifically, ACCESS will conduct a regional research project with White House Clinics, a federally qualified health center that serves a medically underserved and high-poverty region in Appalachian Kentucky. The project will design, implement, and evaluate a proactive officer encounter (POE) intervention effort in eight community health centers, which will provide a systematic approach to offering breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer screening services at every office encounter for eligible patients.
Bin Huang, an assistant professor in the Division of Cancer Biostatistics in the Department of Biostatistics, UK College of Public Health, was awarded a 2-year, $250,000 grant to improve Kentucky Cancer Registry (KCR) data through ancillary data linkage. The main goal of Huang's project is to establish groundwork and examine the feasibility for the development of a sustainable Kentucky Cancer Quality and Outcome Research Data System, with the goal of improving the quality of care for Kentuckians with cancer.
The project seeks to generate enhanced KCR data, specifically in Appalachian Kentucky, by linking with external sources such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers; populating treatment summaries for breast and colorectal cancers; and conducting patterns of care research in cancer survival disparities for these types of cancers in Appalachian and non-Appalachian populations.
“These projects are a great example of the interdisciplinary work of investigators in the College of Public Health and Markey Cancer Center that spans the cancer prevention and control continuum, from screening interventions to surveillance, to remedy the cancer disparities faced by residents of Appalachian Kentucky,” said Margaret McGladrey, assistant dean for research in the UK College of Public Health.
Federal funds from the CDC and NCI financed 100 percent of the costs for these special interest projects; no non-governmental sources contributed to the funding.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Video by UK Public Relations.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 10, 2014) – With a table stacked full of pre-cut foam patterns, markers, stamps, and various creative accoutrements, University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Art Therapist Fran Belvin is determined to bring a little holiday cheer to the patients and visitors coming through Markey's outpatient clinics.
As patients and visitors walk past her table, many stop to check it out, hesitant. Belvin and her student assistant, Kalin Wilson, welcome them with broad smiles and a simple question: "Would you like to decorate an ornament today?"
Those that say yes sit down and begin to work. Once their creative project is under way, many of the participants begin to tell Belvin about themselves: the treatment they or their loved ones are going through, their struggles, their backstories.
As Belvin notes, there's something about sitting down to work on a creative project that helps people open up and share their feelings. She sees similar reactions from the chemotherapy patients she works with on a daily basis.
"Art therapy is a way for patients to express themselves… a way to explore fears, hopes, and talk about their cancer journey," Belvin said. "Making art and talking about it feels a little less formal, less threatening than if a counselor were to sit down and say, 'Tell me how you're feeling today.'"
Belvin, who began working for Markey as an art therapist in June, spends most of her time visiting patients one-on-on in the chemotherapy suite – or "curtain-to-curtain," as she describes it.
"In addition to helping patients process the emotional effects of their illness, it's also a way to relax and reduce stress," Belvin said. "Chemotherapy can be uncomfortable, it can be boring, and it can be frightening – especially at first. Getting engaged in a creative activity is not only a fun distraction, it puts people in touch with their strengths and increases their positive feelings. In fact, research has shown that art making significantly reduces the stress hormones in the brain and elevates mood."
The ornament table is the second "art event" she's held at the cancer center. Earlier this year, she hosted a "Healing Symbol" table, where she invited participants to create their own personal symbol that represented healing.
Because art therapy is a new addition to the UK Markey Cancer Center's complementary therapy services, Belvin hopes her art events will help spread the word about the services she offers, not just to patients and visitors, but also to healthcare providers who may like to refer their patients to her. Research shows that "creative arts" therapies – including music, art, dance, drama, and writing – significantly reduces anxiety, depression, and pain and improved the quality of life in cancer patients.
Ultimately, Belvin's current ornament table is meant to bring a little levity and stress relief to those passing through the Markey Cancer Center's doors.
"I hope to offer a little bit of brightness while you're going to the doctor's office, where you're not expecting to have a fun, relaxing thing to do," Belvin said. "So I'm hoping this provides a way for people to kind of relax and have a little fun in the middle of their day."
Belvin is hosting two more art therapy ornament-making tables at Markey, both in the first floor lobby of the Whitney-Hendrickson Building. The table will be up again 1-2:30 p.m. today and next Wednesday, Dec. 17, 1-2:30 p.m. Patients, visitors and staff are all welcome to attend and participate.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
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