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UKNow Vaccine Hesitancy and Political Polarization Press Release

CHSS to Hold Panel Discussion on Vaccine Hesitancy, Political Polarization

By Bess Linder and Lindsey Piercy 

Link to video recording of the event:


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2022) — On Tuesday, April 19, the Cooperative for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky will host a panel discussion on vaccine hesitancy and political polarization within the Lexington community and across the Commonwealth.

The panel is co-sponsored by the Center for Health Equity Transformation and the UK College of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“This presentation brings together public health practitioners from the community and a scholar from UK to discuss how to promote COVID-19 vaccinations among diverse populations in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in an atmosphere of heightened political distrust and polarization,” Karen Petrone, director of CHSS, said. “It is a great example of how CHSS can help find solutions to pressing social issues.”

The panel discussion, to be held from 7-8:30 p.m. via Zoom, is open to the public and will feature four speakers:

  • Kacy Allen- Bryant (commissioner of social services, LFUCG); 
  • Mark Peffley (professor, Department of Political Science);
  • Tiffany Scott (Faith Moves Mountains); and
  • Isabel Gereda Taylor (Global Lex, Mayor’s Office, LFUCG)

The discussion will focus, in part, on methods and practices the City of Lexington has implemented to promote health and wellness within underrepresented populations.

“For example, with the international population, it’s critical for us to have relationships with members of our international communities, especially with trusted community leaders,” Taylor said. “We want to gather as much need as much information as possible about our entire community to better serve them and provide access to health benefits and programs.”

In addition to community leaders, Taylor also believes political scientists can provide valuable insight on political polarization in relation to vaccine hesitancy. 

“When it comes to health messaging, we want to know what is working worldwide. It’s very important to have that cultural understanding,” she explained. “I hope this conversation will be the beginning of a powerful collaboration.”

Registration is required and can be completed here.

For more information, please contact Karen Petrone or visit the CHSS website.

About the Cooperative for the Humanities and Social Sciences

CHSS fosters interdisciplinary connections among UK faculty members and graduate students — bringing scholars together across departments and disciplines. The cooperative also facilitates engagement with local, state, national and international communities. The goal is to demonstrate the contributions and value of the humanities and social sciences in sustaining communities and solving critical issues.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.…;