News

Norton Healthcare, UofL reach agreements, end litigation

Long term deal ensures stability and growth for Children’s Hospital

Norton Healthcare and the University of Louisville today announced they have reached agreements which end more than five years of negotiations and more than two years of litigation. The University of Louisville Physicians group and the Commonwealth of Kentucky are also parties to the agreements.

“This is great news for the Louisville community and the Commonwealth,” said Donald H. Robinson, chair of the Norton Healthcare board of trustees. “The agreements clear up critical land lease and ownership issues as well as bringing operational security to Norton while assuring stable financial support to the UofL School of Medicine in pediatrics. The real winners here are the families who depend on our children’s hospital for their child’s care.”

“We reached fair and mutually beneficial agreements that extend our long-time relationship for providing the highest level of pediatric care to the children of the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Larry Benz, chair of the UofL board of trustees. “Both organizations are passionate about fulfilling their missions in this regard. We are now focused on how our organizations will combine our strengths to make Kosair Children’s Hospital a top tier pediatric hospital in the United States.”

The agreements include an amendment to the 1981 land lease between Norton and the Commonwealth for the children’s hospital property which results in a permanent solution, one that secures Norton’s ownership and control of the hospital, confirmed by the Commonwealth and UofL. It also makes it possible for Norton to continue plans for more than $35 million in additional capital improvements to its children’s hospital over the next five years. Those plans had been held up due to the litigation.

An amendment to the 2008 academic affiliation agreement currently in place between Norton and UofL sets an initial eight-year term with automatic annual renewals thereafter. UofL will be Norton’s primary academic partner for pediatrics with at least 90 percent of the Norton’s residency positions at the children’s hospital being made available to UofL.

UofL guarantees that its pediatric residents will utilize the children’s hospital as UofL’s primary hospital training site and that the majority of its pediatric hospital admissions will be made to the children’s hospital.  Both Norton and UofL will appoint three representatives each to a new Pediatric Academic Medical Center Committee (PAMCC), charged with overseeing and making recommendations for the affiliation relationship. Norton can still pursue other third party relationships and programs, such as the previously announced intent to collaborate with UK Children’s Hospital, as long as its commitments to UofL are fulfilled. UofL agrees to participate in collaborative pediatric care joint programs with Norton and UK and/or others.

Under the terms of the agreement, UofL will receive $272 million over eight years. Norton has extended its current total of $30 million in annual funding (through separate individual contracts as is currently done) for UofL academic support and physician services over the next eight years, with an additional $3 million annually for additional pediatric care investments. Those investments are to be recommended by the PAMCC and approved by Norton. UofL will participate in independent audits to facilitate full transparency regarding how Norton’s financial support is used. UofL also will receive a one-time payment of $8 million to resolve any and all financial disputes from the past.

“We thank the administration of Gov. Bevin for its leadership in finalizing the land lease amendments and assuring we can move forward with our planned $35 million additional investments by Norton in our Children’s Hospital,” said Stephen A. Williams, CEO, Norton Healthcare. “We also sincerely thank UofL Board Chairman Larry Benz for his great leadership in helping accomplish these agreements. The combined agreements stabilize the relationship between Norton and UofL in pediatrics and facilitate additional investments in pediatric care, while also allowing for appropriate collaboration with UK and other providers across the state to advance pediatric care in Kentucky.”

“This agreement allows both organizations to continue fulfilling their missions of caring for the children of the Commonwealth; UofL through the education and training of future health care providers and conducting cutting-edge research and Norton as the primary site for the provision of the highest levels of health care possible,” said Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville. “The Bevin administration’s quick attention and assistance is a demonstration of his desire for ensuring the future of the Commonwealth.”

All three of the agreements were effective immediately upon ratification over the last few days by the boards of Norton, University of Louisville, University of Louisville Physicians, and the Commonwealth.

UofL School of Medicine collects 570 toys for Toys for Tots

UofL School of Medicine collects 570 toys for Toys for Tots

Residents with 500 toys collected for Toys for Tots

The resident physicians at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, along with the school’s faculty, staff and medical students, are making the holidays a little brighter for underprivileged children in the Louisville community. In just one week, they collected 570 toys for Toys for Tots.

UofL’s House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, issued a request on December 10 for new, unwrapped toys for its annual holiday service project. The group was inspired by Mayor Greg Fischer’s call to set a world record for the most toys collected in a 12-hour period during Holiday in the City.

As of December 16, the residents, fellows and program faculty had collected 500 toys.

“The initiative took hold more than we had even imagined,” said Matthew Bertke, M.D., president of the House Staff Council. “The response shows the kind of charitable spirit and sense of community we have in the house staff. Although young physicians are busy with patient care, we also are invested in our community.”

John Roberts, M.D., UofL’s vice dean for graduate medical education and continuing medical education, supported the request by offering a luncheon for the departments with the highest percentage of residents participating. Four programs earned the luncheon, having greater than 150 percent participation:  Psychiatry (430 percent), Neurology/Child Neurology (246 percent), Pediatrics (193 percent - the largest number of gifts at 166) and Emergency Medicine (161 percent).

The school’s faculty, staff and medical students then joined in the project, adding an additional 70 toys for a total of 570 from the UofL School of Medicine.

“Among the qualities of a good physician are empathy and compassion. It is inspiring to see how generously our young physicians, faculty, staff and students responded in order to brighten the holidays for our community’s children,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine.

