AHEC programs improve Kentuckians’ health by increasing supply of health-care providers

Area Health Education Centers awarded $4.12 million continued funding
AHEC programs improve Kentuckians’ health by increasing supply of health-care providers

Kentucky AHEC offices

Kentucky ranks among the worst states for access to quality health care, and 96 of its 120 counties are medically underserved. Educating health-care providers within the state is vital to combating the shortage of health workers and is the heart of the mission of Area Health Education Centers (AHEC).  Kentucky AHEC has been awarded $4.12 million in continued funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to continue that mission through Aug. 2022.

Administered by the University of Louisville School of Medicine in collaboration with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Kentucky AHEC has worked to improve Kentuckians’ access to health care since 1985. Kentucky AHEC is composed of eight centers that promote healthy communities and health-care delivery in the state’s regional service areas by increasing the number of health-care workers of all disciplines, particularly in underserved areas.

“The AHEC centers contribute to the education of health professionals at UofL and at other institutions throughout Kentucky. Having an adequate number of well-trained, dedicated health professionals is a vital component to reducing health disparities, increasing access to health-care and improving the health of all Kentuckians,” said Gregory Postel, M.D., interim president of the University of Louisville. “This renewed funding is assurance that these programs will continue to support health education in the Commonwealth.”

Since its inception, Kentucky AHECs have facilitated the training of medical students in primary care, in many cases, introducing the students to issues faced by patients in underserved communities. All third-year students in the UofL School of Medicine complete a four-week clinical rotation in family medicine in rural or urban underserved communities throughout the state. The Kentucky AHEC program also provides education and rotations for nursing and dental students.

Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D.

“Students gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the patients by working in these communities. It encourages then to consider practicing primary care in rural or urban underserved communities,” said Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D., vice dean for community engagement and diversity at UofL, Kentucky AHEC program director and the principal investigator of this HRSA award.

To facilitate training, AHEC staff work with the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing to identify physicians and other professionals to coordinate students’ rotations in their communities. This provides a framework for the students to complete rotations in clinics, medical offices and community hospitals across the Commonwealth.

“This is a way for health-professions students to come out and serve in rural and underserved communities where they are exposed to different cultures and the practice of medicine without the innovative technologies available at the health sciences campuses. They get to see real medicine, real people,” said Brenda Fitzpatrick, director of the Northwest AHEC, based at the Family Health Center in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood.

In addition to educating health-professional students, AHECs in each region develop programs that further their mission in ways best suited to their communities.

For Fitzpatrick, that is developing a true pipeline of health-care professionals, from physicians and dentists to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, nurse’s aides, bioengineers and computer technology professionals.

“While HRSA encourages AHECs to promote careers in the health professions to high school students, we take that a step further and work with middle school students,” she said. “By the time they reach eighth grade, it may be too late.”

Fitzpatrick adds that the Northwest AHEC collaborates with several medical magnet schools in Jefferson County to help students obtain certifications during high school.

“This will get them in the workforce sooner and allow them to then continue their education and move on up the chain.”

In the latest round of program funding, HRSA has instructed AHEC programs to encourage patient-centered medical homes, which coordinate patients’ care in a single office, improving overall health-care delivery and reducing costs.

Another new directive from HRSA is the development of the AHEC Scholars program. Each center will instruct 15 -25 health-profession students from a variety of disciplines in interprofessional education, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation and current and emerging health issues. Interprofessional education fosters collaboration among physicians, nurses, social workers, allied health and other providers.

“In a time of significant federal cutbacks, we were pleased to receive funding under HRSA’s extensively revised criteria,” Bullard Dunn said.

In addition to the federal funding, Kentucky AHEC is supported by Kentucky General Assembly appropriations, UofL and UK. AHEC is part of UofL’s Signature Partnership, a university effort to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of West Louisville.




November 9, 2017

Indiana woman undergoes double hand transplant

Louella Aker, 69, becomes first female hand transplant recipient in Kentucky; video of the procedure can be found at
Indiana woman undergoes double hand transplant

Louella Aker is seated with from left, Christine Kaufman, Ph.D., Stuart Williams, Ph.D., and Tuna Ozyurekoglu, M.D.

A Jeffersonville, Ind., woman has become the first female hand transplant recipient in Kentucky and the 10th patient to receive a hand transplant from the Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft (VCA) program, a partnership of physicians, researchers and health care providers from the University of Louisville, Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery (CMKI) and the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center.

During a 17-hour procedure on Sept. 17, Louella Aker underwent a double hand transplant at Jewish Hospital. The 69-year-old acquired an infection while involved in the cleanup of Henryville, Ind., after an EF4 tornado hit the area on March 2, 2012. Aker was later diagnosed with septicemia and underwent a bilateral, below-the-knee amputation on her legs, left forearm amputation, and right partial hand amputation. Aker was added to the organ donor registry in September 2015.

“There are so many things you cannot do without your hands. This will change my life and allow me to do the things I miss, like holding my granddaughter’s hand,” Aker said at a news conference on Oct. 19. “I spent many days praying for a donor, but also crying for the donor’s family for their loss. This is such a huge and exquisite gift they have given me and I thank and bless them for their sacrifice. I also want to thank the surgeons, my family and my church for their support.”

Twenty surgeons from UofL, CMKI and Kleinert Kutz performed the procedure. Fourteen staff members and six anesthesiologists also assisted with the surgery.

“Although a little slow, we are pleased with the progress that Louella has been making,” said Tuna Ozyurekoglu, M.D., lead surgeon on the procedure and assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at UofL. “She is truly a fighter who has continued to grow stronger each day following this surgery. We look forward to watching her return to her normal activities, as she shows the world how successful transplantation can be.”

“Operations such as this help demonstrate the enormous importance of organ and tissue donation,” said Christopher Jones, M.D., associate professor of surgery at UofL and director of abdominal transplantation at Jewish Hospital. “If it were not for the donor family graciously agreeing to limb donation, the efforts of Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates and neighboring organ procurement organizations, this certainly would not have been possible.”

Aker was placed on immunosuppressive medications to prevent rejection of the new hand.

“She is tolerating her medications, and to date, has no signs of clinical rejection,” said Jones, who is overseeing the patient’s immunosuppressive therapy by closely monitoring her for signs of rejection and adverse reaction to medications.

“It is amazing to be part of an extraordinary team, performing procedures such as this double hand transplant,” said Stuart K. Williams, II, PhD, director, Bioficial Organs Program, Cardiovascular Innovation Institute. “New innovations developed by investigators at the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute are being translated to help patients recover more quickly from transplant surgery.”

The Louisville team developed the pioneering hand transplant procedure and has performed hand transplants on 10 patients since 1999. The clinical trial is led by Ozyurekoglu with research at the CMKI and the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, a partnership of UofL and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.

Funding for the surgical procedure was provided by the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, part of KentuckyOne Health.

The success of the Louisville VCA program has led to additional funding for ongoing transplantation and research. Early funding for research on composite tissue allotransplantation and immunotherapy from the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation helped bring about the nation’s first hand transplant. Other hand transplants were funded by the Department of Defense.

