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Student, Lincoln Shade, motivated by family to pursue degrees in medicine and public health

May 20, 2022

Lincoln Shade is a current student in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics PhD program in the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health and a member of the College of Medicine’s MD/PhD Program, a dual-degree program which seeks to train the next generation of physician-scientists to lead, integrate, and innovate in health care, research, and education.


“My combined interests in neurodegenerative disease and genomics led me to choose the MD/PhD program at the University of Kentucky due to its dual strengths in neuropathological research and clinical education,” says Lincoln. “Medicine and research are becoming more collaborative, so it’s important to be exposed to multiple disciplines.”


Lincoln was originally motivated to study neurodegenerative diseases, in part, due to his family’s circumstances. His maternal grandmother and four of her siblings have all died from complications due to dementia.


“I have witnessed first-hand the impact these diseases can have on people and their loved ones,” says Lincoln. “As a result, my research and interests in the fields of genomics and genetics epidemiology is focused on how genetic factors influence human traits, such as human health and diseases like Alzheimer's and other dementias.”


To advance Lincoln’s research, he was recently awarded a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award F30 Fellowship, along with previously receiving T32 and TL1 training grant awards.


Lincoln’s long-term career goal is to become an independently funded physician-scientist and statistical genetics researcher in the field of neuroradiology, which focuses on the diagnosis of abnormalities of the brain, spine, and head and neck.


Lincoln has also published a first-author ground-breaking genome-wide association study of brain arteriolosclerosis, “Genome-wide association study of brain arteriolosclerosis,” with his faculty mentor, Dr. Dave Fardo, biostatistics professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health.


“Dr. Fardo’s mentorship has been so valuable in my success,” says Lincoln. “In my time working with Dr. Fardo, I have built technical skills with software widely used in genomics research and become familiar with design considerations for genotype-phenotype association studies.”


“Lincoln is an example of an unparalleled student research success story that shows the trajectory and impact of our Ph.D. program,” says Fardo.


Lincoln has also contributed to several other peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, and presented at international conferences. He actively participates in the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program and the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.


Lincoln was also recognized during National Public Health Week by the University of Kentucky College of Public Health as their 2022 Outstanding Doctoral Student in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics PhD program. 

One Day for the University of Kentucky and the Power of Giving

April 25, 2022

Now in its fourth year, the annual One Day for UK event is a celebration of the University of Kentucky through a 24-hour day of giving.


On Thursday, April 21st alumni, faculty, staff, friends, alumni, fans, and other partners supported their favorite college, program, or cause at the University of Kentucky.


For this year's One Day for UK, the University of Kentucky College of Public Health (CPH) asked their community to support the new Student Support Fund, designed to help current students who are experiencing a financial crisis or monetary emergency while enrolled in the college.


At the conclusion of the One Day for UK event, CPH received approximately 100 donations totaling $18,441 going directly to the Student Support Fund. CPH also increased their donor participation rate by 150% from the previous year.


“Our students are now managing healthcare systems, serving in public health departments -- they are boots on the ground fighting the drug epidemic, studying the aging process, as well as tracking and helping put in place practices to fight the current and future pandemics," says Donna Arnett, Dean of the UK College of Public Health. “They are our key to building healthier communities and I'm so proud that our generous community came together to help our students on One Day for UK."

Financial hardships sometimes prevent students from persisting and becoming successful stewards. The Student Support Fund will  now allow the College to have the appropriate resources to distribute to students who are in financial need and give them the opportunity to become “health champions" who persist, collaborate, and create a healthier world for everyone.


“I’ve been with the College of Public Health since 2004, first as a student pursuing an MPH and now as a faculty member,” says Erin Abner, Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the UK College of Public Health. “As a student, I saw my classmates struggle with housing precarity, food insecurity, and health crises, usually while balancing obligations to family, work, and school. As a faculty member, I know my students have much more to contend with than the curriculum. It is important to me that students can turn to CPH for financial support in an emergency.”


Student success is woven into the culture of the University of Kentucky and the UK College of Public Health where students feel connected, challenged, supported, and appreciated.


First-generation student in the UK Master of Health Administration (MHA) program, Cameron Asher, says, “I have had to fight hard to overcome adversity in my life. As we build brighter futures through our education, this fund will help more students like me make an impact and become vessels for public health."


University of Kentucky College of Public Health recognizes that public health involves everyone and everyone, which included faculty, staff, alumni, students, and more, came together on One Day for UK to support student success.