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

 

December 21, 2015

Before you need that AED, make sure it’s functional

UofL researchers find readiness of public access defibrillators alarmingly low
Before you need that AED, make sure it’s functional

UofL students walk past a public-access automated external defibrillator at the Health Sciences Center. Research led by Brad Stutton shows that a lack of AED registration correlates with an increased chance that the device could malfunction if needed.

No national standards exist for the maintenance of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and their registration with manufacturers, making these practices voluntary and highly variable. What the public may not realize, however, is that regions where there is a high degree of unregistered AEDs also show a much greater chance that these devices will fail if needed.

That’s the finding of a study conducted by cardiologist Brad Sutton, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine and assistant dean for health strategy and innovation at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The group found that significant variability exists in how AEDs are registered and maintained and because of this variability, the true risk for failure remains unknown.

“We know that rapid bystander CPR and the appropriate use of AEDs increases survival rates for the more than 350,000 victims of sudden cardiac arrest in the United States each year,” Sutton said. “However, we found that the percentage of public access AEDs that fail standardized testing is quite high, and the incidence of potentially life-threatening malfunction is likely underreported.”

“Our data suggests that registering AEDs correlates with increased likelihood that the device will pass testing, and therefore, stand a greater chance of being operational if needed by someone having a cardiac arrest.”

“Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States,” Keisha Deonarine, senior director of community health for the American Heart Association in Kentuckiana, said. “The American Heart Association believes it is important to do a weekly or monthly visual inspection of AEDs to ensure they are in working order. It may be the difference between life and death.”

About the research

The group assessed AEDs in public, non-hospital settings in four geographically distinct regions – Seattle, Suffolk County, N.Y., Central Illinois and Louisville. Each AED was tested according to manufacturer guidelines. A total of 322 AEDs at 190 unique sites were investigated.

The team found that more than one-fifth of the devices – 21 percent – failed at least one phase of testing. Five percent had expired batteries, failing to power on at all and rendering them useless in the case of sudden cardiac arrest.

At the same time, public access AEDs found in areas where there was a higher rate of registration were significantly more likely to pass testing. AED registration was high  -- greater than 80 percent -- in both Seattle and Suffolk County, with zero battery failures found in Seattle and only 2 percent in Suffolk County.

By comparision, both Louisville and Central Illinois had lower rates of registration – less than 25 percent  – and higher rates of test failure at 19.8 percent in Louisville and 38.2 percent in Central Illinois. Central Illinois also had the highest regional battery failure rate at 12.36 percent.

AED registration typically is handled the way it is with consumer products: The AED is registered with the vendor so the purchaser can be updated on potential recalls and advisories. There also is an industry built around AED maintenance, and many sites with AEDs outsource maintenance of the devices for a monthly fee. Sites with AEDs also can register the devices with some municipalities or other local authorities, but again, Sutton said, this varies greatly from region to region.

“Unfortunately, our data suggests that even when you find an AED in the time of need, it may not work,” Sutton said. “These devices require routine upkeep in order to remain functional and ready. This is the major message that our elected officials and community members need to be aware of.”

Sutton’s research group was made up of Jamie Heimroth, Stuart Crawford and Erica Sutton, M.D., of UofL and Josh Matzke of Eureka College in Illinois. The team presented their findings in November at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, and Sutton said he is currently in talks with AED manufacturer Zoll Medical Corp. to expand this line of study across the United States.

“Our study was limited in that results depended upon the voluntary participation of sites with AEDs,” he said. “Those sites that refused to participate in the study may represent yet additional potential device failures, and ultimately, additional potential loss of life.”

 

Saving lives from suicide topic of Sept. 8th program

UofL Depression Center lecture discusses new developments in suicide prevention
Saving lives from suicide topic of Sept. 8th program

David Goldston, Ph.D.

“Saving the Lives of Adolescents and Adults: New Developments in Understanding Suicidal Behavior” will be presented at the next “Building Hope” lecture sponsored by the University of Louisville Depression Center.

The program will begin at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, at Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Rd. Admission is free.

Co-sponsored by the Louisville Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the program will provide participants with information on new developments in understanding suicidal behavior and approaches to treatment and interventions for suicidal individuals.

The speaker will be David Goldston, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, in the Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Child & Family Mental Health & Developmental Neuroscience at the Duke University School of Medicine. He also serves as director of the Duke Center for the Study of Suicide Prevention and Intervention.

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 502-588-4450.

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leader in the fight against suicide. It funds research, offers educational programs, advocates for public policy and supports those affected by suicide. Headquartered in New York, AFSP has 75 local chapters, including Louisville, with programs and events nationwide.

High school students do summer right with medical research internships at UofL

Students mentored by James Graham Brown Cancer Center scientists present research posters.
High school students do summer right with medical research internships at UofL

JGBCC High School Research Interns 2015

When Mary Osborne and some of her classmates toured the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC) and research facilities at the University of Louisville, she had a lot of questions. The sophomore at Central Hardin High School was fascinated by the research and treatments that Brian Clem, Ph.D. described for the students.

“When we got to ask him questions. I basically ended up grilling him about what he was doing,” Osborne said.

Clem, an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at UofL and a researcher with JGBCC, appreciated her curiosity and encouraged her to apply for the Summer Research Intern Program sponsored by JGBCC for high school students.

“Mary asked me probably 30 questions on that tour. Her interest and enthusiasm stood out,” Clem said. “I definitely requested to have her as an intern.”

