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King's Daughters Introduces Kentucky Heart Institute

Kentucky Heart Institute LogoASHLAND, KY  — In its continuing effort to improve the life expectancy of those affected by cardiovascular disease, KDMC is creating the Kentucky Heart Institute (KHI), a new corporation created to introduce the newest, most promising devices, medications and surgical procedures. The KHI also will offer continuing medical education to area physicians as well as the community.

KDMC president/CEO Fred Jackson announced the new initiative today during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Heart and Vascular Center.
He says the KHI provides an enormous opportunity to help save lives in our community and in our nation.

“This exciting new initiative will enable physicians and patients to take part in national research studies,” Jackson says. “This is not front line experimental testing. These products have been through extensive testing prior to our involvement. Our role will be to help substantiate the effectiveness and evaluate the potential uses for the products.”

“The field of cardiology has made dramatic leaps in the past 20 years, with significant improvements in our understanding of the disease process, new medicines and breakthrough technology,” he continues. “The manufacturers who make devices, such as cardiac stents, and the pharmaceutical companies who conduct clinical drug trials, have asked King’s Daughters to join them in testing and researching promising new products.“

The Kentucky Heart Institute, a nonprofit organization, will rely solely on government and foundation grants, research contracts, and philanthropic donations. The program will be linked closely with the heart and vascular specialists associated with KDMC, as well as major pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and research foundations.

Robert Touchon, M.D., medical director

Kristie Whitlatch, executive director
Cardiologist Robert Touchon, M.D., has been named medical director for the institute, and vice president of KDMC’s Heart and Vascular Center, Kristie Whitlatch, will serve as the institute’s executive director. Other physicians who will be serving as principal investigators for the KHI include endovascular surgeons Ed Martinez, M.D., and Omran Abul-Khoudoud, M.D., and cardiologist Richard Paulus, M.D.

Dr. Touchon says the goals of the Kentucky Heart Institute include:

  • improving the quality of life in the Tri-State and Appalachian region
  • reducing the devastating impact of cardiovascular disease
  • advancing medical science through integrated, innovative and progressive programs in research, education, prevention, early detection and improved patient care
  • creating access to cutting-edge technology
  • developing a forum for research that will benefit patients throughout the nation

“One in three adults in the U.S. have cardiovascular disease. Our region faces a significantly higher risk for the disease,” Dr. Touchon says. “We are excited with the impact this program will have, not only on improving the heart health of our communities, but our nation as well.”

Whitlatch says the KHI will not only be important for research, but also for continuing education.

“Through its grants and foundation work, we will also be able to take continuing medical education to a new level as well as our educational opportunities for our community,” she explains. “Through education we can promote early detection and early intervention. And we can continue to improve our care and disease management, so that people do not die unnecessarily from cardiovascular disease.”

To learn more about the initiative, please visit, or call 1-888-377-KDMC (5362).

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