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Sharon Price and Damon Cobble

Sharon Price and Damon Cobble

Renee speaks with the new executive director of the Community Action Council, Sharon Price, about her vision for the agency and advancing its mission of eliminating and reducing poverty. Damon Cobble, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a mental health practitioner at Jefferson County Public Schools, talks about the Minority Mental Health Project he founded.
S15 E7 Length 27:07 Premiere: 10.13.19

Community Action Council and Minority Mental Health Project

Growing up the youngest of 12 children on a Louisiana farm, Sharon Price knew the impacts of poverty on her family and neighbors. But she says she also had hope for a brighter future.

As the new executive director for the Community Action Council for Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Inc., Price now helps provide other families with hope as well as the tools they need to build better lives.

“If I can have a hand in helping anybody reach their goals – individual, family, educational, any of those things – I’m so excited about that,” says Price. “I think that that helps to strengthen the whole community for everybody.”

Price appeared on KET’s Connections to talk about the council’s education services. The program also featured Louisville therapist Damon Cobble, who explained his new Minority Mental Health Project.

Providing a ‘Pathway Out of Poverty’

The Community Action Council (CAC) serves more than 30,000 people in central Kentucky with child development, job training, housing, and other safety net services.

“They typically come to us in a crisis mode where they have a barrier that needs to be eliminated,” says Price. “So we first work with them to eliminate that barrier and then we work on setting goals with them, and we call this our pathway out of poverty.”

That pathway is different for each individual, depending on the specific needs of that person and their family. So CAC provides a range of job-training initiatives to help adults find stable employment. Price says clients can work towards a commercial drivers’ license (CDL) or a child development associate credential at no cost. Within a few weeks, she says clients can be ready to be a school bus driver with a CDL, or work in a day care, Head Start, or public school setting with the child development certification.

In terms of services geared towards children, CAC is the primary provider of the early education and nutrition program for low-income families known as Head Start. The agency has offered the program for more than 50 years, and now serves families in 19 counties. A recent $42.5 million federal grant will enable the council to expand Head Start to five additional counties in south-central Kentucky.

“Early childhood education and early intervention is the key when it comes to ensuring that children have the best chance possible at life,” she says.

Price says some parents seek help from CAC because they want their children to be prepared to enter elementary school. But she says others don’t yet understand the importance and benefits of early childhood education programs.

“Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know,” she says. “So we have experts on our staff to work with families and get them moving along in the right direction.”

Poverty isn’t the only factor that hampers the early brain development of a child. The opioid epidemic also touches Kentucky’s youngest children. Infants exposed to addictive opiate drugs while in their mother’s womb can develop neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Some research indicates that children born with NAS are more likely to develop an educational disability as they get older.

In the past year alone, Price says the number of children that CAC serves that need special education interventions has increased two-and-a-half times. She says that’s forced her staff to adapt their programming to better serve the needs of these youngest learners.

When families have a substance use problem or other challenges beyond the scope of CAC, Price says that CAC refers people to partner organizations who can help. For example, the council works with Lexington-based Chrysalis House, which offers substance abuse treatment programs for women.

“No one agency can tackle poverty alone, so we have to have the support of a great community,” says Price.

Culturally Competent Mental Health Care

Mental health treatment may not be a top priority for individuals facing poverty, addiction, or violence. But Damon Cobble hopes to change that for families living in Louisville’s west-end neighborhoods.

Cobble is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a mental health practitioner in the Jefferson County Public Schools. He’s also the founder of the Minority Mental Health Project, which seeks to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health disorders and link people in West Louisville to culturally competent mental health service providers.

“What we need to do is address to the deep-rooted issues that have plagued our community for years instead of putting a Band-Aid over the scar on the outside,” he says.

Cobble says when black families face problems, they tend to seek help from their church or faith community. But Cobble says pastors may not be equipped to handle mental and behavioral health concerns.

