When Jason Conn developed a heart infection, he needed a cardiologist that could provide advanced care. So he turned to the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute.

Team of experts at UK returns heart patient to his first love: restoring vintage cars

By his 13th birthday, Jason Conn had undergone three open-heart surgeries to repair his deformed bicuspid valve.

While he was cleared to enjoy typical childhood activities like skateboarding and bike riding, he was not allowed to play organized sports.

“My biggest disappointment was when my cardiologist told me that I probably couldn’t be a race car driver,” the Ohio native says with a smile.

Conn, now 41, was declared “cured” by his cardiologist and had, by his own account, a normal young adult life with few health problems. Eventually he moved to Lexington where he is now in his 11th year as a UK employee in the College of Agriculture  and began a lifelong love affair restoring vintage cars and motorcycles.

However, Dr. Andrew Leventhal, director of the Kentucky Adult Congenital Heart Program (KACH) at the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, cautions that no one with a congenital heart defect is technically “cured.”

“Almost all congenital heart defect repairs should be followed by a cardiologist for a lifetime,” Leventhal said.

Conn learned this the hard way.

From sick days to something more serious

In late 2015, Conn developed a cough and fatigue that persisted all winter despite multiple rounds of antibiotics. By March, he could hardly muster the energy to walk the block from his house to the shop where he works behind Commonwealth Stadium.

“I had been losing weight, but at the time I didn’t think much about it,” he said. “When I went back and looked, I realized that I had been taking a lot of sick days.”

When Conn developed chest and abdominal pain, he came to UK Good Samaritan Hospital and mentioned his prior medical history to Leesa Schwarz, the KACH nurse practitioner. Schwarz alerted Leventhal, who ordered an echocardiogram to assess the structure and function of Conn’s heart.

“The echo revealed an abscess on Jason’s aortic valve, which explained why he was still having fevers despite repeated rounds of antibiotics,” Leventhal explained.

Conn had developed endocarditis – an infection of the heart’s inner lining. People with damaged heart valves, artificial heart valves or other heart defects are prone to endocarditis, and it can have deadly consequences, including stroke, organ damage and/or heart failure. In Conn’s case, he had an infarcted spleen, brain aneurysms and emboli in his foot causing nerve damage.

Leventhal knew that Conn needed a cardiologist with a keen clinical sense and an understanding of the complexities that his condition presented. He immediately called Gill Heart and Vascular Institute colleague Dr. Hassan Reda, an experienced surgeon who specializes in the treatment of diseased aortic valves, including congenital conditions.

In a 15-hour marathon surgery, Reda removed the infected tissue from around Conn’s heart and restored aortic valve function with a donor valve.

“Jason’s condition required a complicated, multistep team approach, including a skilled neurointerventionalist to treat his infected brain aneurysms, a delicate fourth-time reconstruction of the aortic root and attentive ICU and nursing care,” Reda said. “This sort of teamwork is a routine occurrence at the Gill.”

‘I can’t imagine a better place to be’

Conn began cardiac rehabilitation immediately after discharge and was back at work by early July.

“I feel terrific,” Conn said. “I’ve gained back all the weight I lost and am strong enough to carry tires and other heavy stuff.”

According to Leventhal, adults who were born with heart defects face unique challenges.

“It wasn’t that long ago that children with heart defects didn’t survive to adulthood,” he said. “Technical advances in cardiac surgery have improved outcomes dramatically, but that presents a new issue: Patients who reach adulthood have outgrown their pediatric cardiologists and the facilities that provide treatment – typically children’s hospitals. But simply transitioning to an adult cardiologist isn’t the best fit either, since their heart problems can be very different from cardiac conditions that begin during adulthood.”

Leventhal is among an elite group of cardiologists with special training to recognize and treat the issues that affect adults who have survived with congenital heart defects. He heads a talented group of physicians and staff at Gill’s KACH Program, which draws patients from all over Kentucky and West Virginia.

“People like Jason require a lifetime of follow-up care to ensure that their defect repair is sound,” Leventhal said. “If you had heart surgery as a child, be sure your doctor knows about it, and find a cardiologist who’s trained to help in situations like these.”

Conn calls his recent experience the “ultimate medical detective story” and is grateful that Leventhal was following his case so closely.

