UK, UK HealthCare leaders take case for opioid addiction funding to Washington

Kentucky is among the states most ravaged by opioid abuse and drug addiction.

But the University of Kentucky – with researchers and clinicians working across a number of colleges and disciplines – is on the front lines of finding solutions.

Leaders from UK Research and UK HealthCare – along with some of the institution’s most prolific researchers – took their stories of hope and challenge to Washington, D.C., recently to make the case with some of the country’s top elected officials about the need to continue federal funding to address drug addiction and abuse.

“The scourge of opioid abuse and addiction is wreaking havoc on Kentucky. Addiction is a disease of despair, victimizing individuals and communities when they are most vulnerable. It does not discriminate by ZIP code or neighborhood; race or ethnicity – it affects us all,” said UK President Eli Capilouto, who led the delegation to Washington.

“Universities across the country are locked in a fight against opioid abuse. The University of Kentucky is among the leaders, working in partnership with local, state and federal stakeholders to stem the tide of this insidious menace.”

A group of UK representatives – including Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Mark Newman, College of Medicine Dean Bob DiPaola, Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis and Vice President for University Relations Tom Harris – joined Capilouto in meetings with top elected officials in the country over the course of three days recently. Officials included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul as well as U.S. Reps. Hal Rogers, Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Jamie Comer and John Yarmuth.

A second team of UK representatives, led by UK’s Vice President for Administration and External Affairs Mark D. Birdwhistell, included faculty from six different colleges who are engaged in substance abuse and addiction research. The university currently has $22.5 million in research funding around these issues as part of UK’s $330 million research enterprise. UK, in fact, received $11.2 million in research funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse last year alone.

“The breadth of ongoing research in substance abuse by our faculty led to vibrant discussions with congressional staff,” Cassis said. “Everyone had the same goal, and all agreed that support for substance research is critical.”

UK’s opioid-focused research team in Washington included:

  • Carrie Oser, a sociology professor examining health service utilization, drug treatment outcomes and infectious disease prevention among rural residents and minorities.
  • Donald Helme, an associate professor in the UK Department of Communication who focuses on media- and school-based campaigns designed to prevent risky behaviors.
  • Alison Davis, an agricultural economics extension professor who has facilitated a local substance abuse coalition in Russell County, Ky., that is adopting strategies and policies to reduce substance abuse.
  • Mark Fillmore, a professor of psychology focusing research on acute and chronic effects of abused drugs on mental capacity.
  • Kristin Ashford, an associate professor of nursing and co-creator of the Perinatal Assistance and Treatment Home (PATHways), which is helping pregnant women who use opioids. Since the program launched in 2014, more than 150 women have received treatment through PATHways; of those, 77 percent who were admitted to labor and delivery tested negative for illicit drug use.
  • Jeffery Talbert, a pharmacy professor who focuses his research on the intersection of policy decisions and health outcomes.
  • April Young, an assistant professor of public health who works with the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research and is helping lead a $1.16 million cooperative research effort to build community-grounded health responses to combat opioid abuse in Appalachia.

“Their work is making a difference,” Birdwhistell said. “But they will be the first to tell you that progress is not possible without the support they receive from our lawmakers and federal funding for their research efforts. Together, we can turn the tide, if we remain focused.”

Next steps:

Auditorium is renamed in honor of Dr. Michael Karpf and his wife, Ellen

On Oct. 18, during a celebration of former Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf and his wife, Ellen, UK President Eli Capilouto announced that the UK Albert B. Chandler Pavilion A auditorium will now be known as the Karpf Auditorium in the couple’s honor.

Karpf retired in September after helping create a smooth transition with his successor, Dr. Mark F. Newman.

Karpf came to UK from UCLA in 2003 with the firm belief that art can make a difference in patient care. This principle guided Karpf to build a healthcare facility that would “make every visitor, patient and staff member feel comfortable and at home” and “complement and enhance the healing environment.”

The auditorium is just a part of that building, Pavilion A, and even inside the auditorium the details reinforce Karpf’s vision. The seats are upholstered in a specially commissioned fabric reminiscent of a field of flowers, a design inspired by Ellen Karpf’s admiration of a similar interior at Disney Hall in Los Angeles.

Since Pavilion A opened in May 2011, the 305-seat auditorium has served as a high-tech education center where physicians and staff can take part in grand rounds and other learning opportunities.

In the past six years, the auditorium has hosted international scientific symposia, policy summits, movies, variety shows, employee training and recognition programs, masters and doctoral thesis programs, major hospital announcements, and theater and musical performances from opera to bluegrass.

The auditorium is also an integral part of the UK Arts in HealthCare program, which features a large and internationally recognized visual arts collection and an endowed performing arts program.

When the auditorium was constructed and designed with a grant from the Sarah Scaife Foundation, Scaife Foundation Chair Richard Scaife, a longtime friend of the Karpfs, asked that the auditorium be named in honor of the couple at the appropriate time in the future.

