Telemedicine catches blinding disease in premature babies

UofL part of NIH-funded study showing obstacles to care for at-risk babies could be reduced

Telemedicine is an effective strategy to screen for the potentially blinding disease known as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), according to a study funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI). The investigators say that the approach, if adopted broadly, could help ease the strain on hospitals with limited access to ophthalmologists and lead to better care for infants in underserved areas of the country. NEI is a part of the National Institutes of Health.

The telemedicine strategy consisted of electronically sending photos of babies’ eyes to a distant image reading center for evaluation. Staff at the image reading center, who were trained to recognize signs of severe ROP, identified whether infants should be referred to an ophthalmologist for evaluation and potential treatment. The study tested how accurately the telemedicine approach reproduced the conclusions of ophthalmologists who examined the babies onsite.

“This study provides validation for a telemedicine approach to ROP screening and could help save thousands of infants from going blind,” said Graham E. Quinn, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the lead investigator for the study, which is reported today in JAMA Ophthalmology.

The study was conducted by the e-ROP Cooperative Group, a collaboration that includes 12 facilities in the United States and one in Canada. The University of Louisville was the only site in Kentucky among the collaborative group. In addition to UofL, study sites were Johns Hopkins University, Boston Children’s Hospital, Vanderbilt University, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Nationwide Children’s Hospital/Ohio State University Hospital, Duke University, University of Minnesota, University of Oklahoma, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, University of Utah and Hospital of the Foothills Medical Center (Calgary, Canada).

Some degree of ROP appears in more than half of all infants born at 30 weeks pregnancy or younger—a full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks—but only about 5 to 8 percent of cases become severe enough to require treatment. In ROP, blood vessels in the tissue in the back of the eye called the retina begin to grow abnormally, which can lead to scarring and detachment of the retina. Treatment involves destroying the abnormal blood vessels with lasers or freezing them using a technique called cryoablation. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is the best prevention for vision loss from ROP, which is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends routine screening for all babies who are born at gestational age 30 weeks or younger or who weigh less than 3.3 pounds at birth.

The study evaluated telemedicine for ROP screening during the usual care of 1,257 premature infants who were born, on average, 13 weeks early. About every nine days, each infant underwent screening by an ophthalmologist, who assessed whether referral for treatment was warranted. Those who were referred were designated as having referral-warranted ROP (RW-ROP). Either immediately before or after the exam, a non-physician staff member in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) took images of the infant’s retinas and uploaded them to a secure server at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. Trained non-physician image readers at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, then downloaded the photos, independently evaluated them following a standard protocol, and reported the presence or absence of RW-ROP.

Through the telemedicine approach, non-physician image readers correctly identified 90 percent of the infants deemed to have RW-ROP based on examination by an ophthalmologist. And they were correct 87 percent of the time when presented with images from infants who lacked RW-ROP. The examining ophthalmologists documented 244 infants with RW-ROP on exam. After referral, 162 infants were treated. Of these, non-physician image readers identified RW-ROP in all but three infants (98 percent).

“This is the first large clinical investigation of telemedicine to test the ability of non-physicians to recognize ROP at high risk of causing vision loss,” said Eleanor Schron, Ph.D., group leader of NEI Clinical Applications. “The results suggest that telemedicine could improve detection and treatment of ROP for millions of at-risk babies worldwide who lack immediate in-person access to an ophthalmologist,” she said.

About 450,000, or 12 percent,  of the 3.9 million babies born each year in the United States are premature. The number of preterm infants who survive has surged in middle income countries in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. In these parts of the world, rates of childhood blindness from ROP are estimated at 15 to 30 percent—compared to 13 percent in the United States.

One advantage of telemedicine ROP screening is that it can be done more frequently than screening by an ophthalmologist. “It’s much easier to examine the retina when not dealing with a wiggling baby,” said Quinn said. “If a baby is too fussy or otherwise unavailable when the ophthalmologist visits the NICU, the exam may be delayed until the ophthalmologist returns—sometimes up to a week later.”

Weekly ROP screening—or even more frequently for high-risk babies—is a realistic goal for telemedicine and could help catch all cases needing treatment, according to the report. In the study, imaging was restricted to occasions when an ophthalmologist examined the baby. In practice, hospital staff could implement an imaging schedule based on the baby’s weight, age at birth and other risk factors. “With telemedicine, NICU staff can take photos at the convenience of the baby,” Quinn said.

Telemedicine for evaluating ROP offers several other advantages:

  • Telemedicine may help detect RW-ROP earlier. In the study, about 43 percent of advanced ROP cases were identified by telemedicine before they were detected by an ophthalmologist—on average, about 15 days earlier.
  • Telemedicine could save babies and their families the hardship and hazards of being unnecessarily transferred to larger nurseries with greater resources and more on-site ophthalmologists. “Telemedicine potentially gives every hospital access to excellent ROP screening,” Dr. Quinn said.
  • Telemedicine might also bring down the costs of routine ROP screening by reducing the demands on ophthalmologists, whose time is better allocated to babies who need their attention and expertise. In a separate analysis, the study found that non-physicians and physicians had similar success in assessing photos for RW-ROP. Three physicians evaluated image sets from a random sample of 200 babies (100 with RW-ROP based on the eye exam findings; 100 without) using the standard grading protocol. On average, the physicians correctly identified about 86 percent of RW-ROP cases; the non-physicians were correct 91 percent of the time. The physicians correctly identified about 57 percent of babies without RW-ROP; non-physicians were correct 73 percent of the time.

The cost of establishing a telemedicine ROP screening program includes acquisition of a special camera for taking pictures of the retina, training of NICU personnel to take and transmit quality photos, and establishment and maintenance of an image reading center. “As we move along this road, advances in imaging and grading of images may streamline the process even more,” Dr. Quinn said.

For more information about ROP, visit

To view a video about e-ROP, visit the NEI YouTube channel at

Here’s your chance to be the first to shop The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass

New outlet center hosts VIP preview July 30 to benefit James Graham Brown Cancer Center
Here’s your chance to be the first to shop The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass

Attention, shopaholics: Here’s your chance to be among the very first to shop The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.

The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass is teaming with the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center for an Opening Night VIP Preview from 6-9 p.m., Wednesday, July 30, the evening before the facility opens to the general public.

Patrons will be able to get the jump on the rest of Kentuckiana in shopping at choice retail outlets such as Coach, Brook Brothers, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Michael Kors, J Crew, Banana Republic, Nike, Talbots, Under Armour and more. They also will receive a free coupon book with over $300 in savings at many of the 80-plus retailers that make up The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.

Cost is $50 per person with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the only cancer center in the region to use a unified approach to cancer care, with multidisciplinary teams of physicians working together to guide patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass,” Michael Neumann, executive director of development for the cancer center, said. “The pairing of Kentucky’s new premier shopping center with the region’s premier cancer research and treatment center is a great fit.”

Only 3,000 tickets to the event are available and are expected to go fast, Neumann said. Tickets are sold online only at Up to 10 tickets may be purchased per transaction.

The Veritas Curat Foundation is handling ticket sales on behalf of the cancer center, and receipts will be provided via email. The email receipt serves as the ticket to the event, and to be admitted, ticket buyers must bring both a printout of the email receipt and identification that matches the name on the ticket.