“It’s really a miracle,” Conn said. “I get to work here, and I get the best care here. I can’t imagine a better place to be.”

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Healthy March Madness

Timeout! March Madness doesn’t have to be bad for your health

If you’re a fan of basketball like we are, there’s no better month than March.

From game-day snack recipes to tips for managing your stress during a close game, here’s how to stay healthy amid the Madness.

Break a sweat

Watching basketball often means making an appointment with your favorite spot on the couch for hours on end. If that’s your plan, that’s OK – just make an effort to get some exercise before the game starts.

Just 30 minutes of activity a day helps keep your heart healthy, and exercising in the morning can relieve stress and improve your mood for the rest of the day.

Why not hit the hardwood yourself? Playing basketball for a half-hour can burn between 200 and 270 calories. If shooting hoops isn’t your thing, go for a brisk walk 30 minutes before tip-off.

Make the right call

One of the best parts of March Madness is gathering with friends and family to cheer on your team. Unfortunately, watch parties often leave much to be desired when it comes to healthy food and drink options. Here’s how to keep your diet in-bounds during March Madness.

If you’re watching the game at a bar or restaurant, we’ve got your healthy game plan covered:

  • Check out the menu before you go. Avoid fried foods. Instead, look for healthier grilled or steamed options.
  • Consider ordering a salad with dressing on the side. That way you can control how much you use.
  • Use fresh vegetables like celery or carrots for dips instead of chips or other snack items.
  • Split an entrée with a friend. Half of the meal means half of the calories.
  • If you’re going to drink alcohol, make sure you match every drink with a full glass of water. That will keep you hydrated and full, preventing you from overindulging.
  • If you do have too much to drink, don’t drive. Have a designated driver or take a taxi home after the game wraps up.

Calling the plays at your own get-together? Here’s a list of healthy game day recipes that are sure to energize your crowd.

Stay cool under pressure

Not everyone has nerves of steel like some of our favorite hardwood heroes. For most people, as the seconds tick down during a close game, stress levels go up.

When that happens, your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. That’s normal when you’re watching a basketball game, but if your body remains in high gear long after the game has ended, that can be a problem.

Here are a few tips to manage your nerves, even when the game is on the line:

  • Practice deep breathing. Taking deep breaths lowers your heart rate and triggers your body’s natural relaxation response.
  • Limit your caffeine and alcohol. Both can increase your stress.
  • Move around. Use halftime or TV timeouts as a chance to get up and walk around, which can reduce tension in your body and limit the effects of stress.
  • Have fun. Remember, no matter what happens during the tournament, it’s only a game.

Go Cats!


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This week’s Gallery Hop features artwork from UK HealthCare, Eastern State patients

Patients from the UK Markey Cancer Center and Eastern State Hospital are getting the unique opportunity to feature their artwork during this week’s LexArts Gallery Hop.

The exhibit is part of a program called CREATE, which was founded in partnership by the Lexington community, UK Arts in HealthCare and the UK School of Art and Visual Studies. CREATE aims to expand, promote and raise awareness about the ways in which art positively affects health and wellness. Named “Expressions of Hope and Healing through the Arts,” the Gallery Hop exhibit will be open from 5-8 p.m. this Friday at Arts Place, located at 161 N. Mill St. in Lexington.

In addition to the visual art exhibit, staff and faculty from the School of Art and Visual Studies will demonstrate innovative art applications for enhancing the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Following the Gallery Hop exhibit, CREATE will host a panel discussion from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 18 at Arts Place. Panelists will discuss their approaches to healing through the arts. The panelists include art therapist Fran Belvin, music therapist Austin Robinson, psychologist Gary Stewart, art historian Linda Stratford, Arts in HealthCare specialist Jason Akhtarekhavari and moderator Jesse Mark.

The public is invited to participate with questions and comments. There is no charge for the event, and attendees may bring lunch to enjoy during the discussion.

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Pneumonia in Bangladeshi children is pandemic, and their current healthcare model makes it difficult to treat. But KCH's Dr. Fuchs may have a solution.

UK pediatrician uses his expertise to save children in Bangladesh

In developing countries, pneumonia is the leading cause of disease-related death in children ages 5 and younger, accounting for more than 1 million deaths a year. Most of the world’s pediatric pneumonia cases are condensed to Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, including Bangladesh, where the disease is pandemic.