“They are running into situations that are just beyond their expertise and they yearn for this help,” he says.

The new Minority Mental Health Project includes training for pastors and other church leaders on topics such as how to recognize symptoms of trauma or people at risk of suicide. Cobble also plans to connect those churches with mental health providers who can offer reduced-cost or free counseling to members of those congregations and their families.

“We’re bringing therapists to the churches, we’re bringing therapists to the community,” he says. “We don’t want our community to have to go out [to the] east end or [Indiana] to receive these services.

“We’re hoping that this will take a lot off our church leaders and allow us professionals to deal with the mental, emotional part, while allowing them to continue to do their faith or their church duties.”

The counselors who participate in the project will also be trained in an Afrocentric trauma treatment model that helps clinicians understand the historical roots of grief, anger, and internalized oppression that people of color may experience. Cobb says this type of training is important because more than 80 percent of therapists in the United States are white. He says that can create trust issues among people of color who may be reluctant to pursue counseling.

Cobble is in his sixth year as a therapist in the Jefferson County schools. He says one issue he frequently encounters is students who he describes as “parentified” – that is, older children in single-parent homes who are told to look after their younger siblings when the mother or father is away. He says the child who is put in charge at home carries that sense of responsibility with them when they leave the house.

“They really struggle to relinquish that authority,” says Cobble.

That can lead to conflicts at school or during encounters with police, according to Cobble. He says most young people simply don’t have the skills to navigate parentification along with other common life stressors like peer pressure, racial discrimination, or economic instability. That’s another reason why he says it’s important for counselors to be culturally competent so that they can understand how racial history influences the lives of people of color today.

Related Content

Head Start and the Benefits of Early Childhood Development

Trauma and Toxic Stress

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: The Youngest Face of Drug Abuse

Program Details

Connections

About Connections

Each week, host Renee Shaw and a variety of interesting and engaging people - including business leaders, entertainers, authors, celebrities, and more - explore a broad array of topics impacting Kentucky and the world.

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Filmmaker Sarah Burns - S17 E3

Renee Shaw talks with filmmaker Sarah Burns about her new documentary Muhammad Ali, a six-year project that offers viewers a multifaceted look at Louisville's most famous son who went on to become heavyweight champion of the world as well as one of the world's most charismatic and controversial figures.

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Whitney Austin - Reducing Gun Violence - S17 E4

Renee Shaw talks with Whitney Austin, who narrowly survived a shooting at a Cincinnati bank three years ago. Now, she's the founder of Whitney/Strong, an organization dedicated to forging common-sense, bipartisan solutions to reducing gun violence.

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Kiley Lane Parker - S10 E29

Filmmaker Kiley Lane Parker discusses her film, Raising Ms. President, about raising the next generation of female political leaders.

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Pellom McDaniels - S10 E30

Pellom McDaniels, faculty curator of African-American collections and assistant professor of African-American studies at Emory University in Atlanta, talks about his book, The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy.

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Jay Williams - S10 E33

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams is a former mayor of Youngstown, Ohio. From the recent SOAR summit in Pikeville, he talks about how Youngstown recovered from the decline of the steel industry and how those lessons can apply to Eastern Kentucky areas distressed by the sharp downturn in coal jobs.

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Susan and Morgan Guess - S10 E34

Susan Guess and her daughter, Morgan, began the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation nearly four years ago after Morgan experienced bullying. They have raised $50,000 to bring a variety of anti-bullying programs to the region. Susan Guess was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear in 2014 to serve on the Kentucky Bully Prevention Task Force, which will make recommendations to the governor in fall 2015.

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Diabetes Epidemic - S10 E20

Gilbert Friedell, MD, and J. Isaac Joyner, MPH, discuss their book, "The Great Diabetes Epidemic: A Manifesto for Control and Prevention". The book advocates taking a public health approach to addressing diabetes, emphasizes prevention of diabetes-related complications, and encourages more community responsiveness.

