The University of Kentucky is helping launch two new initiatives to address specific health challenges in the Appalachian region.
With the aid of a $1.5 M grant, the school will team with the Centers for Disease Control the Appalachian Regional Commission and Appalachian Regional Healthcare, to establish a specialized Cancer Patient Navigation Project.
UK President Eli Capilouto says the five-year initiative will promote screening and prevention while improving the standardization of patient care.
"When somebody gets that dreaded diagnosis of cancer, it can be daunting to find the best care, the latest care, the clinical trial that best fits you. We need to provide partners to those individuals, especially in rural communities like in Appalachia so that they can best navigate what is an emotionally fraught journey," Capilouto said.
In addition, several UK departments and the Kentucky Office of Rural Health will use a National Institutes of Health grant to launch the Community Leadership of Kentucky, a three week intensive leadership development program focusing on the areas of health and healthcare.
Capilouto said the goal of this program is "to further empower communities by empowering what I would call social and health entrepreneurs who have great ideas about interventions that will work in community. We'll provide them training, technical expertise, financial support. We'll let them introduce an intervention, track it's success, we want to prepare an army of these folks and we think over time, micro interventions will have a macro effect," Capilouto explained.
The partnership announcements came during a symposium at Hazard Community and Technical College, the second “Health Impact Series” event with the CDC as part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative.