LEXINGTON, KY. (Dec. 6, 2023) — The Coaches for the Kids Foundation, along with matching donations from supporters of Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH), presented a gift of $1.118 million in honor of UK Football Coach Mark Stoops and his coaching staff for their commitment to the children of Kentucky.
The gift, $100,000 for each of the 11 years Stoops has served as head coach, will fund a new position with KCH leadership — the Coaches for the Kids Vice Chair of Strategy and Population Health. This new position will identify additional opportunities that optimize care for all Kentucky’s children by identifying social factors that adversely affect their health.
The new vice chair for strategy and population health would be responsible for:
- Evaluating existing and developing new health equity quality metrics that inform how to better deliver care to all children in Kentucky and beyond.
- Collaborating on multidisciplinary research studies to improve child health outcomes.
- Developing initiatives aimed to improve the recruitment, retention and development of our diverse workforce.
- Improving processes for the delivery of culturally effective pediatric care to the most remote parts of the Commonwealth, not just to those near or have access to facilities and specialists in Kentucky’s major cities.
The 2023 Kids Count Data Book, a report that charts the trends in child well-being in each state, ranks Kentucky 40th in the country in areas such as economic well-being, education, health and family and community support. These factors are associated with a number of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, mental health and substance use disorders and a shorter life expectancy. This new faculty position will support KCH leadership in how to best develop strategies to improve a child’s overall well-being.
“Our kids are in crisis — more than 20% of Kentucky’s kids live in poverty, without access to medical or mental health services,” said Scottie B. Day, physician-in-chief of KCH. “We need to utilize every resource to ensure that Kentucky’s kids have the best possible start in life. What we do for kids now will impact their future and shape the Commonwealth for generations to come.”
The gift will also support ongoing projects, including:
- Zero Suicide Academy, a training program for providers and staff to effectively identify individuals with suicide risk through screenings for patients at every visit.
- LOCUS home monitoring technology for medically complex infants. This system is a bridge to health for infants discharged home between surgeries and at high risk for mortality. For families that may not have access to medical facilities in their home county, LOCUS provides them with a safe, accurate and user-friendly technology to monitor their children at home between visits, drastically reducing fatalities among these patients.
“It’s my hope that my legacy at UK is not measured in wins and losses, but by what my team and I were able to accomplish for the Commonwealth." said Stoops. "Coaches for the Kids has already had a tremendous impact, but with this new position, we have the chance to make significant and lasting changes in the lives of every child in Kentucky.”
UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.