A monthly newsletter from the UK College of Medicine to keep you updated
on important news, announcements, events, and programs
as they relate to your medical education.

Click here to view the January 2022 Newsletter.

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For medical students at the University of Kentucky, the COVID-19 pandemic not only shifted their learning experiences, but also demonstrated to them how prepared they are to impact the world through their future careers in medicine.

Jarrett Grace, Class of 2024, Northern Kentucky Campus
Many of Jarrett Grace’s family members work in health care fields, so they already had witnessed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients in their communities. But when they caught the virus, they felt the fear firsthand.

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Devon Clifton was wide awake in his third-floor apartment as sirens rang and strong tornadoes ripped through western Kentucky late Friday, Dec. 10. The next morning, he saw “gut-wrenching” destruction.

Clifton and many of his fellow students at the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus can’t drive to class without passing homes and buildings that have been flattened. The tornadoes that struck towns in western Kentucky – including Dawson Springs, Mayfield, and Bowling Green – killed more than 75 people.


Martha Sim, MD, a graduate student at the College of Medicine, knew it was possible she would witness a pandemic in her lifetime, but she did not expect it to happen so early in her research career. Yet in 2020, COVID-19 spread rapidly across the globe.


For medical students, education doesn’t end with Match Day or graduation. It’s a lifelong journey full of continuous learning, skill advancement, and personal growth.

As director of student success, Emily Scanlon, MEd, has the responsibility of making sure the UK College of Medicine is supporting students during, and after, medical school so they are well prepared for the challenges ahead in their careers.

“I often work with students in specific situations or for individual needs, but almost everything we discuss can be applied to their future,” Scanlon said.


Greg Gerhardt, PhD, is a professor of neuroscience and researcher with the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) and Brain Restoration Center, as well as advisor for the MD/PhD program. He currently serves as co-principal investigator for the Brain Restoration Alliance in Neurodegeneration (BRAIN). In the following Q&A, Dr. Gerhardt shares more about his current projects.

Q: Why did you want to pursue a career in neuroscience research?

A monthly newsletter from the UK College of Medicine to keep you updated
on important news, announcements, events, and programs
as they relate to your medical education.

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The College of Medicine is excited to announce the appointment of the next chair of the department of internal medicine after a comprehensive national search. Darwin L. Conwell, MD, MS, FACG, has accepted the position and will officially join our faculty on April 4, 2022.


By the time she became a faculty member at the UK College of Medicine, Susanne Arnold, MD, was arguably more prepared than anyone to treat Kentuckians and educate future physicians.

She was introduced to the medical field early and was surrounded by it. She recalls taking a preserved human brain to show and tell when she was in grade school (which she jokes wouldn’t happen now, though her classmates thought it was pretty cool). In high school, she shadowed physicians in a clinic, and she gained clinical experience observing autopsies before she even started medical school.


Ten years ago, when Amrita Iyengar was pursuing an undergraduate engineering degree, she sought a program that would take her far from her hometown of Maysville, Ky. She landed on the University of California at Berkeley, which, of the schools to which she applied, was the furthest possible distance from home.

Engineering was an exciting career path. It eventually led Iyengar to building cars at Tesla and General Motors, followed by a brief stint in nanomanufacturing research at the University of Texas-Austin.

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The University of Kentucky football team has invigorated the campus community with one of the best seasons in the program’s recent history. In October, the Wildcats earned an exhilarating win over Florida, as well as a 21-point victory over 2019 national champion LSU.   

A monthly newsletter from the UK College of Medicine to keep you updated
on important news, announcements, events, and programs
as they relate to your medical education.


A medical student will take dozens of tests before graduation and will be presented thousands of questions. As that student advances, those questions will become more complex.

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Roberto Gedaly, MD, and Francesc Marti, PhD, investigators in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Surgery, have noticed a year-over-year increase in liver transplants at UK HealthCare.

“Not only has our volume gone up significantly,” Dr. Gedaly said, “we’re actually going to break a record of liver transplant patients this year.”

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Everything U.S. Olympic fencer Lee Kiefer had been training to achieve came to fruition this summer when she won gold in women’s individual foil at the Tokyo Games. The exhilarating win cemented her into the history books as the first American fencer to medal in the event.

“Luck, preparation, fight – everything came together that one day,” she said.

Kiefer and her husband, U.S. Olympic fencer Gerek Meinhardt, just wrapped up a cross-country trip – San Francisco and New York City – to show their families their hardware. (Meinhardt earned a bronze medal in men’s team foil.)

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Mara Chambers, MD, is an associate professor of medicine in the division of medical oncology with an interest in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. She also serves as chair of the Markey Cancer Center’s Clinical Care and Research Team (CCART) for breast cancer and is on the UK College of Medicine Admissions Committee.

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The University of Kentucky College of Medicine has received the 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

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National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. In the following Q&A, Carlos Marin, assistant dean for community and cultural engagement, discusses what the month means to him and what he wants others to know about being Hispanic.

Q: How do you identify? What is your national/cultural background?

A: I have always identified as first-generation Mexican-American, but also, as Tejano.

Q: What does Hispanic/Latinx Heritage month mean to you? How do you celebrate or observe?

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Brian Higgins, PhD, has been named one of the few medical educators across the world selected for this year’s prestigious Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Health Professions.

Through the annual Harvard program, Dr. Higgins will learn evidence-based teaching strategies, tips for effective curriculum design, leadership styles, and other skills that will be useful not only for his own teaching, but for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine as a whole.

A monthly newsletter from the UK College of Medicine to keep you updated
on important news, announcements, events, and programs
as they relate to your medical education.