Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 1, 2014

MSU, UK, St. Claire ink research agreement

Staff report
The Independent

MOREHEAD — A new research center at Morehead State University will search for solutions to health issues that plague eastern Kentuckians.

The Appalachian Health and Research Center will promote research and collaboration among in the academic and health care communities, work to improve local educational opportunities in health research and seek to incorporate research findings into local health policy.

The center is a cooperative venture of Morehead State, St. Claire Regional Medical Center and the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Health Policy. Officials of the three institutions signed agreements Wednesday to form the center.

“It’s a great day,” said Morehead State President Wayne D. Andrews. “With this new agreement it will allow us to focus on some areas of research that will help us improve the lives of the citizens in east Kentucky. It’s great again to be working with St. Claire and UK.”

“The primary mission of the AHRC is to increase the capacity for innovative collaborative research based out of Morehead, which directly addresses health issues faced by residents of Appalachian Kentucky and beyond,” said MSU associate vice president for research and graduate school dean Michael Henson. “AHRC will seek to improve local educational opportunities related to health research and to facilitate the translation of research findings into local health policy.

“A lot of people worked very hard to get this accomplished and we are very fortunate to be able to form this organization,” Henson said.

Participating in the signing ceremony were Dr. Wayne D. Andrews, MSU president; Mark J. Neff, president and CEO of St. Claire Regional; and Dr. Brady Reynolds.

The AHRC will be housed in the Center for Health, Education and Research.

“I am thrilled about this new collaboration to form the Appalachian Health and Research Center based in Morehead,” said Brady Reynolds, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Endowed Chair in Rural Health Policy and co-director of the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Health Policy.

“This partnership stands to greatly increase capacity for health-related research in the Morehead area and Northeastern Kentucky, with the ultimate aim of improving health and health policy in the region. Through this partnership we will be able to accomplish research and community health goals that may not otherwise be possible.”

“We are all very proud of what has developed since we first came together for the Center for Health, Education and Research,” said St. Claire president and CEO Mark J. Neff. “We (at St. Claire Regional Medical Center) are thrilled to be working again with UK and MSU and hope to accomplish some great things.”

The center’s goals include:

‰Creating new and productive research partnerships with regional colleagues at Morehead State University, St. Claire Regional Medical Center and the University of Kentucky in the areas of health and wellness;

‰Enhancing opportunities for faculty, students and medical residents to participate in cutting-edge biomedical research;

‰Streamlining Institutional Review Board processes for collaborative projects between investigators at the associated institutions and increase the number of behavioral and clinical trials into which local residents and patients may be enrolled;

‰Promoting dialogue with the public about health, wellness, and biomedical research; and

‰Actively working to identify and translate specific research findings to local health policy to improve health in the region.

The management of the center will be shared equally by the three partner institutions.

In August 2010, Morehead State, UK and St. Claire officially opened the Center for Health, Education and Research. The center was considered the first such partnership involving a regional public university, a land grant university and a private, nonprofit hospital corporation. The $30 million facility is the largest construction project in the history of MSU. The four-story 90,000 square foot state-of-the art structure is at 216 West Second Street on the campus of St. Claire Regional Medical Center.