What's the skinny on dietary fat? Find out at Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 18

Ashley Cowart, Ph.D., of Medical University of South Carolina, will share the latest understanding of dietary fat, obesity and disease at the next Beer with a Scientist
What's the skinny on dietary fat?  Find out at Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 18

Ashley Cowart, Ph.D.

We’ve heard the mantra for years:  Avoid obesity and the diseases that accompany it by eating less fat. But recent reports seem to contradict this advice. So what do we know about how the fats we eat affect our bodies?

At the next Beer with a Scientist, L. Ashley Cowart, Ph.D., will explain what we know – and what we don’t know – about dietary fat and health.

“Lots of information is presented in the media in a dogmatic way, but current science is revealing highly nuanced information on dietary fat and health, and recent studies have contradicted what we thought we knew,” Cowart said. “I will present current scientific data that challenge commonly held notions about dietary fat and health risks of obesity.”

Cowart is associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her work focuses on understanding how dietary intake of fats alters cellular processes leading to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. By understanding how different fats alter different cellular processes, her group hopes to find therapeutic targets to help treat various conditions. Cowart is the first out-of-state speaker at a Beer with a Scientist event and only the second speaker not affiliated with UofL.

The event begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Jan. 18, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014, the brainchild of University of Louisville cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., who created the series with the idea of making science accessible to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

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

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

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook. Upcoming dates for events:  February 15, March 15.

Community-based services topic of first spring optimal aging lecture, Feb. 8

Community-based services topic of first spring optimal aging lecture, Feb. 8

Barbara Gordon

Meeting the burgeoning need of older adults for community-based support is the focus of the Feb. 8 lecture of the Spring 2017 Optimal Aging Lecture Series, sponsored by the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging and the UofL Alumni Association.

Barbara Gordon, director of social services of the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA), will present a discussion entitled “Access to Community-Based Services: Challenges and Opportunities.” The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

Louisville is a health care hub and is proposing to be an age-friendly city, yet many older adults struggle to access the programs, services and support they need to maintain their quality of life. Funding and policy neglect can further exacerbate these challenges at both the local and state levels. If left unaddressed, Louisville and Kentucky will be incapable of meeting either the current needs or the future demands of an aging population. Gordon will address how creative collaboration can revive and strengthen this support for an uncertain future.

Gordon has been with KIPDA for 14 years after workingwith the Cabinet for Health Services as a branch manager for  Elder Rights, Special Initiatives and Supports Branch in the Office of Aging Services. Her experience serving older adults includes working as a home care case manager serving older persons in Southwestern Kentucky, working with older adults with mental health issues at the Barren River Community Mental Health Center, and as a senior citizen center director in Franklin County. Gordon also is an instructor at the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work and is the current president of the Southeast Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Admission is $25 per person and includes lunch. Reservations are required online. Click here to register. For information, call 502-852-5629 or email



What's in a name?

Named lectures fulfill important role in life of university
What's in a name?

Left to right, Laman A. Gray, Jr., M.D.; Malcolm DeCamp, M.D.; and Mark Slaughter, M.D.

As ubiquitous in university life as textbooks, laboratories and parking complaints, the named lectureship is an important component of the education, research, patient care and service provided by the University of Louisville.

“The value of such lectures comes from both the person in whose name the lecture is delivered and the content of the lecture itself,” said Malcolm DeCamp, M.D., chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern University. DeCamp delivered the fifth annual Laman A. Gray Jr., M.D., Lecture in December, organized by UofL’s Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. The lecture is named to honor the long-time UofL cardiovascular surgeon who pioneered mechanical hearts and devices and now serves as executive and medical director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute.

“A lecture such as the Laman Gray Lecture provides an opportunity to invite a thought leader in a specific field to provide enrichment to a community of providers they may not have access to,” DeCamp said. “Invited lecturers provide a different perspective, new knowledge and a cross-pollination of thought and ideas. They broaden the horizons of practitioners, trainees and students and give them a glimpse of things coming down the road.”

A former Louisvillian who earned his medical degree at UofL in 1983, DeCamp said he was honored to give a lecture named for Gray. “I grew up there (in Louisville) and know him. He represents the surgeon-scientist-engineer and is known for trying to think of engineering ways to reverse the problems caused by disease,” DeCamp said. “The Cardiovascular Innovation Institute is a bricks-and-mortar testament to the promise he created.

“We physicians all like doctoring and taking care of patients, but he adds the dimension of scientist to it.”

DeCamp’s lecture, “Interventions for Emphysema: Beyond Best Medical Care,” examined the current state of treatments for the disease. While lung volume reduction surgery has been shown to help patients live longer and have a better quality of life, the procedure isn’t as well known among practitioners and therefore isn’t recommended as much as perhaps it should be, he said.

“A 1,200-patient study found that significant patient improvement was durable five years after surgery,” DeCamp said. “Several non-surgical procedures currently show promise but they are as yet unproven. Why don’t we support procedures of excellent efficacy?”

