Program helps Kentuckians take control of health and manage disease

Program helps Kentuckians take control of health and manage disease

Microclinic Facilitators

A new initiative seeks to empower individuals to take control of their own health and positively influence the health of others.

The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging  at the University of Louisville has launched a health education effort in Kentucky called the Microclinic Program, created by Microclinic International.

The microclinics are designed to empower individuals to lead healthier lives and manage chronic disease. Participants learn how to decipher nutrition labels, cook healthy meals, take part in group fitness activities and reach health goals.    

The institute recently held a facilitator training for community and health care industry workers. They will lead small group microclinics with patients, friends and family at community centers, workplaces, churches, senior seniors, hospitals, health clinics, extension offices and schools. 

The facilitators are members of the Kentucky Coalition for Healthy Communities, a community coalition supported by the institute’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant and other community organizations. The first cohort of trainees includes representatives of UofL, Aetna, Area Agencies on Aging, Care Source and Anthem, along with Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Trimble, and Franklin counties in Kentucky.

The institute plans to offer additional trainings for individuals in counties surrounding Jefferson County and those near the Barren River area.

To schedule a microclinic or facilitator class, and to learn more about the program, contact Mona Huff at 503-845-6849 or . Learn more about the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at


Two UofL medical students receive Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships for research in sub-Saharan Africa

UofL is first medical school with two awardees in the same year
Two UofL medical students receive Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships for research in sub-Saharan Africa

Mackenzie Flynn and Jessica Eaton

Jessica Eaton and Mackenzie Flynn, students in the University of Louisville School of Medicine, will delay their fourth year of medical school to spend nine months conducting medical research in Malawi and Kenya. Thanks to Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships in Public Health for 2016-2017, Eaton plans to research the causes and assess the outcomes of brain and spinal cord injuries in Lilongwe, Malawi, and Flynn will work with pregnant HIV-positive women in Nairobi, Kenya to determine whether text messaging can increase compliance with treatments to prevent HIV transmission to their infants.

Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships are offered for students enrolled in medical school or a graduate program in public health through a partnership between the U.S. government’s Fulbright international study program and the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health. This is the first time two students in the same medical school have received Fulbright-Fogarty fellowships in a single year.

Eaton and Flynn have cultivated their interest in global health through participation in the Distinction in Global Health track (DIGH) at UofL, a supplemental curriculum for students in the school of medicine that introduces students to aspects of global health through clinical, social, political and epidemiological study.

“The Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship is a great opportunity to participate in real-world experience in global health research,” said Bethany Hodge, M.D., M.P.H., director of the DIGH track and the UofL School of Medicine’s Global Education Office. “These experiences will take their academic skills to a higher level and prepare them for careers in global health.”

As part of her research, Eaton will conduct a retrospective review of trauma records to determine the causes of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries (TBI/SCI) as well as their treatment outcomes. In addition, she will conduct research to identify the best predictors of surgical outcomes in TBI/SCI patients using the patient’s signs and symptoms to determine a surgical plan since the hospital lacks advanced imaging facilities such as CT or MRI. Eaton will conduct her research at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe, Malawi under the guidance of Anthony Charles, M.D., M.P.H., and other faculty with the UNC Malawi Surgical Initiative. She will use the surgical initiative’s trauma and surgical registry, one of the largest such registries in sub-Saharan Africa.

“As a medical student planning to pursue neurosurgery and dreaming of practicing overseas in the places where I am most needed, I couldn't have crafted a better learning opportunity for myself,” Eaton said.

As an undergraduate at UofL, Eaton was one of the inaugural James Graham Brown Fellows. That fellowship provided her with opportunities to travel, which sparked her interest in global health. She plans to enter neurosurgery and incorporate global health into her practice. [Hear Jessica Eaton's interview on UofL Today with Mark Hebert]

Flynn’s research will focus on preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) helps increase lifespan and delay progression to AIDS in patients with HIV and is considered key to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Flynn’s project will investigate whether text messages sent to pregnant HIV-positive women will increase ART adherence and prenatal health care visits. She will conduct her research under primary investigator Alison Drake, Ph.D., M.P.H., in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi and the Kenya Research Program at the University of Washington.

“This is an excellent opportunity to really understand how medical research can differ from benchwork,” Flynn said. “Epidemiology, clinical trials conducted in an international setting, IRB approval and ethical considerations are all things I want to incorporate into my career in academia and in global health.”

This year’s fellowship will be the second Fulbright experience for Flynn. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at UofL in 2012, Flynn received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Sivas, Turkey, where she taught university-level English-speaking courses to college freshmen at Cumhuriet University. Flynn’s work in Kenya will build on experience she had during a medical service trip to Tanzania where she worked in an area with a high prevalence of HIV infections. She hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine and work in international health and research as an ob/gyn. [Hear Mackenzie Flynn's interview on UofL Today with Mark Hebert]

Hodge said the experience and research training Eaton and Flynn will receive will benefit not only their academic careers, but the other students in the DIGH track once they return to UofL to complete their M.D. program in August of 2017.

“We talk about global health as an academic discipline and think critically about the gaps in knowledge in this field. We spend a lot of time looking at the literature and thinking about the roles of physicians as researchers, policy-makers and social advocates in global health, in addition to being clinicians,” Hodge said. “I look forward to these students returning after their fellowships because their boots-on-the-ground experience will enrich the discussions we have as a group. Hopefully they will inspire other students to pursue academic work in global health.”


About the Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship in Public Health

The Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, has partnered with Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health to offer Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships in Public Health. These fellowships grant medical students and graduate students interested in global health the opportunity to conduct research in public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings. Fellows spend nine months in one of nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia or South America. The Fulbright-Fogarty program began in 2011.

Bertolone receives Marc Lehmann Spirit of Service Award for patient care in pediatric oncology & hematology

Bertolone receives Marc Lehmann Spirit of Service Award for patient care in pediatric oncology & hematology

Salvatore J. Bertolone, Jr., M.D.

Salvatore J. Bertolone, Jr., M.D., professor and previous chief of pediatric oncology and hematology at the University of Louisville, will receive the third annual Marc A. Lehmann Spirit of Service Award for physicians on Oct. 30. The award recognizes Louisville-area physicians in hematology & oncology and is presented in memory of Marc A. Lehmann, a Louisville native and UofL student who succumbed to acute myeloid leukemia in 2012.

