Atkins appointed commissioner of state Department of Insurance; O’Connor named deputy commissioner

Nancy G. Atkins has been appointed Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Insurance (DOI), and Patrick O’Connor has been named Deputy Commissioner of Policy. Atkins is a 33-year veteran of the insurance industry, working as both a licensed agent and employee benefit manager. She previously served as the Deputy Commissioner for DOI, an appointment she held since February. Prior to joining DOI,...

Coach Colene: Unexpected, non-traditional self-care strategies can provide a lifestyle boost

By Colene Elridge Special to KyForward I talk about self-care a lot. I think it’s such an important skill to learn to take care of yourself and do things that bring you joy, peace and pleasure. Recently, I had a pretty major surgery, and it forced me to see self-care as something deeper than spa dates and chocolate. Self-care has been idealized as doing things that are fun and pleasurable. However,...

Kentucky leads nation in percentage of residents who smoke, leading to highest cancer rate in U.S.

Smoking rates have fallen dramatically in the United States, with reports by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) finding that 17.9 percent of the population smoke. However, more recent research has put that number even lower at 15.1 percent. This rate is slightly less than that of the United Kingdom at 16.9 percent , and significantly less than Germany (24.5) and France (25). Of...

Mouth guards an important — and often forgotten — part of safety equipment for sports enthusiasts

Dr. Rodrigo Fuentealba Special to KyForward One piece of safety equipment often ignored when purchasing sporting goods is the mouth guard. Each year, more than five million teeth are avulsed (come out of the socket) due to trauma. The cost to treat an avulsed tooth, over a lifetime, can range from $5,000 to $20,000. Not only do mouth guards reduce the possibility of dental injuries, they reduce the...

UK’s ‘Chefs In Action’ program teaches patients, staff about techniques for healthy cooking

By Laura Dawahare and Allison Perry Special to KyForward When Chandler Dining opened its new facility in the hospital’s Pavilion A last year, it embraced the concept that food service should be as involved in teaching healthy habits as medical and nursing staff. The long lines of institutional steamers and shelving to slide plastic trays along were gone, replaced instead with cooking hubs where...

Half of state adults know someone who is depressed, 30 percent don’t know where to call for treatment

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Nearly half of Kentucky adults know someone who has a serious problem with depression, and most say they know who to contact for treatment, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. “Depression is common in Kentucky, as it is elsewhere in the country, and it’s important to understand that it is a serious mood disorder that can and should...

Social work researcher trains students, health care pros to ask tough questions about substance misuse

By Ann Blackford and Alicia Gregory Special to KyForward The beginning of research is to identify and define a problem. The researcher must ask questions, sometimes difficult and complex questions, to gain knowledge and understanding before arriving at a solution. This same process is identical in social work practice, yet some of those questions are deeply personal and difficult to ask but nonetheless...

Mild winter downside: More hungry ticks than usual seeking their blood meal; get yourself checked

A mild winter can have its downsides and one is that more ticks probably survived than normal. As a result, more hungry ticks are out earlier than usual, according to Lee Townsend, extension entomologist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Typically, warm weather brings ticks out of hiding to find the blood meal they need to continue their life cycle. In the...

Kentucky State Police team with DEA for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 29

The Kentucky State Police is teaming up with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to encourage citizens to remove potentially dangerous medicines from their homes and dispose of them safely as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 29, 2017. “Prescription medications play an important role in the health of millions of Americans,” says KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders. “However, leftover...

State Public Health Department urges homeowners to mosquito proof yards, reduce Zika virus threat

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is calling on homeowners to help control mosquitoes by eliminating standing water from containers that can collect rainwater where insects breed. “Everyone needs to do their part to help reduce the mosquito population,” said Hiram Polk Jr.,...

Valley Park new location for Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s annual rabies clinic

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department’s annual Rabies Vaccination Clinic will be held 6-9 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Valley Park, 2077 Cambridge Drive. Vaccinations will cost just $3. All cats must be in a carrier, and all dogs must be on leashes. In the event of inclement weather, the clinic date is subject to change. The health department will provide updated information at www.lexingtonhealthdepartment.org...

SmartHealthToday: World Health Organization focuses on preventing and treating depression

By Shelly Reese SmartHealthToday Because depression is ubiquitous, debilitating and – at its worst – deadly, the World Health Organization is engaging in a year-long campaign focused on educating people about depression and how to seek help for the condition. Depression is an illness that can happen to anybody. The mental anguish it causes can profoundly impair a person’s ability to carry out...

Good vocal health may not seem very important to you … unless you lose your voice

By JoAnna Sloggy Special to KyForward World Voice Day took place on April 16 to celebrate the human voice and to raise awareness for voice disorders, vocal health, vocal training and voice research. In the United States, 7.5 million people currently have trouble using their voices. We often forget the important role voice plays in our daily lives. World Voice Day is a time to stop and consider the...

SmartHealthToday: Her cornea transplant surgery restored her vision — things are more in focus

SmartHealthToday Team When Cathy Hudson sets out this spring with her husband to hit some of the country’s most savory barbecue competitions, she’ll see the world with new eyes – literally. That’s because she recently restored her vision through cornea transplant surgery. “It feels like everything is in high-def now,” Hudson marveled. “It was just tissue donation, but it changed my life.” Hudson’s...

Nonprofit evaluation shows Kentucky improved slightly in national ranking for hospital patient safety

By Traci Thomas Kentucky Health News A nonprofit group that rates hospitals has released its latest patient-safety grades, giving most Kentucky hospitals a B or C. The scores are similar to grades released in October, but the overall score for Kentucky hospitals rose from 35th to 32nd among the states. The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., evaluated 2,639 hospitals nationwide,...

CKRH’s Chico named Therapy Horse of the Year by American Hippotherapy Association

he herd of 29 horses at Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, the facility at the Kentucky Horse Park that offers equine-assisted therapies and activities, is celebrating because one of their own received a national award. Chico, a 24-year-old Morgan cross, has been named the 2017 Horse of the Year by the American Hippotherapy Association in Fort Collins, Colorado. Chico was nominated by Lisa Harris,...

Half of Kentucky adults support syringe exchanges because of decrease of risk of HIV outbreaks

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News More Kentucky adults favor syringe exchanges than oppose them, and the more they know about them, the more likely they are to support them, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. Kentucky’s legislature approved syringe exchanges in 2015 to decrease the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, which are commonly spread by the sharing of needles among...

Seat-belt use in Kentucky about the same as national average, but death rate is significantly higher

Only two Kentucky counties, Boone and Kenton, used seat belts at the national average or above in 2012, according to the latest local data available from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing poll by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A county-level map from The Washington Post using data from 2012 shows Boone and Kenton counties in yellow, meaning their seat-belt...

With encouragement from the feds, Kentucky schools focused more on healthy foods, less junk

Sugary drinks, fatty snacks and chocolate candy are becoming harder to buy in Kentucky schools, which are paying more attention to health issues, according to the latest survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s latest biennial School Health Profiles for 2014 found big declines in the availability of junk food since 2014. Here are the specifics: — Chocolate...

Kentucky hospitals struggling to find enough nurses; colleges working toward finding solutions

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News While studies show Kentucky will have a surplus of registered nurses in the next decade, right now many of the state’s hospitals are struggling to hire enough nurses to care for patients. “I am hoping this is cyclical,” said Susan Ellis, the vice president of Patient Care Services at Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg. “But...