A silent auction of packages donated by Shoppes retailers also will be held the night of the VIP Preview, Neumann said. Items up for auction will be posted in advance on the website starting July 28, and online bidding will be available until July 30. On-site bidding on the night of the event will be conducted via smartphone only, he added.

The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass is located at Exit 28 on Interstate 64. For additional information on the Opening Night VIP Preview or the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, contact Neumann at 502-562-4642.



Toys for Tots drive by UofL medical residents brings in nearly 1,000 toys for community children

Toys for Tots drive by UofL medical residents brings in nearly 1,000 toys for community children

Residents with the 886 toys collected for Toys for Tots in 2016

Teddy bears, baby dolls, miniature cars and, of course, doctor play sets were among 886 toys collected by resident physicians at the University of Louisville School of Medicine this holiday season for underprivileged children in the Louisville area. For the second year, UofL’s House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, led a collection for Toys for Tots, receiving donations from individual residents and fellows as well as School of Medicine faculty, staff and medical students.

In 2015, the first year of the drive, the group collected 570 toys in just six days. This year’s collection began early in December.

“It’s important to think about the kids in our community. They are our future,” said Mitesh Patel, M.D., a third-year resident in the Department of Psychiatry. “There is so much bad stuff in the world that it’s nice to see that kids can have a nice Christmas. It’s just a small thing that we can do as physicians to help support our community.”

To inject some friendly competition into the effort, Stock Yards Bank & Trust offered a luncheon and plaque to the three residency programs bringing in the highest ratio of toys. The winning program, Psychiatry, collected more than 300 toys, or 8.5 toys for each resident physician in the program. Radiology residents collected 5.6 toys per resident for second place. The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Services was third with 3.8 toys per resident.

Patel spearheaded the drive for the Department of Psychiatry, which also won the competition last year, and plans to ensure his department continues their winning streak.

“We plan to win next year – if radiology lets us,” he said.

Erin Priddy, M.D., a radiology resident, is community engagement chair for the House Staff Council and helped organize this year’s drive. She already has ideas about how to increase overall participation next year.

“I hope that it will continue to grow. I think if we have an appointed delegate for each program that could help as far as communication,” Priddy said. “I would like to break a thousand.”

Staff members of the Office of Graduate Medical Education counted and packed the toys in 11 large donation boxes, which were picked up by a Toys for Tots coordinator on Dec. 15.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.


December 20, 2016

UofL geriatrician named finalist for national award

Murphy recognized for leadership in long-term care
UofL geriatrician named finalist for national award

Patrick J. Murphy, MD, FAAFP, CMD

Patrick J. Murphy Jr., M.D., director of the University of Louisville Home Call Program and professor of geriatrics in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, has been named one of six finalists for a national award recognizing leadership in long-term care.

Murphy has been nominated for the 2014 Medical Director of the Year award, presented by AMDA-Dedicated to Long Term Care. Formerly called the American Medical Directors Association, AMDA is a professional association of medical directors, attending physicians and other professionals practicing in long-term care and provides education, advocacy, information and professional development to promote the delivery of quality long-term care medicine.

The award will be presented Feb. 28 at the AMDA annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Murphy is the only award nominee who is board-certified as a fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice and the only nominee on the faculty of an academic health center. He also has earned certification from AMDA as a medical director.

Murphy founded the UofL Home Care Program, which allows elderly patients to have better accessibility to and coordination of their health care. He also instituted the Palliative Care Committee and the Behavioral Committee at area nursing homes to improve coordination of palliative care, behavioral management and overall quality of care.

As a member of the Greater Louisville Medical Society’s Transitions of Care Committee, Murphy worked with local emergency department physicians to improve the documentation of patient transfers and led an effort to implement a standardized form for nursing home care transfers.

He has instituted changes in medical student and resident training as well to better prepare future physicians in caring for geriatric patients. He regularly brings medical students with him on home care visits to augment their learning. He also began a program at UofL where medical residents follow three nursing home patients for two years and conduct monthly rounds with him.

Murphy practices with University of Louisville Physicians-Geriatrics.

The remaining five nominees for the award are David Barthold, M.D., Bessemer, Ala.; Gregory James, D.O., Oldsmar, Fla.; David LeVine, M.D., St. Petersburg, Fla.; S. Liliana Oakes, M.D., San Antonio; and Neelofer Sohall, M.D., Lancaster, Penn.

Conjoined twins separated by UofL pediatric surgical team

Conjoined twins separated by UofL pediatric surgical team

Conjoined twin girls were separated by UofL physicians on Nov. 11.

Specialists with University of Louisville Physicians have announced they performed a surgery to separate 7-week-old conjoined twin girls on Nov. 11 at Kosair Children’s Hospital. Since the surgery, the girls have been under close watch of experts in the hospital’s “Just for Kids” Critical Care Center. They are currently still on ventilators but have been getting stronger by the day. Their long-term prognosis is not yet known, but indicators are favorable for continued improvement.

“In any situation where you have so complex a surgery, there is always a long road to recovery,” said Erle H. Austin III, M.D., pediatric surgeon with UofL Physicians and the UofL School of Medicine's Department of Cardiovascular Surgery. “We are cautiously optimistic, as one or both may require additional surgeries in the future.” Austin also is chief of cardiovascular surgery at Kosair Children’s Hospital.

“God was definitely watching over the girls and the medical team on the day of the surgery,” said the babies’ mother. “We are so thankful to God and everyone at Kosair Children’s Hospital for getting them this far.

“We are also thankful to the hospital chaplain, who prayed with us before the delivery and the day of the surgery.”

The twins were born at Norton Hospital and had been under close watch of UofL Physicians’ neonatologists in the Kosair Children’s Hospital Level IV neonatal intensive care unit.

The twins were defined as thoraco-omphalopagus, which means their bodies were joined at the chest and abdominal cavity. Their livers were joined and they shared some of the same heart structures.

Conjoined twins occur in approximately one out of 200,000 live births. Forty to 60 percent are stillborn, and about 35 percent survive only one day. The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is between 5 percent and 25 percent.

The surgical team waited as long as possible prior to performing the separation surgery. The decision to operate was made after the twins began to need increased breathing support. They also were not growing as they should. One of the infants was more fragile than the other, and survival was in question. The separation procedure was risky for both.

While originally expected to last about 12 hours, the procedure went smoothly and was completed in approximately eight hours. To prepare, the surgical team had undergone multiple drills using dolls.

The UofL Physicians' medical team involved in the procedure included two cardiovascular surgeons, a transplant surgeon, a plastic surgeon, two pediatric surgeons, a pediatric surgery fellow and a cardiologist. Other specialists included two additional plastic surgeons, three anesthesiologists, a radiologist, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation specialists, advanced surgical nurses, surgical technologists, biomedical and engineering specialists, information systems technologists, respiratory therapists and blood bank team members. In all, more than 45 people were involved in the planning and surgery. More have been involved in the babies’ care throughout their stay.

Kentucky Area Health Education Centers celebrating 40th anniversary in 2014

It seems logical now but it was quite the novel idea back in 1974: Provide funding to bring health care education services, providers and students to rural and other medically underserved areas of the Commonwealth. The program would give people of those areas access to health care they might otherwise not have, while students would receive medical training they might otherwise not receive.