The Marc A. Lehmann Spirit of Service Award Foundation endeavors to seek out and identify physicians and support staff in the field of blood cancers and hematology to honor long-standing service to patients and their families that encompasses exceptional proficiency, empathy and understanding. Each year the foundation presents an award to one physician and to three support staff members from the Greater Louisville area.

“I am humbled  by this award – humbled because all I have tried to do is simply what every physician has pledged to do in the Hippocratic Oath:  Remember that there is art to medicine as well as science and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drugs,” Bertolone said.

Marc Lehmann was stricken with acute myeloid leukemia at age 18, while a student at UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Marc endured an eight-year battle with AML, graft vs. host disease and numerous immunosuppressed blood‐borne infections. Following his death in 2012, his family and friends created the Marc A. Lehmann Spirit of Service Award Foundation to honor his memory and the many compassionate health-care workers Marc encountered during his journey.

George J. Lehmann, III, Marc’s father and president and director of the foundation, said previous award recipients nominated Bertolone for the 2015 award. Committee members and directors then conferred with associates, fellow physicians and affected patients concerning Bertolone’s history of patient care.

“Dr. Bertolone was found, by both the nominating committee and by the Foundation directors, to be a more than suitable nominee,” Lehmann said. “The more telling quality that this process reveals lies in the nearly countless stories and accolades provided by affected members of our community, both lay and physician, who enthusiastically endorse Dr. Bertolone's qualifications.”

Along with one physician, awards are presented each year to one support staff member from each Baptist Health System, KentuckyOne Health and Norton Healthcare. The 2015 support staff recipients are Katherine Mitchell, A.P.R.N., A.O.C.N.P. (Baptist), Melissa Pritchett, B.S.N./O.C.N. (KentuckyOne) and Rebecca Champion, Pharm.D., B.C.O.P. (Norton). The 2015 awards will be presented at a dinner on Friday, Oct. 30 at Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant.


October 29, 2015

UofL cancer program goes blue to help save lives

Texas Roadhouse will host ‘Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness,’ March 11

Once a year, the University of Louisville replaces its red with blue to drive home the need for colon cancer screening.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL will team up with Texas Roadhouse, 6460 Dutchmans Parkway, and former Louisville First Lady Madeline Abramson for “Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness,” 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday, March 11, as part of the observance of March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Attendees are invited to wear blue and visit the new Horses and Hope Screening Van, managed by KentuckyOne Health, that will be on site to provide colon cancer information and colon cancer “FIT” kits for patrons to self-screen in the privacy of their own homes. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit tests for hidden blood in the stool which can be an early sign of cancer. FIT kits only detect human blood from the lower intestine. Medicines and food do not interfere with the test, so it tends to be more accurate and have fewer false positive results than other tests.

Giveaways will be provided to attendees who wear blue and visit the screening van. Anyone bringing a “Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness” flyer during the event will get a free appetizer with purchase of a meal at Texas Roadhouse. To obtain a flyer, visit the Kentucky Cancer Program website at or Facebook page.

The Kentucky Cancer Program also is sponsoring a Facebook photo contest with the theme, “How Will YOU Do Blue?” Participants can post their dress-in-blue photos for the chance to win $250. For information, visit the contest website. Photos must be received by March 28 and the winner will be announced April 5.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 136,830 people will be diagnosed and 50,310 will die from this disease.

With regular screening, however, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer. If cancer is present, earlier detection means a chance at a longer life.

For more details, contact the Kentucky Cancer Program at 502-852-6318.

Posted March 3, 2016

More evidence found on potential harmful effects of e-cigarettes

UofL researcher will present findings at AAAS meeting Friday
More evidence found on potential harmful effects of e-cigarettes

Daniel J. Conklin, Ph.D.

While e-cigarette use is increasing worldwide, little is known about the health effects e-cigarettes pose for users. A University of Louisville researcher is working to change that status.

Daniel J. Conklin, Ph.D., professor of medicine in UofL’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, will discuss his early research identifying potentially harmful effects of e-cigarettes at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting.

Conklin will be among a three-member panel discussing “New and Emerging Tobacco Products: Biomarkers of Exposure and Injury,” Friday, Feb. 12, from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Marshall Ballroom East of the Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd. Northwest, Washington.

Conklin will share new data showing that e-cigarettes have been shown to speed up atherosclerosis – the plaque-causing disease that leads to heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. When atherosclerosis affects the arteries of the heart, it is known as coronary artery disease, a condition that affects more than 15 million Americans and causes 500,000 deaths annually.

“Currently, we do not know whether e-cigarettes are harmful,” Conklin said. “They do not generate smoke as do conventional cigarettes but they do generate an aerosol – the vapor – that alters indoor air quality and contains toxic aldehydes. We investigated the direct effects of these toxins on cardiovascular disease in the laboratory.”

Conklin and his team exposed one set of mice to varying levels of e-cigarette aerosol, tobacco smoke, smokeless tobacco or to an aldehyde produced by tobacco, acrolein, which is thought to pose 80-85 percent of the non-cancer health risk of tobacco smoke. Another set of mice was exposed to nicotine alone to understand whether nicotine by itself had any effect.

Not surprisingly and consistent with previous studies, exposure to tobacco smoke increased the amount of atherosclerosis in mice. At the same time, the research team found that either e-cigarette aerosol or smokeless tobacco exposure alone also increased atherosclerosis.

Conklin was particularly intrigued by the results seen with exposure to acrolein or nicotine alone. “Somewhat surprising was the finding that either nicotine alone or acrolein alone at levels equivalent to those present in smokeless tobacco or mainstream smoke also increased atherosclerosis in mice.

“These findings indicate that multiple tobacco-derived constituents have cardiovascular disease-causing potential."

UofL School of Medicine professor to deliver talk as ACC Distinguished Lecturer

UofL School of Medicine professor to deliver talk as ACC Distinguished Lecturer

Maureen McCall, Ph.D.

As the Louisville Cardinals and the Florida State Seminoles prepare to face off on the football field Saturday, the two universities will come together in a different type of exchange in the lecture hall.

As part of the ACC Distinguished Lecture Series, University of Louisville School of Medicine Professor Maureen A. McCall, Ph.D., will give a public lecture at the FSU College of Medicine on the impact of eye disease, the search for therapies and the challenges in curing blindness.

