Community Activities in Kentucky

Are you interested in participating in our study, between the ages of 25-64, and live in either Breathitt, Boyle, Garrard, or Perry County?


We are not yet recruiting in Kentucky, but you are welcome to indicate your interest in participating here.

2023 News and Events

TEDxDanville Presentation

On October 27, Dr. Stephanie Boone, the Kentucky Core Principal Investigator (PI), presented at TEDxDanville, which focused on the transformative power of positive disruption. Dr. Boone’s presentation was titled “Rethink Epidemiology: Meaningful Engagement” and was about the value of time spent on community engagement in epidemiology and population health studies.

Paint Lick Village Fest

On October 21, Stephie Abraham and Scotland Stewart attended the Paint Lick Village Fest in Garrard County. They shared information about the RURAL study with about 50 people and connected with key stakeholders in the community.

Boyle County Fiscal Court Health Fair

On October 13, Stephie Abraham promoted the RURAL study at the Boyle County Fiscal Court Health Fair.

Perryville Commemoration Festival

On October 6 & 7, Stephie Abraham and Scotland Stewart attended the Perryville Commemoration Festival in Boyle County where they shared information about the study to about 60 individuals.

Black Gold Festival 2023

The Kentucky Core was featured as a vendor booth in the recent Black Gold Festival held on September 14-16th, making this the second year in a row that we were able to represent the RURAL study and reach hundreds of individuals over three days.

Perryville City Council Presentation

On September 7, Stephie Abraham and Scotland Steward presented to the Perryville City Council meeting in Boyle County.

Garrard County Rural Heritage Tobacco Festival

In August 2023, Stephie Abraham and Scotland Stewart promoted the study at the Garrard County Rural Heritage Tobacco Festival. They introduced the study to about 70 people and were able to connect with other community stakeholders.

Boyle County Fiscal Court Presentation

In August 2023, Dr. Stephanie Boone and Stephie Abraham presented to the Boyle County Fiscal Court, where they introduced the RURAL study to the magistrates and discuss future plans to prepare for the MEU arrival in Kentucky.

Back to School Bash

In August 2023, Caleb Williams, a Community Engagement Coordinator (CEC), had the opportunity to visit schools in both Perry and Breathitt counties during the first week of August for their Back to School Bash. The RURAL study provided glue sticks, pens, pencils, notebooks, and other materials, providing resources designed to help the children of both counties in the classroom.

Attending County Fairs to Promote the RURAL Study

In June 2023, Stephie, Scotland, and Dr. Boone promoted the study at the Boyle County Fair. We provided the local residents with information on how they could be part of our study in 2024 and gave out swag items to those that stopped by—our heart-shaped cold packs and handheld fans were crowd favorites! Later that month, the Kentucky Core attended the Perry and Garrard County Fairs to share the word of RURAL within their communities. Caleb Williams, a Community Engagement Coordinator (CEC), attended the Breathitt County Health Fair, which had close to 300 attendees who were excited to learn about the study.

Community Advisory Board (CAB) Meetings

During the week of June 18th, 2023, the RURAL Team held Community Advisory Board meetings for members of Boyle/Garrard and Perry/Breathitt Counties. We discussed the progress of the study and our community engagement timeline as we plan for the MEU’s arrival in Kentucky in 2024.

Happy Heart Luncheon in Danville, Kentucky

In February 2023, Dr. Stephanie Boone, Kentucky Core Principal Investigator, and Stephie Abraham, Research Coordinator, attended the Happy Heart Luncheon in Danville to promote the RURAL Study. Promotional items and flyers were distributed during this event.

Lancaster & Garrard City Commission Meetings

In January 2023, Dr. Boone presented the RURAL Study at the Lancaster City Commission Meeting in Garrard County and the Danville City Commission Meeting in Boyle County. Dr. Boone also met with the cardiologists at Ephraim McDowell Heart and Vascular Institute to introduce the study.

2022 News and Events

Meeting Local Boyle and Garrard County Government Officials

In December 2022, Dr. Stephanie Boone, Kentucky Core Principal Investigator, Stephie Abraham, Research Coordinator, and Scotland Stewart, Graduate Research Assistant, traveled to Boyle and Garrard Counties. There, they met with local government officials and businesses to introduce the RURAL Study and distributed flyers and postcards.

Community Advisory Board (CAB) Meeting (October 2022)

In October 2022, the Kentucky Core held a Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting for Perry and Breathitt Counties. Please see below for a full list of CAB members.