In late 2012, the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation allocated $1.5 million for the Louisville VCA program to bring potential hand transplant recipients to Louisville for screening, hand transplantation surgery and patient therapy and rehabilitation after surgery.

In 2013, the Louisville VCA program was awarded $850,000 to fund a clinical trial of a new treatment that will help prevent rejection of hand transplants as part of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) research program. AFIRM II is a five-year, $75 million federally funded project that will focus on applying regenerative medicine to battlefield injuries. Results of this trial will be far-reaching and benefit not only military patients, but all hand transplant recipients.

The AFIRM II funding enables Louisville VCA researchers to explore the potential for a cell-based therapy to help control the immune system’s response to a hand transplant, with a goal to lessen or eliminate the need for immune-suppressant drugs.


Barry Kerzin, M.D., advocate for physician compassion, interviewed on "UofL Today with Mark Hebert"

Barry Kerzin, M.D., advocate for physician compassion, interviewed on "UofL Today with Mark Hebert"

Barry Kerzin, M.D., personal physician to the Dalai Lama, is featured on the "UofL Today with Mark Hebert" radio broadcast set for Monday, August 8, at 6 p.m. on 93.9 FM The Ville.

Kerzin, who was the keynote speaker at this year's UofL White Coat Ceremony on July 24, talked with Hebert about his life, his visit to Louisville, and the importance of training doctors to avoid burnout and retain their sense of empathy.

Hebert hosts two weekly 30-minute radio broadcasts focusing on research, programs, successful students and insights from UofL’s faculty experts which run on Monday and Tuesday during drive time on 93.9 FM. Listen to upcoming and past programs at

In the Tuesday, August 9, program, Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., of UofL's Global Health Initiative, talks about the spread of Zika virus, and MD Anderson surgeon Raymond Sawaya, M.D., who was in Louisville for the neuro-oncology symposium July 8, discusses surgical treatment for primary glioma. That program will air August 9 at 6 p.m. on 93.9 FM The Ville. The programs are repeated on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Physicians familiar with stresses facing transgender youth better equipped to provide care

LGBT Healthcare Summit sponsored by Humana at UofL to focus on mental health
Physicians familiar with stresses facing transgender youth better equipped to provide care

Christine Brady, Ph.D.

Research shows that transgender youth experience higher rates of depression and are more likely to attempt suicide. Health-care providers are better equipped to care for these young patients and their families if they are familiar with their needs and struggles.

“As a mental health professional specializing in working with transgender and gender non-conforming youth, I am keenly aware of the prejudice, discrimination, rejection and bullying these youth face on a day-to-day basis,” said Christine Brady, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with UofL Physicians’ Bingham Clinic and assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry & Psychology.

“Rejection often comes out of fear, fear of the unknown. If I can reduce the fear of one person and facilitate that person approaching a transgender youth with more acceptance and compassion, I'll consider the summit a huge success.”

Brady will provide insight for health-care providers and the community as part of the LGBT Healthcare Summit at UofL, sponsored by Humana. Her talk, “Transgender and gender creative youth:  Mental health and evidence-based treatments,” will help familiarize participants with common terms and vocabulary used within the transgender community, communicate the prevalence of mental health issues and health disparities among transgender youth, and learn about both effective and potentially harmful mental health treatments across early, middle and late childhood development. Register for Brady’s talk, scheduled for noon at the UofL HSC Auditorium on Feb. 16, at

The LGBT Healthcare Summit also will feature "Substance use disorder treatment responsiveness for LGBT clients" by Brian Hurley, M.D., M.B.A. Hurley is an addiction psychiatrist and medical director for Substance Use Related Care Integration at the Los Angeles County Health Agency and assistant professor of addiction medicine at U.C.L.A. The presentation will include a panel of community members speaking to the challenges and successes around this issue in Louisville, including Jennifer Hancock, president of Volunteers of America Mid-States. Register for Hurley’s 9 a.m. presentation at

The LGBT Healthcare Summit sponsored by Humana will be held Friday, Feb. 16 at the UofL Health Sciences Center Auditorium, 500 S. Preston St., Louisville, Ky. 40202.

New option may help age-related hearing loss

UofL seeking trial participants for drug that may improve hearing in noisy environments
New option may help age-related hearing loss

New drug may help with age-related hearing loss

Over the past 10 years, Tom Schlindwein noticed it gradually became more difficult to follow conversations in public places.

“I have most difficulty in a restaurant or a venue where there is a lot of background noise,” Schlindwein said.

The 69-year-old Schlindwein is not alone. Many people find that as they get older, they have difficulty understanding conversations in crowded rooms or when there is significant background noise. Although hearing aids can help, age-related hearing loss can result from not only reduced loudness of speech, but also changes in central auditory processing in the brain. Thus, even with a hearing aid, people may find that understanding speech in noise is a problem.

“I have talked to people with hearing aids who say they do not work well in these situations,” Schlindwein said. “If there is an alternative, I am eager to pursue it.”

Schlindwein is participating in a clinical trial being conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville Program in Audiology for an investigational medication, AUT00063. The drug was developed for adults with age-related hearing loss and difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments.

Jill Preminger, Ph.D., chief of the Division of Communicative Disorders in the Department of Otolaryngology at UofL, is leading the trial of AUT00063, developed by Autifony Therapeutics. She said this medication, which focuses on improving brain-related aspects of age-related hearing loss, may be the first to help individuals with this condition.

“There have been very few drug studies for age-related hearing loss, yet approximately 45 percent of people over the age of 45 have some degree of hearing loss,” Preminger said.

Understanding speech involves distinguishing between similar sounds (such as p and b). These distinctions rely on not only reception by hair cells in the cochlea, which are lost with age, but on optimal function of auditory processing mechanisms in the brain.

“This drug is not targeting an improvement in hearing thresholds (i.e. making things louder), rather it is targeting how sound is processed in the auditory areas of the brain. This may result in improved hearing in noise,” Preminger said.

Coordinators are seeking additional individuals, age 50 to 89, with age-related hearing loss to participate in the trial.  Qualified individuals are those who experience difficulty understanding speech against high background noise but do not use hearing aids. Subjects accepted for the study will receive evaluations by an audiologist and physician and have a 50/50 chance of receiving the study medicine or placebo. Participation may last up to 10 weeks and include compensation.

People who are interested in participating in this clinical trial may call 502-852-5251 or email to see if they qualify. For more information on the study, go to Age Related Hearing Loss Clinical Trial.


November 2, 2015

Annual UofL Depression Center dinner spotlights ‘Psychiatry and the Movies’

Annual UofL Depression Center dinner spotlights ‘Psychiatry and the Movies’

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D.

Tickets are still available for the University of Louisville Depression Center’s annual dinner on Friday, Nov. 6, featuring Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, speaking on “Psychiatry and the Movies.”

Cocktail hour gets underway at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis St. Admission is $125 per person with proceeds going to support the UofL Depression Center. For information on tickets, email or call 502-588-4886.