The lecture will take place Friday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. in the Durell Peaden Auditorium & Atrium, 1115 W. Call St. in Tallahassee, Fla. The FSU graduate program in neuroscience is hosting the event. A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

McCall holds joint appointments as professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology and Psychological and Brain Sciences. She came to UofL in 1997.

In August, McCall was named chair of the 20-member Neurotransporters, Receptors and Calcium Signaling Study Section of the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health. The panel reviews research grant applications, helping determine which are worthy of NIH support. She is the only Kentuckian on the panel, which has representatives from universities in 14 states

The author of approximately 60 journal articles, McCall uses electrophysiological techniques in her research to evaluate normal retinal function, dysfunction caused by blinding retinal diseases, and the restoration of function using a variety of therapeutic strategies. Particular areas of emphasis are in the study of retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and congenital stationary night blindness.

Each year, outstanding faculty members from ACC schools are chosen to be ACC Distinguished Lecturers. These scholars are invited to make special presentations by other ACC universities.

Honored as current ACC Distinguished Lecturers are Anthony Atala, Wake Forest University; Gregory Boebinger, Florida State University; Rory Cooper, University of Pittsburgh; Stefan Duma, Virginia Tech;  Rob Dunn, North Carolina State; Robin Fleming, Boston College; Peter Holland, Notre Dame; Eric Johnson, Clemson University; Neil Johnson, University of Miami, and McCall.

Each has been identified as an excellent speaker with a strong capacity for catalyzing creative thinking and collaboration. In addition to an award stipend, the ACC Academic Consortium provides financial support to enable each of our 15 universities to sponsor a “distinguished lecture event” involving one of the lecturers on their campuses.  Lectures are to be scheduled during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years.  More information can be obtained from

Alzheimer’s disease focus of UofL lecture Oct. 14

Alzheimer’s disease focus of UofL lecture Oct. 14

Benjamin Mast, Ph.D.

The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville continues its Optimal Aging Lecture Series with “Understanding the Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Person-Centered Perspectives on Dementia Care,” Wednesday, Oct. 14. The lecture will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

Benjamin Mast, Ph.D., associate professor in the UofL Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, will debunk stereotypical thinking about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and discuss ways in which “person-centered care” can help improve the quality of life of people with these conditions.

Person-centered care aims to see the person with dementia as an individual, rather than focusing on the illness or abilities lost due to disease. This lecture explores the principles of person-centered assessment and care and how these apply to the individual and their unique experiences of living with dementia.

Admission is $17 per person and includes lunch. Reservations are required online. For information, call 502-852-8953 or email

Kentucky offers specialty license plate supporting Alzheimer’s Association

UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging provides support for the effort
Kentucky offers specialty license plate supporting Alzheimer’s Association

End Alzheimer's license plate

License plates supporting the Alzheimer’s Association are available for purchase in Kentucky, making the Bluegrass the first in the United States to offer a specialty plate for Alzheimer’s.

In 2016, the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging provided underwriting for the final applicants to help move the plates into production and raise awareness of the disease that affects nearly 70,000 Kentuckians.

“Our institute is honored to support the Alzheimer’s Association and all Kentuckians who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. This license is a powerful symbol of our enduring love for those affected by Alzheimer’s, our unwavering support for their family members, and our commitment to working with our communities and the Alzheimer’s Association to end Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the institute. 

“The Alzheimer’s specialty plate has been a dream of ours for years,” said DeeAnna Esslinger, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter. “Not only will the plates be a very visible reminder of those suffering with Alzheimer’s, but their sale will also help raise funds for local education initiatives.”

The license plate features a forget-me-not flower on a purple background with the words: ‘Honor. Remember. Care. End Alzheimer’s.’ Drivers may purchase the plate when renewing their tags at any county clerk office. Specialty plate purchasers also can give an additional $10 donation to help fund Alzheimer’s awareness and education activities in Kentucky.

For information visit:

About the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter:

The Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides service and education to 125 counties across greater Kentucky and southern Indiana. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease and more than 90,000 of them reside in our service territory. Services provided include education programs for persons with dementia, caregivers, professionals and the general community as well as support groups and a 24/7 Helpline. Further, the Chapter advocates at the state and national level of government for research and support services on behalf of the people of Kentucky who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.


UofL researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

MyD88 protein controls fusion of myoblasts during muscle formation, may enhance therapies for cancer, muscular dystrophy

Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., professor and distinguished university scholar in UofL’s Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, led a team of researchers who have described the protein’s critical role in the growth and repair of skeletal muscles, both in post-natal development and in the regeneration of injured adult muscles.

UofL post-doctoral fellows Sajedah M. Hindi, Ph.D., and Yann S. Gallot, Ph.D., along with Jonghyun Shin, Ph.D., formerly of UofL and now with Yonsei University in South Korea, conducted the research in Kumar’s lab. It is published today in Nature Communications.

In the formation of muscle, specialized progenitor or stem cells multiply. They then differentiate into preliminary muscle cells called myoblasts. The myoblasts fuse together and subsequently form muscle fiber. Using animal models, the UofL researchers worked with both neonatal cells and adult cells to determine that MyD88, a key signaling protein in the human body, is required in sufficient quantity for myoblasts to fuse.

Hindi believes that MyD88 eventually may be used to improve the effectiveness of therapies using donor cells for the treatment of degenerative muscle disorders such as muscular dystrophies.

“Since MyD88 promotes only the fusion of myoblasts without affecting their proliferation or differentiation, enhancing the levels of MyD88 levels could be a means to enhance engraftment of exogenous myoblasts in cellular therapies,” Hindi said.

Kumar adds that increasing the expression of MyD88 could be used in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcomas, cancerous tumors that develop in skeletal muscles and often affect children.

“We are investigating whether augmenting the levels of MyD88 inhibits growth of rhabdomyosarcoma in animal models,” Kumar said. “Finally, we are investigating whether the loss of MyD88 is responsible for the diminished muscle regeneration capacity in the elderly.”

Research in Kumar’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular and signaling mechanisms that regulate the acquisition and maintenance of skeletal muscle mass. For the past eight years, they have been investigating the proximal signaling mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle atrophy, regeneration and muscle hypertrophy, in addition to the signaling mechanisms that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of satellite cells in myogenic lineage.

In 2015, research from Kumar and Hindi published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation described the role of TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) in maintaining satellite cells and their ability to regenerate injured muscles. Just ten days later, research from the lab published in Nature Communicationsrevealed how the protein transforming growth factor-ß-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is vital in the self-renewal of satellite stem cells.

