UK HealthCare

Gill Heart & Vascular Institute to host 10th annual affiliate network meeting in Lexington

illustration of anatomical heart superimposed over a blue line drawing of a human body on a black background
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2023)  UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart & Vascular Institute Affiliate Network is holding their annual conference on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Lexington Marriott City Center in downtown Lexington. Conference sessions will focus on the latest advancements and trends in cardiovascular medicine as well as best practices for managing and leading cardiology programs.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Kentucky, and the state has one of the highest rates of heart disease in the country. To help fight this battle, UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s cardiovascular specialists and experts work closely with 21 affiliate network hospitals across the state to improve cardiovascular outcomes through educational programming, quality improvement initiatives, and community engagement.

Cardiovascular medicine is rapidly evolving, driven by new technologies and protocols that help treat patients with increasingly complex diseases. The Gill Affiliate Network provides member hospitals with access to a wide range of services and resources to ensure they have the most up-to-date cardiovascular knowledge and tools at their disposal, including access to the latest cardiovascular technologies and treatments; educational and training opportunities for a variety of health care professionals; support with quality improvement initiatives; and collaborative marketing and outreach programs. By providing member hospitals with access to these services and resources, the Gill Affiliate Network supports member hospitals to deliver the highest quality cardiovascular care to their patients.

“The Gill Affiliate Network meeting is a valuable opportunity for health care professionals across the state to learn about the latest advances in cardiovascular medicine, network with colleagues, and share best practices," said Navin Rajagopalan, M.D., director of the Gill Affiliate Network. "We are excited to welcome national experts to this year's conference, and host our partners from across Kentucky.”

Speakers at the conference will include a variety of local, regional, and national health care providers and experts who will deliver updates on several cardiovascular topics, including clinical care, quality, policy, and program management and administration.

These featured speakers include:

  • Karam Ayoub, M.D., assistant professor, Cardiovascular Medicine, UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Laura Baker, market development manager, UK HealthCare Brand Strategy
  • Michele Brock, physician liaison, UK HealthCare
  • Richard Chapman, chief privacy officer, UK HealthCare
  • Jessi Clark, advanced heart failure and transplant clinical pharmacist, UK HealthCare
  • Rebecca Craft, director, Cardiovascular Outreach Operations, UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Robert Edwards, chief strategy and business development officer, UK HealthCare
  • Stacy Ford, nurse coordinator, Heart Failure Program, UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Peggy Hardesty, nurse practitioner, Heart Failure, Assist Devices, & Heart Transplantation, UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Connie Jennings, M.D., medical director, Integrative Medicine and Health Clinic and CareBlue Service
  • Julia Jones Akhtarekhavari, director, Heart Failure Operations, UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Michael Kelley, M.D., chief medical officer, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital
  • Jennifer Kennedy, vice president of care transformation, MedAxiom
  • Gillian Leung, pulmonary hypertension clinical pharmacist, UK College of Pharmacy
  • Jessica McFarlin, M.D., chief, Palliative and Supportive Care, UK HealthCare
  • Navin Rajagopalan, M.D., professor, Internal Medicine; director, Gill Heart & Vascular Institute Affiliate Network
  • Colleen Swartz, chief operating officer, Hospital Operations, UK HealthCare
  • Jamie Warren, vice president of care transformation, MedAxiom
  • Rebecca Webster, physician liaison, UK HealthCare
  • Geetika Baghel, M.D., physician and product manager, Doximity

Continuing education is available for this event and all Gill Affiliate Network members receive complimentary registration. For additional information about the conference or the Gill Affiliate Network, please contact Rebecca Craft at

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.