It is a message that Mark Slaughter, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, believes is important to hear.  “Staying abreast of the latest data and research is imperative in the field of cardiovascular surgery,” Slaughter said.

“Events such as the Laman Gray Lecture and speakers who have the credentials of a Malcolm Decamp constitute one important way in which we can help educate our students, residents, faculty and referring physicians on the latest advances and can then translate that knowledge into best practices for our patients.”

The Laman A. Gray Lecture is supported by a generous gift from Hank and Donna Wagner.



Supporting gender affirming surgery and creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ patients

Transwoman dentist and endodontist to share her experience as part of LGBT Certificate Series Jan. 17
Supporting gender affirming surgery and creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ patients

Anne Koch, D.M.D.

Anne Koch, D.M.D., a highly accomplished endodontist, underwent gender affirming surgery, transitioning from male to female at age 63. After a period of adjustment, she has renewed a career in dentistry that includes advocating for better health care for transgender individuals. Koch will share her experience Jan. 17 from 12-1 p.m. at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, HSC Auditorium in Kornhauser Library, as part of the LGBT Certificate Series.

Koch will address gender affirming surgery, creating a welcoming office environment for LGBTQ patients, risks associated with prolonged cross-sex hormone therapy, and surgical options for both female-to-male (FtM) and male-to-female (MtF) patients. As a health-care professional as well as a transwoman, Koch is in a unique position to share her own medical and surgical transition experience and answer questions from health-care students and professionals.

Koch is adjunct assistant professor of endodontics and a member of the Board of Overseers for the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. She received both her D.M.D. and Certificate in Endodontics from the University of Pennsylvania and is the founder and past director of the Postdoctoral Program in Endodontics at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Following her clinical and academic career, Koch formed her own successful technology and development company, Real World Endo. The author of more than 150 articles in the field of endodontics, Koch has presented more than 1,000 lectures worldwide.

The program is offered in collaboration with the UofL American Student Dental Association Chapter (LASDA), the UofL American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA), UofL Dental Continuing Education, and the LGBT Center Satellite Office on HSC.

The event is free and all are welcome whether or not they are participating in the LGBT Certificate Series. Attendees are asked to register, and lunch is provided with RSVP at

The program qualifies for dental continuing education credit. For dental CE visit

Solving the puzzles of refugee health care

UofL medical students introduced to complexities of treating refugees resettled in Louisville
Solving the puzzles of refugee health care

MeNore Lake and Rahel Bosson, M.D.

For refugees who have fled their home countries, resettling in a completely new culture can be overwhelming. Not only are they often unable to speak the language, they face bewildering systems of health care, money, transportation and more. Some have never even used electricity.

“One of the common things is how a microwave works because microwaves are freaky,” said Bethany Hodge, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor and director of the Global Education Office of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. “If you are coming from a place where you didn’t have electricity, let alone microwaves where you put something in a box and push a button and it’s flaming hot and you burn yourself because you don’t see it coming, it can be frightening.”

Students in the School of Medicine were introduced to the struggles of resettling refugees and the agencies that assist them in Kentucky at “Refugees and Our Competencies,” a Compassion Rounds presentation hosted by the UofL chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) on Nov. 30. Hodge and Rahel Bosson, M.D., assistant professor in the UofL School of Medicine and director of the Refugee Health Program, familiarized the students with some of the health concerns of these individuals and issues confounding their introduction to the U.S. health-care system.

Refugees may have health problems related to trauma or injury experienced in their home countries, as well as health conditions that have been neglected during their transition from a life in peril to resettlement in the United States. Hodge coached the students on how to navigate these issues sensitively in conducting a health history and physical. To complicate matters further, the patients may have different naming or date customs, and missing or fragmented medical records.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the international body governing refugee status, refugees are individuals who have been forced to flee their home country because of persecution, war or violence. Typically, they leave their home countries for refugee camps in neighboring nations. Fewer than 1 percent of refugees who apply to UNHCR are resettled in a third country such as the United States, Canada or a European country. Most of the approximately 2,500 refugees arriving in Kentucky annually in recent years have come from Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Iraq. Refugee resettlement in Kentucky is coordinated by Catholic Charities’ Kentucky Office for Refugees.

Through the UofL Refugee Health Program, part of the UofL Global Health Initiative of the Department of Medicine, individuals are provided health assessments, immunizations, school physicals and other services. Bosson said the program addresses health and other needs to enable refugees to become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.

“Refugee health is complex, and health is really more than just the absence of disease. We address the varied components of a person’s health through partnerships in community health, education, social services and economic empowerment,” Bosson said. “The idea is to help these refugees move from a mode of survival to a platform where they can thrive and succeed.”

MeNore Lake, a fourth-year medical student and co-chair of the UofL GHHS chapter, also founded the Kentucky Refugee Outreach Program in which medical students are collaborating with the Refugee Health Program, UofL School of Nursing and Kentucky Office for Refugees to reach the newly arrived refugees in Louisville. The group is designing a standardized orientation plan for familiarizing newly arrived refugees with the U.S. health-care system.