The 2015 Summer Research Intern Program provided 14 high school students from the Greater Louisville area with the opportunity to work in a University of Louisville medical research lab under the guidance of some of the top cancer researchers in the nation. Each student is assigned one of the Cancer Center’s research faculty as a mentor and works in that researcher’s lab for eight weeks. JGBCC has hosted the program for the past 13 summers as a way to reach out to the area’s budding scientists.

“I love science and I love that there never is really an answer to everything. There is always another question,” said Osborne, who hopes to pursue a career in medicine or science. “We can find treatments for cancer, but we want to find treatments for individual people. Every cancer is different.”

Many of the students in the program aspire to careers in medicine or research, and having spent a summer working in a medical lab and with an established researcher is an impressive point on the student’s resume and college applications. Another student in the program, Kyle Bilyeu, graduated from Louisville’s Trinity High School this spring and has been working with John Eaton, Ph.D., and Chi Li, Ph.D., this summer. He sees the program as a chance to get ahead on the path to becoming a clinical oncologist.

“This experience is invaluable. This introduction puts me ahead of everyone as I progress through my career goals,” said Bilyeu, who will enroll at UofL this fall as an undergraduate.

The program also gives UofL the chance to introduce the University’s vibrant research community to bright, curious students from the local area like Osborne and Bilyeu.

“UofL and the Cancer Center are trying to get high school students interested in science,” Clem said. “We want to highlight what UofL has to offer in terms of research to keep them in the city instead of going elsewhere for their education. Plus, it gets my foot in the door with them. If I find a really good student, I like to have them come back.”

Clem says that the researchers also benefit from having the young students in the lab.

“They bring a lot of different dynamics to the lab during the summer. It reinforces your teaching and mentorship ability,” Clem said. “High school students are inexperienced in the science background and knowledge necessary to work in the lab. You have to start from scratch. It is amazing to see how they progress in their knowledge base and ability to grasp new ideas and gain hands-on experience.”

Clem said one of the most difficult lessons for a high school-age student is understanding that experiments don’t always work the first time.

“The students get a crash course in the ups and downs of things not working and troubleshooting. They realize that research isn’t about everything working; 80 to 90 percent of it is about why stuff isn’t working,” Clem said.

The high school students presented posters representing their summer research work on Thursday, July 30 in the lobby of the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, along with undergraduate summer research students from other programs.

UofL physicians, KentuckyOne heart team to live stream, tweet surgery April 2

UofL physicians, KentuckyOne heart team to live stream, tweet surgery April 2

Physicians with the University of Louisville and the KentuckyOne Health Heart Care team will live stream and tweet updates from the operating room as a heart valve procedure is being performed April 2 at Jewish Hospital.

The staff anticipates that the live stream will begin around 10 a.m. To participate, go to www.kentuckyonehealth.org/ky1heartcare for the live stream or follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #KY1HeartCare.

The scheduled procedure will be a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive valve replacement for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not well enough to undergo traditional open-heart surgery.

During the TAVR procedure, a cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon work together to implant a new heart valve, called the Edwards SAPIEN XT, through a small puncture in the groin. The procedure is performed in the hybrid operating room at Jewish Hospital.

Performing the TAVR procedure will be Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Kendra Grubb, M.D. and Interventional Cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine Michael Flaherty, M.D., along with the Jewish Hospital Heart Valve team. Both practice with University of Louisville Physicians.

ULP Cardiologist Lorrel Brown, M.D., also an experienced heart specialist, will be in the OR specifically to tweet during the procedure and answer questions posed on Twitter.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to take part as education, clinical care and new media come together in this unparalleled opportunity. For additional information, contact KentuckyOne Health at 502-562-7075.

 

Disaster Medicine Certificate Series hosts active shooter disaster drill Saturday, March 30

Bystanders should be aware of visual, sound effects and avoid area unless necessary.

The UofL School of Medicine Disaster Medicine Certificate Series will hold an Active Shooter Disaster Drill on the Health Sciences Center campus from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 30.

This will be a live-action (not tabletop) drill, complete with actors portraying both perpetrators and victims, and visual, sound and other effects to simulate reality.  The location will be the Instructional Building and the HSC Plaza, 500 S. Preston St. The second floor of Kornhauser Library will be open.

Due to the large-scale nature of this drill, bystanders may hear simulated gunshots or explosions, and see a large police presence on campus. Bystanders should not be alarmed, and should not call 911 as this is only a drill.

In order for this drill to be safe and effective, the number of people on campus must be minimized. If anyone does not have to be on the HSC campus on March 30, please avoid the area.

For additional information, contact Madison Kommor, madison.kommor@louisville.edu, or Jill Scoggins, jill.scoggins@louisville.edu. 

What do old bones tell us about the health of ancient humans? Beer with a Scientist March 13

What do old bones tell us about the health of ancient humans? Beer with a Scientist March 13

Fabian Crespo, Ph.D., at Stonehenge

A person’s immune system is affected by a large number of biological, social and environmental influences, many of which change throughout his or her lifetime. This makes it difficult to research certain aspects of immune health by studying living people.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Fabian Crespo, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Louisville, will explain how bioarchaeologists are studying the skeletons of ancient humans to learn about health and disease.

“By studying different skeletal markers where inflammation is involved, bioarchaeologists can reconstruct immune competence in human skeletal samples. These osteoimmunological findings can help us understand the relationship between immune and bone cells,” Crespo said. “However, to better understand what these findings reveal about human health in the past requires discussion among immunologists, bioarchaeologists and historians.”

Crespo’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Lane, Louisville, 40222. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

Organizers encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates:  April 17, May 15.



