Photo gallery: WWE star visits Kentucky Children's Hospital

WWE star brings cheer to patients at Kentucky Children’s Hospital

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, WWE star wrestler Jinder Mahal visited kids, families and staff at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, and our wrestling superfans were thrilled to meet him!

Check out the photos below.


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Join us this Saturday for our annual breakfast with Santa

Santa will make his annual visit to UK HealthCare this weekend, along with UK athletes, cheerleaders and mascots to delight and entertain Kentucky Children’s Hospital patients and UK HealthCare families. Breakfast will be provided at 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 2 in the UK Chandler Hospital Dining facility in Pavilion A.

Children will have the opportunity to share their holiday wish list with Santa, sing carols and receive goodies handed out by UK athletes and volunteers.

Tickets are available now in the Pavilion H/A corridor from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. until sold out. For more information, call Volunteer Services at 323-6023.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, which provides more than 30 advanced sub-specialty programs in children’s health.
  • Interested in donating to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital? Visit Give to KCH to learn more about ways you can support our mission.

UK study finds smoke-free laws lead to reduced rates of lung cancer

A recent study by UK’s BREATHE (Bridging Research Efforts and Advocacy Toward Healthy Environments) shows that fewer new cases of lung cancer were found in communities with strong smoke-free workplace laws.

Strong smoke-free laws are known to improve public health by lowering rates of heart attack, stroke, asthma and emphysema. This study, led by Ellen Hahn, PhD, director of BREATHE and professor in the UK College of Nursing, is the first to show that new cases of lung cancer are lower when communities enact strong smoke-free laws.

The results of the study were published in Cancer, an American Cancer Society journal dedicated to providing clinicians with information on diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Benefits of stronger smoke-free laws

Kentucky has more cases of lung cancer than any other state, and its mortality rate is 50 percent higher than the national average. Hahn and her team studied whether new cases of lung cancer in Kentucky were lower, higher or stable in communities with smoke-free laws.

“Kentucky has one of the highest adult cigarette smoking rates and the highest rate of new lung cancer cases in the nation,” Hahn said. “Only one-third of Kentuckians are protected by strong smoke-free workplace laws.”

Though other environmental factors play a part in the development of lung cancer, smoking and secondhand smoke exposure are the root cause of the disease.

“This new study shows that having strong smoke-free workplace laws in place to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke is one more way we can help protect our citizens from this devastating disease,” said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center.

Creating more smoke-free workplaces

Using data compiled from the Kentucky Cancer Registry, the Cancer Research Informatics Shared Resource Facility and Markey, researchers looked at 20 years of new lung cancer diagnoses among Kentuckians age 50 and over in communities with strong, moderate and weak smoke-free laws.

Lung cancer incidence was 8 percent lower in communities with strong smoke-free workplace laws compared to communities without smoke-free laws. Researchers did not find differences in lung cancer rates between communities with moderate or weak smoke-free laws and those without any smoke-free laws.

These findings could be used to prompt legislation to create more communities with strong smoke-free workplace laws in Kentucky.

“Local government can play a critical role in preventing lung cancer,” said Hahn. “Elected officials can ensure that all workers and the public are protected from secondhand smoke by passing strong smoke-free laws with few or no exceptions.”

BREATHE is a multi-disciplinary research, outreach, and practice collaborative of the UK College of Nursing. Its mission is to promote lung health and healthy environments to achieve health equity through research, community outreach and empowerment, advocacy and policy development and access to health services.

For more information about BREATHE, visit www.breathe.uky.eduClick here to see the map and listings of smoke-free ordinances in Kentucky.


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UK researcher using $2.9M grant to treat cocaine-use disorder

Does reducing the use of cocaine, but not abstaining from the substance entirely, produce health benefits? There’s currently little research available that answers that question.

William Stoops, PhD, professor in the UK College of Medicine and director of regulatory knowledge and support for the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, has received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to find more answers.

Stoops hopes his research will contribute to the evolving knowledge of treatment for cocaine-use disorder (CUD), a substance-use disorder that currently has no well-established treatment methods.

“Facilities treating cocaine-use disorder are doing what they can, but there is no common practice,” Stoops said.

And while medications are available for other common substance-use disorders including opioid-use disorder and alcohol-use disorder, no medication is available to treat CUD.

Finding a more successful treatment model

Another challenge is that under the current model, CUD treatment is considered “successful” only if a patient abstains entirely from using the substance. Stoops points out that although abstinence is the ideal outcome, such a “total” fix is not the same measure of success used in treating other chronic diseases.

“Abstinence may be too high of a bar to set. We don’t do that with other chronic diseases – we focus more on reduction or management, like when treating someone for high blood pressure,” he said.

Stoops, along with interdisciplinary team members from the departments of behavioral science, psychiatry, internal medicine and psychology at UK, hope to determine if reduced cocaine use confers health benefits to individuals with CUD. He hypothesizes that a reduction will lead to improved health, and abstinence will yield even more benefits.

Health and economic benefits

The study will take place over five years and aims to enroll 200 participants (about 40 per year). Participants, who must be between 18 and 65 years old, will be asked to participate in a 12-week intervention. During the intervention, participants will need to be available three days a week for short visits. After the initial 12-week period, there will be long-term follow-up. The clinical component of the study will be conducted through the clinical services unit of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

In addition to helping people manage and treat their CUD, Stoops and the research team are also aware of the economic benefits to more people entering recovery.

“Substance use disorders in general, and CUD specifically are very expensive to the taxpayer. They lead to billions of dollars in lost productivity and healthcare costs each year,” Stoops said.

“Not having an effective, broadly used treatment, combined with the lack of a strong evidence base about whether reduced cocaine use can confer benefit, hampers our ability to help people with CUD.”

If you are interested in participating in or learning more about the study you can find more information at clinicaltrials.gov.


Next steps:

  • Researchers are working hard to identify new treatments and strategies to improve health, but they need healthy participants and those with medical conditions to participate in clinical studies. Find out how you can participate in clinical research at UK HealthCare.
  • Read how UK researchers are using an NIH grant to fight drug abuse in rural Kentucky.
added sugar

Easy ways to cut back on added sugar

Added sugar is sugar or syrup that has been added to foods or beverages when they’re processed or prepared. And if you’re like most Americans, you’re probably consuming way too much of it every day.

Examples of products that contain added sugar include:

  • Beverages such as regular soft drinks and fruit drinks.
  • Candy.
  • Grain-based desserts such as cakes, cookies and pies.
  • Dairy desserts and milk products, including ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk.
  • Other grain-based foods such as cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles.

These kinds of foods have long been cited for contributing to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but recent research has shown that their added sugars can also lead to heart disease.

How much is too much?

The American Heart Association daily recommendations for sugar consumption are no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories for women and no more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories for men.

Unfortunately, many of us have a lot more than that. In fact, the average American consumes nearly 20 teaspoons of sugar each day.

Tips to cut sugar

November is the Eat Smart Month, and the American Heart Association offers the following tips to help you reign in your sweet tooth:

  • Replace a few of your beverages during the week with water.
  • Always check nutrition labels before you buy food and drinks, and pay attention to the sugar content. Keep in mind that added sugars go by many names, including sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, agave nectar and honey.
  • Choose simple foods over heavily processed ones.
  • Rinse fruits if they are canned in syrup.
  • Swap out a regular soda for a diet soda.
  • Add fruit slices or a splash of fruit juice to your water for added flavor.
  • If you like fizzy drinks, try sparkling water.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your coffee and tea.

Check out the AHA’s Eat Smart Month infographic below to learn more!


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Diagnosed with diabetes? Here’s what you need to know

Laura Hieronymus, DNP, MSEd, MLDE, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE

By Laura Hieronymus, DNP, MSEd, RN, MLDE, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE, associate director for education and quality services at the UK HealthCare Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center

When you have diabetes, you are certainly not alone. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting more than 30 million people in the U.S. About 5 percent of people with diabetes have Type 1. Type 2 diabetes is more common and occurs in approximately 95 percent of those with diabetes. If you are a woman with a history of gestational diabetes during pregnancy, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as you age is 40 to 60 percent and increases to 50 to 75 percent if you are obese.

Before developing Type 2 diabetes, many people experience pre-diabetes. This is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Experts estimate that 84 million people age 18 or older have pre-diabetes.

Education is key for self-management 

Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, you will self-manage about 95 percent of your care. This means taking an active role in managing your care. Education and support from diabetes educators is essential to help you develop the skills and confidence to manage your diabetes. Not only should you be well-educated about your diabetes when you are diagnosed, but you should also be educated annually to help prevent complications specific to your treatment goals.

Diabetes self-management education and support can help you adapt when challenges to your usual level of activity, ability to function, health beliefs and/or well-being occur. Also, whenever factors such as other health issues, aging or pregnancy complicate self-management, additional diabetes education is usually necessary.