“We are working on a process for telling them:  What can you expect the first time you go to see the doctor here in the U.S.? What are the levels of care that we have? What happens if you call 911? What are other options?” Lake said. “These are things we may take for granted because we have grown up in this country, but something that helps them transition to life here in Louisville and America.”

The refugees’ acclimation to life in Kentucky is supported by Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Inc.,Migration and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities and the International Center in Bowling Green. These organizations help with setting up apartments for the new residents, language instruction and help in finding employment and transportation. The agencies try to help the refugees become self-sufficient within eight months of their arrival.

The Gold Humanism Honor Society recognizes students, residents and faculty who are exemplars of compassionate patient care and who serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine. GHHS members are nominated by their peers. The society is a nationwide program of the Gold Foundation.


December 21, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


December 20, 2016

University of Louisville/KentuckyOne Health relationship to enter next phase

The University of Louisville (UofL), University Medical Center (UMC) and KentuckyOne Health today (Dec. 13) announced they have agreed to redesign their partnership with a vision to better support the future of health and wellness in Louisville and across Kentucky. UofL and KentuckyOne Health will continue their academic affiliation, which includes decades-long Academic Affiliation Agreements with Jewish Hospital and Frazier Rehab Institute. The Joint Operating Agreement established in 2012 will be revised, bringing management of University of Louisville Hospital (ULH) and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC) to UMC. This decision was agreed upon by all parties as the most effective way to collaborate in care for the community, moving direct operations of the academic medical center to UMC and ensuring continuation of innovative and high-quality patient care and clinical training via KentuckyOne Health facilities.

University of Louisville“The dynamic nature of the health care landscape requires organizations to explore innovative approaches and relationships for the delivery of care,” said Gregory C. Postel, M.D., interim executive vice president of health affairs at UofL. “Today, we are presented with a very different environment than when we signed the joint operating agreement and revised the academic affiliation agreement in 2012. We are pleased with our shared accomplishments yet understand that changes were necessary to address ongoing challenges and ensure we are able to respond nimbly to the unique needs of our care facilities, particularly the academic medical center.”

KentuckyOne Health“We are pleased to move into the next phase of our relationship with University of Louisville. Our longstanding partnership at Jewish Hospital dates back several decades prior to KentuckyOne Health. Since the formation of KentuckyOne Health, we have partnered in many areas and will continue to do so for many years to come, including working together on our innovations to meet the health needs of our community,” said Ruth W. Brinkley, president and CEO of KentuckyOne Health. “During the past four years of our partnership, we have implemented significant improvements to enhance the health of our patients and the communities we serve. This includes the installation of an electronic health record system, and many other updates and enhancements to the University of Louisville Hospital.”

University Medical Center, Inc.“It is important to emphasize that the transition of care will be seamless for our patients, physicians, employees and community partners,” said Joan Coleman, interim CEO of University Medical Center. “We are committed to continuing the facility improvements and staffing initiatives that began during our partnership and look forward to seeing them through to completion. We will be active with focused transition teams working closely with current leaders, physicians and employees across the Downtown Louisville campus to ensure continued high-quality care, support our employees and shape the future of health and wellness.”

The agreement, effective Dec. 14, 2016, establishes the framework for future partnerships between the organizations and resolves all disputes previously raised. Key aspects of the agreement include the following:  KentuckyOne Health, UMC, and UofL, working together, will continue to implement projects involving up to $44.8 million in capital investments at ULH by July 1, 2017; KentuckyOne Health has agreed to complete the funding of the joint investment proposals as set forth in the Academic Affiliation Agreement; The University of Louisville will release its rights to three seats on the KentuckyOne Health Board of Directors; and the University Medical Center is expected to take over the management of the University of Louisville Hospital on July 1, 2017.

The University Medical Center, University of Louisville and KentuckyOne Health will work together over the next six months to facilitate a successful transition for both the management of ULH and JGBCC, and the Academic Affiliation Agreement between the organizations for programs at other locations. Ongoing information and details on the transition will be provided to patients, community partners, employees and physicians as the process evolves. Transition teams focused on key areas of patient care, employee engagement and infrastructure are being assembled, drawing from the shared expertise currently in place at ULH, JGBCC, KentuckyOne Health, UMC and UofL. These teams will guide the continuation of initiatives underway, including patient care quality and safety programs and recruitment and retention of top nursing talent, while also shaping the future operations and leadership structure.

Partner Profiles:

University Medical Center (UMC): Comprised of the University of Louisville Hospital (ULH), the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC), and the Center for Women and Infants (CWI) is an integral part of the University of Louisville’s academic health center. Its first priority and concern is the welfare of patients and therefore provides, without regard to economic status, the highest quality patient and family centered inpatient and outpatient hospital-based services; supports the educational and research missions of the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center; and initiates outreach to meet community needs.

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 Health Care 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.

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.

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.