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of Health grants AR068313, AR059810, and AG029623 to Ashok Kumar and AR069985 to Sajedah M. Hindi.

Kumar, Hindi, Gallot and Shin



November 20, 2017

University of Louisville Joins Prestigious International Group Advising the United Nations on Sustainability

UofL also to be founding member for US network.
University of Louisville Joins Prestigious International Group Advising the United Nations on Sustainability

UofL President Neeli Bendapudi

What does the University of Louisville have in common with the Columbia University in New York, Princeton University and Oxford University in the United Kingdom? All are members of the United National Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

“Inclusion in this international effort recognizes our efforts over the decades to impact our world in a meaningful way when it comes to sustainability,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi today in announcing UofL’s membership at the Louisville Sustainability Symposium, which UofL is hosting for the first time.

“From the Conn Center looking for renewable energy sources and our university-wide efforts to reduce our carbon footprint to our recent creation of the Envirome Institute that focuses on health sustainability, we have a long history of trying to leave a better planet.”

UofL joins just 684 universities and research centers throughout the world that advise the United National on sustainable development.

Additionally, UofL will be a founding member of the U.S. Solutions Network later this year.

“The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network is honored to welcome the University of Louisville to the global network,” said Columbia University Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, advisor to the Secretary General of the UN and Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. “The SDSN looks forward to working closely with the Envirome Institute and city and community leaders to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Our efforts together will help to advance wellbeing in Louisville and around the world.”

The national and regional networks support the localization of the 17 goals set out by the UN and agreed to by 193 nations in 2015. Local networks will promote long-term pathways for sustainable development, promote high-quality education and research collaboration for sustainable development, and support governments in understanding and addressing the challenges of sustainable development.

Through these efforts, the networks are working to create a future in which poverty has been eradicated, the planet is protected and people are ensured the ability to enjoy peace and prosperity.

“We feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to be a founding member of this nation’s grass-roots effort,” Bendapudi said. “All of us at the university in collaboration with our community partners look forward to spearheading efforts to better understand how our environment, in the broadest sense of the word, impacts us as individuals.”

Led by Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine, the UofL Envirome Institute takes a holistic approach to researching how the human-environment interrelationship impacts peoples’ lives. In addition to building on Bhatnagar’s pioneering work establishing the field of environmental cardiology, UofL will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a singular, new approach to the study of health.

“Our researchers, staff and students will explore new concepts associated with examining the elements of a single person’s overall environment and determine how that affects their lives. The impact this will have will be felt well beyond Louisville,” Bendapudi said.

Keep an eye on fireworks safety

Keep an eye on fireworks safety

Don’t let July 4th celebrations end in eye injury

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Fireworks can be a fun way to celebrate Independence Day, but too often celebrations end with injuries or a trip to the emergency room. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that nearly 12,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in the United States in 2015, and about 2,000 of those were eye injuries. Fireworks can cause eye damage through chemical or thermal burns and injuries to the eyeball, resulting in permanent vision loss.

Sidharth Puri, M.D., a resident physician with the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, was alarmed by the number of fireworks-related injuries he witnessed during his first weekend in the emergency room. He hopes to prevent injuries this year by making Louisville residents aware of the dangers posed by fireworks.

“These are not benign, safe, colorful toys. They are miniaturized explosions and they have to be treated with care. These injuries are preventable,” Puri said. “If we can reach one child or one family member and prevent a firework from going off too near their face and blinding them, that is our goal – to save at least one person’s vision.”

Puri offers the following safety tips:

  • Do NOT let young children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers.
  • Always wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
  • Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians

If an eye injury from fireworks occurs:

  • Seek medical attention immediately!
  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Do not rinse your eyes
  • Do not apply pressure
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye
  • Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen

Download a printable PDF file of the eye safety guide here.



June 15, 2017

University of Louisville announces two new endowed chairs in neurological surgery

The University of Louisville Department of Neurological Surgery has established two endowed chairs focused on physical medicine and rehabilitation, underscoring the department’s commitment to patient healing and quality of life.

Darryl L. Kaelin, M.D., has been named the University of Louisville Endowed Chair for Stroke and Brain Injury Rehabilitation. Kaelin specializes in neuro-rehabilitation with a focus on traumatic brain injury and stroke. He serves as chief of the division of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Kaelin obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He completed his specialty training at the Medical College of Virginia where he was chief resident. Prior to assuming his current positions at UofL, Kaelin served as medical director of the Acquired Brain Injury Program at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, a catastrophic care hospital for people with spinal cord and brain injuries. While at the Shepherd Center, he also served as the medical director of Brain Injury Research in Emory University’s School of Medicine.

Steven R. Williams, M.D., has been appointed The Owsley Brown Frazier Endowed Chair in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Williams specializes in spinal cord medicine including activity-based therapies and functional recovery, prevention of secondary effects of paralysis, consumer education, advocacy and emerging technologies. He is director of the spinal cord medicine program.

Williams was previously chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk and completed his residency at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation at New York University School of Medicine.

“The expertise that Dr. Kaelin and Dr. Williams bring to the department is of great benefit to our patients and patient families across the country who will be positively influenced by their work. The endowed chairs will advance the valuable research and education into rehabilitation of spinal cord and head injuries that is ongoing at University of Louisville and Frazier Rehabilitation and Neuroscience Center,” said Warren Boling, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Both endowed positions became effective Dec. 1, 2014.

Second annual conference on caring for adults with IDD set for Nov. 12 at UofL

Goal to improve health care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Second annual conference on caring for adults with IDD set for Nov. 12 at UofL

Steven Haburne

Thanks to advances in medical science and a highly developed network of specialized pediatric health care services, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are much more likely to live into adulthood than they were several decades ago. However, once they reach age 18, they may find a limited number of providers available to address their unique and specialized health care needs.

To improve access to quality health care for adults with IDD, the University of Louisville School of Medicine, UofL School of Dentistry and the Lee Specialty Clinic are sponsoring the Second Annual Caring for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Conference on Saturday, Nov. 12 at UofL. The conference will inform physical, occupational and speech therapists, physicians, dentists, social workers, patients and their caregivers about best current practices and future treatment directions for adults with IDD and address the multidisciplinary approach needed for their care.

“These are individuals with neurologically based conditions who require interdisciplinary care from a variety of health care providers, including primary care, dentistry, cardiology, pulmonary, neurology, psychiatry and psychology, as well as physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy,” said Michael Sowell, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurology at UofL and co-director of the conference.

