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University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. today unveiled 13 projects designed for directly impacting the quality of life in Kentucky.
The projects, designated as new Commonwealth Collaboratives by Todd, aim at improving health, education, economic development, the environment and exposure to cultural events. The Commonwealth Collaborative designation means the projects will receive $10,000 from Todd's discretionary funds in addition to other funding they already may have from other sources.
"What I love about the Commonwealth Collaboratives is that it is a perfect example of what a Top 20 research university should be doing for its state," said UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. "Our top professors and researchers actively engage in Kentucky's toughest problems, looking to find solutions and answers that will help make the Commonwealth a healthier, wealthier, and better educated state. I applaud the 13 research teams that were selected this year for their dedication to making Kentucky a better place to live."
The 13 join 23 other projects that Dr. Todd designated as Commonwealth Collaboratives in 2005. The projects are subject to annual review to determine their progress and effectiveness.
The new projects are:
* The Clean Indoor Air Initiative, principal investigator (PI) Ellen Hahn, College of Nursing. The project aims to reduce exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and radon by encouraging more Kentucky communities to adopt smoke-free policies.
* Health Care Needs of Offenders at Community Reentry from Prison, PI Michelle Staton-Tindall, College of Social Work. The project is attempting to encourage the development of innovative approaches to help former state prison inmates avoid relapses into illegal drug use and keep them out of prison. The project is being performed in conjunction with the UK Center for Drug and Alcohol Research.
* Mount Sterling Health Initiative, PI Robert McKnight, College of Public Health. The project aims at improving the health and wellness of Hispanic workers and their families in Montgomery County.
* Oral Infections and their Effect on Medical Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, PI Robert Kovarik, College of Dentistry. This project will document that improving the oral health of these patients will lower the incidence of diabetic complications that negatively impact individuals and society.
* Rural Medication Management, PI David Nau, College of Pharmacy. The program aims at helping health care providers in southeastern Kentucky to improve the monitoring of medication use by high-risk patients via a safe, coordinated program.
* Johnson Elementary School Project, Co-PIs Elsie Stines, Jamshed Kanga and Thomas Young, College of Medicine. The project addresses obesity among youngsters at Johnson Elementary school, by encouraging physical activity, healthy snacks and behavioral change. A second component aims at increasing diagnosis and treatment of asthma, a leading cause of school absenteeism.
* Kentucky Early Childhood Data System, Co-PIs Beth Rous and Caroline Gooden, Human Development Institute. The project is developing an assessment model to determine children's learning in early childhood to help develop individualized classroom intervention.
* UK BEST, PI Deborah Besser, College of Engineering. The project aims at stimulating greater interest among African-American, Hispanic and Asian young people in Kentucky regarding potential careers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields through a two-week on-campus program for rising high school juniors. The students are chosen from traditionally underserved and underrepresented populations.
* Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, PI Robert Gregory, Center for Manufacturing and Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. The project aims at helping build up Kentucky's involvement in new or emergent economies, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, by forming relationships with stakeholders in regional economic development efforts. The project also will provide the Kentucky legislature with recommendations to encourage and support advanced manufacturing initiatives.
* Kentucky Marketmaker, PI Steve Isaacs, College of Agriculture. This project, a collaboration with the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Allied Food Marketers, is a Web-based interactive tool to link Kentucky food producers with food processors and/or marketers, with the goal of increasing sales and markets.
* Model Ordinance for Guidance on Development on Karst Land, PI James Currens, Kentucky Geological Survey. The project will develop a model ordinance that cities can adopt to address development of karst land, areas subject to sinkholes and other settlement issues because of the underground strata.
* Land Use Planning, PI Brian Lee, College of Agriculture. The project assigns landscape architecture students to projects helping local communities develop land-use plans to help manage future growth.
Culture/Quality of Life:
* Kentucky Repertory Theatre Horse Cave Concert Series, PI Ben Arnold, College of Fine Arts. The project will bring live classical, jazz and Broadway musical performances by UK students and faculty musicians to the theatre at Horse Cave, a fairly low-income area that does not have a rich musical tradition.
President Todd and UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy will recognize the new Commonwealth Collaborative researchers at a reception at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Lexmark Public Room in the Main Building.
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