Kentucky had the 2nd highest 2013 drug overdose fatality rate in the US, with 23.7 drug overdose fatalities per 100,000 population, more than quadruple the 2009 rate. In conjunction with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, we are using three approaches to address this public health emergency: (1) Enhancing and maximizing Kentucky’s prescription drug monitoring program’s (KASPER) use and effectiveness. We will make KASPER easier to use and expand it by adding multi-source drug overdose and nonfatal prescription drug overdose surveillance.
Analysis of data on the incidence of traumatic and acquired brain and spinal cord injury is critical to developing and refining prevention treatment services for both children and adults. To this end, the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center is establishing and maintaining a confidential registry of traumatic and acquired brain and spinal cord injuries. Registry entries are generated from data derived from hospitals and emergency departments.
Tracking and reporting violent deaths falls into the purview of public health professionals. For this project, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, police, coroners, medical examiners, UK Department of Epidemiology, and the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center are collaborating to augment Kentucky’s Violent Death Reporting System (KVDRS). Improvements will expand data collection and allow more advanced data analysis to be performed.
Major health disparities in Appalachia arise from inequities in upstream determinants of health, including poverty, education, housing, jobs, and the impact of extractive industries. Disparities remain despite major efforts to improve the health of Appalachian people. Currently, no single published source contains information about current research and other knowledge regarding Appalachian health, and this is a potential contributor to continuing health disparities. We are creating the Journal of Appalachia Health, an open-access, on-line, peer-reviewed journal.
In 2014 Kentucky had the 4th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the US, with 1,077 drug overdose deaths. Recent legislative initiatives to improve opioid prescribing practices may have led to reductions in drug overdoses involving historically common prescription drugs such as oxycodone, oxymorphone, and hydrocodone. At the same time, however, abuse of other drugs such as heroin and fentanyl is increasing.
People differ in the ways their bodies process dietary fats and in the ways they respond to drugs meant to lower elevated blood lipids (such as cholesterol and triglycerides, factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). By studying the building blocks of lipids and the chemicals that lipids are broken down into, this project seeks to determine which genetic factors influence people's blood lipid concentrations after eating a high-fat meal or after taking a lipid- lowering drug.
Black people tend to have an enlarged left ventricle (the heart chamber that pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body) more commonly than those in other race groups, putting them at greater risk for having potentially fatal cardiovascular diseases. Enlarged left ventricles are caused, at least in part, by a person's genes. This study seeks to discover which genetic factors may cause an enlarged left ventricle; this may ultimately lead to new diagnoses and treatments to help lower cardiovascular disease risk in blacks.