One such individual is Steven Haburne, described by his mother as, “a 41-year-old man with a pleasant personality who was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and developmental disability.” He moves in a wheelchair, is non-verbal and has a seizure disorder. Haburne’s mother, Shirley Haburne, said they have met with physicians over the years who did not speak to Steven directly or who made assumptions about his condition without listening to Shirley’s description of his individual needs. When Haburne was very young, his family’s dentist told Shirley he was not comfortable treating Steven.

“It did hurt my feelings, but I understand. He is not the same as other patients,” Shirley said. “It has taken a lifetime of finding doctors. It takes time to find a doctor who will listen to you and trust what you say.”

Steven now receives dental care at Lee Specialty Clinic in Louisville, which offers medical, dental, psychiatric and general health care services for patients with IDD, and he receives medical care from several specialists at University of Louisville Physicians. Shirley hopes the conference will help make optimal health care available for her son and others with IDD.

The conference will cover autism outreach, mobility and assistive technology, cognitive decline, advocacy for adults with IDD, and understanding the barriers in transitioning a child with neurodevelopmental disabilities into the adult provider network. Afternoon breakout sessions include topics in medicine, dentistry, developmental psychiatry and psychology, therapeutics and social work and are designed to stimulate discussions among health care providers, patients and their families that will lead to an improved standard of care in the region.

The event also is designed to support the physician specialty of adult developmental medicine.

“Developmental medicine as an emerging specialty pulls together a formal curriculum and training pathway to prepare physicians to provide the comprehensive care that these individuals need,” Sowell said. Learn more about this specialty at the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.

CONFERENCE DETAILS:  The Second Annual Caring for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Conference is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UofL School of Medicine, Instructional Building B - Room 115, 500 S. Preston St., Louisville, Ky. Continuing education credit is available. Register for the conference at or call 502-852-5329.

REMOTE ATTENDANCE: This conference also is available via a LIVE interactive video conference for all persons interested in caring for adult individuals with a diagnosis of an intellectual or a developmental disability. Register in advance of the conference at



November 1, 2016

UofL basketball coaching staff to walk The Julep Ball red carpet

UofL basketball coaching staff to walk The Julep Ball red carpet

Five of University of Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino’s key assistants will walk the red carpet at The Julep Ball.

Mike Balado, Kenny Johnson, Wyking Jones,Kevin Keatts and David Padgett will be among the stars from the sports and entertainment worlds at the May 2 gala.

The premier Derby Eve Party with a Purpose, The Julep Ball is held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby and supports the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. The event on May 2 at the KFC Yum! Center kicks off with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a live auction at 8 p.m.

An Official Event of the 140th Kentucky Derby®, The Julep Ball provides a celebrity-studded night to remember with a multi-course seated dinner, a knock-your-socks-off auction, multiple open specialty bars, complimentary valet parking, and dancing until the wee hours of Derby morning. A limited number of tickets to The Julep Ball are still available. The full evening’s entertainment is $600 per person, $5,000 for a table of 10, and $100 per person for dance-only tickets. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website,

About Balado, Johnson, Jones, Keatts and Padgett:

Mike Balado (pronounced bah-LAW-doe) joined the University of Louisville men's basketball staff as an assistant coach in April 2013 after serving in a similar capacity at Florida International from 2012-13.

Balado helped FIU to quickly achieve success when the 18-14 Panthers produced their first winning season in 13 years, the fourth-highest win total in school history and the most Sun Belt Conference victories (11) since joining the league in 1998-99. He was an assistant under Richard Pitino, the son of UofL head coach Rick Pitino, who is now the head coach at Minnesota.

"Mike brings a wealth of experience in both the recruiting world and in coaching," said Pitino. "An important factor in adding him to our staff was his knowledge of what we do defensively and in scouting, after working with Richard (Pitino) for a year. It should not take a great deal of time in acclimating him to our program. He's a tireless worker and he should fit like a glove. He also brings another facet to our recruiting efforts, as he speaks fluent Spanish and has connections throughout Latin America."

Prior to his year at FIU, Balado worked three seasons at High Point University (2009-12), where he assisted in all areas of the Panther basketball program with a heavy concentration on recruiting. He spent the 2008-09 season on the Miami (Fla.) basketball staff where he helped the Hurricanes compile a 19-13 record and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) while working on player development, scouting and game preparation.

Balado played collegiate basketball at St. Thomas University in Miami, where he was a two-year starter and captain while helping his team win the regular season conference title in 1997. Recipient of a student-athlete leadership award as a senior, he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Thomas in 1998 and a master's of education in exercise and sport science from Augusta State in 2000. A native of Miami, Fla.,

Balado is married to the former Alicia Nigro and the couple had twins, Aiden and Addy, in June 2009.

Kenny Johnson, assistant men's basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at Indiana for the past two years, joined the Louisville men's basketball staff as an assistant coach under head coach Rick Pitino in April 2014.

"We're very excited to have Kenny in our program," said Pitino. "The first thing I did when Kevin Keatts left to become the head coach at UNC Wilmington was to ask my son Richard (Pitino, head coach at Minnesota) to find the best rising assistant coach in the business. He spoke to a lot of people and they led directly to Kenny Johnson and others think he is outstanding as well. He is extremely bright, having studied cell, molecular biology and genetics in college."

While at Indiana, Johnson helped the Hoosiers assemble top 20 recruiting classes each of the past two seasons. On the court, Indiana produced a combined 46-22 record in his two seasons there, winning the Big Ten Championship, earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2013.'s Jeff Goodman, after surveying more than 200 collegiate coaches, named Johnson as the nation's 11th most respected/feared assistant coach in a July 2013 listing after just two seasons as a collegiate assistant.

Johnson was an assistant coach at Towson in 2011-12, helping assemble a top five mid-major recruiting class. He began his coaching career in 2002 as the associate head coach at Eleanor Roosevelt High School before moving to Dr. Henry Wise High School in 2006 for one year. He was associate head coach at Paul IV High school for four years (2007-11) before advancing to the collegiate ranks.

As a senior at Oxon Hill (Md.) High School in 1994, he was named Science and Technology Student of the Year. He earned his bachelor's degree in cell, molecular biology and genetics in 1999 at the University of Maryland, where he was a Benjamin Banneker Scholarship recipient. He worked as a protein chemist/molecular biologist at Human Genome Sciences in Rockville, Md. after graduation.