March 6, 2019

Toni Ganzel to participate in national deans' panel on medical education, live-streamed Sept. 8 at noon

Toni Ganzel to participate in national deans' panel on medical education, live-streamed Sept. 8 at noon

Toni Ganzel

Dean Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., will discuss the future of American medical education in the National Deans’ Panel On Thursday, Sept. 8 from noon to 1:30 p.m., hosted by the University of Florida College of Medicine. The event is part of its 60th anniversary celebration. Ganzel will be joined by fellow medical school deans Joseph Kerschner, M.D. of the Medical College of Wisconsin, E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A. of the University of Maryland and Michael Good, M.D., of the University of Florida to discuss contemporary issues in medical education, biomedical science and American health care.

Join the live stream of the event online at: http://bit.ly/DeansPanelUF

Submit questions to the panel during the event via Twitter using the hashtag #UFMed60.

Native son, Nobel laureate Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., to discuss genetics research at UofL May 25

Native son, Nobel laureate Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., to discuss genetics research at UofL May 25

Phillip Sharp, Ph.D.

A Kentucky native who won the Nobel Prize for research that advanced the understanding of gene structure, Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., will visit UofL on May 25. His presentation is titled, “40 years from split genes to convergence of life sciences with engineering and physical sciences.”

Sharp shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Richard Roberts, Ph.D., for 1977 research that revealed the first indications of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. The discovery fundamentally changed scientists’ understanding of gene structure.

Sharp is an institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Biology. His research centers on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. The author of more than 400 publications, Sharp is a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Royal Society, United Kingdom. The Kentucky native earned his B.A. in chemistry and mathematics from Union College in Barbourville, Ky.

The lecture begins at noon, Thursday, May 25, at the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, room 101-102. The event, hosted by the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics of the UofL School of Medicine, is part of the Austin and Mary Frances Bloch Lecture Series, established in 1999 in honor of Austin Bloch and his wife, Mary Frances Bloch. Austin Bloch practiced medicine in Louisville for many years and served as an adjunct clinical instructor for the UofL School of Medicine. 

Sharp also will present a research seminar on Friday, May 26 in room 102 of the UofL School of Medicine instructional building on the topic, “Super-enhancer-associated microRNAs and phase transitions.”

Sharp is the second Nobel laureate to visit UofL this month. Peter Agre, M.D., spoke on Belknap Campus on May 8. Agre shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2003, with Roderick MacKinnon for his work in the discovery of water channels in cell membranes. 

Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building is located at 505 S. Hancock St., Louisville, Ky. 40202.

 

Photo © Peter Badge / Typos1 in coop. Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings—all rights reserved, 2016

May 17, 2017

Evolent Health expands partnership with Passport Health Plan to support Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky

Evolent Health expands partnership with Passport Health Plan to support Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky

Passport Health Plan andEvolent Health, a company providing an integrated value-based care platform to the nation's leading providers and payers, announced on May 29 that Evolent has entered into a definitive agreement to partner with the current sponsors of Passport in continuing to serve the Kentucky Medicaid market. The current sponsors, which include The University of Louisville, University of Louisville Physicians, University Medical Center, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, Norton Healthcare and the Louisville/Jefferson County Primary Care Association, have been seeking a partner to provide expanded management and operational support, as well as capital through joint ownership of the health plan, and haveselected Evolent as its long-term financial and operating partner.

Per the terms of the agreement, Evolent will acquire an ownership interest in Passport Health Plan and will expand the scope and term of its long-term Management Services Agreement with the health plan. Evolent will also provide interim balance sheet support if necessary to meet near-term regulatory capital requirements.

Passport health plan logoPassport has provided Medicaid managed care services in Kentucky since 1997 and currently serves more than 300,000 members statewide. The plan employs more than 600 Kentuckians, primarily at its headquarters in Louisville. Evolent has provided extensive services to Passport since 2016, when the organizations formed a relationship to launch the Medicaid Center of Excellence focused on improving health outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky and in several states nationwide.

Passport will be jointly owned and operated through a partnership between Evolent, The University of Louisville, the University of Louisville Physicians, University Medical Center, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, Norton Healthcare and the Louisville/Jefferson County Primary Care Association. The plan will be governed by a newly formed board of directors upon closing with joint representation from the current owners and Evolent Health. Evolent intends to maintain all Kentucky operations under the Passport name and looks forward to building upon the plan’s excellent history of service in the Commonwealth.  

“We strongly believe in Passport’s mission and have been proud to partner with Passport’s leadership team to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Evolent Health Chief Executive Officer Frank Williams. “We are honored by the vote of confidence the owners of Passport have given us to continue to build on an extraordinary legacy of delivering an excellent member experience to Kentucky’s Medicaid beneficiaries. We are confident that by leveraging our value-based care platform and the full scope of our clinical programs, as well as providing enhanced functional expertise, we can drive strong operational and financial performance. We look forward to collaborating with The University of Louisville and other Passport owners—as well as local and state regulatory agencies and other key stakeholders—to continue driving improved health outcomes and critical support to one of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations.”

 

“The University of Louisville helped create Passport Health Plan in 1997, paving the way for what has become a national model for managed care,” said University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi. “Now, we are proud to partner with Evolent Health to begin a new chapter that will continue to spark innovation in the delivery of care.”