The University of Louisville Depression Center is Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. It is a charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, a consortium of leading depression centers that develops and fosters connections among members to advance scientific discovery and provide stigma-free, evidence-based care to patients with depressive and bipolar illnesses.

Gabbard is the author of more than 300 journal articles and 23 books. He is known for his works on psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, personality disorders, psychiatric evaluation of professionals and more.

The son of professional actors turned a hobby of examining psychiatry in the movies into his first book on the subject and today has something few other psychiatrists can cite: his own listing on the Internet Movie Database. He is author of two books that examine how the profession is portrayed by filmmakers – Psychoanalysis and Film and Psychiatry and Cinema. A third book looks at one of the most dysfunctional families ever created in The Psychology of ‘The Sopranos’: Love, Death, Desire and Betrayal in America’s Favorite Gangster Family.

While filmmakers continue to be fascinated by psychiatry, Gabbard said, they don’t always accurately portray the profession or its practitioners. Hollywood has mostly preferred distortion and stereotype over more true-to-life representations.

“People don't make distinctions between what's reality and what's on the great silver screen,” Gabbard said in a New York Times interview.

Yet inaccurate as such portraits are, they are also compelling. In the same interview, Gabbard recalled a 1980 encounter with a patient who wanted to introduce hugs into the therapy he provided. Why? She had just seen Ordinary People and the psychiatrist in the movie portrayed by Judd Hirsch hugged the patient played by Timothy Hutton. “It helped (Hutton’s character) a lot,” she said, so she was certain it should be part of her sessions with Gabbard.

Occasionally however, he said, screenwriters and directors who tackle the subject of mental disorders and their treatments get it right. In Gabbard's view, The Sopranos is the best depiction of psychotherapy “ever to appear on film or television.” And A Beautiful Mind, director Ron Howard's award-winning drama chronicling the genius and the battle with schizophrenia of the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994, is as accurate a portrait of the illness as Hollywood has produced.

Yet most on-screen portrayals fall short, Gabbard said. “The technique depicted is … simplistic and similarly naïve about therapeutic change,” he wrote in an essay in Psychiatric Times.

“While (psychiatrists) can commiserate with one another about the impact such depictions have on our public image and potential patients, we also can learn something about the image we project to those outside our field,” he said. “…no profession likes the way they’re depicted. We may actually take heart from the old Hollywood axiom that there’s no such thing as negative publicity.”

Posted October 21, 2015

UofL School of Medicine transforms medical education program

Accrediting body lifts probationary status
UofL School of Medicine transforms medical education program

Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A.

Having transformed the curriculum and the educational space in which it is delivered, the University of Louisville School of Medicine was notified by phone yesterday by its accrediting entity that it is in compliance with all educational standards and probationary status has been lifted. UofL anticipates receiving the detailed written report in the coming weeks.

“During the past two years, we have worked diligently to address the concerns raised by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME),” said Toni Ganzel, MD, MBA, dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “We reformed our preclinical curriculum from a discipline-based model to an integrated model with more active learning and engaged pedagogies. We completed a major renovation of our instructional building, implemented new educational technologies and strengthened our educational governance and organizational structure.

“We continue our efforts to assure that we consistently meet or exceed expectations for compliance with LCME standards.”

UofL began implementing a redesigned curriculum in 2011, but significantly increased the speed during the past few years. Separate courses have been integrated to create a better fundamental understanding of the way the human body works in health and disease, and to link all of the courses throughout the four-year program. The faculty and students now are more focused on teamwork, communication, and application of knowledge using enhanced teaching technology and methods to take better care of patients.

The most visible change at the school is the $7.5 million renovation of the instructional building that redesigned the school’s instructional space that opened in 1970, including two large interactive lecture halls that will better meet the needs of current class size and enable UofL to potentially expand its class size to meet the growing physician shortage in Kentucky and beyond. There also are new small group learning labs and classrooms, a new student lounge and expanded student study areas. Additionally, the infrastructure was upgraded to better support innovative, cutting edge academic technologies.


October 16, 2015

University of Louisville researchers launch international project in HIV prevention

University of Louisville researchers launch international project in HIV prevention

Kenneth Palmer, Ph.D.

Researchers from the University of Louisville will lead an international effort to utilize tobacco plants to develop a gel containing a specific protein that will prevent the transmission of HIV. The project is being funded by a five-year, $14.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“Our researchers are looking to solve problems that affect the world,” said James R. Ramsey, Ph.D., president of the University of Louisville. “Globally, more than 34 million people are HIV positive. The development of a low-cost method to prevent transmission of HIV certainly is something that is desperately needed and the use of tobacco plants as a method of carrying the vaccine appears to be key in the process.”

“Approximately seven years ago, UofL and Owensboro Health created a joint venture to develop a world-class plant pharmaceutical program that would have an impact globally,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “Today’s announcement, coupled with the announcement we made in May about the Helmsley Charitable Trust providing funding to our research into two other cancer vaccines utilizing tobacco plants, demonstrates that the vision is becoming a reality.”

Kenneth Palmer, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology and director of the Owensboro Cancer Research Program of UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, is leading a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, the Magee-Women’s Research Institute in Pittsburgh, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Kentucky Bioprocessing Inc. and Intrucept Biomedicine LLC in Owensboro.

The team is working with the carbohydrate combining protein Griffithsin (GRFT), which is found in red algae. In laboratory work, the protein has shown to have broad-spectrum activity against HIV. GRFT binds to the dense shield of sugars that surrounds HIV cells and prevents these cells from entering other non-HIV cells. The team plans to develop a gel containing the protein for use during sexual intercourse by people at risk for HIV transmission.

To develop the microbicide, Palmer’s team takes a synthetic copy of the protein and injects it into a tobacco mosaic virus, which carries the protein into the tobacco leaves. After 12 days, the researchers harvest the leaves and extract the mass-produced protein for development into the vaccine.

“Our goal is to optimize the delivery system of the protective agent, which in this case is a gel, and determine its safety and estimates of its efficacy, leading to a first-in-humans clinical trial,” Palmer said.

“People may question why a cancer program is conducting research into HIV prevention,” said Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. “In fact, cancer can be a result of every major disease that we know about, and HIV infection is no exception.”

Overall, the grant contains three significant projects – The Critical Path Project; Preclinical Testing Project; and Clinical Trial Project.

The critical path project involves manufacturing the microbicide active ingredient, ensuring quality of the microbicide and the formulated gel product and production for actual use. This process is in collaboration with two Owensboro-based biotechnology companies (Kentucky Bioprocessing Inc. and Intrucept Biomedicine LLC), and Lisa Rohan, Ph.D., at the University of Pittsburgh and Magee-Women’s Research Institute. Rohan has significant experience developing delivery systems for similar medications.

The preclinical testing project is a collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to use an animal model to ensure that the vaccine is safe and to determine that it actually provides protection from infection.

The clinical trial project involves developing the application to conduct a clinical trial for the Food and Drug Administration, as well as conducting the first-in-humans testing.


Editor’s note: Palmer is one of the founders and principal partners in Intrucept Biomedicine LLC.