A native of Oxon Hill, Johnson and his wife, Doreen, have two sons, Amare (11) and Mekai (8).

Wyking Jones (pronounced WHY-king) is in his third season as an assistant basketball coach for the University of Louisville after serving in a similar capacity two seasons at the University of New Mexico. He joined the Cardinals in April 2011.

"Wyking has the experience necessary to help us recruit top-notch student-athletes from all 50 states," said Pitino. "He is highly regarded in all circles as a tireless worker and an outstanding communicator with young people. I had asked Richard (Pitino) to provide me the top five assistant coaching candidates in the country and I would interview them. Immediately he had Wyking at the top of the list. After considerable research, it was apparent that he had all of the characteristics necessary to bring to Cardinal Basketball."

In Jones' two seasons, the Cardinals reached the NCAA Final Four twice - including winning the 2013 NCAA Championship -- and have a combined 65-15 record. He has helped the Cardinals assemble two straight top 10 recruiting classes.

During Jones' two years at New Mexico under head coach Steve Alford, the Lobos produced a combined 52-18 record. The 2009-10 New Mexico team won a school-record 30 games (30-5 record), won the Mountain West Conference Championship and was ranked eighth in the final AP poll.

Before joining the New Mexico staff, Jones spent two years as a basketball travel team manager with Nike Elite Youth Basketball. There he managed all 45 travel teams and the tournaments that Nike sponsored in its grassroots youth program while he built key relationships across the nation.

Jones lettered four years at Loyola Marymount for head coach John Olive (1991-95). He emerged as a junior through a staunch work ethic and unassuming manner to earn all-West Coast Conference honors and the Lions’ Student Athlete of the Year in 1993-94.

Jones earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount in 1995. He served as a Lions' assistant coach during the 1996-97 season. He and his wife, Estrella, have a son, Jameel, and a daughter, Zoe.

Kevin Keatts, who won two national prep championships and was runner-up on three occasions as head coach at Hargrave Military Academy over eight seasons, just wrapped up his final year on the University of Louisville men's basketball staff.

In March, Keatts was named head coach at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, joining 10 other former assistants under Pitino now serving as college head coaches.

"Kevin has been one of the best assistant coaches with which I have had the good fortune to work, and I've had a lot of them," Pitino said. "He is a terrific person, coach, scout, family man and recruiter. He possesses all of the variables to build a successful program. We are really going to miss his upbeat personality … ."

Keatts was promoted to associate head coach in January 2014 after serving as an assistant coach under head coach Rick Pitino since joining the Cardinals in April 2011 and helped the Cardinals assemble two straight top ten recruiting classes. In his two seasons at UofL, the Cardinals reached the NCAA Final Four twice -- including winning the 2013 NCAA Championship -- won two Big East Conference championships, and have a combined 65-15 record.'s Jeff Goodman, after surveying more than 200 collegiate coaches, named Keatts as the nation's third most respected/feared assistant coach in a July 2013 listing.

Keatts' success as a prep coach is staggering. In 10 seasons in two separate stints as the head coach at Hargrave (1999-2001, 2003-2011), he compiled an incredible 263-17 record with two national prep titles (2004, 2008), three runner-up finishes (2005, 2006, 2009) and two additional appearances among the final four prep teams (2007, 2010).

Keatts coached nine players at the prep level that reached the NBA: Joe Alexander, Jordan Crawford, Josh Howard, Vernon Macklin, Mike Scott, Marreese Speights, Sam Young, David West and Korleone Young.

Keatts was a two sport standout in basketball and football at Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Va., and also excelled in basketball at Ferrum College. He and his wife Georgette have two sons, Kevin (9) and Kaden (5).

David Padgett, a former three-year starting center for the Cardinals, is in his first year on the UofL men’s basketball staff as assistant video coordinator.

Padgett spent three years as an assistant basketball coach at IUPUI (2011-14) after a year with UofL as an assistant strength coach (2010-11). He played professional basketball for UB LaPalma in the Canary Islands for two years following his graduation from UofL. He had reached the final preseason cut of the Miami Heat before his playing career in Spain.

A three-year starter and captain at center for the Cards (2005-08), Padgett was a unanimous first-team All-BIG EAST Conference selection as a senior and also earned USBWA All-District IV honors.  He averaged a team-leading 11.2 points and grabbed 4.8 rebounds his senior year in 2007-08 when the Cardinals reached the NCAA Elite Eight.

Padgett ranks second in career field goal percentage at UofL, hitting 61.3 percent of his shots (332-542). His .667 field goal percentage as a senior was the second best ever at UofL. He set a BIG EAST Conference field goal percentage record for league games as a senior, hitting 68.3 percent of his shots in 18 games (86-of-126). He was a second team All-BIG EAST pick as a junior.

Padgett’s basketball bloodlines run deep as his father played at the University of Nevada and his uncle played at New Mexico. His grandfather Jim played for Oregon State and his sister played for the University of San Diego.

Padgett and his wife, Megan, welcomed their first child Nolan in August 2013.


About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. As part of the region's leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings. The JGBCC is a part of KentuckyOne Health and is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program. It is 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. For more information, visit our web site,

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, Ashton Advertising, Bob Montgomery Dixie Honda, Boutique Serendipity, The Dahlem Company, Dillards, Enterprise, Headz Salon, Heaven Hill, Hubbuch & Co., InGrid Design, Jaust Consulting Partners, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, KentuckyOne Health, Kroger, Louisville Magazine, Maker’s Mark, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, Morgan Stanley, MPI Printing, Nfocus, Old 502 Winery, Power Creative, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, WAKY and WHAS11.

Final Four coach Walz will walk The Julep Ball red carpet

Final Four coach Walz will walk The Julep Ball red carpet

University of Louisville Women’s Basketball Coach Jeff Walz led his team to the Final Four this year. Walz will walk the red carpet at The Julep Ball on May 2.

Jeff Walz, head coach of the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, will walk the red carpet at The Julep Ball.

The premier Derby Eve Party with a Purpose, The Julep Ball is held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby and supports the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. The event on May 2 at the KFC Yum! Center kicks off with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a live auction at 8 p.m.

