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.

Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Oct 22
Study Tips for Medical School 10/22/2014
Reset Page