'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.

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.