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.

November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
 
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
UK Rep Bands Concert
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
CatWatch Party
Tue
19
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Fri
22
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sun, 11/02/2014

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