Bangladeshi children diagnosed with pneumonia also often suffer from malnutrition, an undertreated condition that increases the likelihood of death from pneumonia. In developing countries, more than half of all pediatric deaths in children younger than 5 are associated with a moderate to severe malnutrition diagnosis. If both conditions are not treated, children are susceptible to recurrent pneumonia and further health complications that can lead to death.

Now, after years of researching this problem, Dr. George Fuchs, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, is working to improve the care Bangladeshi children receive and to reduce the number of deaths related to pneumonia and malnutrition.

Through his research, Fuchs found barriers in the Bangladesh healthcare system that delayed care for children suffering from severe pneumonia and underlying nutritional deficiencies. A scarcity of hospital beds, limited pediatric resources and practical barriers  such as the burden of hospitalization on the family  prevent children from receiving sufficient treatment for both conditions. Fuchs and collaborators at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, with funding from UNICEF and UBS Optimus Foundation, proposed a solution to address these health system barriers and decrease child mortality in Bangladesh.

The Day-Care Approach

Fuchs, who has studied nutritional deficiencies and interventions in developing countries since the late 1980s, is conducting a multisite trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment method called the Day-Care Approach (DCA). This new pediatric care model responds to a lack of hospital beds and pediatric resources by diverting children with severe illness to outpatient, or day-care, clinics.

These day-care clinics provide safe and effective therapies for severe forms of pneumonia and malnutrition, as well as diarrhea and other common illnesses, during the daytime hours. Previous studies in controlled settings have shown the success of the DCA model in treating severe pneumonia and malnutrition. Compared with traditional hospital care, the DCA system model reduces healthcare costs by a third. Fuchs and his colleagues are now testing a scaled-up version of the DCA model in the Bangladesh healthcare system.

“I realized these children were not getting treatment, and these are really sick kids, so I said, ‘Let’s at least try something else with an outpatient approach,’” Fuchs said. “It has to be better than the alternative, which is no care.”

Since January 2015, Fuchs has collected and analyzed outcome data from patients treated in the DCA model and compared it to data from patients in the existing model of hospitalized care. In the existing healthcare system, community health workers identify children with pneumonia and refer them to local health clinics, where their symptoms are categorized as moderate or severe. Those children in the moderate category are sent home with 48-hour antibiotics.

However, children presenting to the local clinic with severe pneumonia and those who fail the 48 hours of antibiotics are sent to the hospital for supportive therapies, such as airway suction, fluids, nutrition, antibiotics and constant oversight.

In the DCA model, children receive the same initial treatment, with community health workers locating pneumonia cases and determining severity. What’s different is that children with severe pneumonia or those who fail antibiotics at home are sent directly to the day-care clinic, where they receive supportive therapies throughout the day. They then return to their homes in the evening and come back for care the following morning. Hospitalization occurs only if the treatment available through the day-care service fails.

According to Fuchs, an initial set of studies over 10 years indicates the DCA model is a viable and sustainable system with the potential to reduce the rates of pediatric mortality caused by pneumonia and malnutrition. The DCA model is also much less costly for both the health system and for families seeking treatment. While data collection is ongoing for the current trial, Fuchs is encouraged by the preliminary analysis.

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DCA model overcomes barriers to care

The DCA system also proved more feasible and desirable for Bangladeshi families. In the traditional Bangladeshi household, the mother cares for multiple children throughout the day while the father works outside the home. As the primary caregivers, mothers confront practical barriers to accessing treatment for one child. The DCA system delivers advanced care so a child doesn’t require a burdensome and costly hospital stay, which families avoid to the point of not seeking treatment.

“The underlying problem is there are not enough hospital beds,” Fuchs said. “Another obstacle is mothers are required to stay with children in the hospital, but they often leave against medical advice or won’t go in the first place because of other important family responsibilities at home.”

Fuchs said health workers in Bangladesh have embraced the DCA intervention as a beneficial treatment system for pediatric pneumonia. If it’s successful on a larger scale, the cost-effective DCA model holds the promise of reducing the occupancy of scarce pediatric beds in regional hospitals, which can be used for children with other illnesses. Fuchs and his collaborators are working with government officials and Bangladeshi health agencies to implement the system as a viable and sustainable replacement for the existing pediatric care system.


