'UK at the Half': REFOCUS poised to reach Black communities, reduce health disparities

instructor in a classroom with students.
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 22, 2022) — The populations that Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Ph.D., seeks to help are often difficult to reach. It is a common predicament in health disparity research. 

In this “UK at the Half,” Stevens-Watkins discusses one of her team's latest projects at the University of Kentucky, which requires asking Black Americans who use opioids to talk about their lives. With funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the team is helping fill a dire need for data on this underserved group. 

The fact the study is working likely has much to do with the people who are conducting it. Less than 2% of National Institutes of Health-funded senior investigators are Black and there has been a persistent funding gap for Black scientists applying for research project grants. An exception is Stevens-Watkins’ lab. Read more about the study and team here

“UK at the Half” airs during halftime of each UK football and basketball game broadcast on radio and is hosted by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To hear the “UK at the Half” interview, click on the play button above.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.