University of Louisville team closer to helping millions battling lung cancer

Researchers have identified a new group of molecules that help cause apoptosis in lung cancer cells

Researchers at the University of Louisville have uncovered a cadre of small molecules that tell certain proteins to kill lung cancer cells. The team, led by Chi Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, published its finding in the April 2014 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

One of the characteristics of lung cancer is the dysregulation of apoptosis, or regulated cell death. Cancer cells are able to survive in the unnatural state.

Proteins from the Bcl-2 family are major regulators of apoptosis. One of them, Bax, sometimes becomes erratic and loses its ability to maintain its killer function, which leads to lung tumor development. The researchers realized that this meant Bax potentially could be part of the cure as well.

The researchers used virtual screening in their study, a process where they ran through a computer program all the possible combinations of molecules that could bind with the Bax proteins to find the best combination. After trying more than 10 million molecules, they found the right one. This Bax-activating small molecule compound kills lung cancer cells as well as inhibits the growth of lung tumors transplanted into mice.

The scientific finding of Li and his team showed it is possible to identify small molecules capable of binding and activating Bax proteins that in turn induce apoptosis in cancerous cells. In the study, published in Molecular and Cellular Biology in April of 2014, Li and his team were able to specifically induce tumor cell death while avoiding normal cell death.

The compound also shows synergy with the widely used chemotherapeutic drug carboplatin. This means that the potential application for this compound in cancer treatment is very broad.

The scientific discovery could form the basis for advanced therapeutic agents for cancer in patients, specifically lung cancer, which is especially prevalent in Kentucky.

The high mortality rate of lung cancer is partially attributed to ineffective therapeutic treatments. This makes it very important for scientists to develop new chemotherapeutic drugs for lung cancer.

Li says it could pave the way for new treatment for other types of cancer as well. “Lung cancer is a really big issue for us. We have a large mortality rate, and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to go after lung cancer,” he said. “We are in the process of trying to expand the application of our discovery onto different types of cancer.”

Li and his team will have the opportunity for that expansion very soon. The National Institutes of Health recently awarded them a grant of $1.5 million to continue their groundbreaking research.

UofL lecture will help you ‘Maintain Your Brain’

  UofL lecture will help you ‘Maintain Your Brain’

David Casey, M.D.

A healthy body’s connection to a healthy mind will be the topic of the next “Building Hope” lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

David A. Casey, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville, will present “Maintaining Your Brain: Tips on preserving thinking and memory with the aging process.” The event is part of the “Building Hope” public lecture series sponsored by the UofL Depression Center and will be held at 7 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Road.

Casey will discuss lifestyle changes that can be helpful to maintain brain processes. He also will explain how optimal management of medical conditions can help preserve brain power.

Board-certified in both general psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry, Casey joined the UofL faculty in 1985 and was named chair in 2015. His research interests are focused on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, geriatric depression, psychiatric education and the history of psychiatry. He practices with UofL Physicians-Psychiatry.

The University of Louisville Depression Center is Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. It is a charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, a consortium of leading depression centers that develops and fosters connections among members to advance scientific discovery and provide stigma-free, evidence-based care to patients with depressive and bipolar illnesses.

For more information, contact the Depression Center at 502-588-4886.

Julep Ball announces entertainment celebrity guests

Julep Ball announces entertainment celebrity guests

Some of America’s most popular reality stars will join bright talents from the world of music, television and film at the 2014 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,

This year’s celebrity guests from the world of entertainment include:


Danielle Gregorio is a wife and mother to three beautiful children, residing in Villa Park, Calif. She is the co-owner and principal designer of Danielle Kaye Design Studio, a boutique interior design firm located in Orange County, California. Interior design has always been a passion for Gregorio, so she is now able to re-create her visions in both residential and commercial design projects, living her dream of owning her own business and doing what she loves.  Gregorio also has always had a special talent and vision for planning and hosting the most amazing events. When partnering with Jimmy Choo in May 2012 to support and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® Man of the Year, the event was such a success that she was asked to host a yearly event. When she accepted this task, she knew it was a perfect fit to become a founding member of Heels2Heal Orange County. Most recently, Gregorio joined the seasoned cast of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County. Though new to the reality TV world, she was excited to show the world that a full-time mom, businesswoman and philanthropist can have it all.


Mark and Matthew Harris are nationally known as starring in A&E’s hit series Storage Wars, where they are the newest bidders on the show viewed by 5 million viewers weekly.  In addition to being radio personalities in Los Angeles hosting their weekly radio show, The Tastemakers, the Harris brothers are regular judges at Miss USA pageants, including Miss California USA, Miss Illinois USA, Miss Nevada USA, Miss New Jersey USA and Miss Maryland USA. The Harris brothers are also known as “The Kings of Swag” as they own and operate the biggest celebrity marketing agency in Hollywood, WOW! CREATIONS, providing celebrity gift bags and hosting celebrity gift lounges around the world from the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and many more events. The Harris brothers are also luxury life style consultants who have a daily blog and can be seen in upcoming Independent feature films playing wealthy investors and are currently shopping their new reality show, The Kings of Swag.


Aussie native Kym Johnson has made the transition from ballroom to judging panel and is currently one of four judges on Dancing with the Stars, Australia. Johnson holds three mirror-ball trophies (two in the United States and one in Australia) and she is the only professional dancer in the world to hold trophies on two different continents. In 2006, she arrived in the United States when she was asked to join the U.S. version of DWTS. Her first partner was talk show host Jerry Springer during season three, where she won the hearts of Americans. Her other partners have included some of the most popular celebrities on the show: David Hasselhoff, Joey Fatone, Jaleel White, Mark Cuban, Penn Jillette, Warren Sapp, Ingo Radamacher and David Arquette.  Johnson has been runner-up twice on the American syndicated DWTS. In November 2009, Johnson won the prestigious mirror-ball trophy with entertainer Donny Osmond, and followed up the win with another first place in 2011 with Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward. Johnson has been involved in 13 seasons of DWTS U.S.A.


Carson Kressley was most recently a “fan-favorite” on ABC’s world-wide hit, Dancing With The Stars and recently headlined as the host of Dancing With The Stars Live in Las Vegas. In 2011, Kressley starred in Carson-Nation, a one-hour reality show that premiered on OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network. In Carson-Nation, he travelled to small towns throughout the United States, transforming lives one person at a time with his signature heart, humor and style. Previously, Kressley helmed Lifetime's critically acclaimed show How To Look Good Naked and earned a primetime Emmy for his role on Bravo's breakout hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He was a frequent style contributor on The Oprah Winfrey Show where millions of viewers accessed his expertise, style, and wit. He can also be seen as a style contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America,Live With Kelly and Michael!, The Queen Latifah Show, Bethenny and The Wendy Williams Show. Kressley recently debuted his signature line of women’s sportswear and accessories, "Love, Carson," which is known for its easy, instant, affordable glamour and is available exclusively at ShopHQ.


