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No. 1 hospital in Kentucky

We’re the No. 1 hospital in Ky., again

UK HealthCare Albert B. Chandler Hospital remains the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky and the Bluegrass Region, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals Rankings released today.

In addition, four major areas have achieved Top 50 national rankings, three of them for the first time. UK HealthCare rankings included: No. 37 in Diabetes and Endocrinology, No. 43 in Geriatrics, No. 44 in Neurology and Neurosurgery, and No. 50 in Cancer.

Along with the Top 50 rankings, UK HealthCare is ranked as high-performing in five other adult specialties – Gastroenterology and GI Surgery; Nephrology; Orthopaedics; Pulmonology; and Urology. Additionally, UK HealthCare was designated high-performing in eight common adult procedures and conditions: Aortic Valve Surgery, Heart Bypass Surgery, Heart Failure, Colon Cancer Surgery, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement, and Lung Cancer Surgery.

These recognitions cement UK HealthCare’s role as the major healthcare system best equipped to deal with our state’s unique health needs, said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.

“We are committed to providing the best programs and best care available in Kentucky so that no one has to travel far from home for world-class advanced specialty care,” Karpf said. “These rankings speak to the hard work and dedication of our physicians, our nurses and our entire healthcare team.”

‘We’re ready no matter the situation’

This year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings cover nearly every hospital in every community nationwide. The rankings are grounded in objective data and offer patients a rich resource on their hospital choices. More than 70 percent of the rankings are based on objective data, with U.S. News analyzing more than 2,600 metrics across 21 data-driven specialties and procedures and conditions. The result is thousands of data points on hospitals that excel at treating the most challenging cases, those that do best in more routine procedures and those that provide top local care.

“UK HealthCare is a place where you feel safe because you know we’re ready no matter the situation or illness,” said Colleen Swartz, UK HealthCare’s chief administrative officer.

“If you have someone you love who lives in Kentucky, you will need UK HealthCare at some point in time. Whether it’s someone with a newly diagnosed cancer, or a premature baby, or a critically ill or injured child, or brother or mother or sister, you want to know that a place like this is ready to go when you need us.”

Diabetes & Endocrinology

This year’s rankings included a major leap for UK’s diabetes and endocrinology program. The specialty at UK HealthCare, previously unranked, is now No. 37 in the country, a testament to both the clinical care and research at the UK Barnstable-Brown Diabetes Center.

“We are one of the few places in Kentucky where all these services are provided either under one roof or where we can engage people to help you in all these different arenas,” said Dr. John Fowlkes, director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.

This collaboration and patient-centered care offered at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center provide patients with outstanding clinical care throughout their lifespan and for all aspects of their health, said Dr. Lisa Tannock, chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine.

“Our physicians, advanced practice providers, endocrinology fellows and staff, including expert-certified diabetes educators, continually seek opportunities to teach advanced patient care based on our ongoing research into the best ways to prevent and treat diabetes and endocrine diseases,” she said.

Geriatrics

UK HealthCare was ranked No. 43 in Geriatrics. The U.S. News Geriatrics rankings represent how well hospitals treat older patients across a wide range of medical issues and conditions.

Dr. Shawn Caudill, professor and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Women’s Health, sees increasingly more geriatric patients in UK HealthCare’s outpatient clinics. He said the rankings are an indication of the high-quality care that UK HealthCare provides to a population that is living longer than before.

“We’ve had lot of success in overcoming the things that used to kill people – heart attacks, strokes, lung disease – and we’ve done interventions to help keep people going longer,” Caudill said. “And now it is important for us to continue to help take care of them.”

Neurology & Neurosurgery

For the first time, UK HealthCare is nationally ranked for its neurological care, coming in at No. 44 in Neurology and Neurosurgery.

“This is something we’ve been working on for the past two years,” said Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, the Ruth L. Works Professor and chair of the UK Department of Neurology, and co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute (KNI). “It’s wonderful to be able to have our faculty and staff receive this recognition for all the great things they’re doing.”

Fellow KNI Co-Director Linda Van Eldik, who also is director of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, was pleased with national rankings in Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as Geriatrics.