“Mike and Ellen Karpf will never know the names of all the families and patients they’ve touched with their vision, even though I know that the Karpfs make an effort to try to meet them and uplift them in their times of need. But that is the highest form of giving — the type that serves many who may never know their names — and which echoes through generations,” Capilouto said.

See more photos of the Karpf Auditorium below.

Next steps:

  • Read about the award-winning UK Arts in HealthCare program, which brings the work of local, national and international artists into our hospitals and clinics.
  • Earlier this year, Dr. Karpf received the Kentucky Hospital Association’s highest honor for his career of exceptional service to UK HealthCare, the community and the state. Learn more about Dr. Karpf’s recognition.
Dr. Mark Newman

Listen: Dr. Mark Newman talks about coming home to Kentucky

In September, UK HealthCare welcomed Dr. Mark F. Newman as its new executive vice president for health affairs. An Owensboro, Ky., native, Newman comes to UK from Duke University Medical Center, where he had a distinguished career in medicine, working in anesthesiology and healthcare management.

In his new role, Newman will be responsible for UK HealthCare, the clinical enterprise of the University of Kentucky, and will also work with the provost to guide the UK College of Medicine.

Newman sat down with us to discuss his approach to taking on this new role, how his Kentucky roots helped guide him in life, his thoughts on what UK HealthCare means to the Commonwealth and more.

Listen to the podcast below!

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Dr. Mark Newman

Video: Joining UK HealthCare is a homecoming for Dr. Newman

Don’t miss our video interview with Dr. Newman at the end of this blog post!

Dr. Mark Newman’s kids have grown up in North Carolina, where he has practiced medicine for nearly 20 years.

But when Newman talks about home, there’s no mistaking what he means.

“When I say let’s go home,” Newman said recently, “it has always been about going to Kentucky.”

Coming home has taken on even more importance to Newman as he recently assumed the pivotal leadership position as UK’s executive vice president for health affairs.

Newman now leads UK HealthCare, Kentucky’s largest healthcare system – a sprawling, $1.5 billion enterprise that will discharge nearly 40,000 patients this year, includes the state’s only nationally recognized cancer center and is forging partnerships throughout the Commonwealth to provide advanced, subspecialty care to those who need it most.

“I think when you see the kind of trajectory that UK HealthCare has been on, you see the opportunity to continue to drive a difference, to be able to reach out and be the university and the healthcare for Kentucky,” Newman said. “You see the opportunity to make that difference. What we’ve done has really put us on a firm foundation to continue to build and reach out to improve the healthcare of Kentucky.”

To that bold vision and direction, Newman brings a distinctive blend of skills, service and background.

He grew up on a family farm near Owensboro, Ky., was educated in Kentucky schools and universities and then served in the Air Force, where he says he received “leadership training in an environment where there’s an expectation that you’re going to learn and make mistakes.”

That environment included deployments in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Since 1992, he has served at Duke University, most recently as president of the Private Diagnostic Clinic, one of nation’s leading physician practice plans. A former department chair and professor of medicine, Newman has published and practiced extensively as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist.

It’s a career that has taken him to considerable professional heights and around the globe, serving his country during times of strife and need.

Now, he has been called to serve again – this time at the place he has always called home.

“This seems like kind of a dream come true for me,” Newman said. “At each step, you see the opportunities to reach out and help people. To make a difference. I’m excited to work to create an even greater vision and an even greater tomorrow, not only as part of this university, but for the entire state of Kentucky.”

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Dr. Mark Newman

Welcome, Dr. Mark Newman!

UK HealthCare is excited to welcome Dr. Mark F. Newman as its new executive vice president for health affairs. He is responsible for UK HealthCare, the clinical enterprise of the University of Kentucky, and also oversees the UK College of Medicine in conjunction with the provost.

Newman joins UK from Duke University Medical Center, where he had a distinguished career in medicine, specializing in anesthesiology, as well as in healthcare management.

In joining UK, Newman is returning to his home state of Kentucky. He is an Owensboro native and grew up on his family’s farm in Ohio County. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and went on to attend the University of Louisville College of Medicine on an Air Force Health Professions Scholarship. He earned a medical degree in 1985 and went on to residency training in anesthesiology at the U.S. Air Force’s Wilford Hall Ambulatory Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He followed that with a fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesiology and transesophageal echocardiography at Duke University Medical Center.

After completing his medical education, Dr. Newman returned to active duty in the Air Force and was deployed in Operations Desert Shield, Just Cause and Desert Storm. He also practiced anesthesiology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio.

Later, at Duke, Dr. Newman served as chief of cardiothoracic anesthesiology, chair of anesthesiology, and chairman of the board and then-president of the Duke Private Diagnostic Clinic – Duke’s physician practice organization. He was named the Merel H. Harmel Distinguished Professor of Anesthesiology in 2005 and currently holds research grants of more than $10.5 million.