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Fainting

Women who experience a fainting spell should talk with their doctor

Dr. Gretchen Wells

Written by Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Women’s Heart Health Program.

Syncope, the medical term for fainting, is not uncommon in women. In fact, more than 40 percent of women will experience a fainting spell at some point in their life. Syncope refers to a temporary loss of consciousness and shouldn’t be confused with dizziness or feeling lightheaded.

The good news is that syncope is usually benign. Most of the time, it occurs in response to a trigger, such as standing too long, overheating or emotional stress. This is known as a vasovagal episode. Individuals with vasovagal syncope may feel lightheaded, have pale and clammy skin, be nauseated, have tunnel vision, feel warm all over, yawn, or have blurred vision before actually losing consciousness. This cause of syncope is best treated with lifestyle modification including adequate hydration.

However, it is important to consult with a physician after experiencing a fainting spell  particularly for patients who are 70 or older, as serious cardiac causes are more common in this age group.

Earlier this month, the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society released the 2017 Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Patients with Syncope. If you experience a fainting spell, your cardiologist will follow these updated guidelines in order to evaluate you. Your physician will perform a physical examination and obtain a detailed medical history, which can provide the most reliable information regarding the cause of syncope. An EKG may also be performed to check for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. In older women, risk factors for syncope include atrial fibrillation, heart failure, aortic stenosis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Participation in competitive sports is generally not recommended for patients experiencing syncope until a serious underlying cause has been excluded.

If you have a serious underlying medical condition (for example, a congenital heart problem) and experience syncope, hospitalization may be necessary, especially if syncope is related to this condition.


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A routine checkup could save your life – just ask Claudia Hall

While battling a cold and trying to prepare for her daughter’s college graduation party the next day, Claudia Hall considered skipping her annual checkup with her gynecologist in May 2014. The Lexington resident figured she would simply postpone the appointment a week or two. But after finding out the next best appointment time for her was nearly three months away, she decided to go ahead with the checkup.

“I said, ‘No, I don’t want to let that go that long,'” Hall said. “And I tell you that because it saved my life.”

At the appointment with UK HealthCare OB-GYN Dr. Wendy Jackson, Hall underwent the usual tests and checks, including a digital rectal exam, generally performed on female patients over the age of 40. The exam revealed some troubling news: a large mass in Hall’s rectum.

‘A whirlwind’

Jackson made an appointment for Hall to see UK Markey Cancer Center colorectal surgeon Dr. Sandra Beck the following week. Despite the news, Hall said her weekend continued as planned.

“We went on with my daughter’s graduation – that’s something she can’t do over,” she said. “But I was in Markey that next Tuesday, and from then on it was sort of a whirlwind.”

After several rounds of testing, Hall had a diagnosis: squamous cell carcinoma. The news came as a shock to the healthy, fit mother of two who had no family history of colorectal cancer and had received a clean colonoscopy just three years before.

“I was pretty much asymptomatic,” Hall said. “The only problem I had was sort of a pain on the right side of my hip.”

At Markey, Hall first underwent one chemotherapy infusion, a round of oral chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments over the course of six weeks, all in an effort to reduce or eliminate her tumor prior to surgery.

Team of experts works together

The tumor’s location made it tricky to determine whether its point of origin was the colon or cervix, but it was fortunate that the tumor had not spread elsewhere in her body, Hall said. However, the disease had affected such a large area of her gastrointestinal tract that much of that tract couldn’t be salvaged. After she had recovered from radiation, Hall was scheduled for a complex combined surgery to remove all the areas where the tumor had been, including the entire rectum, anus and the back of the vaginal wall. Beck, along with Markey gynecologic oncologist Dr. Rachel Miller removed the diseased areas, while UK plastic surgeon Dr. James Liau reconstructed the vaginal wall using skin and muscle from her abdominal wall.

“This surgery is not very common, but we often do combined procedures for complicated tumors like this at UK,” Beck said. “It’s great for us to have all the experts in these fields to be able to provide this level of care for our patients.”

