Will address health challenges and disparities in Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 23, 2015) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto today announced that work has begun on a $265 million research facility dedicated to addressing health challenges and disparities in Kentucky. The facility is scheduled for completion in spring 2018. Half of the funding for the facility is coming from the state of Kentucky; half is coming from university resources, including private gifts.
“Today, we commence building—not for ourselves, but for the future and the health of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Capilouto said. “We have said that it is time for death to be a beggar in Kentucky. Today, we mark in a tangible and real way our intent to deliver on that promise.”
Two unique areas of focus will distinguish the building:
- Its focus on Kentucky challenges, particularly health disparities in areas such as a cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, drug abuse, and other health conditions where the state is among the country’s leaders in incident rates.
- Its fostering of multidisciplinary research across numerous fields — health care researchers (both basic and clinical), public health, behavioral sciences, agriculture outreach and extension, economics and engineering — working in close proximity and collaboratively to develop solutions to these complex problems. A fact sheet with information about the design and building’s focus can be seen here.
“This project represents the potential to improve the lives of so many, both within Kentucky where our health outcomes are so poor, and beyond,” said Gov. Steve Beshear, who attended today’s announcement. “I’m proud to have worked with lawmakers from both parties to sign legislation authorizing the construction of this multidisciplinary research building at the University of Kentucky that will help reduce Kentucky’s unacceptably high rates of preventable diseases and deaths. Our entrenched health problems won’t improve without major investment like this project, which will complement the lifesaving efforts at the Markey Cancer Center and its designation as a National Cancer Institute.
The new building will be linked to other major research space in the heart of the campus, the Bio-Pharmacy Building and the Biological Biomedical Research Building, further fostering collaborative and multidisciplinary work. Being referred to as the “Appalachian Translational Trail” this connecting conduit will house the nucleus of translational researchers who bring together all disciplines.
“We know that so much of discovery today—whether at the cellular or community level—happens at the intersection of disciplines,” said Lisa Cassis, UK’s vice president for research. “This facility is being designed to foster discovery and collaboration so that what happens in labs and in the course of basic research can be translated to answers and solutions at the community level.”
Specifically, the new facility also will focus work and attention on health disparities in Appalachia, a region with some of the most pronounced rates of chronic diseases in the country