Red and blue collaborate for a better Kentucky, nation, world

UofL, UK joint research totals almost $11 million this year, covers diverse fields
On the football field this Saturday, it will be Red versus Blue, the Cardinals battling the Wildcats, the Ville going against Big Blue Nation. The rivalry between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky has been called the most heated in collegiate sports in the nation.
But beyond the gridiron, there are numerous examples of the University of Louisville working with the University of Kentucky in research that holds promise to improve life not only for Kentuckians but for people throughout the United States and around the world.
Currently, there are 20 projects funded at a total of almost $11 million in this year alone that involve collaboration between the two universities. Agencies funding these projects include the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Transportation, the United States Geological Survey, several state agencies and more. Researchers in medicine, engineering, psychology, physics, education and the geosciences are working together to advance the body of knowledge in their fields and subfields.
“On the playing field, we are fierce competitors, but in the laboratory, we work together to bring new solutions to questions that plague our state, nation and world,” UofL Acting President Neville Pinto, Ph.D., said. “As researchers and academicians, we put athletic rivalry aside and collaborate in research and development across a wide spectrum.”
The scope of collaboration being carried out covers a wide range of fields, from providing primary health care services and training future physicians through Area Health Education Centers across the Commonwealth to development of a paradigm-shifting therapy for humans exposed to radiation.
Other joint research is examining ways to power the Kentucky bioeconomy for a sustainable future; studying systems biochemistry with the goal of achieving a mechanistic understanding of non-small cell lung cancer; developing better ways to predict deterioration of asphalt and asphalt-overlaid concrete pavement roadways throughout the state; modeling urban watershed runoff in storm events; and more.
One example of UofL-UK collaboration is the Kentucky Multi-scale Manufacture and Nano Integration Node (KY MMNIN), one of just16 academic sites across the United States that make up the prestigious National Nanotechnology Coordinate Infrastructure (NNCI) network funded by the National Science Foundation. This 10-year project funded at a total of $7 million leverages more than 25 years of expertise in the fields of micro- and nano-fabrication and three-dimensional additive manufacture, otherwise known as “3D printing.”
The project’s principal investigator is Kevin Walsh, Ph.D., UofL Samuel T. Fife Endowed Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Associate Dean for Research in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Walsh also is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
The goal of the MMNIN project is to bring 3D additive manufacturing and micro/nanotechnology to the invention and creative marketplace.
“The next generation of revolutionary products and solutions will require the combination and effective integration of a diverse set of 3D manufacturing processes spanning various lengthscales ranging from nanotechnology to 3D printing” Walsh said. “Users want easy access to these resources and expertise to rapidly and efficiently fabricate their creative ideas.”
With both standard fabrication and 3D additive processes, the KY MMNIN initiative provides users with unconventional and nationally unique tools to realize their inventions, Walsh said.
One such user is Angelique Johnson, Ph.D., a part-time lecturer in the Speed School and President/CEO of MEMStim LLC. Johnson’s company is developing ways to improve and lower the cost of cochlear implants for people who are deaf.
Johnson’s Louisville-based start-up uses advanced manufacturing to fabricate cochlear implants in the Cardinal cleanroom, a controlled manufacturing facility that is one of the eight facilities of the KY MMNIN.
The complex circuitry in cochlear implants currently must be manufactured by hand, leading to higher costs. Johnson believes that if she can improve the manufacturing process, she could then lower the cost of cochlear implants and allow more people in need of implants to afford them.
Johnson is using a machine-driven process to reduce the need for costly handmade manufacturing of implant circuitry. Using the diverse toolset of the KY MMNIN cleanroom, Johnson can design different features on the electrode arrays needed for cochlear implants. Her process has never been done before in the manufacture of these types of devices.
Her circuitry for cochlear implants is still in the testing phase with the goal of one day achieving FDA approval for use in humans. “Being able to improve the technology is my motivation to improve the quality of life for patients” who use cochlear implants, she said.
What collaborative research between UofL and UK shows is the shared recognition of the importance such research carries today. Currently, more than 40 percent of published studies in leading journals are collaborative in nature. Not surprisingly, research funding favors collaboration as well; both government agencies and private foundations have increasingly structured requests for proposals to favor collaboration.
By taking a leading position on collaborative research, UofL and UK maintain their leadership positions in research within the national university community.

Brothers provide Thanksgiving turkeys to patients at James Graham Brown Cancer Center

Brothers provide Thanksgiving turkeys to patients at James Graham Brown Cancer Center

The sons of Mary Jane Gift, center, have established a fund in her memory to help patients at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Two brothers are working together to ensure that patients at the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center have a happy Thanksgiving.

Alex and Tommy Gift lost their mother to a 20-plus year battle with cancer in 2010. In her memory, they established the Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund at the cancer center in 2013.

Cancer treatment can be costly and leave many families with little resources during the holidays. The fund helps patients and their families enjoy life while facing a cancer diagnosis.

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the brothers will distribute turkeys to more than 100 patients at the cancer center in memory of their mother. This will be the fourth annual turkey distribution sponsored by the Gift brothers.