“For the past 20 years, Passport has been proud to work with the Commonwealth, our provider partners and other valued supporters to deliver a quality health plan that promotes our members’ best interests and health outcomes,” said Passport Health Plan Chief Executive Officer Mark Carter. “I am confident that Passport has a bright future ahead, thanks to the solid foundation we’ve built and the significant investment, expertise and support that Evolent brings to the table. Evolent and Passport are dedicated to finding ways to bring the West Louisville Health and Wellbeing Campus to life, as we believe it will significantly positively impact the health of the community. Evolent and Passport will be working with developers and key stakeholders to create a definitive plan and select a real estate developer to bring the project to fruition.”

About Evolent Health

Evolent Health partners with leading provider and payer organizations to achieve superior clinical and financial results in value-based care and under full-risk arrangements. With a provider heritage and over 20 years of health plan administration experience, Evolent partners with more than 35 health care organizations to actively manage care across Medicare, Medicaid, commercial and self-funded adult and pediatric populations. With the experience to drive change, Evolent confidently stands by a commitment to achieve results. For more information, visit evolenthealth.com.

About Passport Health Plan

Passport Health Plan is a provider-sponsored, non-profit, community-based health plan administering Medicaid benefits to more than 300,000 Kentuckians. Named the top Medicaid plan in Kentucky by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for 2016-17, Passport has been contracted with the Commonwealth of Kentucky to administer Medicaid benefits since 1997. For details, please visit passporthealthplan.com or call toll-free (800) 578-0603. Passport also operates a Medicare Advantage program, called “Passport Advantage,” for residents of Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Nelson, Breckinridge, Carroll, Grayson, Henry, Larue, Marion, Meade, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Washington counties who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. For details, go online to passportadvantage.com or call toll-free (844) 859-6152.

 

UofL psychiatry resident wins national fellowship

Award provides for 10-month advocacy role with Congress
UofL psychiatry resident wins national fellowship

Daniel Jackson, M.D.

A third-year resident in the University of Louisville Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has been awarded the Jeanne Spurlock, M.D. Congressional Fellowship of the American Psychiatric Association and the association’s related organization, the American Psychiatric Foundation.

Daniel T. Jackson, M.D., is serving in the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Rep. James McDermott, M.D. (D-Wash.) for the 10 months of the fellowship beginning in September. The award is offered to only one individual each year and provides the opportunity to represent the profession of psychiatry in Congress, working with federal policy makers to shape public policy.

“My work with Rep. McDermott – who is a psychiatrist himself – focuses on mental health issues including the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015 in the Senate and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 in the House,” Jackson said. “We hope to see action on one or both bills in the coming months.”

Both bills propose to reform current mental health law to make available needed psychiatric, psychological and supportive services to individuals with mental illness and families in mental health crisis. The bills focus on providing more programs and resources to help those suffering from mental disorders.

 

Jackson is a two-time graduate of UofL, earning his medical degree in 2013 and a bachelor of arts degree cum laude in psychology with concentration in the natural sciences in 2007. He entered the residency program in July 2013.

As a resident, he lectures on substance abuse topics to third- and fourth-year medical students and sits on the UofL Psychiatry Residency Admission Committee. He also is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, Kentucky Psychiatric Medical Association, Kentucky Medical Association and Greater Louisville Medical Society.

He also has undertaken public policy advocacy work as a resident, attending the Advocacy Leadership Conference in Washington last year. There, he joined with others in the health care profession to recommend for increased federal investment through the National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Indian Health Service. He has lobbied for passage of the Ensuring Veteran’s Resiliency Act and helped efforts that were successful in reforming Medicare’s physician payment formula.

 

UofL’s Trover Campus a national model in drawing physicians to rural practice

UofL’s Trover Campus a national model in drawing physicians to rural practice

William J. Crump, M.D.

Although many rural residents who were previously uninsured now have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a shortage of physicians in many rural communities means it still can be difficult for rural residents to obtain health care.

The University of Louisville School of Medicine has been working to increase the number of physicians in rural communities by training doctors at Trover Campus at Baptist Health Madisonville for 17 years. William J. Crump, M.D., associate dean for the Trover Campus, and his colleagues at UofL have assembled data to demonstrate that their efforts are paying off. The physicians who spent the last two years of medical school at the rural location are much more likely to ultimately practice in a rural setting.

In a study published online last week in The Journal of Rural Health, Crump reveals that 45 percent of the physicians who completed medical school at the rural campus now practice in rural areas, compared with only 7 percent of graduates who remained on the urban campus. The authors examined data for 1,120 physicians who graduated from the UofL School of Medicine between 2001 and 2008, including those who completed training at the traditional urban campus as well as Trover Campus. They used statistical methods to control for the percentage of graduates who had rural upbringing and chose family medicine, factors that previously were shown to predispose a physician to rural practice, and were able to demonstrate the rural campus itself added to the likelihood a physician would choose a rural practice.

“We were able to show that the investment of resources in our campus over the past 17 years has made a real difference for our Commonwealth,” Crump said. “There are almost 20 other such small campuses that have been established recently around the country. It will be another 10 to 15 years before they are able to prove the outcomes that we have, but we are confident that they will find the same thing. Not only will physicians be placed into small towns, but the small towns that host these rural regional campuses will benefit greatly from the financial investment by the parent campus as well as potentially recruiting their graduates to make their own medical care better."

Almost two-thirds of Kentucky’s counties are considered health professional shortage areas, meaning they have far too few primary care physicians. The University of Louisville focused on correcting this shortage by establishing the Trover Campus in Madisonville, Ky., a town of 20,000 that is 150 miles southwest of Louisville in the west Kentucky coal fields. It was believed that training students from small towns in a small town would more likely produce physicians for the small towns, and now this concept has been proven. Trover Campus was only the second in the United States to be placed in such a small town.