As a result of her extensive treatment, Hall is now in remission and has been cancer-free for more than two years. The surgery has left her with one major side effect, though: a permanent colostomy, which is an opening in the body (known as a stoma) that connects the colon to the surface of the abdomen.

Dealing with such a major alteration to the body can be hard for many patients, but Hall is eternally optimistic – and realistic – about her lifelong need for the device.

“It’s been life-changing,” she said. “But I’m blessed. I’m grateful for it, because without it, I can’t live.”

Working to help others

And although the bubbly, energetic Hall describes herself as a “talker,” she says she initially didn’t share many details of her battle with cancer.

“Part of it could have been the type of cancer, because you know not everybody wants to hear it,” Hall said. “I didn’t share it with many people, just my family and a few close friends.”

In 2015, Hall joined Markey’s Patient Advisory Group, a committee of cancer survivors who meet once a month to discuss issues and offer ideas on various facets of the patient experience at Markey. Meeting other survivors and hearing their stories inspired her to be more open about her personal ordeal.

“I thought I might be able to help somebody with my story,” she said. “And I started talking about it just a little bit more here and there.”

Through her connection with the advisory group, Hall was one of a small group of patients to attend Markey’s Cancer Moonshot Summit last summer, held in conjunction with the national Summit hosted in Washington, D.C. More than 100 people attended the summit, including cancer physicians, researchers, staff, patients, caregivers, philanthropists and others who play a role in cancer care. As an attendee, Hall worked with a team of healthcare staff to discuss barriers to cancer research and care, creating a list of specific problems and suggested solutions that were sent directly to the White House for consideration.

She’s also become passionate about educating others about another procedure that has made life with the stoma a little easier – a process called irrigation, which allows the patient to regulate their bowel movements to a schedule, reducing the need for the actual colostomy bag. Now that she’s familiar with the process, she says she sometimes gets called in by her doctors to counsel other patients dealing with similar issues. Her willingness to accept the changes to her body and move forward makes her an inspiration to others, Beck said.

“No one wants to have their body altered to fight cancer,” Beck said. “But she has really taken ownership of her health and embraced the ‘new Claudia.’ She has remained positive and has always worked with us as part of her team.”

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At UK HealthCare, you’re a part of a team

The “team” aspect of Hall’s care is important ­– in total, six different specialists and their respective staffs cared for Hall throughout her treatment. From Jackson’s initial discovery and referral from Hall’s annual exam, to the chemo prescribed by Markey medical oncologist Dr. Philip DeSimone and the radiation schedule given by radiation oncologist Dr. William St. Clair, to the combined surgeries performed by Beck, Miller and Liau, Hall experienced a range of care that only the most advanced medical centers in the country can provide. As the “lead” on her care, Hall says Beck gave her a pep talk on the importance of being part of the team before treatment began.

“Initially when I went to see her – I’ll never forget this – she said, ‘We are a team here,'” Hall said. “‘I’m your coach and you’re my quarterback.’ And we really are a team at UK.”

These days, life has largely returned to normal for Hall, who still maintains an active lifestyle. She and her husband regularly boat on Lake Barkley, and she enjoys cooking, exercising and watching after her “grand-dog,” Kona. She stresses the importance of being proactive in your own healthcare, noting that knowing about any potential health risks is far better than not knowing.

“I was doing everything right, and it just happens sometimes,” she said. “But I’m very thankful I didn’t skip that appointment that day, because I’ve often wondered what would’ve happened if I’d waited.”


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Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death from trauma. Severe bleeding can lead to death well before paramedics can respond.

In an emergency, follow these steps to stop severe bleeding in others

Hannah Anderson, PA

Written by Hannah Anderson, physician assistant for UK HealthCare Trauma & Acute Surgery, and Amanda Rist, injury prevention/outreach coordinator for UK HealthCare Trauma & Acute Care Surgery.

Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death from trauma. Severe bleeding can result in death within minutes, before paramedics have a chance to respond. In some cases, the difference between life and death for the victim of an incident is the bravery of a bystander.