Before he made his way to Tinseltown, the Kentucky native set his sights on music and attended the University of Georgia. Shortly after traveling to Los Angeles and upon a chance meeting with a film and television manager, Robinson jump-started his career performing in more than 50 television and film projects and still counting while still pursuing his music career. Robinson is best known for his role as C.C. White in the Academy Award-winning film Dreamgirls, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best song that he performed at the Academy Awards. He can also be seen in such films as Dear John, Fat Albert, 35 & Ticking, This Christmas, CRU (August 2014) and the soon-to-be released James Brown biopic, Get on Up due out Aug. 1. `Robinson also is slated to release brand-new music later this year.


Elizabeth (Lizzie) Rovsek is a swimsuit designer and stay-at-home mother of two. Lizzie is the newest Housewife on Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County and joined the cast in its ninth season. Elizabeth hails from the Bluegrass state, is a former Miss Kentucky USA, and is now owner and designer of her own swimsuit company, Sun Kitten Swimwear. She’s married to Christian, CEO of Service First Restoration, an emergency service construction company handling properties damaged by flood, fire, mold and more, and they have two children, 3-year-old Preston and 2-year-old Kingston. They live in Orange County, California, and plan on growing their family in 2015.


His television credits include series regular roles on Kevin Hill and Close to Home and recurring roles in Ghost Whisperer and Oz. Seda also guest starred on Hawaii Five-0, The Closer, Burn Notice, House, M.D, CSI: Miami, NYPD Blue, Las Vegas and Law and Order, among many others. In 2010, Seda was seen in the award-winning HBO World War II miniseries The Pacific, playing the starring role of legendary marine Jon Basilone, and joined the cast of the acclaimed HBO series Treme as a series regular. Seda can currently be seen starring as Detective Antonio Dawson on Chicago PD. The show, created by Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf, is a spin-off of Chicago Fire and airs on NBC.


In 2013, Nina Davuluri became the first contestant of Indian descent to win the Miss America competition. The Syracuse, N.Y., native was educated at the University of Michigan and plans to attend medical school. During her year as Miss America, Davuluri will serve as spokesperson for increasing enrollment in the STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – working with the U.S. Department of Education. Along with the coveted title of Miss America 2014, the 24-year-old won a $50,000 scholarship provided in part by Joseph Ribkoff Inc. and the Miss America Organization to continue her education. For the talent portion of the competition, Davuluri returned to her roots and performed a Classical Bollywood Fusion dance.



Growing up in a banking family in Louisville, Hardwick started to play the piano and compose at age four with the gift of perfect pitch. He went on to win numerous national talent competitions including the Coca-Cola Talent Contest and was accepted for private study by the University of Louisville School of Music at age 12. After earning a BA in business from Centre College and completing graduate music studies at the University of North Texas (classical and jazz), he studied composition with Hall Overton at the Juilliard School of Music. He also received a DownBeat magazine award scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. "The Bob Hardwick Sound" is now one of the leading dance orchestras in the country, with an average of over 200 engagements per year in the United States, in addition to England, France, Italy, Ireland and Bermuda and the Caribbean. With Bob's dazzling piano artistry, the orchestra's irresistible beat, and a repertoire that delights all ages, Hardwick's music makes every party a success, including Presidential inaugurals, private parties, benefit galas, corporate events, debutante balls and weddings of all sizes. Recently, Hardwick played for his fifth Inaugural Ball and seventh U.S. president by performing at the prestigious Illinois Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., for President Barack Obama.


Country artist J.D. Shelburne grew up on a tobacco farm in Taylorsville, Ky., a tiny town southeast of the Ohio River near Louisville. At age 19, he found a guitar after the death of his grandmother and began learning to play and sing on his own. By his sophomore year of college, he had found a few gigs at some local bars in the Louisville and Lexington areas and developed a fan base that eventually landed him on some of the biggest stages in the business, opening for some of the nation's hottest stars. Eventually, Shelburne was adding original songs into the set mix, in addition to producing songs of his own material. Twelve years later he is soaking up country music, touring cities, building a fan base and celebrating a decade of success playing venues all across the southeast trying to get his big break. Today he’s among the most hardworking and relevant country singers in the business, with the hits “Farmboy” and “Grandma & Garth.” They say Nashville doesn’t work that way anymore – that talented musicians with very few connections don’t stand a chance, but J.D. Shelburne proved that Music City’s engine still runs off talent and persistence. Critics find him credible. Fans pack his shows. Venues strive to book him. There are very few new artists recording songs today about whom that can be said.


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.

Gregory Barnes named director of UofL Autism Center

Gregory Barnes named director of UofL Autism Center

Gregory Barnes, M.D., Ph.D.

Gregory Barnes, M.D., Ph.D., is the inaugural permanent director of the University of Louisville Autism Center. Barnes comes to UofL from Vanderbilt University. Barnes also will hold the Spafford Ackerly Chair for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and faculty positions in the departments of Neurology and Pediatrics.

“Dr. Barnes is a national leader in providing care for people who are affected by autism,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “His emphasis on evidence-based treatment, teamed with his research into potential genetic influences into the development of the disorder, as well as the potential influence in epilepsy, make him a perfect fit for our program.”

In 2008, Barnes was appointed national neurology co-leader for the Autism Treatment Network. In 2012 he was appointed to the external scientific advisory committee for the Preclinical Autism Consortium for Therapeutics (PACT). He also has served as a reviewer for the Autism Speaks special grant program for preclinical translational research and the Autism Speaks translational postdoctoral fellowship grant program.

Barnes, who will hold the academic title of associate professor of neurology and pediatrics, has held academic appointments at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Harvard Medical School, Duke University Medical School, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

He earned his bachelor of science degree in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University before earning his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Kentucky. He also earned his medical degree from UK. He served his pediatric residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in affiliation with Washington University School of Medicine. He served as a clinical fellow in pediatrics, neurology and epilepsy at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He completed an epilepsy research fellowship from the Duke University Center for the Advanced Study of Epilepsy.

The UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities, located at 1405 Burnett Ave., offers children, parents and community partners a single source for expert treatment, referral and information. It is a joint effort by the UofL departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics and the College of Education and Human Development that will eventually incorporate resources from other university programs. The university-based partnership serves as the focus for collaboration with other community-based autism services and advocacy groups.

Emcees, red carpet interviewer announced by The Julep Ball

Accomplished actress joins the ‘Voice of the Cards’ and WHAS11 anchor for May 2 gala

Movie and television actress Josie Davis joins “Voice of the Cards” Sean Moth and WHAS11 morning anchor Brooke Katz in emceeing The Julep Ball.

Katz will interview celebrities as they make their red carpet entrances, while Davis and Moth will keep the evening moving as emcees.

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 Josie Davis

Josie Davis is best remembered as a series regular on the hit television series Charles in Charge opposite Scott Baio, which she began when she was 12 years old. After the show wrapped, Josie transitioned into series regular roles on Beverly Hills 90210 and then the television series Titans with Victoria Principal.

