UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center Benefits from Annual Derby Eve Gala

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2014) -- In Kentucky, a state with many unfortunate health statistics, rates of diabetes and obesity are increasing and are among the worst in the nation.

According to America's Health Rankings, more than 1 million adults are obese in Kentucky and the prevalence has increased from 30.4 percent to 31.3 percent in the past year, placing Kentucky 42nd nationally. Similarly, a 2013 report to the Kentucky Legislative Research Council indicated that between 1995 and 2010, the prevalence rate of adult diabetes had increased form 3.5 percent to 10 percent (370,000 Kentuckians), placing Kentucky 38th nationally. An additional 233,000 Kentuckians have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and are at high risk of progression to diabetes.

In the face of the twin scourges of diabetes and obesity, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center (BBDOC) at the University of Kentucky works to enhance diabetes research and clinical practice to improve the lives of Kentuckians and others who are affected by the often interrelated conditions. And on the evening of Friday, May 2, it will celebrate and support its work at the annual Derby Eve Gala fundraiser in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past eight years, more than $9.6 million has been raised and donated to fund the research efforts at Barnstable Brown due to the star-studded gala.

"Everyone at the University of Kentucky is very grateful for the generous contributions from the Barnstable-Brown family and the many contributors at the gala," said Dr. Philip Kern, director of the BBDOC. "These funds allow us to ease the suffering of patients with diabetes, a disease which is increasing in epidemic proportions and now afflicts 25 million Americans.  In addition, these funds help many scientists and clinical investigators at the University of Kentucky to search for new treatments and potential cures for diabetes and its complications."

The money raised by the gala helps support the center's internationally-recognized work to address and treat diabetes and obesity, including many recent research achievements.  In December 2013, for example, the center successfully competed for a prestigious obesity and cardiovascular Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant for $11.3 million.

The grant will support a range of collaborative research projects, including laboratory research conducted at the cellular level and translational research conducted with pediatric and adult patients. The work will specifically focus on mechanisms for the development of obesity, the influence of obesity on recovery of the heart following a heart attack, obesity-induced inflammation and how this influences the cardiovascular system, and imaging of heart dynamics and function in obese children.

Gala funds also support the clinical work at BBDOC, which has made several recent innovations to improve patient care. In July 2013, the center expanded its obesity management program with a new clinic that includes individual diet and lifestyle assessment and counseling, referral to local programs to support lifestyle interventions, and medical management.

The BBDOC also continues to focus on provision of excellent glycemic control with both inpatient and outpatient diabetes programs. For example, diabetes specialists are collaborating with the preoperative anesthesia department to improve the surgical experience of people with diabetes. 

This includes careful management of diabetes immediately prior to surgery and the addition of endocrinology expertise in postoperative care and discharge planning. Patients with diabetes who are not seen in the preoperative program receive a consultation to review diabetes medications and, in most cases, patients are started on intensive glucose control therapy during their hospitalization, including daily monitoring and dose adjustment by our diabetes specialists. Following discharge from hospital, patients are offered coordinated outpatient follow-up visits at the Center to assist with the transition to home-based diabetes management that is individualized to each patient.

The outpatient diabetes program includes use of continuous insulin infusion programs (“pumps”) and continuous glucose monitoring programs (“sensors”), for appropriate patients, insulin titration and dosing assistance, and use of oral and non-insulin injectable medications. The center also offers “diabetes school” through its accredited diabetes education program.

In addition to supporting the work of the center, the gala provides an evening of musical entertainment to guests. This year's performances include Kings of Leon, Lily Aldridge, Miranda Lambert, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Boyz II Men and Tom Brady.

For more information about the gala, please call 502-491-6778.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,