An Official Event of the 140th Kentucky Derby®, The Julep Ball provides a celebrity-studded night to remember with a multi-course seated dinner, a knock-your-socks-off auction, multiple open specialty bars, complimentary valet parking, and dancing until the wee hours of Derby morning. Tickets to The Julep Ball sell out early each year. The full evening’s entertainment is $600 per person, $5,000 for a table of 10, and $100 per person for dance-only tickets. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website,

About Jeff Walz

Considered by many to be the best young coach in women's basketball, Jeff Walz has made a career out of building successful programs. Walz has lived up to that reputation since taking over the helm at Louisville, taking the program to new heights. In his first six seasons, he has guided the Cardinals to two Final Four appearances and National Runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2013 along with four Sweet 16 appearances.

Walz's success can be traced back to recruiting. He is known as a tireless recruiter and has not let up since becoming a head coach. In just his first season, Walz and his staff brought in the highest ranked recruiting class in Cardinal history. He has since followed it up with three consecutive Top 10 classes, with the 2010 class ranked fifth in the nation. The 2011 class made school history with two McDonald's All-Americans.

He was named the sixth head coach at the University Louisville on March 27, 2007. Walz, a Kentucky native, returned to the bluegrass state after serving as an associate head coach at Maryland.

In the 2012-2013 season, Walz led the Cardinals to the biggest upset in women's basketball history by defeating the No. 1 overall seed Baylor in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals went on to defeat the No. 2 seeded Tennessee Lady Vols in the Elite Eight to reach their second Final Four appearance in four years.

Louisville went on to defeat No. 2 seed California in the national semifinal, advancing to the National Championship for the second time in Walz's career as a head coach. Entering the NCAA Tournament the Cardinals were ranked No. 16 but finished the year ranked third with a 29-9 overall record and another miraculous run in the NCAA Tournament.

During the 2012 season Walz had his most talented team in four seasons but lost two of his top three scorers early in the season. Despite the adversity, Walz led the team to a 23-10 record. The Cardinals advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and ended the season with a final ranking of 16th in the nation.

Walz began his coaching career at the middle and high school levels in 1992 and was an AAU coach in 1995-96. During his career, he has guided such players as 1996 National High School Player of the Year Jaime Walz, his sister, who now coaches the girls' high school team at their alma mater, Highlands High School. He also coached 1999 NCAA champion and WNBA standout Ukari Figgs, the University of Tennessee's Kyra Elzy, and Ohio State standout Louisville native, Marita Porter.

He attended Northern Kentucky University on a basketball scholarship, graduating with a bachelor of science in secondary education in May 1995. Walz earned his master's in education in August of 1997 from Western Kentucky.

Walz has three children, daughter Kaeley, son Jacob, and daughter Lola. He married to the former Lauren Lueders and the couple reside in Louisville.


About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. As part of the region's leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings. The JGBCC is a part of KentuckyOne Health and is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program. It is 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. For more information, visit our web site,

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, Ashton Advertising, Bob Montgomery Dixie Honda, Boutique Serendipity, The Dahlem Company, Dillards, Enterprise, Headz Salon, Heaven Hill, Hubbuch & Co., InGrid Design, Jaust Consulting Partners, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, KentuckyOne Health, Kroger, Louisville Magazine, Maker’s Mark, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, Morgan Stanley, MPI Printing, Nfocus, Old 502 Winery, Power Creative, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, WAKY and WHAS11.

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station accepting new patients at renovated facility

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station accepting new patients at renovated facility

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station

January is a great time to start anew and take a health inventory. Luz Fernandez, M.D., medical director of UofL Physicians - Family Medicine Cardinal Station, encourages individuals to make yearly check ups a priority.

“Developing a lasting, trusted relationship with a primary care provider is important, regardless of a person’s age,” Fernandez said.

During an annual visit, a provider asks the patient about health habits, the health of close relatives and overall lifestyle. The information will determine risks of common medical conditions and whether further testing is needed. The check up, says Fernandez, is a good way to screen for and possibly detect medical conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol so they can be treated at an early stage, minimizing risks of serious complications in the future.

A primary health care provider also can partner with patients in setting healthy habits. Fernandez hopes to inspire SMART goals:

  • S: Specific, significant 
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Achievable
  • R: Realistic and Results-oriented 
  • T: Time based and Trackable

“You are much more likely to stick to an exercise plan if you commit to a 30 minute walk or jog three days a week instead of saying ‘I will exercise more,’ ” Fernandez said.

She says it is best to be as specific as possible and to make sure the goal is attainable, adding that accountability is important to success.

“Discuss your plans with a primary care provider, and rely on trusted family and friends for support,” she said. “Technology resources like the app, myfitnesspal can track food intake, exercise and weight loss; seeing a graph of progress may work to keep you motivated.”

New patients accepted at renovated facility

UofL Physicians – Family Medicine Cardinal Station, located at 215 Central Ave., Suite 100, recently updated its facility and is welcoming new patients for check ups and other health related purposes, including acute illness.

With 25 patient rooms, the practice offers a full spectrum of on-site services including:

  • Well care visits, immunizations
  • X-rays
  • Lab work
  • Spirometry
  • EKG
  • Toenail removal
  • Mole removal
  • Birth control placements
  • Vision screenings
  • Cancer screenings

Most insurance plans accepted. Free parking available on the surface lot in front of the office. For an appointment or more information, call 502-588-8720.

Donna Brazile featured as speaker for minority medical educators meeting

UofL hosting five-day conference; political strategist’s address set for Friday, Sept. 18
Donna Brazile featured as speaker for minority medical educators meeting

Donna Brazile

Political strategist Donna Brazile will be a featured speaker at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Medical Minority Educators Inc. (NAMME), hosted by the University of Louisville Sept. 16-20. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Louisville, 311 S. 4th St.

Brazile will address the group at the Friday, Sept. 18, breakfast session beginning at 8 a.m. She will speak on “Health Care Reform and the Future Health Care Provider or Why Diversity Matters.”

For conference attendees, the cost to attend Brazile’s address also is included in the conference registration fee. Participants may register as either single-day or full-conference attendees, and both members and non-members of NAMME may attend the annual meeting. The 2015 Annual Meeting registration fee schedule is available on the NAMME website.

NAMME is a national organization dedicated to developing and sustaining productive relationships as well as action-oriented programs among national, state and community stakeholders working to ensure racial and ethnic diversity in all of the health professions. NAMME also seeks to provide critical guidance and professional development opportunities for individuals dedicated to these efforts and the students they serve.

