UK HealthCare

UK Co-Hosts "Staying Alive 2009"

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 31, 2009)Staying Alive 2009: Parenting Adolescents, a youth suicide prevention initiative, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, at the Four Points by Sheraton, 1938 Stanton Way, Lexington. The conference is presented by the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign in association with The Ridge Behavioral Health System and the UK Department of Pediatrics.

"Suicide and suicide-related behaviors are a significant health and public policy concern," said Dr. Hatim Omar, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and chief of adolescent medicine and the Young Parent program at Kentucky Children's Hospital.

Dr. William Hacker, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, will open the conference. Following the welcome, Omar will discuss the main aspects of adolescent development, youth suicide statistics, and adolescent depression and factors contributing to youth suicide.  Marlene Huff, associate professor of pediatrics, UK College of Medicine, and a social worker in the adolescent medicine program at Kentucky Children's Hospital, will discuss the incidence of adolescents with special health care needs, the challenging aspects of physical and mental special health care needs, and parenting issues related to adolescents with special health care needs. Huff also is the president of the National Association of Social Workers, Kentucky Chapter.

Dr.  Donald Greydanus, professor of pediatrics and human development and residency director of the pediatrics program, Michigan State University, will speak on the role of parents in the prevention of adolescent problems and the role of vaccines in disease prevention in adolescence.

Other presentations include Dr. Frank Biro, professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine and director of adolescent medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and chair of the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, who will review physical changes in pubertal development and parenting issues during puberty; Dr. Dilip Patel, professor of pediatrics and human development, Michigan State University, and adjunct professor of speech pathologyand audiology, Western Michigan, who will review risk factors of sports injuries in adolescence, the physical and psychological impact of injuries, and address parenting issues of the adolescent athlete; and Dr. Artemis Tsitsika, lecturer in pediatrics and adolescent medicine and founder and scientific supervisor of the adolescent health unit, University of Athens-Greece, will discuss Internet use by adolescents and pathological addiction to the Internet, including prevention, symptoms and treatment. Following will be a panel discussion on eating disorders, the parental perspective on parenting adolescents, and the adolescent perspective on parenting.

In 2005, over 32,000 suicides occurred in the United States, which made suicide the 11th leading cause of death. Suicide was the third leading cause of death for 10 to 24 year-olds. Thousands more are hospitalized or treated in ambulatory care settings as a result from suicide attempts. In 2000, the cost of medical treatment for injuries resulting from suicidal behavior was $1 billion, which indicates that suicidal behavior has a significant financial cost, in addition to the well-documented emotional and psychological toll it has on survivors, family, and friends.

Kentucky is not immune to the problem of suicide, as its suicide rate is 18th highest in the nation. In Kentucky, over 500 lives are lost to suicide each year, which is almost twice the number of deaths from homicide and HIV combined. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Kentuckians 18-34 years of age. In addition, in 2003, self-inflicted injuries accounted for almost 3,000 hospital admissions.

The conference fee is $50 if registered by Sept. 1. After that, the fee is $75. For more information and to register, contact or call (859) 323-6228. To register by mail, make checks payable to Stop Youth Suicide Campaign and send to Leanne Mallory, Adolescent Medicine, J-420 Kentucky Clinic, 740 S. Limestone,  Lexington, Ky. 40536.