November 6, 2015

UofL medical residents donate 870 Christmas presents to Louisville kids

UofL medical residents donate 870 Christmas presents to Louisville kids

The UofL House Staff Council collected 870 gifts during its Toys for Tots campaign this month. Resident physicians pictured are (from left) Jamie Morris, M.D., Jared Winston, M.D., and Taro Muso, M.D.

Medical residents and fellows at the University of Louisville have donated 870 new toys to local children for Christmas.

For the fourth consecutive year, the UofL School of Medicine House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, led a weeklong collection for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Donations were received from individual residents and fellows and School of Medicine faculty, staff and students.

The Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them as Christmas presents to economically disadvantaged children in the community in which a campaign is conducted.

“This is our community,” said Jared Winston, M.D., a UofL internal medicine resident from St. Louis. “Louisville is hosting a lot of residents who aren’t from this area. It’s a way to say ‘thank you’ to our community.”

There was some healthy competition among School of Medicine departments over donating the most toys. Stock Yards Bank & Trust is providing a luncheon and plaque to the three residency programs that donated the most toys.

The winning program for the fourth straight year, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, collected 370 toys. The Department of Radiology donated the second-most number of toys with 139, and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health finished third by contributing 102 gifts.

“The residents love helping out with the toy drive,” said Jamie Morris, M.D., a UofL radiology resident. “The House Staff Council is very big into community outreach and this is such a fun way to do it. We have multiple people in our department who love going shopping for Toys for Tots.”

Researchers fill gaps in horse reference genome to guide new approaches in fighting disease

Researchers fill gaps in horse reference genome to guide new approaches in fighting disease

By re-analyzing DNA from a thoroughbred named Twilight, pictured here on a farm at Cornell University, scientists corrected thousands of errors in the original horse reference genome.

Research led by scientists at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky has produced a more complete picture of the domestic horse reference genome, a map researchers will use to determine the role inherited genes and other regions of DNA play in many horse diseases and traits important in equine science and management.

By re-analyzing DNA from a thoroughbred named Twilight, the basis for the original horse reference genome, scientists generated a more than ten-fold increase in data and types of data to correct thousands of errors in the original sequence that was released in 2009. Since then, there have been dramatic improvements in nucleotide sequencing technology and the computational hardware and algorithms used to analyze data. It is now easier and less expensive to build a reference genome.

The new equine reference genome, known as EquCab3.0, was published today in Communications Biology, representing the work of 21 co-authors from 14 universities and academic centers around the world. The horse reference genome is publicly availablethrough the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Genome sequencing allows researchers to read and decipher genetic information found in DNA and is especially important in mapping disease genes – discovering diseases a horse might be genetically predisposed to developing.

Data gathered from future genetic and genomic studies of horses will use the new reference as a basis, which also has implications for tackling serious diseases in humans, said principal investigator Ted Kalbfleisch, Ph.D., of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the UofL School of Medicine.

“Because we can sequence a horse and map it to the reference genome, we can know what genes might be affected by a mutation and come up with a hypothesis for what went wrong,” Kalbfleisch said. “Looking beyond the horse, we all want to cure cancer and other diseases that affect humans. Being able to accurately generate reference genomes gives us the tool that we need to map an individual’s genomic content. Having a high-quality reference genome makes it possible for us to know where an individual has a mutation and personalize therapies that will be right for an individual and the specific disease they have.”

Senior author James MacLeod, V.M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center added, “Increased accuracy of the horse reference genome achieved through this work will greatly facilitate additional research in many aspects of equine science.  Medical advances for horses as a patient population, both in terms of sensitive diagnostic tests and emergent areas of precision medicine, are addressing critical issues for the health and wellbeing of these wonderful animals.”  

Financial support for the research was provided by the Morris Animal Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture and several additional grants to the laboratories of individual co-authors. 

UofL cancer researcher gains NIH funding to study Alzheimer’s disease

Levi Beverly, Ph.D., will use additional $385K to expand study of ubiquilins in neurodegeneration
UofL cancer researcher gains NIH funding to study Alzheimer’s disease

Levi Beverly, Ph.D.

Levi Beverly, Ph.D., believes he can use his cancer research to help in the quest to understand a cause and find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and the National Institute on Aging is providing funding to allow him to investigate further.

To generate new ideas in Alzheimer’s disease research, the National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health, has offered researchers in other fields already funded by the NIH additional money to explore links between their current field of research and Alzheimer’s disease. Beverly, a UofL cancer researcher, has received one of the first round of these $385,000 awards.

“They are hoping to spark some new directions, uncovering potential new areas for research,” said Beverly, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville. “This will get more people involved in the work and develop some preliminary seed data.”

Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases affect more than 5 million people in the United States. As the population ages, this number is increasing.

Beverly’s primary research grant from the National Cancer Institute is to study ubiquilin proteins in cancer. Ubiquilin proteins are critical adapters that appear to be central to signaling pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease as well as cancer.

“The protein ubiquilin is lost in both cancer and Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases,” Beverly said. “What we hope to discover is how this protein, which is associated with aberrant cell growth in cancer, also is associated with aberrant cell death in neurodegenerative diseases.”

Beverly plans to use the new funding to determine whether and how ubiquilin regulates contradictory signaling pathways in neuronal cells and epithelial cells, and how the loss of ubiquilin affects multiple types of tissues.