The five-day conference includes panel discussions, lectures and workshops on a variety of topics related to increasing diversity among the nation’s health professions. The event also features a College Student Development and Recruitment Fair where students can learn about health professions education at colleges and universities from throughout the United States.

About Donna Brazile:

Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee and former interim National Chair of the Democratic National Committee, the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute and the first African-American woman to manage a presidential campaign.

Aside from working for the full recovery of her beloved New Orleans, Brazile’s passion is encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office. Since 2000, Brazile has lectured at over 150 colleges and universities across the country on such topics as “Inspiring Civility in American Politics,” “Race Relations in the Age of Obama,” “Why Diversity Matters,” and “Women in American Politics: Are We There Yet?”

She first got involved at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her New Orleans neighborhood; the candidate won, the swing set was installed, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist for Ms. Magazine and O, the Oprah Magazine, and an on-air contributor to CNN and ABC, where she regularly appears on ABC’s This Week.

In August 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.

She is currently on the board of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the National Democratic Institute, the Professional Diversity Network, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Relief Fund Inc.  She also serves as Co-Chair for Democrats for Public Education.

Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy and training firm based in Washington.


Antidepressants shown to worsen depression in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

Antidepressants shown to worsen depression in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

Rif S. El-Mallakh, M.D.

In patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, antidepressants can increase incidents of depression and mood cycling. Rif S. El-Mallakh, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Clinical and Research Program at the University of Louisville, along with Nassir Ghaemi, M.D., of Tufts University and other researchers, conducted the first randomized clinical trial that analyzes how modern antidepressants affect patients with rapid-cycling (RC) bipolar disorder (BD). The results are published in this month’s issue of Journal of Affective Disorders.

In the trial, the authors tracked patients with BD following an acute depressive episode. They found that rapid-cycling patients who continued antidepressants following initial treatment for the episode experienced three times the number of depressive episodes the following year as those who discontinued use of antidepressants. RC patients who continued antidepressants were episode-free 52 percent of the time, while RC patients who discontinued antidepressants were episode-free 64 percent of the time.

Patients are considered rapid cycling in bipolar disorder if they experience at least four episodes within a 12-month period. In the United States, approximately 25 percent of bipolar patients are considered rapid cycling.

The research was conducted within the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) study, in which patients were classified as either rapid cycling or non-rapid cycling. Patients in both groups received standard mood stabilizers.

“Whether or not antidepressants cause rapid cycling in BD is a controversial issue,” the authors said in the article. “Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication in BD. If they cause or worsen rapid cycling, found in about 25 percent of patients with BD, this presents a major public health problem. Safely and effectively treating rather than exacerbating mood episodes in the most severely ill among this patient population is a priority.”

Physicians and researchers have debated for years about whether antidepressants should be used over long periods of time for patients with bipolar disorder.

El-Mallakh, professor of psychiatry in the UofL School of Medicine, has published articles on several situations in which continued use of antidepressant medications potentially was detrimental.

In a 2008 article in Journal of Affective Disorders, El-Mallakh described a condition he attributed to long-term antidepressant use which he called “antidepressant-associated chronic irritable dysphoria” (ACID). In the article, El-Mallakh cited a number of patients who took antidepressants for long periods of time and subsequently developed a consistent state of low mood, irritability and sleep disturbance. These symptoms were relieved when the patients discontinued antidepressants.

In a 2011 article in Medical Hypothesis, El-Mallakh analyzed data on patients whose depression initially improved with antidepressants, but later worsened. He hypothesized that some patients experienced a condition he called “tardive dysphoria,” in which antidepressants lose their effectiveness and may actually induce depression with long-term use.

“Antidepressants are useful medications, and you don’t know if someone will be rapid cycling when you begin treating them. However, if someone has rapid cycling, you want to avoid using these drugs because the medication will probably increase mania, cycling and depression,” El-Mallakh said.

Renewable energies topic of Beer with a Scientist Sept. 16

Renewable energies topic of Beer with a Scientist Sept. 16

Mahendra Sunkara, Ph.D.

As concerns over the availability and side-effects of fossil fuels increase, scientists look for renewable energy sources to satisfy the modern world’s insatiable appetite for power. But are renewable energy sources up to the task?

Mahendra Sunkara, Ph.D., director of the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering, will discuss the need for renewable energies and challenges associated with them at the next “Beer with a Scientist” event. Those in attendance will learn what renewable energies are, how they are used and, most importantly, how they will save our planet for future generations.

Sunkara’s research interests include discovery of new materials, solar cells, Li Ion batteries, production of hydrogen from water and growing large crystals of diamond, gallium nitride and bulk quantities of nanowires.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16 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.

UofL vice dean receives KMA educational achievement award

Monica Ann Shaw, M.D., honored by Kentucky Medical Association
UofL vice dean receives KMA educational achievement award

Monica Ann Shaw, M.D. received the Educational Achievement Award from the KMA’s David Bensema, M.D.

Monica Ann Shaw, M.D., M.A., vice dean for the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has received the Kentucky Medical Association’s Educational Achievement Award for 2015.

The award is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions and achievements in the area of medical education. David Bensema, M.D., immediate past president of the KMA, presented the award to Shaw during the organization’s annual meeting on August 29.

“Throughout her tenure, Dr. Shaw has been committed to changing the way medical students are educated,” Bensema said. “Her passion and dedication to the growth and development of future physicians are keystones of the KMA Educational Achievement Award criteria.”

As principal investigator on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant, Shaw developed and implemented an interdisciplinary palliative care curriculum for medical students that serves as a national model for successful palliative care education. Since 2010, Shaw has served as co-investigator on a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute for which the team has developed, implemented, and evaluated a mandatory, interprofessional palliative oncology curriculum for medical, nursing, social work and chaplaincy students. Shaw is a 2014 graduate of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM®) program. She joined the University of Louisville in 1995.

“Dr. Shaw has devoted her career to medical education. She is an exceptional teacher, physician, and mentor. She remains passionate about medicine and palliative care. She was the first clerkship director to include a reflective writing requirement for students to encourage them to focus on the patient’s story and to foster more humanistic patient care,” said Jesse Roman, M.D., chair of the UofL Department of Medicine, in nominating Shaw for the award.

Established in 1851, the Kentucky Medical Association is a professional organization for physicians throughout the Commonwealth. The KMA works on behalf of physicians and the patients they serve to ensure the delivery of quality, affordable health care.