“We experienced how cancer treatment can impact a family throughout my mother’s illness,” said Alex Gift. “Establishing this fund in her memory is our way of giving back to those who supported us and helping improve the lives of others battling cancer.”



Culturally Effective Care Symposium empowers future health care providers

UofL health sciences event renamed to address ongoing challenges in caring for patients across identities and professions
Culturally Effective Care Symposium empowers future health care providers

2016 Culturally Effective Care Symposium

As they have every year for the past 11 years, future providers throughout health care disciplines dedicated a day to improving their ability to provide health care to all patients – especially those with perhaps different backgrounds and experiences than their own. At the 2016 Culturally Effective Care Symposium, nearly 550 students learned about working with colleagues from different disciplines to improve health equity for patients and populations and participated in discussions on LGBT health and barriers to health care faced by immigrants and refugees. The day-long event, “Health Equity through Interprofessional Practice,” was coordinated by the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Previously known as Cultural Competency Day, the event was renamed this year to more accurately reflect its mission.

“Through one day events no one becomes ‘fully competent’ about any culture, including their own, so the name did not reflect the true purpose of the program,” said Ryan Simpson, assistant director of the UofL HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “In these symposiums we are trying to provide participants foundational experiences in culturally effective care to equip future health professionals in achieving optimal patient care. Our planning committee renamed it the ‘Culturally Effective Care Symposium’ to better represent what we are there to achieve.”

Students from all four UofL Health Sciences Center schools, as well as the Sullivan University College of Pharmacy, and UofL Kent School of Social Work participated in the symposium, held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (KCAAH) in Louisville. Participants included students and residents in nursing, dentistry, dental hygiene, speech pathology, pharmacy, social work, public health and medicine.

UofL’s Patricia Allen Cultural Competency Day was first held in 2006, the result of efforts by V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., assistant vice president for health affairs – diversity initiatives, and Patricia Allen, administrative associate for the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program office at UofL, to improve cultural understanding of UofL Health Sciences Center students. The event is named for Allen, who helped lay the groundwork and planning for the event.


Nov. 17, 2016

Community health screenings available Friday at Omni Medical Center

Community health screenings available Friday at Omni Medical Center

The Horses and Hope Screening Van will provide a variety of health screenings Friday, Nov. 18, at Omni Medical Center, 2746 Virginia Ave.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville has brought together several groups to provide free and low-cost medical screenings to the community Friday, Nov. 18, at the Omni Medical Center practice of Eugene Giles Sr., M.D., 2746 Virginia Ave.
Kentucky African Americans Against Cancer, Horses and Hope, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, KentuckyOne Health and Partnership in Cancer Control have joined with the Kentucky Cancer Program to sponsor the screenings. The program is funded by the WellCare Community Foundation. The screenings will be provided by the Horses and Hope Cancer Screening Van.
The following will be provided from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.:
Mammograms for breast cancer screening
  • For women age 40 and over
  • No cost to women without insurance
  • Advance appointments required by calling 502-776-1177
Colon cancer screenings
  • Take-home stool test (FIT Kits)
  • For all men and women age 50 and over
  • For African-American men and women age 45 and over
  • No appointment needed

Blood pressure checks, health insurance information and free gifts

For additional information, contact Janikaa Sherrod, Kentucky Cancer Program, 502-852-6318,


UofL research shows severe heart failure patients recover function with drug therapy and LVAD

Emma J. Birks, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., presented preliminary study findings at AHA Scientific Sessions
UofL research shows severe heart failure patients recover function with drug therapy and LVAD

Emma J. Birks, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.

For patients with severe heart failure, a heart transplant or permanent artificial heart assist device have been considered the only permanent therapy as severe heart failure was not known to be reversible. However, a new study, led by Emma J. Birks, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, is showing that an artificial heart assist device along with medications may actually help heal the heart, avoiding the need for a heart transplant and allowing for the removal of the device.

Birks presented preliminary results of the study at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions this weekend in New Orleans, showing more than 40 percent of advanced heart failure patients treated with a combination of an artificial heart assist device, called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), and intensive drug therapy have recovered their heart function enough to allow removal of the LVAD device.

The multicenter trial called RESTAGE, includes 40 patients at six different centers (including Jewish Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health) with very advanced or end stage heart failure implanted with an LVAD (HeartMate II) pump, 36 of whom were considered evaluable, and prescribed an aggressive combination of drugs (Lisinopril 40 mg, spironolactone 25 mg, digoxin 125 mic, losartan 150 mg daily and coreg 25 mg bid). All of the patients were so disabled from heart failure that the initial intent with the LVAD was to use it until they could receive a heart transplant or to leave the device in for the rest of their lives.

“This suggests that even very advanced heart failure can be reversed using these heart pumps, particularly when combined with additional drug therapy, avoiding the need for heart transplantation for these patients and making the donor heart available for another needy individual,” Birks said.

Researchers tested the 36 patients’ heart function to determine if their heart function had improved enough from the therapy to have the pumps removed, or if their heart function remained poor and needed a heart transplant or to remain on the pump. Sixteen patients receiving the combination therapy had recovered enough heart function (after an average of 330 days) to have the pump removed.