How to stop severe bleeding

Research suggests bystanders with little or no scientific training can save lives during an emergency situation. Just like responding to respiratory distress with CPR or intervening with an automatic defibrillator (AED) during cardiac arrest, compressing a wound after a traumatic injury improves the chances of survival for trauma victims. You can turn bystander helplessness into heroism by remembering the following actions:

  • Make sure the scene is safe and call 911. You cannot help anyone if you become injured, so be sure to do this before attending to an injured person.
  • Find the source of the bleeding and apply firm, steady pressure with both hands. If you have a first-aid kit, use safety gloves and cover the wound with a clean bandage. In the absence of a clean cloth, pack the wound using a shirt or cloth.
  • Continue applying pressure until first responders arrive.

Class offering: ‘Stop the Bleed’

Members of the UK HealthCare trauma program are offering a course called Stop the Bleed, an initiative developed by the American College of Surgeons and The Hartford Consensus to train the public. Classes are open to anyone in the community interested in developing life-saving skills, and the first classes will be held at Tates Creek High School on March 28-29. Contact amanda.rist@uky.edu for more information about hosting a class free of charge.

You can learn more tips to Stop the Bleed at http://www.bleedingcontrol.org.


Next steps:

  • The UK HealthCare trauma program is one of only three American College of Surgeons accredited Level 1 Trauma Centers serving Kentucky. Find out more.
  • Learning CPR is important for anyone, and it can be the difference between someone living and dying. Are you familiar with CPR’s five steps? Visit our website to find out.
sexual violence prevention

Intervention program helps prevent sexual violence in high schools, UK researchers say

University of Kentucky researchers have observed a significant reduction in sexual violence perpetration and victimization among Kentucky high school students, according to a recently published study on the “Green Dot” bystander intervention program.

Led by Ann Coker and Heather Bush of the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW), the study is the largest and longest randomized controlled trial of bystander intervention programs focusing on sexual violence prevention in high schools. Published this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study reveals the implementation of Green Dot in Kentucky high schools decreased not only sexual violence perpetration, but related forms of violence including sexual harassment, stalking and dating violence.

Green Dot, designed by former UK faculty member Dorothy Edwards, has been in use at the university since 2008. It teaches students how to identify situations that could lead to an act of violence (represented on incident maps by a red dot) and shows them how to intervene safely and effectively. A “green dot” represents “any behavior‚ choice‚ word or attitude that promotes safety for all our citizens and communicates utter intolerance for violence.”

“This research is great news for parents, schools, young adults and adolescents across Kentucky and the USA,” said Coker, who is the Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair in CRVAW and professor in the UK College of Medicine. “We found that sexual violence can be prevented  this violence is not inevitable. Adolescents and young adults can learn how to identify risky situations and safely intervene to prevent violence.”

Targeting a serious issue in Kentucky

Sexual violence continues to be a serious problem for Kentucky teens. One in seven high school students in Kentucky experience physical dating violence, and one in 11 have had unwanted sex because they were physically forced or too intoxicated to give consent. Bystander training programs such as Green Dot teach individuals how to recognize situations or behaviors that may become violent and intervene to reduce the likelihood of violence.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study followed 26 Kentucky high schools over the past five years. Half of the schools were assigned to receive the Green Dot intervention, with the others serving as the study’s control group. Interventions were conducted by trained rape crisis educators. The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs served as a community partner in the trial and covered the cost of Green Dot training for at least one staff person at each regional center across Kentucky. By using these existing resources, the schools encountered no additional costs to implement the program.

The interventions were implemented in two phases. In Phase 1, rape crisis educators delivered Green Dot speeches to all students in the intervention schools. In Phase 2, educators implemented intensive bystander training. This training was conducted in smaller groups by high school students perceived as leaders by their peers (12-15 percent of the student body).

Changing the culture takes time

Each spring from 2010 to 2014, students at each school completed anonymous surveys to measure the frequency of violence they personally experienced, termed “victimization,” as well as the frequency of violence they personally inflicted, termed “perpetration.” All students, in both intervention and control schools, received hotline numbers and website information. Rape crisis staff were also available at each school to talk with any students who needed assistance.

A total of 89,707 surveys were completed over the five-year period, and researchers compared survey-reported data before program implementation with rates from 2010-14. Regarding sexual violence victimization, rates were 12 to 13 percent lower in the intervention versus control schools in years three and four, respectively. This translates to 120 fewer sexually violent events in year three, and 88 fewer in year four, indicating that sufficient time is required to see the ultimate effect of the training on violent behaviors.

