UK HealthCare

UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health hosting medical equipment drive for National Disabilities Awareness Month

ACAT Project Manager Keisha Wells, ACAT Director Patrick Kitzman and ACAT Laboratory Technician Crystal Hignite. Photo provided by Beth Bowling.
In recognition of disabilities awareness month, the UK CERH and the Appalachian Center for Assistive Technology (ACAT) will hold a durable medical equipment (DME) drive each Friday until the end of March.

HAZARD, Ky. (March 15, 2024) — This March, the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH) is joining with the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) and others across the nation to raise awareness about the importance of including people of all abilities in all facets of community life.

This year’s national disabilities awareness month theme is “A World of Opportunities,” celebrating people and working together to remove obstacles. According to NACDD, the goal is to build a community that's committed to creating a world where everyone can do well and succeed. Join us in making a world where all people have the chance to thrive.

In recognition of disabilities awareness month, the UK CERH and the Appalachian Center for Assistive Technology (ACAT) will hold a durable medical equipment (DME) drive each Friday until the end of March. Anyone having used medical equipment like walkers, canes, wheelchairs, shower chairs or other similar items, may drop off donations in the front lobby of the UK CERH at 750 Morton Blvd. in Hazard each Friday, 10 a.m.-noon. 

A dedicated team of employees and students at the UK CERH will refurbish the items and donate them to others in the community through Project CARAT Eastern Kentucky, a service learning project in which students receive special training to clean and refurbish DME items and distribute to individuals in need.

The ACAT offers a wide range of services to eastern Kentuckians, including the opportunity to borrow assistive technology devices through a short-term loan locker service.  ACAT also provides a maker space, workforce training, consultations and demonstrations, and is home to a number of related programs including Toys with a Purpose, a free lending library with adapted toys, and CARAT-TOP, a 10-week training program for high school students of all abilities. ACAT is a member of the Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) Network

For more information about the DME donation drive or the many services and programs available at the ACAT, contact Keisha Wells at, or visit

The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health was established by state legislation in 1990 to address health disparities in rural Kentucky and the unique challenges faced by our communities. The mission was and still is today to improve the health and wellbeing of rural Kentuckians. For more than three decades, the Center has partnered with communities, providers, students and individuals to provide health professions education, health policy research, health care service and community engagement toward reaching this mission.

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.