These principles have been the foundation of the Kentucky Area Health Education Centers program since its predecessor program began in 1974. As the program reaches its 40th anniversary, KY AHEC, as it is known, continues to serve a vital role in all corners of the state.

“AHEC has impacted many lives and will continue to do so for many more years,” said former state AHEC director and now UofL Assistant Vice President for Health Affairs V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D. “The need is there for AHEC. Kentucky communities know AHECs provide vital health education and clinical services.”

UofL Senior Associate Dean for State Initiatives and Outreach Kelli Dunn, M.D., was named KY AHEC director this month. She stresses the role AHEC plays in access to health training and health care delivery across the commonwealth. “In addition to training medical students” Dunn said, “our AHEC sites train a variety of other health care professionals, including nursing and nurse practitioner students as well as emergency medical technicians and others. The AHECs also provide critical educational services and outreach within our communities.”

Program began nationwide in 1971, in Kentucky in 1974

KY AHEC is part of a national AHEC program. Funded by the Kentucky Legislature, along with foundations and other sources, KY AHEC is jointly administered by the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.

The national AHEC program began in 1971. Kentucky did not qualify for the initial program, but in 1974, the state formed the Kentucky Area Health Education System (AHES) to support health-student rotations throughout the state.

Severe challenges to the state budget in the late 1970s forced the closure of many AHES centers, however. The uncertainty of the AHES program led UofL and UK to partner on a new federal AHEC grant application, originally awarded in 1985 to the state with funding distributed to the two universities to administer the program.

The funding has continued uninterrupted since that time, providing continuity of community education, training and care through eight AHEC regions in Kentucky. UofL oversees the four AHEC regions in the western half of the state while UK oversees the other four regions in the eastern half.

KY AHEC fulfills triple mission

KY AHEC focuses on three goals. First, its mission is to help train health professions students in underserved health care settings. Second, AHEC partners with communities statewide to provide health care and career education. Third, and perhaps most importantly, AHEC encourages medical, dental, nursing, allied health and other health professions students to practice in underserved areas in Kentucky after graduation.

Judging by the UofL School of Medicine Class of 2013, the program is working: 31 percent of class members said they plan to practice in an underserved area, and 83 percent will volunteer in free clinics for the underserved.

The program also reaches out to the future health professions workforce. In the Purchase Area AHEC alone, for example, almost 2,700 middle and high school students received hands-on health careers programming in their schools. And in the West AHEC region, Outbreak Camp is a week-long program for middle and high school students, taught by area math and science teachers to connect their students to future health careers.

Community education also is a cornerstone of KY AHEC. The Northwest AHEC region provides the GRACE Project, a training program for faith communities to become well-informed lay health workers for their congregations, as well as the Veterans Behavioral/Mental Health for Veterans/Service Members and Families Project to educate civilian health care providers on issues affecting veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The South Central AHEC provides Child Passenger Safety Technician Training, a 30-hour program from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to train people in the community how to travel safely with everyone properly buckled up.

The economic impact of the UofL AHEC program also shows the program’s impact: Faculty, students and residents in the four AHEC regions served by UofL provided almost $3.48 million in donated health care services last year.

Physicians, patients show program’s effect

Amelia Kiser, M.D., was a member of UofL’s medical class of 1996 who was born and raised in the Glasgow, Ky., area and credits her AHEC rotation as one reason she returned to southern Kentucky to practice. Today, she sees patients and mentors trainees and AHEC students at UofL’s Glasgow/Barren County Family Medicine Residency program

“The AHEC rotations were the best, because if you’re in the city, it’s a completely different atmosphere,” Kiser said. “You don’t approach things in the city the way you do here. I could be in an urban setting; I just choose to be in a rural setting.”

Kiser contends that practicing in an underserved area actually furthers a physician’s career. “Regardless (of where you train), you understand and can solve medical issues, but here, you are friend and counselor also,” she said. “Your job does not stop when you leave here. You run into people at Walmart, at the ball game, at church. And they will pull you aside and say, ‘Dr. Kiser, I just need to ask you one thing… .’ But, I love it, I wouldn’t practice anywhere else.”

Another UofL alumnus, R. Brent Wright, M.D., had his pick of metropolitan locations to establish his medical career. The 1998 School of Medicine graduate was his high school’s valedictorian and a top medical school student at UofL. But, instead of heading toward large hospital environments or bustling cities, he chose Glasgow.

Wright, the current Glasgow/Barren County Family Medicine Residency Director and UofL associate dean for Rural Health Innovation, came to Glasgow as part of the first class of residents there in 1998. He was recruited to stay on as an educator and fell in love with the area.

As a student, Wright’s AHEC rotation was in Munfordville, Ky. “(I was) with the quintessential, colorful, old country doctor,” Wright said. “Every day with that practice was just fun. I saw myself being in a similar community. I knew I’d return to a smaller city to practice medicine.”

Years later, the student has become the professor. Wright’s energy is focused now not only on his patients, but also on his residents and AHEC students. “You see young students come in and how they progress over three years is amazing,” he said. “It’s a great deal of pride for me, because you become so close to the residents and see how much they contribute to these patients.”

Two of those patients are Ray and Joyce Pennington. They drive more than an hour from their home in Summershade, Ky., to the Glasgow clinic. “We’ve been coming here 13 years, and it’s worth the drive to get here,” the elderly Pennington said. “We’re real thankful to have doctors who we know care about us personally. We’re older and need someone to watch out for us. These folks are like a part of our family.”

Continuing the program for all Kentuckians

Kelli Dunn and Faye Jones know that it is people such as the Penningtons that need AHEC to continue for the next 40 years – and beyond. “The funding for KY AHEC connects us with our communities,” Dunn said. “Without the funding, the program, education and activities tailored to these communities simply would not exist.”

“AHEC has served and continues to serve such a vital need,” added Jones. “The communities rely on AHEC for their community health education needs. As a university, we rely on the AHEC to provide the educational experiences for our professional students. It’s so simple and so important to continue the work and grow it.

“Our focus is on the reality that drives us every day: We are here to improve the health care status of Kentucky.”

UofL opens pediatric and dental offices at Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre

Charitable lease agreement valued at $1.2 million over 5 years

LOUISVILLE, Ky. –The University of Louisville and Kosair Charities have entered a new partnership, opening general pediatrics and pediatric dentistry practices at the Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre, where children with disabilities and chronic health conditions and children from the community can get expert care from UofL pediatricians and pediatric dentists.

“In 2011 we opened the UofL Autism Center here on the Kosair Charities campus. Now their clients will have easy access to pediatricians and pediatric dentists practicing in offices designed for children with sensory problems and physical challenges,” said James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville. “We are so grateful to Kosair Charities for helping us create a medical/dental home that is welcoming to all children—from the toddler whose autism makes dental care a challenge, to the teen who needs a sports physical to play volleyball at a neighborhood school.”

Kosair Charities has donated the rent amount over a five-year period, providing a combined 12,500 square feet of renovated space in the Kosair Charities headquarters building for the two clinics: University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics at Kosair Charities and University of Louisville School of Dentistry at Kosair Charities. The university may opt to renew the lease for two additional five-year terms, bringing the estimated value of this agreement to $3.7 million over 15 years.