“In this study we sought to change the culture that supports violence in high schools, and making these changes requires time,” Coker said. “Fortunately, we had five years to implement and evaluate these changes and we definitely needed all five years. We saw reductions in violence acceptance and increases in bystander actions in the second and third years of the study, but we did not see significant and consistent reductions in sexual violence and other forms of violence until the fourth and fifth years of the study when Green Dot training was fully implemented.”

UK President Eli Capilouto praised the study and the Green Dot program for making both college campuses and high schools safer.

“As educators, we have an obligation to provide our students with a safe place to live and learn,” Capilouto said. “The Green Dot program was ahead of the curve when it was established at the University of Kentucky. Today, it is an effective bystander intervention training tool on college campuses across the country, and the results of the Center for Research on Violence Against Women’s study illustrates its effectiveness in high schools. Providing this important training earlier supports all our efforts to make high schools and college campuses safer for all people.”


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UK Shriners

UK Pediatric Orthopaedics, UK Advanced Eye Care moving into new Shriners building

The new Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center ‒ Lexington building on the UK HealthCare campus, which broke ground in March 2015, will open this spring.

In addition to Shriners, the building will be home to UK Pediatric Orthopaedics and will provide leased space for UK Ophthalmology (now renamed UK Advanced Eye Care).

Current locations of UK Advanced Eye Care along with the UK HealthCare Optical (formerly known as University Optical) will close March 17. They will reopen in the Shriners Building on March 20.

Pediatric orthopaedics patients will be seen in the new Shriners facility beginning April 17, although there will be a period of transition during which patients may be seen at either the current clinic within the Kentucky Clinic building or in the new Shriners space. During this transition, which is expected to last four weeks, parents whose children have a pediatric orthopaedics appointment are encouraged to call 800-444-8314 (toll-free) in advance to confirm where they will be seen.

Inpatient care for pediatric orthopaedics patients will be provided at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Members of UK health plans, including the UK-HMO and PPO/EPO options, will see no change in their copay/out-of-pocket charge with this move.

The new Shriners, which will be an outpatient surgical and rehabilitation center, was built on land that Shriners leased from UK. It remains a separate entity that is not owned or managed by UK.

UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine providers serve as the pediatric orthopaedic specialists for Shriners, an arrangement that has been in place since the 1970s.

The proximity of Shriners to Kentucky Children’s Hospital will facilitate collaboration of Shriners’ pediatric orthopaedic expertise and UK HealthCare’s specialty and subspecialty care for children with complex conditions.

Patients and families with appointments in the new facility will park in the UK HealthCare Parking Garage located just across Conn Terrace from Shriners. The building can be accessed via a pedestrian bridge at Level C of the garage.


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Forty seven UK students, faculty and community members will spend their spring break in Ecuador, providing care to those in need.

UK students work across disciplines to provide health services in Ecuador

A group of UK students, faculty and community members will be spending their spring break in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, on an interdisciplinary health brigade experience with Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG).

The Centro de Salud Hombro a Hombro clinic, the primary worksite for UK’s STSG volunteers, provides medical care, prevention services, oral health and school-based services to the community. The clinic opened its doors 10 years ago as an initiative led by Dr. Thomas Young, a pediatrician at UK HealthCare.

“It is so exciting to celebrate 10 years of delivering comprehensive health services in this community in Ecuador,” Young said. “STSG and our Ecuadorian partners have provided tens of thousands of patients with services and service learning opportunities for UK students, staff and faculty. We plan to continue to dream big.”

The brigade is a culmination of months of preparation that included the Interprofessional Teamwork in Global Health course. As part of this course, students learned about Ecuador, how to work in an interprofessional environment, and how to apply basic principles of cultural anthropology, sociology, diversity and healthcare to the experience.

This year’s brigade will include students from a variety of colleges including Arts and Sciences, Education, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Dentistry.

Whitney White, a third-year dentistry student, said that she hopes to gain an appreciation for Ecuadorian culture and gain valuable skills, which will allow her to make faster and better diagnoses.

“I’m expecting to do a lot of extractions, oral hygiene instruction and diet counseling,” White said. “This experience will also be unique and rewarding because I will work outside of my comfort zone. I know I will return with a new appreciation for how I perform dentistry at home.”


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