SEMINAR: Think Globally, Act Locally: Special Considerations for patients from Afghanistan and Ukraine

April 27, 2022 - 12:00pm to April 27, 2022 - 1:00pm

One Day for UK and the College of Public Health

April 21, 2022 - 12:00am to April 21, 2022 - 12:00am


Migrant Outreach Program-KCHIP Program Dir, PI to host the Migrant Network Coalition

April 4, 2022 - 12:00pm to April 4, 2022 - 1:00pm

The Migrant Outreach Program for the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP)

Public Health student Grace Bush represents UK with research presentation to Kentucky legislators

March 18, 2022

Grace Bush presents research at the Kentucky Capitol Building“The data support an intersection between drug use and non-traumatic brain injury.” That is the key takeaway of a message University of Kentucky (UK) student Grace Bush delivered to Kentucky legislators at the State Capitol in early March.


Bush’s moment at the seat of government in Frankfort was one additional step in the College of Public Health (CPH) undergraduate’s personal mission to conduct research that increases our understanding of brain injury.


For the Owensboro, Ky., native, the journey started early as she experienced a traumatic brain injury in an accident as an infant. She went through intensive rehabilitation that exposed her to many facets of health care, as seen through the lens of an impressionable adolescent patient. Although she recovered fully while still a young child, Bush grew up with that experience at the core of her worldview.


“It wasn’t a huge part of my life, but it is a huge part of my story,” Bush says.


Bush knew she wanted to pursue a career where she could champion public health in her community and beyond. After beginning studies at UK in 2019, she found her path within CPH’s Bachelor of Public Health program. There, Bush says, she has learned to view public health research, education, and policy as essential tools to prevent, treat, and eliminate threats to community health and safety.


Faculty mentor and independent research opportunity


Through Bush’s undergraduate studies, she met Dana Quesinberry, JD, DrPH, an assistant professor in CPH’s Department of Health Management & Policy and a researcher with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC).


Bush shared with Quesinberry that she was interested in traumatic brain injury (TBI) studies, while Quesinberry introduced Bush to KIPRC research into the known connection between TBI and an increased risk for substance abuse.


“KIPRC houses the Kentucky Traumatic Brain Injury Registry,” says Quesinberry. “We are always looking for new opportunities to use the registry data to improve the lives of Kentuckians with TBI.”


The faculty member and student both were interested in a possible association between drug use and non-traumatic brain injury and discussed how a review of existing data might be revealing.


With Quesinberry as her faculty advisor and mentor, Bush embarked on a research project during the Fall 2021 semester while enrolled in CPH-395, an undergraduate independent research course. Quesinberry notes, “Undergraduate students can make meaningful contributions to research. Early investigators are energetic and curious. Directing that curiosity in an applied scientific fashion allows students to have meaningful early career experiences.”


Bush says she had to navigate medical coding practices to determine the data set that would be available to analyze. After initially trying to limit the data to confirmed cases of patients presenting with both brain injury and substance abuse, she recognized “that was going to turn into a different research project.” Both TBI and substance use are complex conditions that involve multiple types of services for which medical coding for reimbursement is complicated. So, “we were as inclusive as possible in the codes used to identify TBI and substance use," Bush says of the data she reviewed.


Her study culminated in a comprehensive, 24-page report: Drug Use and Brain Injury in Kentucky Acute Care Facilities in 2020. “We ended up finding that, in Kentucky acute care facilities, there was a strong correlation between abuse and nontraumatic brain injury.” Bush notes “this was a question that hadn’t been looked at, certainly not in the state of Kentucky.”


Bush is enthusiastic about her opportunity to conduct independent research while still an undergraduate, and grateful for the resources made available to her.


“Dr. Quesinberry was my primary mentor. All the research I did was under her mentorship. She was my faculty-adjacent to KIPRC. She introduced me to Shannon Beaven,” who manages the Traumatic Brain Injury Registry. “She pulled so much of the research for me and presented it in a way that was accessible to me. I hope to work with them in the future,” Bush says.


Quesinberry praises her mentee. “Grace has been wonderful to work with,” she says. “She came to KIPRC with a research idea that we were able to work collaboratively on with her to refine.”


And Bush is not finished. Her report suggests “more research is merited” based on the study’s initial findings. While she is pleased with the study’s outcomes and grateful for KIPRC’s help that facilitated a graduate and post-Master’s/PhD level of research, she acknowledges the limitations of unfunded research projects. She hopes KIPRC can follow up with a funded research study that considers a larger data set than the 2020 medical records from her study. “And I want to be involved,” Bush volunteers.


Reaching lawmakers through Posters at the Capitol


As her CPH-395 independent study concluded in the fall, Bush was encouraged to submit her research for inclusion in Posters at the Capitol. Organizers of the annual program say Posters at the Capitol connects scholarly, research, and creative projects conducted by students at Kentucky’s state-funded universities with the legislators who are responsible for crafting higher education policy in the Commonwealth.