“This is really a culmination of the work we’ve been doing for many years in the areas of brain,” Van Eldik said. “It’s recognition from the outside of what we already knew – that we were doing leading-edge work and we are continuing to enhance our excellence.”

Cancer care

Cancer care was included in the Top 50 for the first time – although it has consistently been designated as high performing for many years. Still, the move up is indicative of the Markey Cancer Center’s continued emphasis on providing exemplary care as the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated center.

“We see 50 percent of our patients coming from Eastern Kentucky, which has some of the highest rates of cancer in the country – particularly lung cancer and colon cancer. So the Markey Cancer Center is vitally important to our region,” said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the Markey Cancer Center.

The people behind the scenes

In acknowledging all of UK HealthCare’s national rankings and achievements, one factor is always first to be attributed to success – the people who work here.

“I’ve been here almost a year and a half, and to see what the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare has achieved, really in a short time, is remarkable,” said UK College of Medicine Dean Dr. Robert DiPaola. “And to see the passion of the people here behind the scenes doing the things that make a difference for our patients – it is absolutely amazing. I know that going forward we will continue this trajectory.”


Hear more about this awesome recognition, including comments from some of UK HealthCare’s leaders, in the video below.


Next steps:

molecular tumor board

Watch: Our new TV spot highlights precision cancer care at Markey

Our new TV spot tells the exciting story of how the UK Markey Cancer Center is using precision medicine to target cancer treatment to patients’ unique cancer cells. Watch the video below and learn more about how we’re harnessing the power of advanced medicine to find the best treatment for each patient.

Treating cancer at the molecular level

The future of cancer treatment is fighting the disease at the level of an individual gene, breaking down a diagnosis by analyzing each patient’s unique genetic characteristics. At Markey, our Molecular Tumor Board is leading this fight, bringing personalized, precision medicine to patients across Kentucky.

The Molecular Tumor Board, which is made up of more than a dozen leading clinicians and scientists, meets monthly to review individual cancer cases from across the Commonwealth, diving deep into patients’ genetic information, then collectively tailoring a precision treatment specifically for them.

Tailoring a precision treatment

Dr. Jill Kolesar

Dr. Jill Kolesar

“It’s well accepted that cancer is chiefly a genetic disorder,” says Dr. Jill Kolesar, a founding member and co-director of Markey’s Molecular Tumor Board. “The first genome that was sequenced took 13 years and $2.7 billion dollars. Now we can sequence a genome in an afternoon.”

Such significant advances in technology have helped spur precision medicine, but have also created large quantities of genetic information, Kolesar said. It’s up to the Molecular Tumor Board to interpret that vast amount of data and apply it to an individual’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Susanne Arnold

Dr. Susanne Arnold

Medical oncologist Dr. Susanne Arnold, Markey’s associate director for clinical translation and member of the Molecular Tumor Board, is helping lead this individualized approach to cancer treatment. A precision approach to diagnosis and analysis is the future of care, she said.

“You take a biopsy and do the genomic analysis, called next-generation sequencing, which helps us understand exactly what happened with that cell that resulted in cancer,” she explained.

But what might sound like a routine test in modern medicine is much more remarkable in these particular cases.

“Molecular medicine is actually discovering the information about a unique cancer in a specific person at a precise point in time,” she said. “Pinpointing this allows us to understand why it happened, why our treatment did or didn’t work, and how we can potentially stop (the cancer).”

In short, these tests allow for a remarkably detailed understanding of what goes wrong in cancerous cells. And that sort of comprehensive knowledge helps the tumor board choose the best treatment from among the many options available at Markey.

How the molecular tumor board works

Markey’s Molecular Tumor Board is not the first of its kind, but it is the first in Kentucky. And that’s significant, given the unprecedented rates of cancer across the state, most notably in the rural, eastern parts of Kentucky.

With the board meeting twice monthly, oncologists across the state can reach out for a recommendation for therapy based on their patient’s molecular signature.

There are more than a dozen scientific specialties represented on the board, and more than 300 years of experience in total. All of this is applied to a single patient as cases are presented to the board, and the inclusion of each patient’s own physician in the process ensures an intimate understanding of that patient’s condition and outlook.