Davis’ feature film credits include a lead role in Nicholas Cage’s directorial debut Sonny, opposite James Franco and Scott Caan. She also starred in Carolina Moon, opposite Claire Forlani and Oliver Hudson, The Perfect Assistant, Seduced by Lies, and The Perfect Student, Blind Injustice, Past Obsessions, and Dirty Teacher, all for Lifetime.

Davis next can be seen in the indie film Mantervention, coming to theatres in Summer 2014, and also in Stealing Roses opposite John Heard and Wizardream opposite Malcolm McDowell.

Her television credits include a recurring role on CSI: NY and guest starring roles on Two and a Half Men, The Mentalist, Chuck, Bones, Rules of Engagement, Navy NCIS, Burn Notice,Breakout Kings and many more. Josie is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio being run by Martin Landau and Mark Rydell. For more information, visit:

About Brooke Katz

Brooke Katz came to WHAS11 and Louisville from her hometown of Charleston, S.C. She anchors the 4:30 a.m. edition of Good Morning Kentuckiana as well as the noon newscast. She also does traffic reports for the 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. shows.

Brooke started her career in journalism at Charleston’s WCBD-TV in 2008, working as a reporter and a producer. On the streets, she covered a wide range of stories from hard news to special health and fitness segments. Since coming to Louisville, Brooke has worked as a multimedia journalist, a general assignments reporter and a feature reporter.

In her spare time, Brooke is an exercise enthusiast. She’s been teaching aerobics classes since her senior year in high school. Brooke received her degree in journalism and media studies and a certificate in criminology from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

About Sean Moth

Enjoying his 15th season at the University of Louisville, Moth has been the “Voice of the Cardinals Athletic Department” during that span as the arena and stadium announcer for the football, volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams. In addition, he has been the radio voice of the Louisville Cardinals baseball team for the past 12 seasons.

As associate director of creative services, he works with video and social media and has emceed banquets and events at UofL and around the City of Louisville. The teams he works with have carried him on their coattails to 12 bowl games, five Final Fours and two College World Series.

Moth lives in Louisville with his wife of 20 years, Angie and their 16-year-old son Erik who attends Youth Performing Arts School. When Moth “used to have spare time,” as he phrases it, he enjoyed cooking, good music, fly-fishing and photography.


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.

New robotic device to boost balance in spinal cord injury patients at UofL

$5 million grant awarded to UofL and Columbia University researchers to develop Tethered Pelvic Assist Device
New robotic device to boost balance in spinal cord injury patients at UofL

Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD)

Spinal cord injury researchers at the University of Louisville pioneered activity-based interventions that have helped individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) improve mobility. The addition of epidural stimulation to the lumbosacral spinal cord has allowed individuals with SCI to stand without assistance. Susan Harkema, Ph.D., who leads this research at UofL, Claudia Angeli, Ph.D., Enrico Rejc, Ph.D., and Sunil Agrawal, Ph.D., an engineer at Columbia University, have won a $5 million grant to develop a robotic device that will aid individuals with SCI further by helping them regain balance. The Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD) will provide stimulation and feedback to aid in the recovery of balance, and will be integrated with activity-based training and epidural stimulation research at UofL.

Harkema, Angeli and Rejc, faculty members in the Department of Neurological Surgery at UofL, are working with Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, to develop TPAD. Agrawal specializes in the development of novel robotic devices and interfaces that help patients retrain their movements.

The project has won a five-year, $5 million grant from the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Board. The project also includes Joel Stein, chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, and Ferne Pomerantz, M.D., assistant professor in that department at Columbia University Medical Center.

TPAD is a wearable, light-weight cable-driven device that can be programmed to provide motion cues to the pelvis and corrective forces to stabilize it. It consists of a pelvic belt with multiple cables connected to motors, a real-time motion capture system, and a real-time controller to regulate the tensions in the cables. The UofL researchers will incorporate the device into the training of SCI patients during standing.

“Our stand and step training, combined with epidural stimulation, have shown success in enabling individuals with SCI regain the ability to stand. We hope the integration of the TPAD device will help these individuals with balance, further improving their functional ability and quality of life,” said Harkema, who also is Director of Research at Frazier Rehab Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health.

In their work with the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC), the UofL researchers have studied the effects of stand and step training along with epidural stimulation in adults with spinal cord injury. Epidural stimulation involves surgically implanting an electrode array over the lower spinal cord to activate the neural circuits.


October 24, 2016

UofL neurosurgeons now providing robotic laser therapy for brain tumors, lesions

Laser can help remove some lesions that were once considered inoperable
UofL neurosurgeons now providing robotic laser therapy for brain tumors, lesions

Neurosurgeons with UofL now provide minimally invasive, image-guided laser therapy with the NeuroBlate system.

Two University of Louisville neurosurgeons are now providing image-guided laser technology to help patients with brain tumors and lesions. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, more than 688,000 Americans are living with a brain tumor. In the past, some tumors were considered too difficult to reach. However, the minimally invasive NeuroBlate laser is now allowing neurosurgeons to remove tumors and lesions that would traditionally be considered inoperable.

NeuroBlate laser therapy can be precisely controlled to kill abnormal tissue while doing as little harm as possible to surrounding healthy tissue. It also can be used in patients who have lesions in areas of the brain that are difficult to access by traditional open surgery without harming essential functions like speech, vision and muscle control. The procedure is performed at Jewish Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health.

The NeuroBlate® System from Monteris Medical® is a robotic laser technology that uses real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to precisely guide a laser probe. The laser applies heat to the growth, in controlled amounts, until the diseased tissue is destroyed. It can be used on tumors and lesions in many locations in the brain, near the surface or deep inside.

Neurosurgeons performing the procedure are Joseph S. Neimat, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, and Brian J. Williams, M.D., assistant professor and director of the Brain Tumor Program. Both practice with University of Louisville Physicians.

“The procedure is performed while the patient is in an MRI machine, so physicians can see the lesion and surrounding healthy tissue to apply laser energy where it is needed. The temperature of nearby healthy tissue is monitored to help ensure that it is protected as much as possible,” Neimat said. “We are thrilled to have this technology at our fingertips, to be able to help more people suffering from brain tumors and lesions.”

“Laser interstitial thermal therapy or ‘LITT’ offers patients suffering from difficult-to-access or recurrent brain tumors a minimally invasive option for local treatment of their disease,” Williams said. “Because the recovery is quite a bit quicker than with traditional open surgery, patients are able to expeditiously move on to radiation and chemotherapy.”

Rather than making a large opening in the skull, the NeuroBlate laser technology requires just a small hole, about the diameter of a pencil. The procedure is considered minimally invasive surgery, a type of procedure that generally involves less pain, discomfort and scarring than traditional surgery, and allows patients to go home and resume normal activity sooner.

The NeuroBlate System was cleared by the FDA in April 2013 and is in use at more than 20 of the nation's leading health care institutions. It also was licensed by Health Canada in September 2014 as the first and only minimally invasive robotic laser thermal therapy tool available in that country.

Patients seeking appointments with Neimat and Williams should contact UofL Physicians-Neurosurgery at 502-588-6000.


