2014 Aortic Symposium



Thursday, September 4 - Saturday, September 6

Lexington, Kentucky   




[Registration]  [Hotel/Travel] [Program]

[Advocate Awards] [Credit Hours] [Day Trips]  [Early Career Program]  

[Poster Session] [Speakers] [Sponsors]

Event Description

The University of Kentucky Aortic Program is proud to present the 2014 University of Kentucky Aortic Symposium. This event will provide a forum for the integration of basic science and clinical care discussions. It will feature talks on aortic aneurysmal diseases from leading experts, as well as abstracts in the form of oral and poster sessions. The Symposium will also include forums for networking that will particularly focus on early career investigations. There also will be opportunities to visit many of the attractions of the beautiful Bluegrass Region of Kentucky.


Registration to the event is free.  Online registration is required. The registration website can be found by clicking here.

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Hotel and Air Travel

Hotel Accommodations: A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hyatt Regency Lexington. The room rate is $119 per night plus tax for single or double occupancy. Please make your reservation before August 22nd to receive the special discount. Reservations can be made by calling toll free at 800-233-1234 or visiting the following link: Hyatt Online Registration.

Air Travel: The closest airport to the symposium venues is Bluegrass Airport (LEX).  Other regional airports are Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Louisville International Airport (SDF).  Both regional airports are 70 miles from Lexington.

Ground Transportation:  Complimentary Shuttle Service is available to and from Hyatt Regency Lexington from Bluegrass Airport on a complimentary basis from 6:00 AM to 12:00 AM, daily. You are welcome to contact the hotel directly prior to your flight to arrange for an airport pickup.  In addition, a courtesy phone is available near the baggage claim area if you choose to contact the hotel upon your arrival. Return times must be arranged through the guest department at the hotel. A white van bearing the insignia of Hyatt Regency Lexington provides service to our hotel.

Additional transportation options:

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Aortic Disease Advocate Awards

The University of Kentucky Aortic Program is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Aortic Disease Advocacy Awards.  The awards were created to honor individuals who have raised awareness of the challenges associated with diagnosis, treatment and prevention of aortic diseases.  The awardees will be honored at the upcoming University of Kentucky 2014 Aortic Symposium Dinner on Friday, September 5, 2014 at Fasig-Tipton Thoroughbred Sales Pavilion.  The recipients are:

Amy Yasbeck
For her work in establishing the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health.

Mary Burchett, MD
For her work to raise awareness of aortic diseases through research and through patient, student and physician education.



Actress, Writer and Community Activist
Founder, the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health


Amy Yasbeck is an actress who has appeared extensively on both the big and small screens. Her feature film work includes The Mask, Robin Hood Men in Tights and Problem Child. Her television work includes numerous guest star and series work: most notably her role as Casey in NBC’s long-running hit comedy Wings. Ms. Yasbeck was married to legendary comic actor John Ritter who succumbed to an acute aortic dissection in 2003. Since that time, she has devoted herself to promoting awareness of this devastating disease. She created the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health to provide the medical, scientific and lay communities with an opportunity to explore their common goals.

In 2010, Ms. Yasbeck joined with Dr. Dianna M. Milewicz, M.D., Ph.D., to establish the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases at UTHealth in Houston. Together, they are working to prevent premature deaths due to thoracic aortic disease by improving diagnosis, treatment, and public awareness.

Also in 2010, along with the Thoracic Aortic Disease Coalition, she and Dr. Milewicz created The Ritter Rules: a set of life-saving reminders to recognize, treat and prevent thoracic aortic dissection.

In the book, “With Love and Laughter, John Ritter,” Ms. Yasbeck looks back with memories and anecdotes about her life with her late husband. She shares her deeply personal and ultimately hopeful journey of surviving the devastating loss. She recounts the journey that led her to become an advocate for Aortic Disease awareness and to initiate the call to action for the public and medical communities alike.




Resident Physician, University of Virginia Department of Family Medicine
Founder, Central Kentucky Local Network Group of the National Marfan Foundation

Mary Burchett is a physician who developed a passion for aortic aneurysm advocacy based on her own experiences living with Marfan syndrome. As the first member of her family affected by Marfan syndrome, Mary always felt fortunate to have been diagnosed and treated at a young age.  Therefore, Mary has worked throughout her life to increase awareness of Marfan syndrome. 

Mary’s efforts started in high school, when she developed an outreach program to educate healthcare professionals about the diagnosis and treatment of Marfan Syndrome for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.  In each presentation, Mary showed a video produced by the National Marfan Foundation (NMF) about the recognition and management of aortic dissection and then shared her personal story regarding her own obstacles in receiving a diagnosis of Marfan syndrome.  Overall, she presented to more than 120 healthcare professionals at five different clinics and hospitals throughout Kentucky.  Her project was then used as a model for future programs at the National Marfan Foundation.

After high school, Mary founded the Central Kentucky Network Group of the NMF.  She held meetings at Centre College to bring together multiple families affected by Marfan syndrome and served as a Telephone Support Contact.  She was then sponsored by the NMF to attend the national conference in Portland, Oregon, where was invited to lead seminars and serve as Teen Group Leader. 

Mary also began doing clinical research in Marfan syndrome and Heritable Disorders of the Connective Tissue while she was in college.  She was selected for a summer internship at the National Institute of Aging twice during college.  She worked in both the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation to characterize hormone abnormalities in patients with Marfan syndrome and in the Laboratory of Genetics/Clinical Research Branch to characterize physical exam findings and lipid abnormalities in patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.   She was a co-author of five posters at three consecutive national conferences of the American Society of Human Genetics.

During medical school, Mary initiated an independent research project to identify alternative splicing forms of the FBN1 gene, the gene implicated in the pathogenesis of Marfan syndrome.  Mary identified two novel isoforms and published these results as a first author.  She also presented her findings at the 8th International Research Symposium on Marfan Syndrome and at the 51st Annual Short Course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics. Based on this work, she was awarded the Saha Cardiovascular Research Award in 2012.

As a medical student, Mary also received the Emery Wilson Grant to enhance the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Genetics curriculum.  As part of this project, Mary facilitated a clinical correlation seminar for first-year medical students about Marfan syndrome.  After leading this seminar for three years, Mary was able to increase awareness about the diagnosis and management of Marfan syndrome and aortic disease to more than 300 medical students at the University of Kentucky.

Since Mary has started her residency in Family Medicine at the University of Virginia, she continues to use every opportunity available to educate other physicians about Marfan syndrome and aortic disease.  However, she believes that her most meaningful contribution so far has been the individual patients that she has diagnosed with Heritable Disorders of the Connective Tissue, who might not have been diagnosed otherwise.

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Early Career Program 

The symposium will feature an Early Career Program on Thursday, September 4th.  This session will feature oral presentations that will be selected from abstract submissions.   Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes with 5 minutes for questions.  Abstracts will be selected from those submissions that indicate the presenter is an Early Career Investigator.  Early Career is defined as any student, fellow, or faculty within 5 years of initial appointment.  Abstract submission deadline for the Early Career Program is August 1, 2014.
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Poster Session
A Poster Session is scheduled for Friday afternoon.   To be included in the Poster Session, an abstract must be submitted by August 22, 2014.  All Early Career posters will be judged. The most meritorious presentations will be recognized with awards at the symposium dinner.  Details of abstract submission and poster requirements can be found by clicking here.
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CME Credit Hours
Up to 9 continuing education credits for physicians will be available through UK Healthcare CECentral.  
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Day Trips

The planning committee has put together several options for day trips for spouse or significant others.  If you would like more information, please contact Tanya Graf.
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If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Tanya Graf.

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