UK Happenings

UK, Other Kentucky Medical Schools Team Up for Statewide Blood Drive

Bill Jessee giving blood
UK College of Medicine student Bill Jessee donating blood for MedMadness 2022.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 12, 2022) The University of Kentucky College of Medicine has once again teamed up with other medical schools from the state for the monthlong MedMadness Blood Donation Competition.

Since Jan. 1, the UK College of Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine and the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine have been competing to see which medical school community will have the most blood donors, just as they did nearly two years ago.

The initial event was held in May 2020, when medical students at UK chose to come together and help the Commonwealth during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, students wanted to hold the MedMadness competition again with the hope to continue supporting local communities through blood donation.

“This year, we hoped to bring MedMadness back with the goal to encourage Kentucky medical school communities to continue supporting the Commonwealth, especially those affected by the devastating December storms in Western Kentucky,” said third-year UK medical student Jodi Llanora.

Blood donations during this time are especially needed, as there was an ongoing blood shortage before the storms devastated the people of Western Kentucky. Gov. Andy Beshear has encouraged Kentuckians to donate blood to help the victims recover from the natural disaster.

“Although the event is a ‘competition,’ one important aspect of MedMadness is the collaboration between the medical schools in Kentucky,” said Llanora. “I believe that this event is a rare opportunity for medical students from different institutions to come together as future physicians of this state and serve the Commonwealth.”

Donation tallies will be calculated and published every Monday of the competition, with the final tally being released on Monday, Jan. 31. All volunteer (non-paid) donations will be considered in the competition totals.

Students involved, like Llanora, are finding this event particularly valuable to themselves as medical students and future practitioners, allowing them to engage with the Commonwealth outside of the classroom.

“As a physician, I hope to give back to the state that raised me and to serve the Kentucky community to the best of my ability,” Llanora said. “Through MedMadness, I am able to do this directly and in a different manner outside of my general medical school education.”

Ultimately, giving back to the community has helped these students push through the challenges of medical school and has kept them focused on the impact that a career in medicine can have.

“Helping the Commonwealth through this competition reminds me why I chose to pursue a career in medicine, which is something I try to reflect on frequently as a medical student,” Llanora said.

For more information on MedMadness and how to get involved, visit the event’s Facebook Page.

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.