Risk Statement about the NeuroBlate® System
As with any surgical procedure, the NeuroBlate System involves some risks. The technology is not appropriate for every lesion type and location. For example, it may be difficult to use the technology on certain large or irregularly shaped tumors. Certain placements of the laser probe into the brain, or too much heat applied, may cause bleeding or permanent brain damage. Some patients have temporary swelling after the procedure that may cause short-term abnormal brain or nervous system function. Any medical situation, including NeuroBlate, which requires a patient to stay still for long periods can cause dangerous blood clots (deep venous thrombosis). Talk to your physician about the risks of the procedure.

About Monteris Medical®
Monteris Medical (Plymouth, Minn.) is a privately held company developing devices for minimally-invasive, MR-guided neurosurgery. Monteris markets the NeuroBlate® System for controlled, volumetric ablation of brain lesions. Monteris also offers the various Stereotactic anchoring devices for image-guided trajectory alignment, and the AtamA™ Stabilization System for MR-based procedures requiring versatile head fixation. For more information on Monteris Medical, visit or the company’s patient information site

About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health, the largest and most comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth, has more than 200 locations including, hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved.  The system is made up of the former Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System, along with the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.




So, why haven’t we cured cancer yet?

Get the lowdown at Beer with a Scientist, Aug. 9
So, why haven’t we cured cancer yet?

Levi Beverly, Ph.D.

With all the research and effort that has gone into it, why does it seem we still are so far from finding a cure for cancer?

Levi Beverly, Ph.D., a cancer researcher with the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center, will attempt to answer that question at the next Beer with a Scientist, August 9.

Beverly will provide a brief history of cancer and cancer research and discuss recent breakthroughs in our understanding of cancer research. He also will answer the questions he is asked most frequently about cancer:  "What exactly is cancer?" "Is cancer a ‘new’ disease?" "Why can't we cure cancer?" "Do other animals get cancer?" "Is there a cure for cancer that the government doesn't want us to have?"  "Why do some cancers have such high death rates?"

Beverly, an associate professor at UofL in the Department of Medicine, studies lung cancer and leukemia. He talked on this topic at the first Beer with a Scientist event in 2014. This month’s edition will include a look at the progress cancer researchers have made in the past three years. The talk begins at 8 p.m. on  Wednesday, August 9, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

In 2014, Beverly created the Beer with a Scientist program as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook or email Beverly.

Next Beer with a Scientist:  Sept. 13



August 3, 2017

Abstract submissions open Sept. 30 for aging conference

Second annual UofL/KAG Optimal Aging Conference to be held June 11-13, 2017
Abstract submissions open Sept. 30 for aging conference

The call for abstracts opens Friday, Sept. 30, for the second annual Optimal Aging Conference, hosted by the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging in partnership with the Kentucky Association for Gerontology (KAG). The conference will be held June 11-13, 2017, at the Galt House Hotel, 140 N. Fourth St.

The Optimal Aging Conference brings together academics, professionals and older adults across a variety of disciplines who are united by a view that aging is an opportunity, not a disease. Institute Executive Director Anna Faul, Ph.D. said, “This conference is unique in that it emphasizes the potential when diverse individuals come together united in a common commitment to transforming our current aging paradigm, including participation and input from older adults and caregivers.”

Abstract submissions for the conference open Sept. 30 and close Friday, Dec. 16at 11:59 p.m. Practitioners and academicians in any field related to aging care can submit an abstract as the conference will examine service delivery complexities and burdens through both academic and professional workforce perspectives.

Abstracts can be submitted here. More detailed information can be accessed here. The opening of the abstract submissions is the finale of the Institute’s Optimal Aging Month observance.

The Optimal Aging Conference supports the dissemination of biopsychosocial aging research, age-friendly product innovation, and evidence-based practice and education models and social service delivery. Past President of KAG Barbara Gordon said, “We are excited to announce that our theme this year is ‘Approaching Aging as a Life-Long Journey.’ For optimal aging to be realized, we must infuse a lifespan approach into our work, practice, and research.”

Early-bird registration for the conference will open Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. The early-bird registration fee for students, medical residents and senior citizens (age 65 and older) is $100; $240 for KAG Members; and $260 for all other academics and professionals. After Feb. 15, registration will be an additional $10 per category.

For more information about the conference, visit or call 502-852-5629.

Training the next generation of cancer researchers

UofL training programs renewed to set exceptional students on course as future investigators
Training the next generation of cancer researchers

LaCreis Kidd, Ph.D., M.P.H., with CEP participant Thomas Packer, Jr.

The University of Louisville is making strides not only in conducting cancer research, but also in educating and motivating the next generation of scientists.

The UofL Cancer Education Program is an intensive summer research and professional development program for outstanding undergraduate and health professional students, supporting their pursuit of careers in cancer research.

The UofL Cancer Education Program, funded by an R25 grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, accepts about 30 trainees each summer. The students engage in a 10-week research project under the guidance of UofL cancer researchers and lab mentors in basic, clinical, translational, behavioral and population-based cancer research. The mentors are research-intensive UofL faculty, most of whom are affiliated with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

This spring, the program was renewed for five years with the leadership addition of director LaCreis Kidd, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor and Our Highest Potential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research in the UofL Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. David Hein, Ph.D., chair of the department, established the program and continues as director along with Kidd. More than 60 UofL faculty members serve as mentors and key contributors to the program.

“The renewal of this program is a clear indication that the trainees are excelling in cancer research during and after completion of the program. In addition, UofL and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center are providing cutting edge research, professional development and networking opportunities for the next generation of cancer research scientists,” Kidd said.

Since it began in 2012, the program has trained more than 150 students, including college undergraduates and medical, public health, dental and nursing students from more than 25 universities across the United States. More than one-third of the trainees have continued their studies as medical, doctoral and MD/PhD students at UofL. Others have continued their cancer research training at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Columbia. The five-year award of $1,593,000 supports the students’ research activities, subsistence payments, travel and housing.

To sharpen their professional skills, the trainees participate in engaging professional development activities. The activities include a 90-second elevator pitch contest, speed networking and public speaking activities that allow trainees to connect with their audience and deliver engaging oral presentations.

At the conclusion of the program, the students deliver their work in the form of research posters and oral presentations to faculty, judges and fellow students. Many of the students also present their research at Research!Louisville as well as at regional, national and international scientific meetings. Research conducted in the program is frequently published with a student as first author.

One goal of the UofL NCI Cancer Education Program is to reach underrepresented minorities for participation. Of the 156 students who have completed the program, 53 are underrepresented minority students.

“The NCI R25 Cancer Education Program is well poised to prepare the next generation of young investigators in the field of cancer research or clinical oncology,” Kidd said.

The Cancer Education Program is integrated with other summer research activities on UofL’s Health Sciences Center campus, including the Summer Research Scholar Program for students in the School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry’s Summer Research Program.

UofL Training Program in Environmental Health Sciences renewed

Another training program at UofL, the Training Program in Environmental Health Sciences, was renewed for a five-year term with a $2.4 million T32 grant in late 2016 by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The program funds predoctoral and post-doctoral students on a full-time basis, incorporating numerous centers, institutes, schools and more than 50 faculty mentors to provide cutting edge basic, clinical, computational and population-based research.