Each patient’s cancer will be tested for all genetic mutations that are known to cause cancer, regardless of what type of tumor the patient has. The tumor board then uses the results of that test to choose possible treatment options that target the genetic mutations. Each mutation is evaluated for FDA-approved therapies for the patient’s tumor type, FDA-approved off-label therapies and any clinical trials available related to the patient’s specific mutations.

Taking into consideration the available treatment options, the Molecular Tumor Board will make a recommendation based on the best possible outcome for the patient.

For a single patient, for all of Kentucky

As more tumor boards are established across the country and more cases are reviewed, a bank of information will be available to doctors to help them determine the best course of action for patients with similar cases.

“Everything we discover is designed to help you, and by sharing this information in an anonymous way, it can help people across the country suffering with cancer. We’re all being connected through this process, and that’s a beautiful, beautiful story to tell,” Arnold said. “Imagine you are ‘Anne’ from Pikeville, Kentucky, but behind you is your doctor, the Markey Cancer Center, other NCI-designated cancer centers, the National Cancer Institute … and ‘John’ in New York City, who has the same mutation as you. The six degrees of separation suddenly disappear, and ideally you each benefit from the experience of the other.”

Dr. Mark Evers

Dr. Mark Evers

That is the crux of Markey’s ambitions: an individualized approach to each patient, but on a large scale. In an open letter released at the end of 2016, Dr. Mark Evers, director of Markey, made public a goal of the organization: to significantly reduce cancer incidence and mortality across the state, and the region, by the year 2020. It’s a lofty aspiration, but initiatives like the Molecular Tumor Board position Markey for success.

As Kolesar said, “When researchers and clinicians at the Markey Cancer Center decide something is going to benefit patients, like the Molecular Tumor Board, they say, ‘Let’s do it.’”

This team spirit spans the entire organization. Kolesar noted the collegiality and support for accomplishing goals at UK HealthCare.

“Dr. Evers, says, ‘You just tell me what you need, and we’ll make it happen, because that’s what we think the patients of Kentucky need,’” she said.

Such sweeping change, especially when it comes to issues as complicated and extensive as healthcare, rarely happens quickly. But a series of small successes, over time, can have an enormous ripple effect. The experts who make up the Molecular Tumor Board understand this, and it’s their reason for participating in and offering their time to such programs.

“By understanding the genetic makeup of our patients and their tumors, we can then help to direct their therapy,” Evers said.

The future of advanced medicine

Treatment options at UK HealthCare are more abundant than ever before. The Early Therapeutics Clinical Trials Center focuses on increasing patient access to phase I and phase II clinical trials will also have a major impact for Markey patients.

“[Previously,] if patients in Kentucky needed an earlier-phase clinical trial, they would have to go out of state,” said Kolesar, explaining the advantage of the initiative.

These early-phase studies can offer patients new treatment avenues for cancers that have proved difficult to target using standard therapies. Essentially, it allows Markey to participate in the development of new and novel treatments while offering patients first access.

Being at the forefront of medicine means incredible discovery, but for every breakthrough, there are new unknowns. This uncharted territory is a product of advancement and a reason for optimism.

“Do we have a therapy for every gene that’s broken? No. But we do have therapies for genes that are broken in non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, colon cancer and a growing list every day. They are defined by their gene signature and by the gene that’s broken. That’s called targeted therapy,” Arnold said.

The hope is that this sort of targeting can be applied to all types of cancer, and Markey’s patients could be among the first to benefit.

“The Power of Advanced Medicine” is more than a slogan. It’s a guiding principle and a reminder that UK HealthCare prioritizes discovery in the name of our patients.


Next steps:

  • Markey is Kentucky’s only NCI-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Learn more about why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment. For a second opinion or appointment, call Markey at 859-257-4488 or 866-340-4488 (toll free).
  • Learn more about the power of advanced medicine at UK HealthCare.
NACCDO-PAMN

Markey hosts conference for nation’s elite cancer centers

Highlighting Lexington and the services and expertise of UK HealthCare, the UK Markey Cancer Center and the Markey Cancer Foundation served last week as hosts for the 2017 annual conference for the National Association of Cancer Center Development Officers (NACCDO) and the Public Affairs and Marketing (PAMN) Network of National Cancer Centers.

