The University of Kentucky will pay $300,000 to become the first corporate sponsor of a group trying to improve life in Eastern Kentucky.
Shaping our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, was formed in 2013 by Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. It has held several meetings in the region and recently hired an executive director.
According to the sponsorship agreement, UK will get branding rights and recognition as a SOAR partner but will not perform any work directly for the group. UK officials, however, said SOAR dovetails with numerous health care initiatives underway in Eastern Kentucky led by UK faculty and staff.
UK has some 125 research projects in Appalachia revolving around the five largest causes of preventable deaths: cancer; heart disease; pulmonary disease; stroke; and unintentional deaths from accidents, drug abuse and other causes.
"We are not simply the University of Kentucky. We are the University for Kentucky," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "But we have a particularly close relationship and responsibility with and for communities throughout the Appalachian region."