Do research to find services available for your diabetes self-management education. Check to see if the services are either accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) or recognized by the American Diabetes Association. If you have pre-diabetes, look for a diabetes prevention program (DPP) that has achieved Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognition.

Developing necessary life skills

Lifelong skills, as well as ongoing decision-making support, are necessary to self-manage diabetes. The AADE has developed seven key skills to focus on for optimal diabetes health. They are eating a healthy diet, being active, monitoring, taking medication, problem solving, reducing risks and healthy coping. The diabetes prevention program will help you develop necessary lifestyle skills to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes.

In addition to your diabetes care team, you will ideally have diabetes support from family and friends. Lay health and community health workers who are not diabetes educators may also be instrumental in reinforcing elements of your diabetes treatment plan as well as offering emotional support. Your support system should also encourage follow-up on a routine basis with your diabetes care team and consultation with the team if you have questions or needs.

If you have diabetes – get a referral for diabetes self-management education. Likewise, if you have pre-diabetes, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a certified diabetes prevention program. Take charge, be proactive and seek diabetes education-related services to optimize your health.

For more information about Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center education services, call 859-323-BBDC (2232), option 3.


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UK transplant patient shares emotional bond with family of donor

By early 2016, Conrad Webster was battling to stay alive.

Cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease had destroyed his heart and kidneys, and his health had been deteriorating for nearly a decade. A combined heart-kidney transplant was his only remaining option.

After being turned away by multiple regional transplant centers, he came to the UK Transplant Center, where he was admitted right away and listed for transplant.

In April 2016, West Virginian Tim Maris suffered from pneumonia and a brain hemorrhage that ultimately took his life. Before passing, Tim told his family that he wished to be an organ donor.

Tim’s request saved three lives: One patient received his liver, another received a kidney and Conrad received both his heart and a kidney.

‘I was just so happy to know Tim is still out there’

Working through Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, Tim’s mother, Evelyn, sent a card to Conrad expressing her desire to meet. They began corresponding via letters and phone calls, and made plans for their families to meet in person at KODA’s Donor Family Recognition Ceremony in Lexington.

Conrad, his wife Leticia, and two of their children drove down from Ohio to meet members of Tim’s family: Evelyn, his sister Penny and brother-in-law Howie, and his nephew, Caleb.

“I couldn’t really get any sleep [the night before],” Conrad said. “My nerves were just built up so much.”

The two families spent several hours chatting before the ceremony, sharing stories and pictures from their lives. Representatives from KODA provided a stethoscope to allow Evelyn, Penny and Howie the chance to hear Tim’s heart beating in Conrad’s chest.

Evelyn says that meeting Conrad and his family provided her with some much-needed closure.

“My heart was about to burst, we were so excited,” she said. “It was a joy. I was just so happy to know Tim is still out there.”

A life-changing experience

For Conrad, Tim’s gift completely changed his life. After years of chronic illness, he’s able to do things he never thought he’d have the chance to do again, like travel, prepare his youngest daughters for college and meet his grandchild.

And last October – just six months after receiving his transplant – Conrad and Leticia got married in Florida after 11 years together.

Because of their experiences, members of both families have decided to become organ donors themselves.

“Someone saved my husband, and kids’ father,” Leticia said. “Why not join Donate Life to help another family or multiple families in need?”

Becoming an organ donor

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.

UK Transplant Patient Thankful to Meet Donor Family from University of Kentucky on Vimeo.

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stress-free Thanksgiving

6 steps for a stress-free Thanksgiving

Between cleaning your house, preparing the holiday meal and dealing with family, Thanksgiving can quickly go from celebratory to stressful. Here a few ways to keep stress at a minimum:

1. Ask for help.

Divide and conquer your to-do list with the help of family member or guests. Don’t hesitate to ask for help with food prep and other chores around the house.

2. Take a deep breath.

Practice deep breathing. Taking deep breaths when you get stressed out can lower your heart rate and help your body naturally relax.

Try the 4-7-8 method recommended by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Andrew Weil – breathe in slowly for four counts, hold for seven counts, then exhale for eight counts.

3. Enjoy the atmosphere.

Prepare a feel-good Thanksgiving playlist with music that will make cooking fun and keep your guests in a good mood.

Take regular breaks from preparing dinner to chat with friends and family or simply to rest your feet.

4. Make time for a turkey trot.

Get some exercise earlier in the day, before you sit down at the dinner table.

A brisk 30-minute walk can burn between 100 and 200 calories and help get you on the right side of the day’s calorie count. And not only that, exercise of any kind helps trigger your body’s natural stress-relieving responses.

