A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Officials urge quick hospital, government action to limit deaths from COVID-19 in rural areas

A public-health professor and a surgeon at the University of Kentucky are sounding the alarm that the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus could devastate rural Kentucky, and they say rural citizens and hospitals need to be more careful. Ty Borders, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Endowed Chair in Rural Health Policy, and Sam C. Tyagi, an assistant professor of surgery, wrote a letter...

Two statewide health advocacy groups asks public to help prevent spread of highly contagious COVID-19

Two statewide health advocacy organizations are urging Kentuckians to take state public health experts’ advice seriously to help prevent the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the Commonwealth. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKY) and the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) say social distancing, frequent and thorough hand washing and staying home if you’re sick are especially...

KHIP: Nearly 8 in 10 Kentucky adults believe schools should help students access health services

Kentucky adults continue to support schools as a resource for helping families get health care services for their children, according to the Kentucky Health Issues Poll. Eight in 10 said schools should play a more active role in this effort, an opinion that has held steady over the last decade. KHIP, an annual telephone poll of Kentucky adults about health and health policy issues, is sponsored jointly...

Kentuckians urged to prevent coronavirus by same protocols as influenza; virus can spread rapidly

The Kentucky Medical Association (KMA), the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC) and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky are urging Kentuckians to practice known flu prevention protocols in light of Tuesday’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warning that the novel coronavirus is expected to spread within communities in the United States. “While novel coronavirus presents a low...

KHIP survey reveals vast majority of Kentucky adults favor medical marijuana legalization

Marijuana remains the most widely used illicit drug in the United States, with more than 22 million users each month nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana policies are being debated throughout the U.S. and in Kentucky. To help understand attitudes about marijuana in the commonwealth, the 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll asked Kentucky adults whether they...

Surveys examine family/friend drug use, addiction as a disease, access to substance use treatment

Communities throughout Kentucky and Ohio have mobilized to address substance use, enacting a variety of strategies to reduce opioid overdoses and connect people to treatment. To better measure the impact of this work and to understand attitudes around addiction and treatment, the 2019 Ohio Health Issues Poll and 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll asked several questions about substance use. KHIP and...

Smoke-free advocates rally in Frankfort for measures to decrease soaring youth use of e-cigarettes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky’s Coalition for a Smoke-free Tomorrow rallied in Frankfort this week to call on state lawmakers to pass several measures aimed at decreasing electronic-cigarette use among the state’s youth, a phenomenon that continues to surge. Between 2017 and 2019, e-cigarette use more than quadrupled among the state’s middle-school students and...

Kentucky Health Issues Poll finds majority of adults in Commonwealth favor tax on e-cigarettes

Tobacco remains the single most preventable cause of disease and death among Kentuckians. However, the nature of tobacco use is changing, particularly with the rise of e-cigarettes. Commonly known as vapes, vape pens or hookahs, e-cigarettes use a battery and a heating element to deliver nicotine vapor to the user. To better understand the attitudes and opinions of Kentucky adults about e-cigarettes,...

Glasgow physician Brent Wright named 2020 Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky board chair

Dr. Brent Wright, a Glasgow family medicine physician, is the incoming board chair at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. He began his term as chair on January 1. Dr. Brent Wright A lifelong Kentuckian, Dr. Wright is the associate dean for rural health innovation at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where he collaborates with numerous parties both in and outside the university. Dr....

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky names four new members to its Community Advisory Council

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky announced four new members of its Community Advisory Council, bringing the total membership to 52. In addition, Tim Marcum has been named chair of the Council for 2020, succeeding LeChrista Finn, DrPH, an assistant professor at Kentucky State University. Tim Marcum Tim Marcum, of Louisville, is assistant vice president of planning for Baptist Health. He previously...

Dr. Karen Krigger named Foundation Endowed Chair in Urban Health Policy at Louisville

Dr. Karen Krigger has been named the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Endowed Chair for Urban Health Policy at the University of Louisville. She was recommended by Dr. Toni Ganzel, dean of the UofL School of Medicine. Krigger, M.D., MEd, FAAFP, AAHIVM(S), is the Director of Health Equity at the UofL School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and also a professor with the Department...

Kentucky Youth Advocates: Nearly one in five women in Kentucky smoked during pregnancy in 2018

Nearly one in five women in Kentucky smoked during pregnancy in 2018, according to the 2019 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book that was released by Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA). While the statewide rate of smoking during pregnancy in 2018 was 18.7 percent, about the same as 2017, the number of counties with rates exceeding 30 percent rose from 22 to 24; Lee and Owsley counties continued to have...

Kentucky Health Issues Poll: Regional report finds health status and policy opinions vary across state

Adults living in the eastern and western regions of Kentucky are more likely to smoke and also to report poorer health than those living in Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. On the other hand, the lowest uninsured rate in the Commonwealth is found among residents living in the western counties. These are among the findings of regional reports for the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP),...

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...

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...

Pew Trusts: Libraries are becoming key to improving public health as hospitals shutter in rural areas

By Sarah Baird Pew Charitable Trusts It’s a sweltering Wednesday morning in Somerset, but at 9 a.m., the Pulaski County Public Library is already bustling. From the community room, the hum of sewing machines echoes into the entryway, as the “pedal pushers” club stitch up their latest creations. An elderly man in sneakers examines a sign advertising a free nutrition workshop for October, which...

Alice Bridges named Healthy Ky. Policy Champion for community health, childhood trauma efforts

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has named longtime Louisville healthcare executive Alice O. Bridges as the latest Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion for her work to address childhood trauma in schools and other systems, and for her efforts to improve community health. “Alice has been an integral member of the Bounce Coalition in Louisville, a collection of more than 18 area organizations...

Jamie Ennis Bloyd of Lexington named Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s Healthy Policy Champion

Childhood cancer research, prevention and treatment advocate Jamie Ennis Bloyd of Lexington has been named a Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Bloyd is president of both the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund and the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Foundation, as well as national director of government relations and external affairs for the American Childhood...

Vast majority of Kentucky school districts adopt tobacco-free polices, ahead of law with opt-out provision

Only 24 of Kentucky’s 172 school districts, or 14 percent, have not passed a tobacco-free policy that mirrors a new state law that will take effect next July 1, according to the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which says more districts are expected to enact the policy soon. The law gives districts the ability to opt out of the law during its first three years, but it seems to have prompted...