Robert Friedland, M.D., professor of neurology at UofL who has conducted research in Alzheimer’s disease for more than three decades, is collaborating with Beverly on the project.  

“We have known for many years that protein folding patterns are critical to neuronal damage in Alzheimer's,” Friedland said. “The work Dr. Beverly has done with ubiquilin has uncovered pathways that may be involved in key mechanisms of both Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. We anticipate that the interaction of researchers in cancer and neurodegeneration will help advance both fields.”

With combined annual national expenditures of approximately $300 billion for cancer and Alzheimer’s diseases in the United States, these conditions represent two of the largest burdens on the health-care system. Beverly believes the laboratory research conducted in this project will facilitate the development of therapeutic interventions for these diseases.

“Only by understanding the basic molecular, biochemical and genetic causes of these diseases will we be able to make significant progress in treating these patients,” Beverly said.

 

 

 

November 15, 2018

Daughter of UofL faculty member up for Espy Award

Cast your vote online through July 13
Daughter of UofL faculty member up for Espy Award

Oksana Masters on the medal stand at the Sochi Olympics in 2014

For the third year in a row, Oksana Masters is one of four nominees for ESPN’s Female Athlete With A Disability Award. The Louisvillian — daughter of UofL Assistant Professor M. Gay Masters, Ph.D., in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders — is nominated for her prowess in cross-country skiing.

Winners of the annual Espy Awards are selected through online fan balloting conducted from among candidates selected by the ESPY Select Nominating Committee. The public can vote online now until 5 p.m. EDT, July 13, on the ESPN website.

“I'm thrilled to see Oksana recognized for her talent and incredible hard work as an athlete. The ESPY nomination itself is already a win,” Gay Masters said. “We both appreciate your votes and support.”

Born in the Ukraine in 1989, Oksana Masters was brought to the United States by her adoptive mother when she was seven. She was born with several radiation-induced birth defects,including tibial hemimelia (resulting in different leg lengths), missing weight-bearing shinbones in her calves, webbed fingers with no thumbs, and six toes on each foot.

After moving to the United States in 1997, both of Oksana's legs were eventually amputated above the knee —her left leg at age eight and her right leg at age 13 — as they became increasingly painful and unable to support her weight. Oksana also had surgery to modify her innermost fingers on each hand so they could function as thumbs.

Oksana first made a name for herself as she won a bronze medal in rowing with partner Rob Jones at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the first-ever United States medal in trunk and arms mixed double sculls with a final time of 4:05.56. She then transitioned her talents to the snow and won silver and bronze at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in cross-country skiing.

When issues with her back prevented her return to the water for the 2016 Summer Games, Masters decided to give the sport of cycling a try. She has qualified for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 7-18, in paracycling, her fourth competitive sport.

Espy winners will be announced in the Espy Awards telecast at 8 p.m. EDT, July 13, on ABC-TV hosted by WWE wrestler John Cena. For more information, go to the Espy Awards website.

UofL researcher developing drug to treat emerging encephalitis viruses

NIH dedicates $21 million to prepare antiviral drug for clinical trials
UofL researcher developing drug to treat emerging encephalitis viruses

Donghoon Chung, Ph.D., in the Regional Biocontainment Lab

Donghoon Chung, Ph.D., a virologist at the University of Louisville, is one of three principal investigators with a new center working to advance new drugs for the treatment of equine encephalitis viruses in humans. The project, Center of Excellence for Encephalitic Alphavirus Therapeutics, is funded by a $21 million grant from the National Institutes of Health over five years.

The center, headquartered at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, will develop therapeutic drugs to treat three mosquito-borne alphaviruses that cause serious illness in humans and horses: Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) and Western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV). Although a vaccine is available for horses, there are no FDA-approved treatments or preventive vaccines for these viruses in humans.

Chung, an associate professor in the Center for Predictive Medicine and Department of Microbiology & Immunology at UofL, said the center’s goal is to refine potent small molecule compounds the researchers previously identified as promising as antiviral drugs for treating the encephalitis viruses, and enable those compounds to move to the next step of research, clinical trials in humans.

“In my previous research I found that these compounds inhibit the viral replication cycle. However, we want to further understand which target molecules are interacting with the compound,” Chung said. He described the mechanism of the compounds the group is investigating as similar to the way the drug nevirapine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, works in treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

“This project is to develop a new antiviral compound to treat these diseases in humans,” Chung said. “However, we do not limit our applications of this drug to only humans, as it may be possible to adapt it for treating horses as well.”

These equine encephalitis viruses infect humans and horses through the bite of an infected mosquito. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of infection include fever, chills, headache and vomiting. Outbreaks of the Western and Venezuelan viruses are uncommon, and an average of only seven human cases of EEEV have been reported annually in the United States over the past ten years. However, the disease may leave people with permanent neurological symptoms, and approximately 30 percent of people who contract the Eastern equine encephalitis virus will die from the disease.

According to Chung, the potential for the viruses to be used in bioterrorism is perhaps even more worrisome. The CDC recognizes viral encephalitis as a Category B human biothreat, making the development of a treatment important.

Chung’s co-principal investigators in the center are Colleen Jonsson, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center who directs the center, and Jennifer E. Golden, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy.

“The goal of our new Center of Excellence is to further develop novel therapeutic molecules discovered by our team that are highly potent across all three viruses, moving the optimal ones forward into pre-clinical development,” said Jonsson, formerly director of the UofL Center for Predictive Medicine.