Bush knew that, if selected as one of UK’s 10 entries, her research would reach the leaders who make decisions about medical research funding, health care, and drug policies. With that opportunity to share her findings, applying for the program was an easy choice. She followed the submission guidelines and awaited the outcome of the competitive selection process.


In December 2021, she learned her application had been selected. To meet the program requirements, she condensed her comprehensive 4,400-word report and reformatted it to be presented graphically on a poster measuring four feet by three feet. UK’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) was instrumental in the process, guiding Bush and her fellow poster presenters through the process, publishing the posters, and facilitating event logistics. (See Bush’s poster: Drug Use and Brain Injury in Kentucky Acute Care Facilities in 2020)


Bush is proud to have been selected to represent her school.


“UK is the flagship for research amongst participating schools. I was excited because one of my favorite things about UK is we have so many departments that lead in research and lead in the state. My work with KIPRC has been so important to me as a student,” Bush shares. She also appreciated the opportunity to interact with other students and event attendees: “My fellow presenters were all incredible.”


The poster presentations were scheduled for March 3. By unfortunate timing, an urgent legislative budget session that day limited the time most lawmakers could attend the Capitol event. But Bush expects to follow up with legislators who expressed interest in her research.


A future in public health


Bush, who is an Honors junior in CPH’s bachelor of public health (BPH) program, has decided to pursue a special joint undergraduate and graduate accelerated program. The “plus-one” program allows degree seekers to extend their studies by one academic year, resulting in a dual awarding of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Health in a five-year studentship. She anticipates completing the combined program in 2024.


Bush’s next educational target is a physician’s assistant (PA) program. Her long-term career ambition is to be a patient care provider and public health champion who implements public health practices into medical care, focusing on patient interaction and health literacy. “My goal is to be an understanding and empathetic provider,” she says, based on “my own strong foundation of experience [as a patient], with incredible providers who could explain what was going on.”


But before those next steps, Bush is focused on her research. “This research project was the deciding factor for me deciding to enter into the ‘plus-one’ program. I’ll be looking to pick back up on research as I look towards master’s studies. I hope KIPRC keeps going on this research. And I hope it impacts policy in the Kentucky legislature.”


See also: CPH students gain hands-on research experience with KIPRC

UK Founders Day

February 22, 2022 - 11:00am to February 22, 2022 - 1:00pm


17th Annual CCTS Spring Conference: Climate and Health

April 5, 2022 - 8:00am to April 5, 2022 - 5:00pm

Women & Philanthropy Network Awards Grant to CPH

February 03, 2022

The University of Kentucky's Women & Philanthropy Network recently awarded grant funds to five academic initiatives on campus. One of these grants was awarded to the UK College of Public Health (CPH), in collaboration with the UK College of Communication & Information (CCI) and UK Libraries, towards “Documenting Kentucky’s COVID Stories” among vulnerable populations.


This grant, which is proposed to be a year-long project, will engage faculty and students across CPH, CCI, and UK Libraries to document the COVID experiences of vulnerable Kentuckians and memorialize the state’s “COVID experiences.” Through photos and interviews, this will capture and communicate the story and the impact of this once-in-a-century pandemic.


Furthermore, collected source materials will serve as an evidence base for developing new policies, and programs and interventions to support vulnerable populations in the future.


“I’m excited about this collective effort and leveraging the knowledge of faculty and students at UK Libraries and CCI,” says Dr. Donna Arnett, Dean of the UK College of Public Health. “The pandemic has had a devasting impact, especially on vulnerable populations. It is important to document these stories and continue to do our part in bridging the divide between the haves and have nots.”


Some of the possible themes that will be explored are survivor stories, Kentucky’s mitigation successes, long term health impacts, job loss and the impact on families, loss of family members, vaccine hesitancies, inequities (racial/ethnics and rural/urban), and mental health consequences of social isolation.


"We are very thankful to the Women in Philanthropy Network for awarding our college this grant," says Shelley Ward (pictured), Director of Philanthropy at the UK College of Public Health. "This grant will help us advance this proposal into action and continue supporting our vulnerable populations that have been impacted by COVID in Kentucky."


The Women and Philanthropy Network was formed in 2007 to motivate and foster women as leaders, donors, and advocates for UK. This group of women created a new culture of service and philanthropy through their gifts of time, talent, and resources, all in support of UK students.


Original UKNow story “UK Women & Philanthropy Network Awards $199,327 to 5 UK Academic Initiatives” can be found here.

2022 National Public Health Week

April 4, 2022 - 12:00am to April 8, 2022 - 12:00am

The University of