Campus News

'Behind the Blue': KCH's Carl Backer discusses UK’s Joint Pediatric Heart Program

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2022) – A collaboration between Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center brings together the expertise of Kentucky’s top hospital and one of the country’s best children’s hospitals to create one of the top pediatric heart programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Entering its fifth year, the innovative Joint Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program follows the one-program, two-sites model, which means pediatric cardiology experts and a team of pediatric heart surgeons at Kentucky Children’s Hospital benefit from the support of other pediatric heart specialists at Cincinnati Children’s to provide a full spectrum of children’s cardiology services. This collaboration provides Kentucky families with the reassurance of knowing they have access to exceptional heart treatment for children close to home.

Carl Backer, M.D., is chief of pediatric cardiac surgery and director of the Joint Pediatric Heart Care Program. Backer joins KCH from the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where he served as the surgical director of the pediatric heart transplant program and the A.C. Buehler Professor of Surgery since 2001. He has been an attending surgeon in the division of cardiovascular-thoracic surgery since 1988, and served as head of that division from 2008 to 2018.

On this episode of "Behind the Blue," Backer talks about the state of the program on its fifth anniversary, the importance of the program for the people of Kentucky and more.

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For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of "Behind the Blue" can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.

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The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.