“The fact that this could be done in several centers suggests that using the device with this drug combination to reverse heart failure is possible on a larger scale. It has previously been thought that these devices rarely recover heart function enough to allow them to be removed, but this study suggests that this can occur in a much bigger number than originally thought, particularly if combined with drug therapy,” Birks said.

“The next step, we hope, is for more centers to start doing this and then to see if we can potentially add other drugs to further optimize recovery and create a good platform to recover heart function.”

UofL researcher to study methods to restore depth perception thanks to Disney award from RPB

UofL researcher to study methods to restore depth perception thanks to Disney award from RPB

Aaron McGee, Ph.D.

Aaron W. McGee, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has received the Disney Award for Amblyopia Research in the amount of $100,000 from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB). McGee will use the award to investigate approaches for improving recovery from amblyopia, or “lazy eye.”

Established in 2002, the RPB Walt and Lilly Disney Award for Amblyopia Research is intended to stimulate, strengthen and promote research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of amblyopia. The grant is offered to exceptional ophthalmic scientists – M.D.s or Ph.D.s – with research pursuits of potential significance and promise. McGee is one of two scientists to receive the award in 2016.

“Dr. McGee’s funding from RPB addresses a major cause of blindness in children – namely, amblyopia. The potential to reverse ‘lazy eye’ through medical therapy would be a major advance in curing childhood visual disabilities and improve the quality of life for those affected. His research is exciting and has major potential translational clinical impact,” said Henry Kaplan, M.D., chair of the UofL Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

Amblyopia occurs in 2-3 percent of children and presents with a number of impairments in spatial vision including stereopsis, or depth perception. Permanent visual deficits may result if amblyopia is not treated during a ‘critical period’ for development of the visual system that ends in early adolescence. The funded research builds on McGee’s previous work investigating how the timing and duration of critical periods in the visual system are determined. McGee will test methods for reversing the loss of depth perception resulting from amblyopia by ‘re-opening’ the critical period in adulthood to enhance the flexibility, or ‘plasticity,’ of brain circuitry.

“Previously, we discovered that a gene encoding a neuronal receptor is essential for closing the critical period for visual plasticity,” McGee said. “This award from RPB will enable my lab to explore whether neutralizing this receptor will improve depth perception in the murine model of amblyopia.”

McGee moved from the University of Southern California to join the UofL Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology in September 2016. The goals of his research program are to identify treatments for low vision and aberrant eye dominance by understanding critical periods for neural plasticity and how experience drives changes in brain function.

The Disney Award for Amblyopia Research is a two-year award to help the awardee pursue promising scientific leads and take opportunities for which other funds are not readily available. RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to support research into blinding eye diseases by medical institutions throughout the United States. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to


November 14, 2016

Research on bias and LGBT health at UofL to be presented at national medical education conference this week

UofL faculty also assume leadership roles at AAMC conference in Seattle
Research on bias and LGBT health at UofL to be presented at national medical education conference this week

The eQuality Project at UofL

University of Louisville School of Medicine faculty and staff will deliver four presentations at the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) beginning today in Seattle. At Learn Serve Lead 2016, UofL faculty and staff will share with other educators from medical schools around the nation their research conducted as part of developing medical education curricula.

The 2016 conference, which runs Nov. 11-15, brings deans, faculty, researchers, administrators, residents and students from medical schools across the United States and Canada together to network and share insights on academic medicine.

“Presentation of these scholarly educational works at the AAMC meeting affirms the knowledge and talent of our outstanding faculty and staff in developing curriculum,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “The innovations presented here will help advance medical education in institutions across the nation.”

Three of the four research presentations selected for the conference stem from the eQuality Project at UofL, which is developing and incorporating curriculum related to health care for individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD). UofL is serving as the nation’s pilot for implementing competencies for LGBT-DSD care published by the AAMC in 2014.

An oral presentation, “Baseline Bias:  Implicit Attitudes of First Year Medical Students Prior to a Health Equity Curriculum Intervention,” is co-authored by Katie Leslie, Ph.D., V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., Ryan Simpson, M.D.A., Susan Sawning, M.S.S.W., Leslee Martin, M.A., M. Ann Shaw, M.D., M.A., vice dean for undergraduate medical education, and Stacie Steinbock, M.Ed., director of the LGBT Center HSC Satellite Office. The presentation, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12 beginning at 10:30 a.m., assesses attitudes toward sexuality, race and weight among first and second-year medical students before and after debriefing sessions on mitigating implicit bias.

A related poster presentation addresses undergraduate medical students’ attitudes and knowledge about LGBT patient care. The poster was selected for a special presentation session on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. Sawning, Martin, Steinbock, Amy Holthouser, M.D., Emily Noonan, M.A., Jones, Leslie and Shaw will present the poster.