Newman is a prolific author of medical publications, chapters, editorials and books. He is a 2010 Alumni Fellow of the UofL School of Medicine and received the 2012 Duke Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award.

He takes the helm at UK HealthCare during a period of rapid growth and expansion. UK HealthCare and the UK College of Medicine make up the Commonwealth’s largest academic medical center, offering advanced subspecialty care to the people of the state and the region and creating outreach programs throughout the state with the aim of giving people access to high-quality care close to where they live.

Newman and his wife, Susan, have three adult children.

Next steps:

Dr. Michael Karpf

Karpf honored for his leadership, dedication to UK HealthCare

Members of the UK HealthCare and UK communities gathered on Sept. 13 to honor the career and leadership of UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf as he prepares to complete his last week in the role he has held for the past 14 years. Dr. Mark Newman will begin his post as the new EVPHA beginning Sept. 18.

“It’s a pleasure to honor an individual who has so deeply impacted our campus and our Commonwealth,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Thanks to his vision and his leadership, we now ensure that Kentuckians with complex illnesses do not have to leave the state to receive top-quality care.”

Under Karpf’s leadership, UK has invested close to $2 billion for faculty recruitment, program development, technology acquisition and facilities, while also fostering partnerships with leading regional health providers across the state to extend care to those who need it most.

Since being recruited to UK in 2003 from UCLA, Karpf has developed advanced subspecialty care programs comparable to those available at the nation’s very best referral, research-intensive academic medical centers. This has been achieved in great part through the recruitment of outstanding physicians and aggressively built, nationally competitive tertiary and quaternary programs, which have grown dramatically both in volume and quality.

Karpf plans to transition to a part-time faculty position working on health service and health policy issues and plans to stay involved in the Arts in Healthcare program.

“Our journey together from a small academic medical center (AMC) to one of the nation’s larger AMCs has certainly been challenging yet significantly more rewarding than I could have ever imagined,” Karpf said. “Ellen and I cherish the wonderful friends we have made here, and we intend to continue to make this our home.”

In addition to focusing on advanced subspecialty care on campus, Karpf has also strived to develop strong relationships with community providers by expanding and improving the services they can offer. The culmination of these efforts has been the launching of the Kentucky Health Collaborative, 10 major systems in Kentucky comprising more than 50 hospitals working together to deliver value-based care – producing the best outcomes at the highest level of efficiency.

Check out some photos from Dr. Karpf’s celebration!

Next steps:

Mark Newman

Ky. native Dr. Mark Newman selected to lead UK HealthCare

UK President Eli Capilouto on Friday announced that the Dr. Mark F. Newman, the leader of one of the country’s largest and most renowned academic physician practice plans, will be UK’s new executive vice president for health affairs (EVPHA). He will begin his post at UK in October.

Dr. Mark F. Newman

Dr. Mark F. Newman

Dr. Newman is a native of Kentucky and is an anesthesiologist currently serving as president of Private Diagnostic Clinic, the physician practice plan for Duke University’s Medical Center, a position he has held since 2014.

Born and raised in Owensboro and a veteran of the Air Force, Newman has been at Duke since 1992 and has held a variety of increasingly senior positions, including professor of medicine and chair of anesthesiology.

As the new EVPHA, he will succeed Dr. Michael Karpf, who has led UK HealthCare for nearly 15 years through a remarkable transformation, growing to a $1.5 billion enterprise with nearly 40,000 inpatient discharges and 1.5 million clinic and outpatient hospital visits annually.

“We are grateful for the members of our search committee and the many faculty and staff who took part and provided input during this thorough process to identify a new EVPHA,” Capilouto said. “Dr. Newman’s background as a clinician-scientist, a chairman, a hospital leader and president of a large multispecialty physician group, as well as his love for the Commonwealth and its people, give him unique insight and experience to lead our academic medical campus.”

Newman grew up in Kentucky as part of a farm family with a strong focus on education. He stayed close to home to attend Western Kentucky University to help his family while his father was ill and began running the family farm after his father passed away. He received the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship to attend medical school at the University of Louisville.

He then completed a residency in the Air Force and a fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesiology and transesophageal echocardiography at Duke University Medical Center before returning to active duty at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Medical Center, a U.S. Air Force facility. He was deployed for Operation “Just Cause” and then for “Desert Shield” and “Desert Storm.”

“As executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Kentucky, I will be helping lead one of the nation’s renowned institutions of higher learning, research and clinical care as well as returning to my home state,” Newman said. “The last decade has seen UK HealthCare evolve into a system with the focus and the flexibility to grow and build on its reputation while advancing the health and patient care opportunities for people throughout the Commonwealth, and I look forward to being part of its continued success.”

President Capilouto convened a search committee in December 2016 to review and interview candidates co-chaired by Eric N. Monday, executive vice president for finance and administration, and Dr. Wendy Hansen, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The committee was composed of physicians, administrators, deans and staff.

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