A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky making tobacco-free signs available to schools free of charge

Tobacco-free signs are now available to Kentucky schools at no charge, provided by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Medical Association. Foundation CEO Ben Chandler says the signs will help schools comply with a recent law mandating that all school campuses go tobacco-free by July 1, 2020. “This is a landmark law, really, in Kentucky, because it’s the first time...

Foundation for a Healthy Ky. makes TV, radio spots of youth discussing e-cigarettes available to anyone

From Rural Blog The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has released four new public service announcements to show the dangers young people subject themselves to by using electronic cigarettes. The spots are part of the foundation’s “I Just Didn’t Know” campaign and feature Kentucky teens. The new PSAs include two 30-second videos for television and a 30-second and 60-second...

Allen County Health Department nurse supervisor Carolyn Richey named latest Health Policy Champion

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has named Carolyn Richey, a nurse supervisor with the Allen County Health Department who has worked to increase access to healthy foods for youth, as the latest Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion. Carolyn Richey receives the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion award from Ben Chandler, CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. (Photo by Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky) Richey,...

Foundation for a healthy Ky., Green River ADD to host health forum in Owensboro Aug. 14

Organizations and individuals working to improve health are invited to attend a Regional Community Health Forum in Owensboro on August 14. Hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in partnership with the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) and Green River District Health Department. The 90-minute afternoon forum will include information on efforts to address teen vaping and the latest...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky seeking input about topics, questions to be included in next KHIP

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is seeking input about the topics and questions to be included in the next Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP). The deadline for suggestions is Aug. 9. KHIP is a telephone poll of Kentucky adults, asking their views on key health policy issues likely to come before the legislature or local policy-making bodies. KHIP also asks adults’ opinions on health-related...

Kentucky counties find new ways to help kids exercise, eat healthy foods, reduce chronic disease

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Communities across the state are working to ensure children in Kentucky are exercising and eating healthy foods. In McCracken County, local organizations teamed up with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to build a new health park — an outdoor fitness and recreation area that also includes a community garden and walking track. Mike Muscarella, executive...