Center for Innovation in Population Health Assists in National Partnership for Child Safety

November 17, 2021

The Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky's College of Public Health heads the technical assistance team, led by Dr. Michael Cull, in the newly-formed National Partnership for Child Safety (NPCS).


NPCS was formed by child welfare leaders in an effort to improve child safety and realign child welfare toward a more preventative child and family well-being system. The mission of NPCS is to improve child safety and prevent child maltreatment and fatalities by strengthening families and promoting innovations in child protection. The partnership currently has 26 member jurisdictions across 24 states, covering 50% of all children in public child welfare.


Supported by Casey Family Programs, NPCS is a quality improvement collaborative formed to further key recommendations and findings of the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, which highlighted the importance and impact of safety science and data sharing to system change and reform.


Dr. Cull and his team work with partners around the world and represent 25 plus years of clinical and research pexperience in public child welfare, systems-theoretical approaches to critical incident review, and systems improvement. They are authors of the Safe Systems Improvement Tool and the TeamFirst Field Guide for Safe, Reliable, and Effective Child Welfare Teams. The National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention at MPHI will serve as the data warehouse for the partnership.


To read the full release on the NPCS, visit Child Welfare Leaders from Across the Country Join Together to Form National Partnership for Child Safety (

OpEd: "The Only COVID-19 Miracle Cure Is the One That Keeps You from Needing a Cure"

October 29, 2021


Marc T. Kiviniemi, PhD, CPH


Growing up, I idolized my Uncle Keith. I was obsessed with space travel, and he was an Air Force officer who worked with real live rockets. Fortunately, he was kind-hearted, loving, and put up with my nonstop rocket questions. Unfortunately, two weeks ago I went to his funeral. He contracted COVID-19 and spent three weeks in the hospital, much of it in the intensive care unit, as his body fought a long, brutal, and ultimately unsuccessful fight against COVID-19.


Since vaccines became widely available, 95% of hospitalizations and 92% of deaths from COVID-19 in the US were not vaccinated, my uncle among them. If you are not vaccinated, I hope my uncle’s story can save you from the wake-up call of a loved one's suffering and death.


While there was no miracle cure for my uncle, vaccination is a way not to need that miracle cure. Today we know more than ever about how effective and how safe the COVID-19 vaccines are. Let's talk about the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna (the third approved vaccine is safe and effective but not as widely used).


All vaccines work by getting your body to create defenses against the virus before you are infected. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do this by using mRNA. Your body makes and uses mRNA all the time — it is a key, natural part of your body's "manufacturing system." The vaccine gives your body an mRNA instruction telling it how to make a protein that is on the virus' surface. Your body then builds up defenses — antibodies — to attach to that protein. Because antibodies are in place and ready to fight, they can stop the virus before it gets started. That's why illness is so much less likely after vaccination.


To see if a vaccine works, you compare the chances of a vaccinated person getting sick to the chances of someone who is unvaccinated. In one study, researchers gave the same number of people the Moderna vaccine or a placebo (a shot without vaccine). Over the next six months, more than 800 of those receiving the placebo got COVID-19; 30 were life-threatening cases. Fewer than 100 who were vaccinated got COVID-19, and only one case was life-threatening — that's a substantial reduction in illness. Once vaccinated, you are as much as 90% less likely to get sick, be hospitalized, or be in an ICU from COVID-19.


There is also careful monitoring to ensure vaccines are safe. Systems are in place to watch closely for “adverse events” — any bad reactions following the shot. Public health professionals carefully compare the number that happen to vaccinated people versus people who are not. In the study described above, out of more than 20,000 people who got the vaccine, 15 people died in the following six months. For the same number of people in the placebo group, 14 died. If vaccines led to deaths, you'd see more deaths in the vaccine group than the placebo group. After millions of people in the US have received these vaccines, NO deaths have been attributed to the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. At this point, it is improbable that there are adverse events we haven't seen yet.


Because of the extensive, ongoing safety monitoring, we do know of two kinds of adverse events. The first is a chance of heart inflammation. It is very rare -- 1 person experiences heart inflammation for every 100,000 people who are vaccinated (0.0012% -- a number so small it is hard to grasp). Many of these inflammations resolved on their own, and the others were responsive to treatment. Second, in very rare cases — 2 people for every MILLION doses given — there can be an allergic reaction immediately after vaccination. This reaction is entirely treatable. That is why vaccine providers ask people to sit for a few minutes after vaccination -- to immediately treat a reaction if needed.