Breathitt County Health Fair

In September 2022, Caleb Williams, Community Engagement Coordinator (CEC), set up a table at a health fair in Breathitt County that was designed to help flood victims Eastern Kentucky Flooding that occurred in 2022 with health-related needs. The Kentucky Core partnered with local organizations to provide information on available resources in the community and nationally.

Black Gold Festival

In September 2022, the Kentucky Core promoted the RURAL Study at the annual Black Gold Festival in Perry County. Caleb Williams and Stephie Abraham distributed RURAL postcards and other promotional materials during this event.

Kentucky River Health Consortium

In June 2022, Dr. Stephanie Boone and Scotland Stewart, Graduate Research Assistant, attended the Kentucky River Health Consortium in Hazard (Perry County).

2021 News and Events

Visiting the Mobile Exam Unit (MEU) in Alabama

In July 2021, the Kentucky Core visited the Mobile Exam Unit (MEU) in Alabama.

Meet our Kentucky Core Team!

Stephanie Boone, PhD

Stephanie Boone, PhD

Kentucky Core Principal Investigator

Kathy Baumgartner, PhD

Kathy Baumgartner, PhD


Richard Baumgartner, PhD

Richard Baumgartner, PhD


Stephie Abraham

Stephie Abraham

Research Coordinator

Scotland Stewart

Scotland Stewart

Graduate Research Assistant

Frances Feltner

Frances Feltner

Sub-Contract Principal investigator

Melissa Slone

Melissa Slone

Sub-Contract Research Coordinator

Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams

Community Engagement Coordinator

Meet our Community Advisory Board Members

Breathitt and Perry Counties:

Kim Boggs is the Marketing Director for the Kentucky River Medical Center and represents Breathitt County. She earned a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration and a Masters in Business Administration from Midway University, Kentucky. She has worked in the healthcare field for the last 13 years, working with people of all ages. She has worked as a Director at the Senior Center, worked in philanthropy, grant writing, rural project management, and marketing. She has a vast range of skills and her favorite is working with people. She has worked in Breathitt county for 4 years and lived in Perry County for 46 years.

Kim Boggs ~ “I was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky. I have lived in Hazard for the last 20 years. Rural health and other rural issues are important to me because sometimes I feel like the people in our communities can be or feel like they are forgotten. As long as they have people like us that are willing to be a part of organizations that care about Rural health, they will never be forgotten.”

William Mace Baker was raised in Perry County where he currently lives and has lived for the past 45 plus years. He attended Hazard High School, Hazard Community College, and the University of Kentucky. He has worked a variety of jobs and has been involved in healthcare for more than 20 years as a Registered Nurse. He has worked as a floor nurse, House Nursing Supervisor, Nurse Manager, Director of Liaison and Community Services and most recently as Director of Kentucky Homeplace.

William Mace Baker ~ “Being a part of this CAB will give me the opportunity to assist those living in this area access to knowledge to live a healthier life”.

Betsy Clemons is the Executive Director of Hazard Perry County Chamber of Commerce. She represents Perry County and has resided in Perry County for over 60 years. She has a BA in Business/Accounting. She is involved in several community organizations that offer health care options, solutions, and opportunities for a healthier lifestyle.

Betsy Clemons ~ “I have been alarmed about the health concerns faced in Perry County and rural Eastern Kentucky. Diabetes, cancer, heart, lung, blood disorders are at an alarming rate. Bringing the research center to Perry County will help identify health disparities to find solutions to improve the lives of Perry County and other Eastern Kentucky residents. We live in the natural beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains with the most resilient, caring, talented residents that deserve access to preventative and accessible healthcare.”

Cristiana Rush is a lifelong resident of Perry County. She received degrees from Lincoln Memorial University and the University of Kentucky. She spent significant time working in community mental health and, more recently, as a behavioral consultant. She is currently the District Health Coordinator for Perry County Schools.

Cristiana Rush ~ “As a resident and health care professional I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Community Advisory Board promoting opportunities to improve health care and accessibility in our area.”

Boyle and Garrard Counties:

Brent Blevins has been the Public Health Director for the Boyle County Health Department since 2011. He has lived in Boyle County for the past 27 years. He has a BS from the University of South Florida and a MA from the University of Louisville.

Brent Blevins ~ “My interest is the people I continually meet in Freedom from Smoking classes who deal with COPD, lung cancer, heart problems, etc. who are searching for help in addition to improving the poor health outcomes we have in Ky.”

Jason Dean is the Vice President of Clinical Effectiveness and Administrator of Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital. He has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Utica College of Syracuse University and is working on a Masters in Business Administration from Northern Kentucky University. He represents Boyle County and has been a resident of the county since 2006.

Jason Dean ~ “I want to help our community live a healthier life and improve heart and lung outcomes for those who we care for.”

Terry M. Dunn is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Boyle County Emergency Medical Services located in Danville, Kentucky. Mr. Dunn is a licensed Minister, Social Worker, and a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University in 2013. After completing internships with Family Services Association and Harvesting Hope Incorporation both of Boyle County, Mr. Dunn worked for Signature Healthcare as the Director of Social Services for 4 years. Mr. Dunn’s faith is the driving force behind his dedicated community service as an agent for change.

Rodney Kidd is the Chief of Police for the city of Lancaster in Garrard County. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Police Administration and a minor in Psychology from the University of Cumberlands. He has been in law enforcement for 39 years. He began his career with the City of Shelbyville, Kentucky Police Department in 1984 serving until 1989. In 1989 he began a career with the Louisville, Kentucky Police Department as a patrol officer and worked his way through the department as a Homicide Investigator, Internal Affairs Investigator, and Mounted patrol officer. 1n 2001 he was promoted to Sergeant stationed in the Third Division and then transitioned to the Louisville Metro Police Department. He retired in 2007 from the Special Operations Division. Coming out of retirement in 2008, he accepted a position with the Simpsonville, Kentucky Police Department where he stayed until 2012 when he was approached by the City of Lancaster for the position of Chief of Police. He has been with the City of Lancaster for 11 years. He is married with 2 children and 5 grandchildren and represents Garrard County on the CAB.

Dr. David Knitter is a pulmonologist at the Ephraim McDowell Lung Center in Danville in Boyle County.

Audrey Powell is a Boyle County resident and has held the position of Executive Director of Community Service at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center for the past 16 years. She graduated from Indiana University School of Nursing with a BS in Nursing and MS in Nursing of Adults with Biodissonance. Since her retirement, she serves as a volunteer faith community nurse in a congregation of about 400 families. During her tenure at Ephraim McDowell Health, she led the Danville component of the HeartHealth project in collaboration with the University of Kentucky Gill Heart Institute. The aim of the project was to identify cardiovascular risk factors amenable to reduction by lifestyle changes. After the closure of the HeartHealth Study, the team applied for and received a rural health grant and, over four years, continue to screen for CV risk factors and provide participant education. Her department also ran a free clinic for uninsured individuals meeting poverty guidelines with chronic obstructive lung disease, congestive heart failure, type II diabetes, gastric esophageal reflux disease, and hypertension. The clinic’s success was tracked by the decrease in ER visits and the quality-of-life scores for the participants. Audrey has experience in nursing leadership, CCRN, and as a guest lecturer at a local university.

Laura Richard is a Garrard County native and currently the Executive Director of the Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation. In her role, she works in the community to further the foundation mission, which provides philanthropic support for various health care initiatives within Ephraim McDowell Health’s six county region. Laura is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and was inspired to participate in CAB to make sure our community has amazing health care opportunities right here ‘at home’.

Doug Simpson is the Fire Chief for the City of Danville in Boyle County. He has been with the city for 20 years and has been in the Fire Chiefs role for 2 years. He will represent Boyle County on the CAB, where he has resided for the past 5 years.

Doug Simpson ~ “I am excited about the study because heart disease in the fire service is a major issue. Fifty percent of all fire-related fatalities can be attributed to heart disease.”

Eboney W. Weathers is a Kentucky native who relocated to Danville, Kentucky, in May 2022 after living in the Atlanta, Georgia, area for the past 9 years. She retired from a very celebrated career with the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2011 with her last position being a political appointee with the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services. Mrs. Weathers is an ordained pastor, retired church planter, social media Ambassador and Influencer. In addition to currently serving on several local, state and National Boards and Commissions, Mrs. Weathers is the founder of several social clubs for women.

Eboney W. Weathers ~ “In October of 2022, my husband Larry had what would have been a fatal heart attack had it not been for the close proximity of their home to the hospital and the diligence and swift response of medical professionals. I almost lost my husband that Sunday afternoon to what many refer to as a ‘widow’s maker’ heart attack. After learning about the mission of the RURAL study, I knew I wanted to partner with such a phenomenal study for my community. I am extremely excited to serve on the Community Advisory Board.”

Contact Information:

If you have any questions or comments, please call us at 1-888-RURALST (1- 888-787-2578) or email us at RURALstudy@uab.edu

If you would like to contact the KY team, email ruralky@louisville.edu or please contact:

Stephanie Boone at 502-852-2257 or email stephanie.boone@louisville.edu
Stephie Abraham at 502-852-3992 or email stephie.abraham@louisville.edu
Caleb Williams at 606-439-3557 Ext. 83500 or email calebkwilliams@uky.edu

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