A third poster presentation resulting from the eQuality Project describes initiatives to engage the transgender community to inform curriculum and prioritize initiatives via a community forum on transgender care. The work is presented by Noonan, Sawning, Ryan Combs, Ph.D., Steinbock, Holthouser, Martin and Shaw.

The fourth presentation examines challenges and opportunities in developing and assessing emotional intelligence in medical education and training. The presenting team includes medical educators from Vanderbilt University, Withrop University in N.Y., Florida International University, along with Sawning, UofL’s director of undergraduate medical education research.

The four presentations for this year’s conference double the number of presentations accepted in 2015. UofL faculty had two oral presentations accepted in 2015.

In addition to the scholarly presentations, UofL faculty will assume leadership roles with the AAMC. Karen Hughes Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of graduate medical education, is incoming chair for the AAMC Research in Medical Education (RIME) Program Planning Committee. Miller also is chair elect for 2017 of the Southern Group on Educational Affairs (SGEA), a regional subgroup of the AAMC. Miller and Sara Petruska, M.D., assistant professor at UofL, will host roundtable luncheon discussions on Saturday, Nov. 12 on preparing residents for scholarly activity and interprofessional education in core clerkships.

Lori Wagner, M.D., M.A., has been elected to the national steering committee for the AAMC Group on Women in Medicine and Science (G-WIMS). Wagner founded the Louisville Women in Medicine and Science (L-WIMS) Chapter in 2015.


November 11, 2016

UofL provides funding for "End Alz" Alzheimer's awareness license plate effort

UofL provides funding for "End Alz" Alzheimer's awareness license plate effort

Thanks to a donation from the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville, the $25 application fee for an “End Alz” license plate will be waived for the remaining applications needed to reach the required 900 for issuance of plates. This limited opportunity is available on a first-come, first-serve basis to constituents throughout Kentucky.

“The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging is honored to be able to support the Alzheimer’s Association and all Kentuckians who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. We believe that this license is a powerful symbol of our enduring love for those affected by Alzheimer’s, our unwavering support for their family members, and our commitment to working with our communities and the Alzheimer’s Association to end Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Anna Faul, Executive Director of the Institute.  

The Alzheimer’s Kentucky specialty license plate features a “forget-me-not” flower on a purple background with the words: “Honor. Remember. Care. End Alzheimer’s.” It is an eye-catching design and phrase capturing both the hope and devastation of this disease.  “The Alzheimer’s Association is grateful to the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging for understanding the value of helping to finalize this stage of the initiative.  Getting the End Alz plate on the roads of Kentucky has been a labor of love for the Association.  This awareness will shine an even brighter light on the impact of this disease for affected individuals and families as well as the vital need to find effective prevention, treatment and cure,” said Bari Lewis, Director of Community Outreach for the Association. 

Alzheimer’s affects 70,000 Kentuckians and over 5 million people nationwide.  There are over 270,000 Alzheimer’s family caregivers in Kentucky.  Every 67 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s and the number of people with Alzheimer’s is projected to triple by 2050.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, the fifth for people over 65.  Research has not yet found a way to stop or reverse this disease. As many as half of people with dementia have never received a diagnosis, yet they could benefit from a variety of available medical and support services.

It is a disease that touches virtually everyone – including Faul. Her own father, the Rev. Japie Vermeulen of Ceres, South Africa, recently died after a 16-year battle with the disease.

“My education and training as a social worker specializing in older adults gave me knowledge about the hardship families endure when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s,” Faul said. “It was caring for my own father, however, that showed me the emotional burden this dreaded disease takes on both caregivers and the patients themselves.”

In order to receive a plate, constituents should fill out the application form located on and return to Alzheimer’s Association, 6100 Dutchman’s Lane, Suite 401, Louisville, KY 40205 or email to Applicants will be notified by their local county clerk when plates are ready to be picked up. Plates will be available approximately three months after the 900 commitments are secured.

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. For more information, visit


Setting the bar for heart, lung and blood research - UofL hosts second NIH institute director in three weeks

Setting the bar for heart, lung and blood research - UofL hosts second NIH institute director in three weeks

Gary H. Gibbons, M.D.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced a strategic vision of eight objectives that provide the framework for the institute’s research priorities for the coming decade.

Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the NHLBI, will discuss that vision in the 24th Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville on Friday, Nov. 4, at noon in the HSC Auditorium. In his talk, “Charting our future together:  Setting an agenda for the NHLBI,” Gibbons will outline the priorities set out in the vision, which support the NHLBI’s goals to understand and promote health, stimulate discoveries in the causes of disease, enable the translation of those discoveries into clinical practice and foster the next generation of scientists and physicians.

“The convergence of innovations in areas such as computational biology, data science, bioengineering and high-throughput ‘omics’ technologies is paving the way for a new appreciation of human health and disease,” Gibbons said as the institute published the NHLBI’s Strategic Vision in August. “We now have unprecedented opportunities to better understand the complex interplay of environmental, behavioral and molecular factors that promote health; a clearer picture of the earliest point of disease development; and the ability to repair damaged tissues with stem cell and tissue engineering techniques.”

The NHLBI provides global leadership for research, training and education programs to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.

The 24th Leonard Leight Lecture is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, noon - 1 p.m. in the HSC Auditorium in Kornhauser Library on the UofL Health Sciences Center Campus.

The Leonard Leight Lecture is presented by the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the UofL School of Medicine. For 30 years until 1996, Leight was a practicing cardiologist in Louisville and played a major role in developing cardiology services and bringing innovative treatment modalities in heart disease to Louisville. The Leonard Leight Lecture series was established in 1994 and is made possible by gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Ackermann and Medical Center Cardiologists to the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

Gibbons is the second director of a National Institute to speak at UofL in three weeks. On Oct. 14, Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, discussed environmental research and the role of the NIEHS in human health at UofL as the keynote speaker of Research!Louisville.

Andrew Bankston, Ph.D., elected to National Postdoctoral Association board

Andrew Bankston, Ph.D., elected to National Postdoctoral Association board

Andrew N. Bankston, Ph.D.

Andrew N. Bankston, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Louisville, has been elected to the board of directors for the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA). His three-year term of service begins Jan. 1, 2017.

The NPA is a national educational association created to advance research and serve as a national voice for postdoctoral scholars. Founded in 2003, the NPA serves more than 3,400 individual members and 200 institutional members of the postdoctoral community. A “postdoc” is an individual who has received a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree and is employed in a temporary research position for the purpose of gaining additional experience that will lead to an independent academic research or faculty position.

Bankston is a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of Scott Whittemore, Ph.D., scientific director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at UofL. Bankston’s research at UofL focuses on the role of autophagy, or selective degradation of cell components, in developmental myelination and myelin repair after injury. Myelin is the insulating material surrounding nerve fibers. Bankston earned his doctorate in biochemistry, cell and developmental biology from Emory University in 2013.

Bankston, one of four newly elected board members for NPA, served as chair of the NPA Outreach Committee beginning in February 2015. At UofL, he is a member of the postdoctoral advisory board and a member of the planning committee for the Career Research Advancement Focused Training (CRAFT) seminar series, which hosts speakers to provide information on potential career options for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. In addition, Bankston is a volunteer leader and member of event planning committees within the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


October 31, 2016

Can nature thrive in the city? Beer with a Scientist, Nov. 16 with Margaret Carreiro

Learn how you can help conservation and urban development co-exist
Can nature thrive in the city? Beer with a Scientist, Nov. 16 with Margaret Carreiro

Margaret Carreiro, Ph.D.

From bees to birds to bats, species around the world are threatened at unprecedented rates. Many people feel powerless to help preserve local species because they think “real” nature can only be sustained in parks and reserves, but local urban park systems cannot do the job of maintaining native biodiversity alone.

About 120 square miles of plantable land in Jefferson County is residential property. However, much of this green space is planted in lawn, which is a food desert for many species of wildlife.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Margaret Carreiro, Ph.D., will explain how residents in cities and suburbs can protect native species by weaving local nature into the very places where they live and work. She will describe Reconciliation Ecology, a concept in which habitats for wildlife are created within urban and suburban areas.

“I want people to know they can make a large difference in conservation of local species through their plantings at home,” Carreiro said. “They can use native plants to create food webs and friendly habitat for desired species, especially pollinators and birds. It's about keeping our common species common.”

Carreiro is associate professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisville. Her work focuses on understanding how urban environments interact with natural components of cities and suburbs. This includes studying the effects of atmospheric nitrogen from fossil fuel combustion and other sources, invasive species, habitat fragmentation, restoration management and socio-cultural legacies in affecting plant and soil communities and ecosystem processes.

The event begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Nov. 16, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

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

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

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



November 7, 2016

Explore myths, realities of national health insurance Nov. 9

Explore myths, realities of national health insurance Nov. 9

From left, Syed Quadri, Kay Tillow and Edgar Lopez will tackle the myths and realities of a national health insurance program at a presentation on Nov. 9, sponsored by the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging.

For the final Optimal Aging Lecture for the fall semester, the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging and the UofL Alumni Association present a panel discussion entitled “Expanded Medicare: A Single Payer Alternative.” This lecture will unpack the myths and realities of developing a national health insurance program. The lecture will be held on Nov. 9 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

The panel presenters for this exploration of available health care options are Syed Quadri, M.D., Kay Tillow and Edgar Lopez, M.D., all from the national organization Physicians for a National Health Program. The PNHP is a non-profit research and education organization consisting of 20,000 physicians, medial students and other health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

The panelists will discuss their common belief that too many working individuals are unable to afford health care. In addition to their roles with PNHP, the speakers are Kentucky-based professionals with expertise and experience in the state’s health system. Quadri is the co-medical director of the Hardin County Free Clinic in Elizabethtown. Tillow is the coordinator of the All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care, a Kentucky advocacy organization. Lopez is a Louisville-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon. 

Admission is $30 per person and includes lunch. Reservations are required online. Click here to register. For information, call 502-852-5629 or email