No state has been hit harder by the opioid epidemic than Kentucky.


Rates of HIV, Hepatitis C, overdose deaths and other afflictions have risen significantly due to the scourge of opioid drug abuse and addiction.

What is ravaging much of America is destroying far too many Kentucky communities. As the Commonwealth’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky is committed to meeting the challenge of opioids head on – in labs, in hospitals and clinics and directly in communities across the state.

With highly regarded researchers and clinical programs that have drawn national praise, UK and UK HealthCare are addressing opioid abuse in a multi-faceted fashion – helping those seeking recovery, and protecting those most vulnerable, such as children, caught in addiction’s deadly path.

We are making a difference. But there is much more to do. As the University for Kentucky, we are committed to the work ahead.

ABOUT UK's PATHways Prenatal and Beyond Birth Clinic

Kentucky ranks third in the U.S. in overdose deaths. Families residing in Kentucky’s rural communities are disproportionately impacted by the opioid crisis. Between 2000 and 2016, the number of Kentucky babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome soared from 19 to 1,172.

UK HealthCare, the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky, uses family-centered care to treat opioid use disorder as a chronic illness affecting pregnant women and their families during the perinatal period through its’ PATHways Prenatal and Beyond Birth clinic.
The program incorporates the best practices in the field, adhering to federal guidelines for office-based buprenorphine treatment across the spectrum of care for women, and provides a comprehensive treatment program for a highly vulnerable population with substance use disorders. Women and their families are supported and advocated for through continuous levels of care ranging from intensive medical care to sustained recovery.
UK HealthCare also has office-based opioid treatment programs, which link patients hospitalized with infections related to infectious diseases and chronic infections such as HIV.

ABOUT UK's Bluegrass Care Clinic

The rise of injection drug use has led to increased rates of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. The Bluegrass Care Clinic's mission is to provide a continuum of high quality, state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary HIV primary care in a compassionate, culturally sensitive manner.
Since 1990, the University of Kentucky Division of Infectious Diseases has provided a continuum of HIV primary care from diagnosis to end of life to over 1,300 persons from central and eastern Kentucky. These physicians are actively engaged in HIV teaching, training, and research, and serve as co-investigators for all University of Kentucky HIV clinical trials.

UK Experts

Eli Capilouto, DMD, Sc.D. President, University of Kentucky
Mark D. Birdwhistell, MPA Vice President for Administration & External Affairs, UK HealthCare

Lisa Cassis, PhD Vice President of Research at the University of Kentucky and a professor of pharmacology and nutritional sciences
Michael Kindred, MD is an assistant professor in the UK Department of Psychiatry and is board certified in general surgery and addiction medicine. He serves as the medical director for the PATHways and Beyond Birth programs.
Holly Dye serves as the program director for the PATHways and Beyond Birth programs in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing.
Nancy Jennings, BSN, RN is the PATHways and Beyond Birth nurse navigator at the Polk Dalton Clinic.
Alice Thornton, MD is a professor in the UK College of Medicine, chief of the division of infectious disease and medical director of the Bluegrass Care Clinic. Her specialties include treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and STDs, patient adherence to HIV treatment regimens, prevalence of recreational drug use and HIV-associated neurological symptoms.
Laura Fanucchi, MD, MPH associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine; her practice areas include internal medicine and infectious disease. She has conducted research to examine the ways treatment for substance use disorders can be incorporated into the hospital setting.  
Seth Himelhoch, MD, MPH is the chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Psychiatry. His research has focused on developing and testing interventions to improve access to and outcomes for people with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders. Dr. Himelhoch's goals as the new leader of the department include establishing junior faculty mentoring opportunities, increasing research efforts, and exploring telepsychiatry services. He will also work to develop a fully integrated system of care for patients with behavioral health and substance use disorders.
Sharon Walsh, PhD is a professor in the UK College of Medicine and Director of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. Dr. Walsh's research has focused on pharmacological issues in opioid and cocaine dependence. Dr. Walsh has worked with Dr. Michelle Lofwall to develop novel delivery methods of buprenorphine including a subcutaneous implant and injectable formulation.

To set up onsite interviews in Atlanta, as well as phone or skype interviews, contact Kristi Willett, 859-806-0445,, or Olivia Ramirez, 559-473-3830,