In total, 437 participants representing more than 75 cancer institutions attended this year’s conference, making it one of the highest-attended conferences since the joint event began in 1987.

The NACCDO-PAMN annual conference is an opportunity for public relations, marketing and development professionals who work for major cancer centers to network and learn more from their peers about the best practices for highlighting their center’s cancer research and clinical care.

Members of the UK HealthCare community who presented during the the three-day conference included Kentucky Neuroscience Institute’s Dr. Dan Han as well as Robert DiPaola, dean of the UK College of Medicine. Han hosted a session with Kentucky Chef Ouita Michel focused on neurogastronomy, the study of how the brain influences our perceptions of what we eat. Their interactive presentation explored the unique application of using neurogastronomy to help cancer patients whose taste and appetite have been affected by treatment. DiPaola was on-hand to lead a panel discussion of cancer center directors.

Conference participants also had the option of attending a “Markey patient experience tour” highlighting six of the cancer center’s integrative medicine offerings: a cooking demo, art therapy, music therapy, narrative medicine, jin shin jyutsu, hand massage/aromatherapy and a UK HealthCare Arts in HealthCare tour.

“We were honored to host our fellow cancer center colleagues here in Lexington for this year’s conference,” said Mike Delzotti, president of the Markey Cancer Foundation. “We enjoyed not only the opportunity to provide valuable education and information for other cancer communicators across the nation, but also the chance to show off some of the things that make Markey, and Kentucky, so special.”

Check out the video below for more highlights from the conference.


Next steps:

Watch: Dr. Rachel Miller discusses the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer prevention

We sat down with Dr. Rachel Miller, a gynecologic oncologist at the UK Markey Cancer Center, to discuss the HPV vaccine and why it’s so important in preventing cervical cancer. HPV, or the human papillomavirus, causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, but the vaccine can protect young men and women against the disease.

Watch our interview with Dr. Miller to learn more about the HPV vaccine and why she recommends it.


Next steps:

This Making the Rounds features Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt, division chief of hematology and blood and marrow transplantation at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

Meet Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt, hematologist: ‘We’re here to help’

Making the RoundsIn this week’s edition of Making the Rounds, we’re joined by Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt, division chief of hematology and blood and marrow transplantation at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Dr. Hildebrandt moved to the United States in 2009 after earning his medical degree in Germany.

What kinds of cancer do you treat?

We treat cancers of the blood and lymph system. We treat leukemia, we treat lymphoma, we treat multiple myeoma. We do treat benign disorders of the blood, like clotting disorders and bleeding disorders, but my special focus is in malignant hematology, which is really cancer of the blood and lymph system, and also bone marrow transplantation.

What do you most enjoy about your specialty?

I think that the chance to offer something, which, in a horrific moment in a patient’s life, can bring light – it’s just very satisfying. The other thing is, I do not fix and disconnect with the patients. I think in our field there are long-lasting relationships with the patients, and this is a thing which makes it unique and very exciting for me.

What do you want potential patients to know about you?

What I want them to know is that not only me, but our entire team really, really cares for them. And that we really spend the time they need. There’s no rush. My favorite slogan is always, “There’s no rushing medicine.” See, we do not rush patients in and out – that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to help.

How would your friends and family describe you?

Ambitious, hardworking – maybe overly hardworking. But on the other side I’m very childish. You know, fun-loving.

Describe your ideal weekend.

I’d spend it with my kids. I usually take my son for swimming, and we usually have a movie night on one of those days where we watch a movie with the kids and try to spend some time with them.

Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled?

I think it’s Botswana. I did two trips to Botswana. I went on a cruise, and then I slept in the wild with no cellphone, no guns, no weapons. It was very interesting to sleep there and hear the animals close by with no fences.

What do you enjoy about living in Lexington?