Hein established this program in 2004 and served as principal director until 2016. With the program’s renewal, Gavin Arteel, Ph.D., professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, took over as director. The Training Program in Environmental Health Sciences supports six predoctoral and three postdoctoral trainees. Graduates of the program have gone on to positions in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the pharmaceutical industry, and as faculty members at UofL and other prestigious universities. Kevyn Merten, Ph.D., assistant vice president for research and innovation at UofL, was among the first graduates, completing the program in 2006.

“The grant renewal recognizes that the university supports a critical mass of research to support the training of students and postdoctoral associates in this area,” Arteel said. “Two very strong programs that we have are the Diabetes and Obesity Center and the Hepatobiology and Toxicology Program.”

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., Matthew Cave, M.D., and Hein serve as co-directors for the program.

Free legal clinic for people with cancer set for Dec. 5

Free legal clinic for people with cancer set for Dec. 5

Gilda's Club of Louisville, 633 Baxter Ave., will be the site of a free legal clinic for people with cancer and their families and caregivers on Dec. 5. The event is organized by the Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL.

Three area organizations are teaming up to sponsor a free legal clinic for people facing cancer and their families and caregivers on Dec. 5.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville, Louisville Bar Association and Louisville Pro Bono Consortium are sponsoring the clinic, which will be held 6-7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5, at Gilda’s Club of Louisville, 633 Baxter Ave. Free parking is available behind the building and across the street from the club.

At the clinic, attorneys will be available to offer help with life-planning documents under Medicare Part D, including wills, powers of attorney, health care surrogacy and living wills. They also will provide guidance on employee benefits during illness and government assistance that is available such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security disability insurance.

Although admission is free, RSVPs in advance are needed at 502-852-6318. For additional information, contact the Kentucky Cancer Program at or 502-852-6318.


Daniel Pitino Foundation grant ensures 5,600 Kentucky children continue to receive cardiac care

New custom vehicle enables UofL Physicians staff to reach patients around the state who need specialized care
Daniel Pitino Foundation grant ensures 5,600 Kentucky children continue to receive cardiac care

Thanks to a nearly $57,000 gift from the Daniel Pitino Foundation, 5,600 children throughout the state of Kentucky will continue to receive life-saving cardiac care from doctors with University of Louisville Physicians.

On Tuesday, July 21, a new van was dedicated that is critical to delivering those services. The van, bought with the gift from the foundation, was unveiled during a news conference at the UofL Physicians Health Care Outpatient Center.

For more than four decades,doctors and staff affiliated with the University of Louisville have packed their bags every week and traveled the state to give those thousands of children with heart problems specialized care close to their homes.

The pediatric cardiology team travels to eight rotating sites from Ashland to Paducah and places in between, bringing all their supplies and medical equipment - such as EKG and echocardiogram machines - in a customized van made just for the task. The team, which lives on the road four days a week, reaches up to 50 patients a day and more than 5,600 per year.

For many of these children, the van makes it possible to get the care they need without having to travel hours to Louisville and have their parents take time off work and spend precious resources on travel expenses and hotels. For some with very limited resources, it makes the difference between getting the care they need and not getting care at all.

But over the years as the latest van aged, it became unreliable, at times leaving the doctors and staff without a way to transport their equipment to patients. Now, thanks to the $56,901 grant from the Daniel Pitino Foundation, the pediatric cardiology travel team has a brand new van made just for them to reach the patients they serve.

“We are so thankful to the Daniel Pitino Foundation for this generous grant that helps us reach so many children in Kentucky who need our services,” said Dr. Walter Sobczyk, senior pediatric cardiologist at UofL Physicians and an associate professor at the UofL School of Medicine.

“Getting care in rural and outlying areas, far from large cities like Louisville, is a very tough task for many families. They have enough to worry about without adding travel and the associated expenses to the mix. We believe that every child deserves access to the health care they need, no matter their circumstances. The van helps ensure they get expert care and have access to the latest in medical advancements and treatments so they can live the best possible life.”

The Daniel Pitino Foundation was founded by UofL men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and his wife, JoAnne, to honor the memory of their infant son, Daniel, who died of a congenital heart condition in 1987. The foundation’s mission is to benefit underprivileged children and other charitable causes.

“In recognizing the quality care and treatment provided by the doctors and staff of UofL Physicians across the Commonwealth, our board is pleased that we can provide support for the transportation needs of these dedicated individuals,” said Ron Carmicle, executive vice president of the Daniel Pitino Foundation’s board.

For many patients, the van’s services are invaluable.

“It’s made a huge difference in our lives,” said Jill Story, of Benton, Ky., whose daughter Jacee, 16, sees the van’s doctors because of a congenital heart defect. Her husband Matt, 45, also has a congenital heart defect and has been seeing the van’s doctors since he was a child. “It keeps us from having to routinely travel more than three hours to Louisville for their care.”

More about the pediatric cardiology outreach program

The outreach van travels to sites around Kentucky, including Owensboro, Bowling Green, Paducah, Ashland, Murray and Elizabethtown. On most days, the team consists of two doctors and six support staff.  At each site, the team leases office space for the day, where the staff sees up to 50 patients a day, four days a week, Monday through Friday.

The staff also sees referrals from pediatricians and local hospitals. Some patients of the outreach program, like Matt Story, are adults who have been seeing the team’s doctors since they were children.

For patients who need surgery or more complex procedures, the team can arrange for care at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, as well as transport there.

Back in Louisville, the team also is part of a statewide telemedicine network, where staff at 27 hospitals around the state can digitally transmit results of a heart test for immediate analysis by pediatric cardiology specialists with UofL Physicians at Kosair Children’s Hospital. The UofL Physicians staff at the hospital read up to 2,500 echocardiograms a year.

Initially a state-funded program in the 1950s and 1960s, funding for the outreach van dried up in the late 1970s, leaving the pediatric cardiology clinical practice of the University of Louisville, now part of University of Louisville Physicians, to supply the funding and keep it going.

About University of Louisville Physicians

University of Louisville Physiciansisthe largest multispecialty physician practice in the Louisville region, with nearly 600 physicians in more than 78 specialties and subspecialties, including primary care. Our doctors are the professors and researchers of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, teaching tomorrow’s physicians and leading research into medical advancements. For more information, visit

About the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center is the city’s only academic medical center. Approximately 1,000 faculty members are involved in education, research and clinical care.  The UofL HSC is home to more than 650 medical and dental residents, 3,000 students pursuing degrees in health-related fields within the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, as well as 14 interdisciplinary centers and institutes. Approximately $140 million in extramural funding enables researchers to uncover the causes of disease and better ways to prevent, treat and cure those diseases. Patients are seen at the Ambulatory Care Building, The James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the UofL Physicians Outpatient Center and University Hospital, which is the primary adult teaching hospital for the School of Medicine. University Hospital’s public mission is steeped in history and now is most clearly visible through its provision of nearly $90 million of health care to the uninsured annually.