Chung will test the compounds for toxicity against human cells in vitro, deciphering their molecular mechanisms and determining their resistance threshold utilizing the facilities and staff at the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at UofL. He also will test the compounds’ resistance threshold that inevitably develops over time, along with Juw Won Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer engineering in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at UofL.

Once their work is completed, the researchers expect the new drugs would be ready to begin clinical trial testing in humans.

Where to seek care when you’re sick or injured

UofL doctors discuss health care options
Where to seek care when you’re sick or injured

Ashley Iles, M.D.

We’ve all been there. Perhaps you have a mild sore throat and cough on Friday but by Saturday afternoon the cough has worsened. Or you wake up in the middle of the night with extreme nausea and a high fever. What is the most appropriate place to receive care in the most timely manner? 

Primary Care Providers

One of the best ways to care for your own health is to establish a primary care provider (PCP), says Ashley Iles M.D., assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine and a physician with UofL Physicians Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station.

“Primary care refers to medical care given by a provider - physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. This is the first point of contact for patients’ non-emergent symptoms, disease management and health concerns. 

“For an acute illness like a sinus infection or earache that comes on suddenly during the week, a primary care provider should be your first point of contact,” she said. 

PCPs also encompass preventative types of care including cancer screening, vaccinations, health maintenance exams and patient education. 

“Think of your PCP facility as your medical home,” Iles said. 

Urgent or Immediate Care

An urgent care or immediate care center, however, may be the best option for after hours for worsening acute illness or injuries like mild sprains. These facilities may have an X-ray machine and the ability to perform some lab tests on-the-spot. 

“Think episodic care for urgent care centers,” Iles said. “If you need non-emergency care at a time when you can’t get to your primary care provider, these are good alternatives.” 

But Iles says patients should understand that urgent care facilities don’t keep track of their medical problems, prescriptions or visits the way a primary care provider would. 

“Be sure to follow-up with your primary care provider if you’ve gone to immediate care so they can update your medical records,” Iles. 

Emergency Care

Emergency rooms should be reserved for life-threatening conditions or injuries that could result in serious complications if not immediately addressed, says Adam Ross, M.D., medical director of UofL’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

National statistics indicate that between 5.5 – 8 percent of ER visits are non-urgent.

“However, as you can imagine, someone may come in with chest pain, concerned about a heart attack, and after a workup in the emergency room (EKG, chest x-ray, blood tests, etc.), it’s determined their pain was from GERD or heartburn” Ross said. “While their diagnosis is not an emergent one, the symptom they presented with certainly is.”  

It is better to be safe than sorry, says Ross.

“Always go to the ER when you feel life or limb are at risk: chest pain, shortness of breath, severe headache, weakness, numbness or speech difficulty, severe cuts, excessive bleeding, broken bones or other symptoms with which you are emergently concerned,” he said.

Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing what seems to be a life-threatening condition. Otherwise, patients can often call their medical insurance company hotlines to speak with an on-call providers that can give advice on what to do. UofL Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station can often see patients for acute illnesses or minor injuries the same week. Make an appointment by calling 502-588-8700. An on-call doctor is available to answer urgent medical questions after hours.

About UofL Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station

Located at 215 Central Ave. in Louisville, UofL Centers for Primary Care at Cardinal Station offer a full range of primary care services including acute illness visits, annual health maintenance visits, cancer screenings, STI screenings and vaccinations for both children and adults of any age. Additionally, the centers have a wide range of women’s health services including appropriate annual screenings and all types of non-surgical birth control including implantable devices. The office also is home to multiple Sports Medicine specialists who can offer on-site x-rays, acute injury management, chronic conditions management, physical therapy referrals and joint injections. For information and appointments, call 502-588-8700.

McClain to lead UofL health sciences center research efforts

McClain to lead UofL health sciences center research efforts

Craig McClain, M.D.

Craig McClain, M.D., has been named the Associate Vice President for Health Affairs/Research at the University of Louisville. McClain also serves as Distinguished University Scholar, UofL Associate Vice President for Translational Research, Director of the UofL Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Director of Research Affairs, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and Director of Gastroenterology at the Louisville VAMC.

“Dr. McClain brings a wealth of research experience to this position. I am confident that in this new position, which bridges research activities across the university and acts as a liaison between the Offices of the EVPHA and the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, he will continue to provide outstanding research leadership on behalf of the Health Sciences Center,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs.

McClain is a widely recognized expert in alcohol abuse, nutrition, and cytokine research, as well as hepatic drug metabolism. In 1980, he described the deleterious interactions in the liver between alcohol and acetaminophen, and he was the first to describe dysregulated cytokines in alcoholic hepatitis.

His laboratory currently focuses on nutrition and the gut: liver axis, especially as it relates to alcoholic liver disease. He has published more than 340 peer-reviewed articles and 100 book chapters/reviews, and he has mentored more than 100 medical students, residents, GI fellows, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

He has received multiple awards, such as the American Gastroenterology Association Foundation Research Mentoring Award, the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman award for mentoring,  the Grace A Goldsmith Award in Nutrition, the University of Louisville Distinguished Faculty Award in Research for Basic and Applied Sciences, and teaching awards such as Outstanding Gastroenterology Education at UofL.

McClain also has been prominent nationally, serving as president of the American College of Nutrition. He also has served on several NIH and VA Study Sections. He was the first physician member of the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee (PRAC) and currently serves on the NIAAA National External Advisory Council and on the NIH Council of Councils.