It’s a very livable town. Very nice, very friendly. I like downtown. I think there are quite a few good restaurants and places to get a drink once and a while. It’s very green. Where I live I can bike through the backstreets, so that’s good.


Take a look at our video interview with Dr. Hildebrandt below. He speaks about what makes working Markey so unique.


Next steps:

Making the Rounds with Dr. Susanne Arnold

Meet oncologist Susanne Arnold, second-generation doctor and proud Kentuckian

Making the RoundsOur featured provider in this week’s Making the Rounds is Dr. Susanne Arnold, an oncologist at the UK Markey Cancer Center who treats patients with lung cancer and head and neck cancer.

Dr. Arnold is particularly interested in early therapies for cancer and leads several clinical trials at Markey.

How did you become interested in medicine?

My first memories of my life were going with my dad to the hospital because he was a doctor. And that’s how I first became interested in medicine. He was the director of the Center on Aging here for over 25 years and so I have great pride in being a second-generation doctor here at the University of Kentucky.

And even deeper than that is my love of Kentucky, because I’m an eighth-generation Kentuckian and my children are ninth-generation Kentuckians. So serving Kentucky in the little area that I can make a difference – which is in cancer care, where we have some of the biggest health disparities and highest mortality rates – is a real calling to me.

What is your patient care philosophy?

Cancer is really scary, and when you think about how you care for someone with cancer, you have to think about what their goals are first and foremost. I try to put the patient in the center and say, ‘What are your goals? How are we going to help you live your life with cancer and hopefully past the time that you have cancer?’

What characteristic do you most admire in other people?

In my patients, I admire courage because they have to face so many things and they face it so much more courageously than I feel like I would. In others, I admire those who are genuine and care about people.

If you could meet any person from history, who would it be?

I always have wanted to go back in time and see what the heck Stonehenge is really about. That seems really weird, but it’s such a wild thing. I’d love to know why it’s there. What the heck were they doing? I don’t know that I’d want to meet the Stonehenge caveman, but I would love to see that.

And I would love to meet J.R.R. Tolkien because I love his books.

How would your friends describe you?

Nerdy and that I work too hard. I hope people think of me as a kind person and that I’m generous.


Watch our video interview with Dr. Arnold, where she discusses what types of patients she sees at Markey.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about clinical trials at Markey, where our experts are advancing cancer care and giving patients access to the latest treatment options.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with any form of head and neck cancer or lung cancer, our specialized treatment teams are here to help. Learn more about the leading-edge, personalized care we provide.

Markey joins forces with national cancer leaders to encourage HPV vaccinations

Uniting with each of the 69 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, the UK Markey Cancer Center is once again urging young people in the U.S. to get a vaccination against the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

HPV vaccination rates are low, especially in Kentucky

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, incidence rates of HPV-associated cancers continue to rise, with approximately 39,000 new HPV-associated cancers now diagnosed each year in the U.S. Although HPV vaccination can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers, vaccination rates remain low across the U.S., with just 41.9 percent of girls and 28.1 percent of boys completing the recommended vaccine series.

In Kentucky, the rates are even lower, with just 36.2 percent of adolescent girls and 17.1 percent of adolescent boys having completed the series.

New guidelines from the CDC recommend that children aged 11 to 12 should receive two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart. Adolescents and young adults older than age 15 should continue to complete the three-dose series.

“HPV vaccination rates in Kentucky are extremely low, especially among adolescent males,” said Dr. Mark Evers, director of Markey. “We fully support these new immunization guidelines and hope they encourage more parents to have their children vaccinated, which will significantly lower their risk of developing these largely preventable cancers.”

Improving HPV vaccination can save ‘thousands of lives’

Research shows there are a number of barriers to overcome to improve HPV vaccination rates, including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians and parents not understanding that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer.

In an effort to overcome these barriers, NCI-designated cancer centers have organized a continuing series of national summits to share new research, discuss best practices and identify collective action toward improving HPV vaccination rates. The original joint statement, published in January 2016, was the major recommendation from a summit hosted at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer in November 2015, which brought together experts from the NCI, CDC, American Cancer Society and more than half of the NCI-designated cancer centers, including Markey.

“We have been inspired by the White House Cancer Moonshot to work together in eliminating cancer,” said Electra Paskett, PhD, associate director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) Cancer Control Research Program. “Improving HPV vaccination is an example of an evidence-based prevention strategy we can implement today to save thousands of lives in the future.”

The updated statement is the result of discussions from the most recent summit, hosted this summer by OSUCCC. Nearly 150 experts from across the country, including representatives from the Markey, gathered in Columbus to present research updates and plan future collaborative actions across NCI-designated cancer centers.


Next steps:

A new study by UK Markey Cancer Center shows that chloroquine – an anti-malarial drug – may be useful in treating patients with metastatic cancers.

New study shows anti-malarial drugs may be able to treat cancer

A new study by UK Markey Cancer Center researchers shows that chloroquine – a drug currently used to treat malaria – may be useful in treating patients with metastatic cancers.

Published in Cell Reports, the study showed that chloroquine triggered the secretion of Par-4 – a protein that kills cancer cells and can limit metastasis – in both mouse models and in cancer patients in a clinical trial.

In order for Par-4 to be effective in stopping cancer cell growth, it requires the help of a protein called p53. P53 directly induces another protein called Rab8b, which is responsible for transporting Par-4. Unfortunately in many types of cancer, the p53 protein is often mutated or has its pathways disturbed, allowing metastasis to continue.

The study found that when chloroquine is introduced, it’s able to induce p53- and Rab8b-dependent Par-4 secretion from normal cells to help stop cancer metastasis in p-53 deficient tumors.

The study was led by the lab of Vivek M. Rangnekar, the Alfred Cohen endowed chair in oncology research at the UK Markey Cancer Center and a professor in the UK Department of Radiation Medicine. UK Researchers Ravshan Burikhanov and Nikhil Hebbar in Rangnekar’s group were co-first authors in the study.

“Because p53 is often mutated in tumors, it makes the tumors resistant to treatment,” said Rangnekar, also the co-leader of the Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling research program and associate director at Markey. “However, this study shows that the relatively safe, FDA-approved drug chloroquine empowered normal cells – which express wild type p53 – to secrete Par-4 and stop metastasis in p53-deficient tumors.”

At the UK Markey Cancer Center, one clinical trial using chloroquine for Par-4 induction in a variety of cancer patients is ongoing. Researchers are now planning a second clinical trial that would involve giving a maintenance dose of chloroquine to patients who are in remission, with the hopes of preventing cancer relapse.

This research was funded with grants from the National Institutes of Health and the UK Markey Cancer Center/Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Kansas University Cancer Center and Osaka University in Japan collaborated with UK scientists in this study.


Next steps:

Geri McDowell's battle with cancer nearly took her life. But thanks to a Markey clinical trial, she has been able to reclaim it.

Our 2016 Year in Review

From inspiring patient stories to groundbreaking achievements and recognition, 2016 was a year to remember for all of us here at UK HealthCare.

Here are a few highlights.


UK HealthCare named the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky

Kentucky's best hospitalIn August, UK added another first-place finish to our resume as UK HealthCare’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital was named Kentucky’s Best Hospital in the 2016 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital Rankings. We are also the only hospital in the state rated as High Performing in Cancer, and we ranked No. 45 nationally in Geriatrics. Other High Performing specialty areas include: Diabetes & Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, and Pulmonology.

Learn more about our No. 1 ranking and what it means for our patients.


Patient with rare neuroendocrine cancer finds help through clinical trial

Geri McDowell's battle with cancer nearly took her life. But thanks to a Markey clinical trial, she has been able to reclaim it.Diagnosed with rare neuroendocrine cancer, Geri McDowell was running out of options for treatment.

That’s when her doctor from the UK Markey Cancer Center recommended a clinical trial that might offer hope for recovery.

Read Geri’s story.


$19.8 million award puts UK in elite company

In October, the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) was awarded a four-year, $19.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will allow CCTS to continue its mission of translating scientific discoveries into tangible applications for individual and community health.

Learn more about this prestigious award and what it means for people across Kentucky and Appalachia.


New Chandler Dining opens to the public

Chandler DiningChandler Dining, UK HealthCare’s new state-of-the-art dining experience, opened in August and it’s unlike any hospital cafeteria you’ve seen before. From pizza and pasta to salad and sushi, Chandler Dining has something for everyone, and it’s open to the public.

Learn more about visiting Chandler Dining.


Lexington couple welcomes quintuplets

Mom Katie Schaftlein bonds with baby Sadie for the first time.On Nov. 11, Lexington couple Lucas and Katie Schaftlein welcomed quintuplets Sadie, Savannah, Scarlett, Sofia and Lucas into the world. It just so happened to be Katie’s birthday, too, giving Mom a special birthday wish. With the help of an interdisciplinary team of experts from UK HealthCare, all five little ones arrived in good health.

Read more about our special delivery.


Markey joins Cancer Moonshot conversation

World-class experts, cancer survivors and advocates joined forces in June at the UK Markey Cancer Center to contribute to Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Summit. The Cancer Moonshot aims to double the rate of progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care over the next five years.

Check out highlights from the inspired conversations.


13-year-old boy enjoys being ‘normal kid’ after epilepsy surgery

EpilepsyJoey Maggard was missing out on his childhood because of frequent epileptic seizures. No sports. No sleepovers with friends. He had to miss the second half of his sixth-grade year. But after a delicate surgical procedure at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute earlier this year, Joey has been seizure-free.

Read Joey’s story.


UK celebrates 25 years of heart transplants

In April, patients gathered with staff and doctors from the UK Gill Heart Institute and the UK Transplant Center to celebrate 25 years of heart transplants at UK HealthCare. A lot has changed since our first heart transplant in 1991 — we’re now doing more than 40 heart transplant operations each year and in 2015 we set a single-year record for the most heart transplants at one hospital in Kentucky.

Read more about our quarter-century celebration.



Next steps:

Making the Rounds with Dr. Lowell Anthony

Markey oncologist Lowell Anthony says it takes a village to treat cancer

Making the RoundsDr. Lowell Anthony, an oncologist at the UK Markey Cancer Center, sat down with us for the latest installment of Making the Rounds, a blog series where you’ll get to know the providers at UK HealthCare. Dr. Anthony specializes in treating neuroendocrine cancer, a rare form of the disease that begins in the hormone-producing cells of the body.

Tell us about the types of patients you see at Markey.

I’ve spent the last 30 years seeing patients with a wide variety of different types of neuroendocrine cancer. My focus is on tumors that are called carcinoids. These tumors can arise in the gastrointestinal tract, they can arise in the pancreas, they can arise in the lung. These cells are dispersed all through the body but there are certain areas where they’re concentrated.

What do you find most rewarding about working at Markey?

It’s the multidisciplinary approach we take with our patients and the collegiality of the people I work with. When a patient comes to Markey, we develop a care plan across specialties because it takes a village, really, to treat cancer. And we develop that care plan quickly so that the patient doesn’t have to make a lot of trips back and forth. I think that’s the real value for our patients.

What’s your biggest fear?

Not finding a parking space.

What’s your favorite food?

Sushi. I like eel a lot, so the caterpillar roll is my favorite. That’s got a lot of eel in it.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

The worst job I’ve ever had was in a chicken house putting chickens in their crates for travel. It was challenging, but I could probably still do it today, if I had to.

What’s the best part about working and living in Lexington?

It’s a relatively small community but it has big community opportunities. I look at it as an undiscovered environment – it’s sort of the best kept secret. The climate is great, we have excellent restaurants, there’s plenty to do and having the undergraduate campus around us just makes Lexington feel alive and vibrant.


Watch a video interview with Dr. Anthony, where he tells us about the most exciting things happening in cancer research and treatment today.


Next steps:

  • The carcinoid and neuroendocrine cancer team at Markey takes a multidisciplinary approach to treatment that involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy and interventional therapy. Learn more about our team.
  • Geri McDowell was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer and was running out of options for treatment. That’s when Dr. Anthony recommended a clinical trial that offered her hope for recovery. Read Geri’s story.