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Cathy Zion - Zion Publications LLC - S10 E38

Cathy Zion became owner and publisher of Zion Publications in 1996, after a long career in banking. Her company publishes Today's Woman, and added new magazines, Today's Transitions and Today's Family.

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Gigi Butler - Gigi's Cupcakes - S10 E39

Gigi Butler opened her first Gigi's Cupcakes location just off of music row in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008 and in six short years, with 98 locations and counting, Gigi's is now the largest cupcake franchise in the world.

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Cathe Dykstra - Family Scholar House - S10 E41

Cathe Dykstra, chief possibility officer, president & CEO of Family Scholar House, discusses the Louisville organization and its impact on families and communities. Family Scholar House's mission is to end the cycle of poverty by providing housing and educational support to single-parent students and their families.

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Infant Nutrition and Breastfeeding - S10 E42

Renee and her guests discuss the health benefits of breastfeeding in recognition of national breastfeeding week, as well as provide tips on proper infant nutrition. Scheduled guests include: Doraine Bailey, MA, IBCLC, Breastfeeding Support Services with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Dept.; Ana Maria Linares, an associate professor in the UK College of Nursing and a Lactation Consultant who has conducted research on attitudes and practices around breastfeeding among Latinas in Lexington; and Nicole Peritore, program coordinator for the Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) Office at the University of Kentucky.

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Connections

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Connections

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Andre Taylor - S10 E43

Andre Taylor has a distinguished 35-year career, building and advising businesses. He's the author of You Can Still Win! and a half-dozen other books, a frequent guest expert on ABC News, and an international authority on winning and leadership. Mr. Taylor was a speaker at the 13th Annual Lexington Bluegrass Area Minority Business Expo.

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JoAnne Wheeler Bland - S10 E44

Renee talks with transgender activist JoAnne Wheeler Bland, who in her sixties transitioned from male to female. A practicing attorney for more than 40 years, she is a former Special Justice on the Kentucky Supreme Court, former Vice-President of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, current member of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education's Committee on Equal Opportunity (the Diversity Committee), and guest speaker at Women's and Gender Studies programs at Kentucky universities.

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Faith Politics - S10 E45

Renee and her guests talk about the role of religion in politics and public policy decision-making. Guests: Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, pastor of New Union Christian Church, and Rev. D. Anthony Everett, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church.

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Kinship Care - S10 E46

Kentucky has one of the highest rates in the nation of children being raised by grandparents and other relatives, also known as kinship care. Renee and her guests discuss what research tells us about the financial, emotional, and legal challenges that kinship care poses. Guests: Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, and Jeanne Miller-Jacobs, a kinship care provider.

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Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk - S11 E2

Renee Shaw interviews new Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk, who talks about his experiences in public education and his goals for the district.

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Connections

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The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia - Gerald Smith - S11 E3

Renee's guest is Dr. Gerald Smith, an author and history professor at the University of Kentucky, and co-editor of The Kentucky African-American Encyclopedia: Life and Culture in the Commonwealth. The reference book contains entries on the individuals, events, places, organizations, movements, and institutions that helped shape the state's history and cultural diversity.

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Childhood Cancer - S11 E4

September is childhood cancer awareness month. Renee talks with survivors and parents about their experiences and the research on the rare maladies striking youth.

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Kellie Blair Hardt - S11 E5

Renee speaks with special education teacher Kellie Blair Hardt, who overcame homelessness, an absent mother, an alcoholic father and school expulsion to earn her GED. She received the National Education Association Foundation's 2013 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence as one of the nation's top educators. Hardt is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education at George Mason University. She was featured in KET's series Dropping Back In.

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Jacinda Townsend - S11 E6

Author Jacinda Townsend discusses her critically acclaimed novel, Saint Monkey, a coming-of-age story set in 1950's Eastern Kentucky. The book won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Townsend is a former Hurston-Wright Award finalist and currently teaches creative writing at Indiana University.