5. Keep the meal manageable.

If you’re hosting this year’s feast, don’t stress about trying to please everyone. Keep the meal simple and don’t overextend yourself trying to prepare too much.

If guests want a certain type of stuffing, a particular side dish or a special kind of pie that you weren’t planning to make, ask them to bring it.

6. Don’t beat yourself up.

Think about your health this holiday, but remember, it’s just one day.  If you do go for that second slice of pumpkin pie or extra helping of stuffing, it’s not the end of the world. Enjoy yourself and the company of friends and family on Thanksgiving, while resolving to make healthy choices part of your year-round lifestyle.


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UK nursing leaders and alumnae honored for excellence

Current and retired faculty members and distinguished alumnae in the UK College of Nursing have been honored by a number of organizations for their work in the fields of teaching and health care.

Carolyn Williams, dean emeritus of the UK College of Nursing and former president of the American Academy of Nursing, was one of five nurse leaders to receive the academy’s designation of Living Legend, the organization’s highest honor, at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 5.

The Academy recognizes a small number of fellows as Living Legends each year. To be eligible, the Living Legend must have been an academy fellow for at least 15 years and have demonstrated extraordinary, sustained contributions to nursing and healthcare.

Williams was honored for her work in public health epidemiology and nursing education. Her groundbreaking work advocates for community health through population-focused research and care. She was actively involved in efforts that led to the creation of the National Institute for Nursing Research. As dean of the UK College of Nursing, she launched the nation’s first doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program. As president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, she pressed for development of the DNP nationally.

Janie Heath, current dean of the UK College of Nursing, was recognized as a distinguished alumna by her alma mater, the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing on Oct. 27. The award was established by the college and the Alumni Board of Directors to recognize graduates who demonstrate “outstanding leadership related to the field of nursing or healthcare” and who have made “significant clinical, academic, research or other contributions to nursing or health care on a local, state, national or international level.”

In addition, the UK College of Nursing honored five new inductees in its Hall of Fame on Nov. 10 at 21C Hotel in Lexington. The honorees are:

  • Karen S. Hill ’87, chief operating officer/chief nursing officer for Baptist Health in Lexington.
  • Sheila H. Ridner ’78, director at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.
  • Marcia K. Stanhope ’67, former director of Good Samaritan.
  • Colleen H. Swartz ’87 DNP ’11, chief nurse executive/chief administrative officer at UK HealthCare.
  • Gail A. Wolf ’78, former chief nursing officer, University of Pittsburgh Health Care System.

Established in 2006, the College of Nursing Hall of Fame identifies distinguished graduates and their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession.

“Drs. Hill, Ridner, Stanhope, Swartz and Wolf are pioneers who truly embody the Wildcat spirit – a spirit of curiosity and determination,” said Heath. “One that impacts nursing practice through teaching with excellence, advancing scholarly practice, generating nursing science and embracing differences.”


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Markey receives NCI grant to expand tobacco cessation treatment

The UK Markey Cancer Center is one of 22 cancer centers nationwide to receive funding to build and implement tobacco cessation treatment programs via the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Center Cessation Initiative.

In 2017, NCI launched the Cancer Center Cessation Initiative as part of the NCI Cancer Moonshot℠ program. Through this initiative, Markey will receive $253,000 over the next year to help enhance the delivery of tobacco cessation treatments through four major efforts:

  • Refining electronic medical records and clinical workflows to ensure the systematic identification and documentation of smokers and the routine delivery of evidence-based tobacco cessation treatment services.
  • Overcoming patient, clinician, clinic and health system barriers to providing tobacco cessation treatment services.
  • Achieving institutional buy-in that treating tobacco use is a component of organizational “Standard of Care.”
  • Creating mechanisms to sustain tobacco cessation treatment services so that they continue beyond the funding period of the initiative.

Kentucky has more cases of lung cancer than any other state, and its mortality rate is 50 percent higher than the national average. Though other environmental factors play a part in the development of lung cancer, smoking and other uses of tobacco are the root cause of the disease.

“This grant award provides the means for Markey to embark on a clinically important, two-pronged approach to tobacco treatment, one that includes both provider education and patient care,” said Jessica Burris, assistant professor of psychology in the UK College of Arts & Sciences and member of the Markey Cancer Prevention and Control program.

“The goal is to quickly and reliably assess the tobacco use status of each and every patient, and to deliver evidence-based cessation treatment to all tobacco users. With this initiative, the promise of a marked, positive impact on the lives of Markey patients is clear because tobacco treatment is cancer treatment.”


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