“This year Kosair Charities celebrates 90 years of caring for children. Since 1923, the University of Louisville has been a primary partner in meeting the health and wellness needs of Kosair Kids®. This new collaborative project builds on 90 years of working together and positions UofL and Kosair Charities for decades of service to future generations of Kosair Kids®,” said Jerry Ward, chairman of the board for Kosair Charities.

The patient mix for both practices will include children receiving services elsewhere on the Kosair Charities campus, children from surrounding neighborhoods, children whose families participate in the Family Scholar House program and children who are uninsured or under-insured.

The UofL Department of Pediatrics at Kosair Charities office has nine exam rooms, a laboratory and separate sick- and well-child reception areas. Pediatrician Erica Labar, MD, began seeing patients in the Eastern Parkway office on July 1. A second physician will join Labar in 2014. Medical students and pediatric residents will also rotate through the clinic.

“What could be more fitting than to provide a medical/dental home on the grounds of the former Kosair Crippled Children Hospital, where thousands of children were once treated for disabling diseases such as polio and smallpox,” said Gerard Rabalais, MD, MHA, chairman, UofL Department of Pediatrics. “I’m confident that Dr. Labar and her team will continue the tradition of compassion and excellence long associated with this historic location.”

The UofL School of Dentistry at Kosair Charities pediatric office will open in the fall, under the leadership of Ann Greenwell, DMD, MSD. The clinical space will be outfitted with six dental chairs and equipped to meet the special needs of autistic and physically-challenged children.

“We know good oral health is integral to overall health and wellness. Coordination of care is the future of health care in this country, and we are removing many of the logistical barriers for the children of the community,” said John Sauk, DDS, MS, dean of the UofL School of Dentistry.

The dental clinic will provide comprehensive dental care– including routine exams, fillings, treatment for trauma, mouth guards for athletes and orthodontic care.

About Kosair Charities:

Since 1923 Kosair Charities has had one primary mission – helping children in need.Kosair Charities knows that the quality of a child’s tomorrow depends largely on the quality of health, medical treatment, and support a child receives today.That’s why over the years Kosair Charities has given more than $335 million to serve thousands of children and provide them a second chance at life. Kosair Charities is also the largest private benefactor to Kosair Children's Hospital.For more information please visit or call 502.637.7696.

Sony recording artist, 'The Voice' star Angie Johnson to open The Julep Ball

Self-described soul/country singer will open for the B-52s at Derby Eve party
Sony recording artist, 'The Voice' star Angie Johnson to open The Julep Ball

Angie Johnson

Sony Music Nashville recording artist and songwriter Angie Johnson will bring her powerful voice and country sounds to Louisville's Derby Eve Party with a Purpose, The Julep Ball, Friday, May 3, at the KFC Yum! Center.

The evening kicks off with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a live auction at 8 p.m. Johnson will then open the evening's entertainment at 9 p.m., followed by the World's Greatest Party Band, the B-52s. Dancing to deejay music follows.

The event supports the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville.

A Missouri native who performed at the Kentucky Derby in 2012, Johnson has ties to Kentucky, describing herself as "‘Kentuckanese' – my father's from Kentucky and met my mother while stationed in Okinawa, Japan," she said. She's no stranger to active military service herself, having served as an intelligence analyst and Air Force Band vocalist with the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan. She continues that service today, serving one weekend each month with the Air National Guard.

A YouTube video of Johnson singing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" during a performance for active-duty troops launched her civilian singing career. Now viewed more than 3 million times, the video was seen by the host of NBC-TV's "The Voice," Carson Daly. He Tweeted Johnson, encouraging her to audition for "The Voice" while she was still stationed in the Middle East.

"When I first read Carson Daly's Tweet inviting me to audition for ‘The Voice,' I instantly felt like there was some huge shift in the cosmos," she said. "There I was, sitting in a tent in Afghanistan, and I was communicating with Carson Daly on the other side of the planet…THE Carson Daly. I couldn't wrap my head around it for days."

Johnson was chosen by then-judge CeeLo Green for his team on "The Voice," and his guidance has proven invaluable, she said. "The most important thing I learned from CeeLo is to know who you are and be confident in that. Another great thing I learned from him is to always keep educating yourself about music. (And) he taught me that you really have to love what you do. The moment you stop loving it, or stop being passionate about it, is the moment your creativity starts to die. I never want to be like that."

Since her stint on "The Voice," Johnson has toured throughout the country and signed with Sony Music Nashville. "I'm working on a recording project. I want to write, write, write until my fingers fall off. I'm performing all over the country, (and) I plan on continuing my service in the Air National Guard as long as I can."

Most tickets for The Julep Ball's full evening of entertainment are now sold out, but some are still available as are plenty of dance-only tickets. The full evening's entertainment is $500 per person while dance-only tickets are $150 per person. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website,

At The Julep Ball, party-goers can mingle with local and national business leaders, horse industry professionals and celebrities from sports, music, cinema and television while enjoying the entertainment provided by Johnson and the B-52s. A celebrity emcee for the evening will be CBS Sports Radio broadcaster and former NFL great Tiki Barber. The crowd can watch celebrities make their entrance on the red carpet and dance until the wee hours of Saturday morning. Special moments of The Julep Ball again will come when Brown Cancer Center scientists, physicians and patients are honored and saluted for their efforts.

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Brown-Forman, Republic National Distribution Company of Kentucky, Power Creative, Kroger, LG&E, The Event Company, Ingrid Design, Raymond E. and Eleanor H. Loyd, Blue Grass Motorsport, Hilliard Lyons, KentuckyOne Health, Tafel Motors, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Advanced Electrical Systems, Montgomery Chevrolet, AT&T Kentucky, BKD, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Republic Bank, Stites & Harbison, Heuser Clinic and Publishers Printing. Media partners are Louisville Magazine, NFocus, the Voice-Tribune, WHAS11 and 102.3 The Max.

Statewide campaign pushes for early detection of autism, related disorders

UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities kicks off program April 1

The University of Louisville's Autism Center at Kosair Charities will kick off a statewide program April 1 to help parents, teachers and caregivers recognize the early signs of autism.

The ongoing campaign, "Learn the Signs. Act Early In Kentucky," steps up outreach efforts during April's National Autism Awareness Month with free, public workshops, webinars and print materials that can be downloaded from a website.

"We want our message to reach anyone and everyone who spends time with children," said Scott Tomchek, co-clinical director for UofL's autism center and Kentucky ambassador for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Act Early program.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is what is known as a "spectrum disorder," meaning that it affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.

According to the Autism Society, 1 percent of all children in the United States ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder. It is estimated that 1 of every 88 babies born will develop an autism spectrum disorder, and that up to 1.5 million Americans are currently living with the condition.

The campaign is a partnership that includes the autism center, University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and autism support groups.

Harold Kleinert, executive director of UK's Human Development Institute, said the statewide push to increase the public's understanding of autism and related disorders can have a big impact.

"Doctors rely, in part, on a parent's observations when it comes to assessing a child's developmental progress," Kleinert said. "So educating the public helps the doctor who, in turn, can find ways to help children who aren't reaching developmental milestones when they should."

To learn more about the campaign or download materials, see or contact Rebecca Grau, assistant director of UofL's Autism Center at Kosair Charities, at 502-852-7799.

Exclusive auction items at The Julep Ball offer fine spirits

Guests can bid on Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel's small-batch packages at May 3 event benefiting the James Graham Brown Cancer Center
Exclusive auction items at The Julep Ball offer fine spirits

Two exclusive auction packages guaranteed to appeal to the connoisseur of fine spirits will be offered this year at The Julep Ball, set for Derby Eve, May 3, at the KFC Yum! Center.

Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select bourbon and Jack Daniel's Single Barrel whiskey are each providing a barrel of their product in personalized, individually labeled bottles bearing the winning bidder's name. The winning bidder also receives a personalized barrel head, distillery tour and other exclusive benefits.

"We are excited to offer these two auction packages exclusively to our guests as part of the full evening of entertainment at The Julep Ball. Both are designed for the person who understands and appreciates the nuances of small-batch distilling and wants a unique experience," said Michael Neumann, director of The Julep Ball and major gifts officer at the University of Louisville. The Julep Ball supports the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL.

Woodford Reserve, billed as the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby(R), is offering the "Personal Selection Experience." The package provides 180 one-liter bottles of Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select bourbon in bottles labeled with the winning bidder's name. The winning bidder will consult with Woodford Reserve craftsmen to select his or her own barrels. Also included are a personalized barrel head; one used Woodford Reserve barrel; a private tour of the Woodford Reserve distillery in Versailles, Ky.; lunch for up to six people in the tasting group; and the winning bidder's name engraved on a permanent plaque at the distillery.

Jack Daniel's wants bidders to know, "Your barrel is waiting." This package offers 42 cases or 252 bottles of Jack Daniel's Single Barrel whiskey and personalized medallions, barrel head, nameplate and brick with the winning bidder's name on display in the Single Barrel Society Room at the Jack Daniel's Distillery. The package includes whiskey selection at the distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., two coach air tickets and two nights' hotel accommodation in Nashville, transportation to and from the distillery and lunch for two at Miss Mary Bobo's in Lynchburg.

Three-quarters of the available tickets for the full evening's entertainment, which includes the opportunity to bid on these exclusive auction packages, are now sold out, but plenty of dance-only tickets are still available. The full evening's entertainment is $500 per person while dance-only tickets are $150 per person. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website,

At The Julep Ball, party-goers can mingle with local and national business leaders, horse industry professionals and celebrities from sports, music, cinema and television and enjoy entertainment provided by the World's Greatest Party Band, the B-52s. A celebrity emcee for the evening will be CBS Sports Radio broadcaster and former NFL great Tiki Barber. The crowd can watch celebrities make their entrance on the red carpet entrance and dance until the wee hours of Saturday morning following the B-52s concert. Special moments of The Julep Ball again will come when the scientists, physicians and patients at the forefront of cancer treatment and delivery are honored and saluted for their efforts.

The Julep Ball is a 21-and-older event, and the winning bidders and their guests taking part in the small-batch packages' activities must be age 21 or older as well. Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel's join with The Julep Ball in advocating for responsible drinking.

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Brown-Forman, Republic National Distribution Company of Kentucky, Power Creative, Kroger, LG&E, The Event Company, Ingrid Design, Raymond E. and Eleanor H. Loyd, Hilliard Lyons, KentuckyOne Health, Tafel Motors, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Advanced Electrical Systems, Montgomery Chevrolet, AT&T Kentucky, BKD, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Republic Bank, Stites & Harbison, Heuser Clinic and Publishers Printing. Media partners are Louisville Magazine, NFocus, the Voice-Tribune, WHAS11 and 102.3 The Max.

Darrell Griffith encouraging Cardinal fans to Dress in Blue for "Blue of L Day"

March 1 event with Griffith, Madeline Abramson highlights need for colon cancer screening

One day each year, Cardinal fans can shed their red for a worthy cause.

On Friday, March 1, the Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville will again sponsor Dress In Blue Day for colon cancer screening awareness.

This year's celebration, dubbed "Blue of L Day," will feature UofL basketball legend Darrell Griffith along with Madeline Abramson, honorary chair of Dress in Blue Day for Kentucky and wife of Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. The event will be held at the Kentucky Science Center, 727 W. Main St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A highlight of the day's activities will be Abramson and Griffith's appearance from noon to 1 p.m. They will meet participants and discuss the importance of colon cancer screening.

Participants also will see the "Incredible Colon," a 20-foot long, 10-foot tall, walk-through replica of the human colon that provides images to educate the public about colorectal cancer. The first 200 participants wearing blue who tour the Incredible Colon between noon and 1 p.m. will receive free Dress in Blue t-shirts.

Also on display at the Kentucky Science Center is the Body Worlds Vital exhibit that includes whole-body plastinates, a large arrangement of individual organs, organ and arterial configurations and translucent slices that give a complete picture of how the human body works. The exhibit shows how to best fight, manage and prevent life-threatening diseases – such as cancer, diabetes, and heart ailments – through healthy choices and life style changes.

Early diagnosis and treatment is the goal of Dress in Blue Day, said Dr. Donald Miller, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL. "Colon cancer screening can save lives. Most colon cancers can be prevented or cured if detected early," he said.

"I've been screened for colon cancer twice," UofL President James R. Ramsey said, "and I join Dr. Miller in encouraging everyone age 50 and over to schedule a screening appointment – and to go blue for colon cancer on March 1."

The Kentucky Capitol Dome in Frankfort will be lit in blue for colon cancer awareness beginning March 1 through March 10, also. The Kentucky Cancer Program will sponsor a colon cancer display in the Capital Annex Hall March 4-8 for legislators and visitors to learn about the importance of colon cancer screening.

Admission to the event varies with several options for the Body Worlds Vital exhibition available; for details, visit the Kentucky Science Center web site at The first 100 UofL employees attending the event can receive a $5 discount with their UofL ID.

Financial workshop aims to help cancer caregivers

Financial workshop aims to help cancer caregivers

As they sort through medical care and health insurance issues, patients with cancer also may encounter financial stress for themselves and their families. A March 6 workshop about health-related financial services is intended for the social workers, nurses and caregivers who help them.

Dan Sherman, clinical financial consultant for Mercy Health’s Lacks Cancer Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., will present “Financial Navigation Services for Patients in the Oncology Setting: Moving Beyond the Basics.”

The University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work and Baptist Health Louisville co-sponsor the 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. event in the Cancer Resource Center Conference Room of the Charles and Mimi Osborn Cancer Center, Baptist Health Louisville, 4003 Kresge Way.

The registration deadline is Feb. 28 at The workshop is free, although continuing education units are available for social workers for $20.

Sherman will discuss the psychological impact of financial distress, financial counseling services for patients and solutions for financially vulnerable patients.

He is founder and president of The NaVectis Group, a consulting company that helps oncology providers put financial navigation programs into effect.

For more information, contact Karen Kayser at 502-852-1946 or


Older donor lungs should be considered for transplantation

UofL research suggests more aggressive use of lungs from donors over the age of 60
Older donor lungs should be considered for transplantation

With a scarcity of lungs available for transplantation, the use of lungs from donors older than age 60 has been shown to achieve reasonable outcomes and should be considered as a viable option, according to research published online Thursday in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

 "The availability of suitable donor lungs for transplantation continues to be a major obstacle to increasing the number of lung transplants performed annually, and this study demonstrated that reasonable outcomes are possible with the use of advanced age donors," said William Micah Whited, M.D., of the University of Louisville Department of Surgery. "Research such as this that explores the means of expanding the donor pool is of critical importance."

Whited, along with senior author Matthew Fox, M.D., of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and other colleagues from UofL, queried the United Network of Organ Sharing thoracic transplant database to identify lung transplant recipients age 18 years or older.

Between January 2005 and June 2014, 14,222 lung transplants were performed. Of these lung transplant recipients, 26 percent were age 50 years or younger, with 2 percent receiving lungs from donors older than age 60. Among this group of younger patients who received older donor lungs, there was no significant difference in five-year survival when compared to patients who received lungs from younger donors.

The researchers also examined the impact of double versus single lung transplant on long-term survival, finding that younger patients who received older donor lungs experienced much better outcomes when a double versus a single transplantation was performed.

The study showed that in younger patients who received a single lung transplant using organs from older versus younger donors, there was a lower five-year survival: 15 percent versus 50 percent. However, with a double lung transplant, there was no significant difference in five-year survival: 53 percent versus 59 percent.

“Ideal donor” criteria vary by hospital, but the researchers said that the criteria generally consist of brain death, age less than 45 to 50 years, minimal smoking history, and no evidence of pneumonia or trauma. Donor organs that do not meet all of the ideal donor criteria are sometimes accepted, but not always.

Whited said that while the use of extended criteria donor lungs varies from program to program, most surgeons should be willing to accept non-ideal donors, especially those who are older but otherwise good candidates.

"The vast majority of potential donors do not meet the relatively strict donor criteria," he said. "As a result, we need to continue exploring options that would expand the donor pool and more aggressively utilize extended criteria donors. Much like the general population, the donor pool has continued to grow older. Now more than ever, we have to rely on older donors."

The U.S. Organ Procurement & Transplant Network (OPTN) reports that 1,399 people currently are waiting for a lung transplant in the United States. The overall median waiting time for candidates on the wait list is four months, while more than 200 people die annually waiting for a lung transplant, according to an OPTN report.

NYU researcher will discuss heart’s conduction system April 26

NYU researcher will discuss heart’s conduction system April 26

Glenn Fishman, M.D.

An accomplished researcher from New York University will discuss the heart’s specialized conduction system in the next Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville.

Glenn I. Fishman, M.D., will speak at noon, Wednesday, April 26, at the Jewish Rudd Heart & Lung Center Conference Center, 201 Abraham Flexner Way.  Admission is free and parking also is available free of charge in the Jewish Hospital Garage, 450 S. Floyd St.

Fishman is the William Goldring Professor of Medicine and Director of the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at New York University School of Medicine.  He also serves as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology.

His research focuses on the formation and function of the specialized cardiac conduction system. This complex network comprises pace-making cells that establish the normal rhythmicity of the heart, as well as rapidly conducting specialized cells that facilitate highly synchronized excitation and contraction of the working myocardium, which is the muscle substance of the heart that enables it to pump.

Continuing education credits are available to both physicians and nurses who attend the lecture. For additional information, contact 502-852-1162 or

The Leonard Leight Lecture is presented annually by the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and funding is provided through the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation. For 30 years until 1996, Leight was a practicing cardiologist in Louisville and played a major role in developing cardiology services and bringing innovative treatment modalities in heart disease to Louisville.

The Leonard Leight Lecture series was established at the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation in 1994 by gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Ackermann and Medical Center Cardiologists.




The Lancet Oncology: Major report sets out how to accelerate cancer research and care, delivering on U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative

UofL School of Medicine’s Dr. Kelly McMasters Contributes to Report
The Lancet Oncology: Major report sets out how to accelerate cancer research and care, delivering on U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative

Dr. Kelly McMasters

A fundamental shift in how cancer research is conducted and how cancer care is delivered in the United States is required in order to deliver on the U.S. Cancer Moonshot initiative, according to a major new report published today in The Lancet Oncology journal.

The report sets out a detailed roadmap to deliver on the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations, including a focus on prevention, a new model for drug discovery and development, a vast expansion of patient access to clinical trials, and an emphasis on targeted interventions to improve cancer care for underserved groups, specifically children, cancer survivors and minority groups. The report emphasizes the importance of addressing health disparities in all recommendations.

The Lancet Oncology Commission on Future Research Priorities in the USA is authored by more than 50 leading oncologists in the United States, including University of Louisville surgical oncologist, Kelly M. McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., and other members of leading U.S. cancer organizations, and sets out 13 key priority areas, each with measurable goals, to focus the $2 billion of funding released to the National Cancer Institute as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.

It highlights how technological advances, including understanding and mapping pre-cancer biology and the rapid adoption of big data, as well as new collaborations across industry, patient groups, academia, government and clinical practice will be critical to advancing research, and ultimately improving patient care.

“Among the thousands of technical details necessary for the success of an actual Moonshot, some fundamental principles remained the same; chief among them was the necessity of reaching the moon. The Commission brought together experts from across the spectrum of oncology research to help define the proper trajectory for the mission ahead,” says McMasters, president, Society of Surgical Oncology and Ben A. Reid, Sr., M.D., professor and chairman, The Hiram C. Polk, Jr., MD Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine.

The Commission will be launched on Nov. 1 at an event on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. and presented on Nov. 3 at the United Nations Association of New York Humanitarian Awards, where former Vice President Joe Biden is being honored for his work on improving cancer outcomes as part of the U.S. Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

Professor Elizabeth Jaffee, president-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and co-chair of the Commission from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, says: “The U.S. 21st Century Cures Act provided nearly $2 billion in funding to accelerate cancer research, but strategic allocation of resources will be crucial to accelerate research, treatment and ultimately patient care. This commission maps an ambitious path ahead to guide researchers, funders, industry, and policy makers in prioritizing the best research to benefit patients.”

Professor Chi Van Dang, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, New York and The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia; and co-chair, says: “The cancer research community has embraced the extraordinary opportunity of the Moonshot initiative with remarkable energy. To ensure that cancer research in the United States continues to be world-leading, it is imperative that investment is concentrated into specific research areas. The commission identifies key areas to prioritize across technology, clinical research, public health and drugs policy to achieve this goal.”

Commenting on the commission, Gregory Simon, president of the Biden Cancer Initiative, says the report “provides a roadmap to change the course of cancer in our lifetime—a journey in which we should actively participate. Patients, caregiver, doctors, researchers, nurses, and scientist all need to embark on the course of action proposed by the report, without delay. Time is of the essence, and so action must be taken now.”

The commission highlights the importance of cancer prevention, including the development of a premalignant cancer atlas to identify small changes in healthy tissue at the earliest stages of cancer development, opening up new opportunities for precision-based cancer prevention. The need to move towards targeted screening will also be important.

Professor Scott Lippman, University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, co-author, says: “Past efforts to prevent cancer have been limited and sometimes hindered by serious and substantial disparities. A one-size-fits-all strategy does not work. That’s the premise of precision medicine and it should be for prevention efforts as well, such as screenings, which should be tailored by age, risk, demographics and other factors. Colorectal screening, for example, is extremely poor in Latinos, especially of low income, but there are new programs that overcome language and social barriers to boost breadth and success. Obesity research is crucial given the growing global epidemic and promise of recent work in special energetics, sedentary behavior and meal timing. These strategies will have a great effect on minimizing morbidities and mortality from cancer in future generations.”  

Data sharing and patient-centered priorities will be critical to advancing research and improving care. The report strongly supports developing data systems that allow patients to input their own personal data for use by the cancer community and, in return, provide outputs to patients that allow them to identify the most scientifically sound clinical trials for which they might be eligible. The ultimate goal is to align research and care in a seamless continuum such that all patients have access to clinical trials as part of standard care and their clinical course and experience informs future research.

 An unprecedented increase in the number of therapies have been approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past two to three years, but this continues at immense costs, with hundreds of drugs failing in clinical trials. Bringing a single new therapy to the market is estimated to cost $2.6 billion. Among the commission’s recommendations is the need for an overhaul of the drug discovery process so that projects can be discontinued earlier in the clinical development phase, and to transform how academia, industry and clinical groups collaborate to vastly improve efficiencies.

Patients with cancers that were once lethal are now living longer with cancer as a chronic condition, meaning that guidelines must be developed to address the long-term health care needs of patients while undergoing therapy and of survivors. Finally, patient outcomes are greatly affected by racial, cultural, and socioeconomic background and there is a need both to better understand the context of care, and ensure equitable access to care that is financially sustainable for the individual and society.

Professor Jeffrey Peppercorn, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, co-author, says: “As we make advances in cancer care, one of our priorities must be to ensure that all patients who may benefit have access to high quality care. We need to better understand and address costs of cancer care and disparities in care in the United States and internationally. This is an exciting time in cancer care and research and we need to make sure that the oncology community comes together, working beyond national borders whenever necessary, to accelerate global effort to control cancer and improve the lives of patients.”

Clifford Hudis, chief executive officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and former chief of breast medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and co-author, says: “Although clinical research has been challenged by reduced support as well as regulatory and administrative burdens, we have recently seen truly remarkable progress across a range of malignancies. The blueprint laid out by the BRP and this commission should help us prioritize our efforts to accelerate meaningful clinical advances in the next four to five years. The provisions provide an opportunity for cancer investigators, federal agencies, universities and research institutes, and private philanthropic supporters worldwide to direct their investments and help the global community meet the ambitious goal of delivering ten years progress in half that time. The time for action is now.”

UofL physicians explain why you need certified eclipse glasses when viewing the eclipse

UofL physicians explain why you need certified eclipse glasses when viewing the eclipse

Photo showing solar photo-toxicity in the central retina, the yellow-white pigment irregularity highlighted by the arrow. Image © 2017 American Academy of Ophthalmology.

It may be tempting to take a peek at the August 21 eclipse without eye protection. After all, we are told it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. However, a University of Louisville ophthalmologist says that peek could leave you with a not-so-pleasant, permanent reminder of the event.

“You may have heard that you can do a lot of damage to your eyes when viewing an eclipse, and it’s true,” said Mark Mugavin, M.D., M.P.H., of the UofL Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. “During an eclipse, our normal reflexes that protect us from sun damage, such as blinking and pupil constriction, are more relaxed because the sun’s light intensity is significantly reduced.”

During the August 21 total eclipse, the moon will directly block all or part of the sun for up to three hours and will be visible across the United States. The “Path of Totality,” in which the entire sun will be covered, cuts across the southwest corner of Kentucky, but does not include the Louisville area.

"At no point should solar filter glasses be removed when you are looking at the eclipse in Louisville,” said Patrick A. Scott O.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UofL Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. “Although the sun may appear completely blocked, observers in Louisville will still be exposed to the sun's harmful rays, which can cause damage to the eyelids, ocular surface and internal structures of the eye."

Looking directly into the sun causes a condition known as “solar retinopathy.” The increased UV light exposure creates toxic free radicals that damage the photoreceptors and specialized pigment of the eye. This damage can leave a person with a mild to moderate reduction in vision, as well as central blind spots. Those most at risk for solar retinopathy are younger people, those with an intraocular lens implanted after cataract surgery and patients who are on photosensitive drugs such as tetracycline and amiodarone. Even though the Louisville area will see approximately 96 percent of the sun blocked, the remaining 4 percent can cause damage.

“The UofL Department of Ophthalmology sees approximately 10 cases a year of patients with solar retinopathy from high intensity laser pointers or high intensity sunlight exposure, such as viewing an eclipse,” Mugavin said, adding that he expects more cases this summer from people viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection.

There is no treatment available for solar retinopathy so the best strategy is to avoid it.

To safely view the eclipse, use glasses with special purpose solar filters. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website reviews the various “eclipse glasses” that are available. Approved glasses should meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard and be manufactured by a U.S. manufacturer.



August 2, 2017

UofL hosting international meeting on health effects of histidyl dipeptides carnosine and anserine

Relatively new field of study holds potential in variety of diseases, conditions
UofL hosting international meeting on health effects of histidyl dipeptides carnosine and anserine

Presentations for the 4th Annual International Congress on Carnosine and Anserine will be held at UofL's Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, 305 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.

The 4th Annual International Congress on Carnosine and Anserine will meet in Louisville Sept. 12-14, drawing participants from around the globe.

The Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Louisville organized the congress to share new research on the health effects of histidyl dipeptides such as carnosine and anserine. It will be held at UofL’s Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, 302 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd., and the Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway.

Carnosine is known as an endogenous dipeptide that is naturally produced in the body. It is concentrated in skeletal muscles, the heart, the brain and other parts of the body. Carnosine is thought to prevent aging,  alleviate diet-induced metabolic syndrome, nerve damage, eye disorders and kidney problems.

Anserine is a derivative of carnosine and is normally absent from human tissues and body fluids. Anserine is present in the skeletal muscle of birds and certain species of mammals, notably the rabbit, rat and whale. It is an antioxidant and helps reduce fatigue. 

The conference will draw leading scientists as presenters from four continents, with countries such as Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom represented as well as the United States.

The conference oral  presentations will cover the impact of carnosine and anserine in exercise and sports,  chronic metabolic diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, the nervous system, renal disease and the biochemical pathways of carnosine and its derivatives.

Carnosine and anserine are referred to as novel dipeptides in science – meaning they consist of two amino acids and exhibit multifunctional properties. Recent clinical trials demonstrate that  these dipeptides enhance the walking ability of patients with heart failure and alleviate metabolic syndrome in patients with diabetes.

“This congress  provides an opportunity for researchers and scientists from around the world who are working in this area to interact and forge new collaborations,” said Assistant Professor of Medicine Shahid Baba, Ph.D., who is congress chair. “It allows investigators to interact with one another and forge collaborations that will help us advance research in this field.”

For details about the conference, contact Baba at 502-852-4274 or

National AARP, Area Agencies on Aging leaders featured at optimal aging conference, June 12-14

Keynote speakers announced; CEUs, free lecture series offered
National AARP, Area Agencies on Aging leaders featured at optimal aging conference, June 12-14

A national vice president of AARP, the CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and a University of Louisville Emeritus Geriatrician have been tapped as keynote speakers for The Optimal Aging Conference. The event, hosted by UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging and the Kentucky Association for Gerontology (KAG), will be held June 12-14 at the historic Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway.

Speakers and their addresses are:

  • Barbara Shipley, Senior Vice President of Brand Integration, AARP
    Disrupt Aging: Unlocking the Age Disruptor in All of Us
  • Sandy Markwood, CEO, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
    Valuing and Supporting People as They Age: The Aging Networks’ Role in Supporting Optimal Aging
  • James O’Brien, M.D., Emeritus Geriatrician, University of Louisville
    Caring for Older Adults: Lessons Learned

The conference has a variety of options for people interested in revolutionizing the way aging is constructed in our community, said Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the institute. “The Optimal Aging Conference is an exciting opportunity for all individuals dedicated to the belief that aging is an opportunity,” Faul said. “This conference is unique in that we have a variety of professional and academic perspectives present. It is through this sharing of all our perspectives that we will be moving together towards an aging revolution.”

This is the inaugural conference to be co-hosted by the institute and KAG. “This inaugural year of the Optimal Aging Conference will premiere the power of merging resources to create something even greater than what existed before,” Barbara Gordon, KAG president, said. “Stemming from our long-standing annual conference and the institute’s symposium, the partnership of these two organizations results in an exceptional event that promises to be a coveted learning opportunity for persons in the field of aging the world over.”

The conference will conclude the afternoon of June 14 with the Smock Lecture Series, featuring five 1-hour presentations. This concluding lecture series is free and open to all conference participants as well as the general public.

CEU credits are available for physicians, social workers, nurses and other health care professionals. There also are several pre-conference CEU offerings including Social Work Ethics (social work), Domestic Violence (social work) and Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk, a required CEU for social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and certified alcohol and drug counselors. Information about CEU offerings is found on the conference website.

Cost to attend is $110 person for students, medical residents and senior citizens age 65 and older; $250 for KAG members; and $270 for other academic and other professional staff. To register, go to the conference website.

About Barbara Shipley

Barbara Shipley brings more than 25 years of experience in branding, marketing and strategic communications to her role as senior vice president of brand integration for AARP.  She joined AARP in 2006 to help build and develop the revitalized AARP brand platform and now leads the brand integration efforts for AARP, from the Foundation and AARP Services to the association and its 53 state offices. Prior to joining AARP, she managed the Washington office of public relations firm Ruder Finn and spent more than a decade in various leadership roles with Fleishman Hillard Inc, one of the world’s largest strategic communications firms.  A native New Yorker, Shipley is a graduate of American University and lives in McLean, Va., with her husband and two children.

About Sandy Markwood

Chief Executive Officer Sandy Markwood of the National Association for Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has more than 30 years’ experience in developing aging, health, human services, housing and transportation programs in counties and cities across the nation. Prior to coming to n4A in January 2002, Sandy served as the deputy director of county services at the National Association of Counties. As CEO, Sandy is responsible for n4a’s overall management, setting strategic direction and overseeing the implementation of all policy, grassroots advocacy, membership and program initiatives. She also leads n4a’s fundraising efforts and engages corporate sponsors to support initiatives, including an aging awards/best practices program and the Leadership Institute for Area Agency on Aging. Sandy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia.

About James O’Brien, M.D.

James O’Brien received his medical degrees at University College, Dublin, and completed a residency in family medicine at Saginaw Cooperative Hospitals in affiliation with Michigan State University and a fellowship in geriatrics at Duke University Medical Center. He spent 19 years on the faculty at MSU where he initiated the first geriatric fellowship. He assumed the Margaret Dorward Smock Endowed Chair in Geriatrics at UofL in 1996.  He became acting chair of Family Medicine in 2002 and chair of the renamed Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine in 2003, a position he held until 2015 when he was named Emeritus Geriatrician. He has been named a “Best Doctor in Louisville” by Louisville Magazine and is a past recipient of ElderServe’s Champion of Aging Award.

Skydiving spiders and zombie ants at next Beer with a Scientist

Steve Yanoviak, Ph.D., to speak on rainforest research December 9
Skydiving spiders and zombie ants at next Beer with a Scientist

Steve Yanoviaqk, Ph.D.

For the December edition of Beer with a Scientist, Steve Yanoviak, Ph.D., associate professor and the Tom Wallace Endowed Chair of Conservation at the University of Louisville, will share stories of his adventures in the tropical rainforest.

Yanoviak has been conducting research in the tropical rainforest canopy for more than two decades. In his discussion, "How to Fall From Trees,” he will highlight some of the amazing discoveries he and his colleagues have made regarding the behavior and ecology of insects that live in the treetops. He will share videos of swimming ants and skydiving insects and spiders, and a story about zombie ants. His presentation will conclude with a brief look at the next phase of his research, which explores the effects of lightning on tropical trees.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 9 at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014 and is the brainchild of UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.


December 1, 2015

UofL study examines the experiences of Muslim cancer survivors

Results will guide religious and culturally sensitive interventions
UofL study examines the experiences of Muslim cancer survivors

Fawwaz Alaloul, Ph.D.

A study at the University of Louisville will provide insight into cultural and religious influences on the experiences of Muslim cancer survivors living in the United States.

The results will be used to develop culturally and religiously sensitive interventions, such as support groups for Muslim cancer survivors, to improve quality of life and health outcomes.

Funded by more than $28,000 in grants from the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation and the American Nurses Foundation, the study is led by UofL School of Nursing Assistant Professor Fawwaz Alaloul, Ph.D., and focuses on Muslims of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian descent who reside in the United States.

“Previous studies conducted in Islamic countries showed that the religion and culture of Muslims have a great influence on their experience and how they perceive their cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship after treatment,” Alaloul said. “This study will help us understand the influence of religion, faith and cultural practices on their cancer experience.”

Studying Muslim cancer survivor experiences has become increasingly important as the Muslim population continues to grow in the United States. Lack of understanding by health care providers of Muslim cancer survivor experiences within the context of culture can create barriers that may interfere with health outcomes, Alaloul said.

Prior research has shown that some Muslim cancer patients use herbs and other dietary supplements to treat disease or manage symptoms and they do not share this information with health care providers. The supplements might interact with prescribed medication, adversely impacting treatment outcomes. Patients might also refuse to take medications that contain swine-derived gelatin because Muslim law forbids the consumption of pork and they do not disclose this to their providers.

“We need to make sure health care providers are aware of these differences when treating Muslim patients,” Alaloul said. “If providers are aware of these issues, they will better identify, understand and meet patients’ religious needs, which can reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes.”

Muslims are less likely to disclose their cancer diagnosis to their community and even some relatives because they think the information is too personal. Withholding their health status means the patient forgoes emotional support from the community. Cancer support groups tailored for Muslims could improve quality of life, Alaloul said.

To see if you qualify to participate in the study, contact Alaloul at or 502-852-8396. Study participants should identify as Muslim, speak and read English, Arabic or Urdu, be at least 18 years old and be one to five years post-cancer diagnosis. Interviews can be done in person, over the phone or through video conference.