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Dorothy Butler Gilliam - S11 E7

Renee speaks with journalist Dorothy Butler Gilliam, who was the first African-American female reporter at The Washington Post. She retired in 2003 after a 35-year career with the paper.

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Connections - S17 E8

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Allison Joseph - S11 E8

Allison Joseph is the author of six poetry books. She teaches at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where she helped found {Crab Orchard Review}, a literary journal, and the Young Writers Workshop, a co-ed residential summer program for teen writers.

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Ari Berman - S11 E9

Renee's guest is Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights and the intersection of money and politics. The title of his new book is Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.

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Miss Kentucky Clark Davis - S11 E10

Renee speaks with Miss Kentucky Clark Davis, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky majoring in vocal performance, with a minor in political science. Davis was diagnosed with dyslexia in elementary school. Her pageant platform is dyslexia awareness.

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Filmmaker Sarah Burns - S17 E3

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Diabetes Epidemic - S10 E20

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Mary Gwen Wheeler, 55,000 Degrees - S10 E16

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15K Degrees Initiative - S10 E13

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Sister Helen Prejean - S10 E12

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Jefferson County Veterans Treatment Court - S10 E11

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  • Monday September 13, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 13, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 13, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday September 13, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Charlene Buckles and Dan Wu - S17 E2

  • Sunday September 19, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 19, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday September 18, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 18, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 15, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 15, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 15, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 15, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Cynthia Knapek - Leadership Louisville Center

  • Sunday September 12, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 12, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Bill Farmer - S10 E8

  • Friday September 10, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 10, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Diane Follingstad - UK Women's Circle Endowment Chair - S10 E6

  • Thursday September 9, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 9, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Kevin Chapman - S10 E5

  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 2:20 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 1:20 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Soreyda Benedit Begley and Chris Begley - S10 E3

  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Chris Rabb - S10 E1

  • Friday September 3, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tanya Torp and Holly Houston - S9 E46

  • Thursday September 2, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Frontier Nursing University - S9 E45

  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence - S9 E44

  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marta Miranda - S9 E43

  • Monday August 30, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

  • Sunday September 5, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

  • Sunday August 29, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET

Judi Jennings - S9 E42

  • Friday August 27, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dr. Robert Hilgers - S9 E41

  • Thursday August 26, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Wil James - S9 E40

  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

African Americans and Mental Health - S9 E39

  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
Top

Season 15 Episodes

UK College of Education Dean Julian Vasquez Heilig

S15 E24 Length 26:41 Premiere Date 3.22.20

Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball/McLeod's Coffee House

S15 E23 Length 27:27 Premiere Date 3.15.20

Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon

S15 E22 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 2.23.20

Georgetown College President William Jones

S15 E21 Length 27:02 Premiere Date 2.16.20

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles

S15 E20 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 2.9.20

Kentucky House Minority Whip Angie Hatton

S15 E19 Length 28:47 Premiere Date 2.2.20

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

S15 E18 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 1.26.20

Secretary of State Michael Adams

S15 E17 Length 28:47 Premiere Date 1.19.20

Kentucky House Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins

S15 E16 Length 22:01 Premiere Date 1.12.20

Ashli Watts - Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

S15 E15 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 1.5.20

U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan

S15 E14 Length 27:18 Premiere Date 12.15.19

Inclusivity in Fashion - Frankie Lewis; RaeShanda Johnson

S15 E13 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 11.24.19

Dayna Seelig

S15 E12 Length 26:57 Premiere Date 11.17.19

Rachael Denhollander

S15 E11 Length 26:42 Premiere Date 11.10.19

Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland

S15 E10 Length 26:55 Premiere Date 11.3.19

Alice Allison Dunnigan - Pioneering Journalist

S15 E9 Length 26:37 Premiere Date 10.27.19

Sharon Price and Damon Cobble

S15 E7 Length 27:07 Premiere Date 10.13.19

Terry Brooks - