Eli Capilouto

Our Work is Rooted in Community

Published: Aug 8, 2014

 

When Dr. Tom Frieden, the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worked on public health issues in India many years ago, he knew it was easy to become daunted by the massive challenges confronting that country and its people.

 

He developed a motto for his staff, who tirelessly worked to make a difference even though many days the challenges seemed insurmountable.

 

"Irrational optimism,” he would say at the start of each day, "is a prerequisite for success.”

 

This week, in a conference room at the Hazard Community and Technical College, I saw firsthand the power and potential of “irrational optimism.”

 

Along with hundreds of others — including Dr. Frieden and Congressman Hal Rogers — I participated in a daylong symposium on health issues. It’s part of the SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region) campaign being led by Congressman Rogers and Gov. Steve Beshear.

 

One of our own, Dr. Nikki Stone, a dentist, is leading SOAR’s committee on health issues. Several of our faculty and staff who work on the most critical issues confronting Appalachia also were present.

 

It would be easy, looking at the mountains to climb, to become discouraged. After all, of Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties, 41 are classified as “distressed,” meaning their economic indicators place them among the lowest 10 percent in the country. A recent New York Times article went so far as to label one of those counties, Clay County, as the most difficult place in America to live.

 

But where so many see problems, Kentuckians see potential. Where others place limits and barriers, Kentuckians see the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

 

One of the key reasons for the pervasive sense of optimism in that room is the University of Kentucky. I was proud to represent UK at the SOAR symposium as we announced two major initiatives — in partnership with the CDC, National Institutes of Health, Appalachian Regional Commission and Appalachian Regional Hospitals — to directly address health-care needs in the mountains. 

 

One is a five-year, $1.5 million project to help patients with cancer navigate the often confusing and growing system of treatment options; the other program is the development of an intensive three-week initiative to train community leaders and health-care leaders in the mountains. These are just two of dozens of programs and initiatives we are conducting for — and most importantly, with — communities throughout the mountains. From unlocking through research the mysteries of disease at the cellular level to engaging in evidenced-based approaches to problems at the community level, UK is investing in micro interventions that, taken together, offer the promise of macro-level change.

 

It is what we do each day. It is in our DNA.

 

I recently heard an interview on a favorite radio show of mine with the leader of a church in Denver — the House of All Sinners and Saints. She was discussing the idea of what it means to be human; what it means to be part of a community.

 

The minister said she disagreed with the notion that God will never give you more than you can handle. “God,” she said, “will never give you more than your community can bear or you as a member of a community.”

 

The idea, of course, is that we all need each other. And we all have responsibilities to each other. That’s what it means to be part of — and partners with — community.

 

At the University of Kentucky, we are part of a special community, 150 years strong and with infinite promise still to achieve. And it’s our work, in partnership with communities across the Commonwealth, that creates the possibility of turning irrational optimism into success for our Commonwealth and beyond.

February
 
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Graduate Student Congress Meeting (February)
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Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Tue
3
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
4
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Undergraduate Research Information Session
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5
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #1
Panel Discussion: Historic Homes
Fri
6
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
7
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
8
K Crew Recruitment
Sex and Chocolate
Law School Prep Workshop
Mon
9
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Healthy Relationships Workshop
How to Package Communication and Technical Skills on your Resume
2016 Distinguished Industry Lecture Series
Tue
10
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Pinterest Party #1
Get Yourself Tested!
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Showcase your Talents: Building a Strong Portfolio
An Evening with Tatyana Ali and Amir Windom: Progression Towards Success
How to Survive a Plague
Wed
11
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Coffee & Canvases
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Study Abroad in Berlin!
Horticulture Club Valentine's Day Sale
Thu
12
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Horticulture Club Valentine's Day Sale
Ash and the Market: Ceramic Exchange, Political Economy, and the Late to Terminal Classic Transformation of the Kiuic Polity
Fri
13
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Learn to Play Bridge
Workshop: The Artist Statement
Sat
14
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
15
K Crew Recruitment
See ICT
Patterson School Guest Speaker Series
Mon
16
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
See ICT
UK Women's Forum February Board Meeting
Tue
17
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Food For Thought
Wed
18
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Soup & Substance: Real Talk, Real Issues, & Real People Series
Thu
19
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #2
SAB Underground Formal
Fri
20
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
21
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
22
Undergraduate Research Information Session
University Health Service- Let It Go
Monday Night Mingle
Mon
23
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
University Health Service- Know Your Numbers
University Health Service- Mindful Eating
Tue
24
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Don't Blame It On Aging
Ravi Zacharias at Memorial Coliseum
Wed
25
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
26
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Eday Talk by Georgetown Toyota President Wil James
Do What You Are: Connecting Personalities w/ Profession
Off- Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #3
Traditions and Transformations in Tz’utujil Territory, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, 500 BC – 1524 AD
Concert in the Museum: Central Music Academy
Fri
27
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK E-Day
Pre-Opera Dinner
Sat
28
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
DanceBlue Rave Hour
Sun
29
Monday through Friday - Midterm Grading window is open. The mid-term grading window will close at midnight on March 11.
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Bodies Of Evidence: Provocations: A Transnational Feminist History Project
Monday Night Mingle
Mon
 
 
 
 
 
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