University of the Cumberlands (UC) was honored to have Dr. Jeffrey Howard, the Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner, speak to current physician assistant (PA) students, along with faculty and other health profession students. 

A good portion of Howard’s lecture focused on the importance of public health. He stated Department of Public Health’s mission and what they do to achieve that mission. He also went into detail about the budget and costs of this system. 

The lecture also included other topics like social inequalities and how they affect quality health care, especially in Appalachia. Other objectives he had were the structure of public health and pressing health issues in Kentucky.  

“We can all agree that health is important,” says Howard.  “We need a population that is healthy so our state can be prosperous.”

Issues such as the massive Hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky were important aspects in Howard’s discussion. He explained the substance abuse crisis across the state as well as the costs behind these epidemics.

Howard finished off his lecture with advice for the people in attendance. “Be conservative. Take chances. Get a second or third graduate level degree. Find a hobby that you are passionate about. Make time for yourself. Be involved in local and state politics,” he told the students.

“I really think it’s important for influential people like Dr. Howard to come and talk to students,” said a PA student in attendance. “It’s a change in pace and allows us to ask successful people questions in a relaxed but professional environment.”

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online degree programs. Learn more at