A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Your Health: This holiday season, invest in building strong relationships — important to improved health

By Dr. O’Dell Owens Interact for Health This is the time of year when we want to show our friends and family how much we care about them. As you make your to-do list and look at your budget, consider the gift of your time. Dr. O’Dell Owens One way to build strong relationships with children and adults is to show that we enjoy being with them. Set aside time for activities to do together,...

New KHIP poll shows majority of Kentuckians have gotten a flu shot; have you had one yet?

If you haven’t gotten a flu shot in the last 12 months, you’re in the minority in Kentucky. What’s more, you’re putting both yourself and those around you at risk for serious flu complications. According to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll report released today, 54 percent of Kentucky adults got a flu vaccine in the past 12 months. The majority of those who didn’t get a...

As support for medical marijuana grows, resolution would urge federal government to speed research

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As support for legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes grows in the General Assembly, legislation has again been filed to ask the federal government to expedite research on the idea. A leading advocate of medical marijuana says the measure may be “a ploy to delay” action on his bill. The research resolution is sponsored by Republican Rep....

Kentucky increases spending on tobacco prevention, cessation but still falls far short of national average

Kentucky leads the nation in smoking and tobacco-related health costs, but ranks 35th in how much it spends from tobacco-tax revenue and the millions it gets from the 1998 cigarette manufacturers settlement with states that sued them to recover smoking-related health costs. The presumption was that much of the settlement would go toward tobacco prevention, but it hasn’t. Kentucky funneled half...

Southern Ky. Area Health Education Center director name first CEO of national AHEC organization

Dwain Harris, director of the Southern Kentucky Area Health Education Center in Mount Vernon for the past 14 years, has been named the first permanent chief executive officer of the National AHEC Organization (NAO). He will assume the position Jan. 21 and will be based at his home in Somerset. AHECs train students in health-care professions, especially for rural and under-served communities. In Kentucky,...

‘Broken Promise’ report shows states spend too little of settlement money on smoking prevention

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and others have issued a 20th annual report, Broken Promises to our Children, which details how states are spending revenues from both tobacco taxes and tobacco company payments made as part of a 1998 settlement agreement. This report is issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American...

Kentucky still ranks near bottom for health according to 2018 America’s Health Rankings report

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Kentucky is facing serious health challenges, according to an annual state-by-state ranking of key health indicators. The America’s Health Rankings 2018 report released on Wednesday places Kentucky 45th among states, down from 42nd in 2017. Health experts say finding a physical activity you enjoy will help you stick to it. (Photo from Pixabay, via PNS) Dr....

New Infographic outlines the dangers of electronic cigarettes, with focus on epidemic of teen usage

A two-page infographic from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Kentucky Youth Advocates aims to fight the surge in use of electronic cigarette usage among Kentucky teenagers. “While youth cigarette smoking in Kentucky has steadily declined, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, known as vapes and Juuls, is putting a new generation of teens at risk of nicotine addiction,” the foundation...

This is the last week to sign up for health insurance at Healthcare.gov; deadline is Saturday, Dec. 15

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With just a few days left to enroll in a health insurance plan on Healthcare.gov, it’s time to sign up if you want federally subsidized coverage for 2019. Enrollment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, ends Saturday, Dec. 15. If you need help with enrolling or simply have questions, there are more than 600...

Number of Ky. parents claiming religious exemption for children’s vaccinations jumps 59 percent

Kentucky Health News More Kentucky children are not being immunized “for medical and religious reasons,” Ashleigh Mills reports for Spectrum News. “Doctors worry the number could be growing because of misinformation circulating online.” In the last school year, parents of 442 sixth graders exempted them from vaccines. That was only 1.5 percent of the total, but an increase of...

Don’t let flu ruin your holiday plans, health officials urge vaccinations for everyone six months and older

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service With the holiday season here, health officials in Kentucky are urging people to take steps to help prevent spreading the flu. During last year’s flu season, 325 adults and five children died in Kentucky due to flu or complications from the virus, and there were a record number of hospitalizations. Christa Mitchell from Central Kentucky says she spent 49 days...

Friedell Committee, Foundation for a Healthy Ky. unite to strengthen state, local policy advocacy

Two statewide health promotion organizations today announced that they have joined forces to strengthen advocacy for state and local policies for improving health in Kentucky. In announcing the unification, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation emphasized the organizations’ congruent missions and committed volunteers, and the value of...

National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 2-8; get vaccinated to help prevent spread of flu

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, encourages Kentuckians to get a flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 2-8, to help prevent the spread of flu this holiday season. “The flu vaccine is the single best way to protect you and your loved ones against the flu,” said Jeff Howard, M.D., commissioner of DPH. “If...

Kentucky, 26th in population among states, ranked fourth in number of drug overdose deaths in 2017

Kentucky had the fourth highest rate of drug overdoses among the states in 2017, fifth when the District of Columbia is added to the list, according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kentucky had 37.2 overdose deaths per 100,000 people. West Virginia had the highest rate, 57.8, and Ohio was second with 46.3. Pennsylvania and D.C. were close behind at 44.3...

Deadline to sign up for insurance on Healthcare.gov is Dec. 15, but most Americans don’t know

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News With just two weeks left to sign up for federally subsidized health insurance for 2019, time is running out. The deadline for open enrollment on Healthcare.gov is Dec. 15, and fewer Kentuckians have enrolled compared to the same time last year. Four weeks into the six-week enrollment period, Kentucky enrollment on the federal exchange is 22,565. That is 5,414...

Pikeville Medical Center announces $52 million expansion, creation of children’s Hospital

Pikeville Medical Center has announced it will spend $7 million to relocate and expand its inpatient pediatrics clinic into a children’s hospital, and establish, expand or improve nine other facilities with price tags totaling $45 million. Officials said about 200 jobs would be created. The hospital appears to be on a rebound. In June, CEO Donovan Blackburn laid off 130 employees, blaming mismanagement...

LFCHD warning customers of three area restaurants about risk of exposure to hepatitis A

Customers who ate at three area restaurants in November may have been exposed to hepatitis A. As a result, anyone who ate at the following restaurants are advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination: • Hardee’s, 2990 Richmond Road, Lexington; Nov. 23-26, 2018 • Waffle House, 2347 Buena Vista, Lexington; Nov. 11-19, 2018 • Waffle House, 4 Carol Road, Winchester; Nov. 20, 2018 While it is relatively...

Rural Blog: Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise as funding to prevent and treat them falls

“Health officials are tracking record-breaking rates of sexually transmitted disease, including a resurgence of some infections which had been considered rare, such as gonorrhea and syphilis. These STDs are on the rise amid cuts to public health budgets dedicated to testing, prevention, and public outreach,” Mary Meehan reports for Ohio Valley ReSource, which covers Kentucky, Ohio and West...

CDC, Alzheimer’s Association release Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map, how to deal with dementia

In an effort to help state and local health departments address the growing Alzheimer’s crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association have released the third edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map. State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia, The 2018-2023 Road Map, provides public health officials with a set of strategies...