A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

With rates of depression rising in U.S., mental health experts say online screenings are an important tool

More Americans are using online screening tests to gauge whether depression is playing a role in their health, and mental health experts say that’s a good thing. Just as people might screen for diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, a depression screening provides a quick way to spot the first signs of what might be a serious mental health issue. Marcie Timmerman, executive director...

Trudy Lieberman: Rising drug prices put pressure on Congress, but drug makers remain a powerful lobby

Maybe – just maybe – Americans will get some relief from the relentlessly rising prices of pharmaceuticals. That, of course, depends on Congress pushing back against the drug companies’ formidable lobbying machine, their generous campaign contributions, and the industry’s historical coziness with members of Congress. But this year seems different. When you consider that the country’s spending...

Kentucky Health officials urge caution regarding vaping as reported cases of severe lung injury rise

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) continues to monitor and investigate a growing number of cases of severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette use or vaping. DPH is working closely with healthcare providers, local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Food & Drug Administration and other states to gather information about this outbreak. “As...

Study says 16 rural hospitals in Kentucky at high risk of closing; another found 35 in poor financial health

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Many rural hospitals across Kentucky are struggling to keep their doors open. And though the numbers vary on just how many are in dire financial straits, the conclusion is the same: in much of rural Kentucky, health care as we know it is in trouble. “We can’t keep doing health care the way that we’ve done in the past, and that’s the bottom...

Lexington-Fayette County Health Department giving free flu shots this Thursday at Fayette Mall

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is once again giving you the chance to fight the flu for free. The department’s annual free flu shot event will be held 1-7 p.m. this Thursday (Oct. 10) at Fayette Mall, near the interior entrance of Dillard’s. “An annual flu shot is the best way to fight the flu each fall and winter,” LFCHD spokesman Kevin Hall said. “The special clinic lets...

New beverage recommendations for kids say avoid all drinks with sugar — and all plant-based milks

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Health experts from four of the nation’s most prominent health organizations have created a new set of beverage recommendations for children under the age of 5 that basically recommends breast milk and infant formula for infants under the age of 1 and water and cows’ milk for older children. The experts strongly caution against drinks with added sugar,...

Only 8.7% of Kentucky’s school districts are not tobacco-free; foundation expects them to be soon

Kentucky Health News Only 15 of Kentucky’s 172 school districts, or 8.7 percent, have not passed a tobacco-free policy to match a state law that will take effect July 1, 2020, according to the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which says it expects nearly all of districts to enact the policy before they have to. The law, for which the foundation campaigned, will ban use of all tobacco products,...

Registration now open for Oct. 11 conference in Grand Rivers on substance abuse, addiction

The Kentucky Rural Health Association is hosting the Western Kentucky Regional Community Education Day, designed to educate and stimulate community discussion around substance abuse and addiction. This year’s event is titled, “The Addiction & Substance Abuse Communities at a Crossroad.” Attendance is free, but registration is required. The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 3...

Louisville campaign aimed at decreasing high suicide rate of LGBTQ+ youth with focus of parental support

A new campaign in Louisville is working to decrease the high suicide rate among high school students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning by emphasizing the importance of parental support. In the United States, high school students who identify as LGBTQ are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender, heterosexual peers, according to the National...

Food and Drug Administration stressing importance of vaccination in wake of measles outbreaks

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reiterating the importance of vaccinations, such as the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. According to the FDA, the U.S. continues to experience cases and outbreaks of measles, largely due to unvaccinated or under-vaccinated segments of the population. The MMR vaccine is being stressed to protect against...

Healthy Headlines: Flu season is upon us, best time to get vaccinated is before the end of October

The leaves turning colors, a crispness in the air, pumpkins appearing on every corner – it must be fall. Along with pulling out the jackets and autumn décor, it’s important to also take protective steps for your health by getting your annual flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu vaccines are created to match viruses that have been circulating through the population....

Schuster wins top health policy advocacy award for more than 40 years of work in mental health field

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Sheila Schuster, who has spent more than four decades advocating for those with mental illness and other disabilities, and worked to increase access to health care across Kentucky, was named the first Gil Friedell Health Policy Champion to a standing ovation by an audience from all over Kentucky. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky award was presented at the...

Sellout crowd at Kentucky forum hears there’s no scientific literature to back medical cannabis

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The health benefits of medical marijuana haven’t been proven and more research is needed, according to a leading researcher on the topic, but that hasn’t stopped 33 states from approving it. It’s still to be determined what will influence Kentucky lawmakers as they again consider passing such a law. In the last legislative session, Kentucky...

State health officials encourage flu vaccinations; DPH reports 154 confirmed flu cases since Aug. 4

The Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the flu, as the official flu season begins Sept. 29 and runs through May 16, 2020. DPH officials are reporting 154 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in regions across the state since Aug. 4. “Getting the flu can be debilitating and sometimes life-threatening,”...

Strong faculty, clinical partners help EKU’s online RN-to-BSN degree program earn No. 14 national ranking

A strong student-centered faculty and a nationwide network of clinical partners have helped Eastern Kentucky University’s online RN-to-BSN degree program earn a No. 14 national ranking among 440 such programs from RegisteredNursing.org. EKU’s nationally accredited, fully online, 29-credit-hour program is aimed at helping nurses with associate degrees achieve their educational and career goals by...

Alltech Life Sciences finds breakthrough in diabetes treatment; possible alternative to insulin developed

There are an estimated 450 million people living with diabetes worldwide according to the International Diabetes Federation, with a staggering 53 percent increase expected by 2045. In a breakthrough that may offer hope to those affected by the chronic disease, researchers with Alltech Life Sciences have developed a possible alternative to current insulin treatments. The compound, called NPC43, is...

Children’s Environmental Health Summit to spotlight efforts protecting Kentucky’s youngest population

The Kentucky Department for Public Heath (DPH), in collaboration with the Kentucky Population Health Institute, is hosting the fourth annual Children’s Environmental Health Summit on Oct. 10 (National Children’s Environmental Health Day) at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset. This free event will provide an overview of issues impacting children’s health in Kentucky and spotlight ongoing...

Improvement of children’s health takes center stage for new school health coalition in Kentucky

A new, statewide coalition that will work collectively to improve children’s health in the school setting has been established by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, in partnership with Kentucky Voices for Health and Cairn Guidance. The Coalition will work to promote policies, programs and practices that are shown to make measurable differences in children’s health — perhaps in such areas...

‘I Thought It Was a Miracle’ – Clinical trial using Bexion BXQ-350 works wonders for Markey patient

By Allison Perry University of Kentucky Despite the leaps and advances made in cancer treatments over the past few decades, sometimes patients still discover that they’ve exhausted all other available options. Tollesboro resident Jenn Highfield was far younger than most when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. With a strong family history of the disease – her father had been diagnosed with colon...

Department for Public Health invites submissions for children’s environmental health poster contest

The Department for Public Health (DPH) is inviting school-age children kindergarten through eighth grade across the Commonwealth to create and submit original artwork for a chance to win cash prizes in a poster contest focusing on environmental health. This contest is sponsored by the Kentucky Environmental Public Health Tracking Network and Kentucky Population Health Institute. Students in Kindergarten...