Finally, it is essential to consider relative risk. That's the chance of illness if you do (or don't do) one thing versus the chance if you do (or don't do) another. The possibility of heart inflammation because of the vaccine is virtually zero (0.0012%). If you don’t vaccinate and have severe COVID-19, the chance of serious heart inflammation is as high as 60%. No one has died because of receiving an mRNA COVID vaccine -- the chance of dying if you are hospitalized for COVID-19 is about 1 in 10. The relative risks are clear — gambling with COVID is much riskier.


The bottom line is that the risks of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are minimal and are treatable. There have been no deaths due to these vaccines, and they offer strong protection against COVID-19. By contrast, COVID-19 infection is increasingly common for the unvaccinated, not always treatable, and has killed millions worldwide. Please don't wait for you or a loved one to suffer as my uncle did. Protect yourself and those you love and get your first vaccination dose today.

"See What's Possible in Public Health" Virtual Events For Prospective Students

November 02, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky's College of Public Health, where "health champions" are made, invites prospective students from all academic and professional backgrounds in Kentucky (and beyond) to the upcoming "See What's Possible in Public Health" Virtual Info Session to learn more and ask questions about the Master of Health Administration (MHA)Master of Public Health (MPH), and applicable graduate certification programs.


Prospective candidates will learn more about making a positive impact in the public health space and the unique deliverables of the UK College of Public Health. In addition, candidates will receive the right balance of information and inspiration about the college, student and academic life, success stories, and admissions requirements. Candidates will also get the opportunity to interact with faculty, alumni, and current students.


"We are excited to offer these events as an opportunity for students to learn more about our community and the value of being a leader in public health," says Donna Arnett, Dean of the UK College of Public Health. "Developing and building health champions is why we are here, and we look forward to helping more students impact the world through our programs."


Info sessions are announced for Monday, Nov. 15 and Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 7 p.m. (EST). Registration can be found at


Lecture Series: Paul Scheet, Ph.D "Detectable Clonal Mosaicism and Cancer Risk"

Dec 2, 2021 to Dec 2, 2021

UK College of Public Health Biostatistics and Epidemiology students and faculty are invited to this seminar featuring Paul Scheet, Ph.D. on the topic of "Detectable Clonal Mosaicism and Cancer Risk". The University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center is a co-host of this seminar.


What IPH (if) You Could Find Your Ideal Psychotherapy Treatment Before Seeing a Therapist?

Nov 2, 2021 to Nov 2, 2021


The What IPH (if) Seminar Series is hosted by the Center for Innovation in Population Health, University of Kentucky. Our goal with the What IPH series is to present innovative ideas that can apply to the public health space. We invite all those that are interested in this topic to attend this free event.


National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month Meet & Greet

Oct 15, 2021 to Oct 15, 2021


The University of Kentucky's College of Public Health is co-sponsoring the upcoming National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month Meet & Greet event, which will be put on by the Martin Luther King Center in collaboration with other campus partners and student organizations.


At this event, network with other Latinx/Hispanic faculty and staff, sign up for an official affinity group, enjoy refreshments and entertainment, and much more.


Dr. Heather Shappell: Improved state change estimation in dynamic functional connectivity using hidden semi-Markov models

Oct 21, 2021 to Oct 21, 2021


The study of functional brain networks has grown tremendously over the past decade. Most functional connectivity (FC) analyses assume that FC networks are stationary across time. However, there is interest in studying changes in FC over time. Hidden Markov models (HMMs) are a useful modeling approach for FC; however, a severe limitation is that HMMs assume the sojourn time (number of consecutive time points in a state) is geometrically distributed. This encourages state switches too often.


Dr. Maureen Jones Welcome Reception

Oct 21, 2021 to Oct 21, 2021


The University of Kentucky College of Public Health is pleased to welcome Dr. Maureen Jones as Director of the Master of Health Administration program.


Join faculty, friends, students, and alumni for a welcome reception in honor of Dr. Jones on at The Elwood Hotel on Thursday, October 21. This event is by invitation only – please reach out to for more details.


Dr. Joseph Benitez Featured at UPenn Conference on "The Promise of Health Reform and a Virtual Option in the Biden Administration"

May 7, 2021 to May 8, 2021


Dr. Joseph Benitez, assistant professor in the Department of Health, Management and Policy, will be a featured speaker in a virtual conference on May 7 hosted by UPenn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. The conference focuses on health reform and a public option for insurance coverage in the Biden administration.


Registration for the conference is free and open to all.



Dr. Priya Palta: Physical Activity and Brain Health: Results from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Neurocognitive Study

Apr 8, 2021 to Apr 8, 2021


Click for Zoom link.



Presentation by Dr. Priya Palta, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Science at Columbia University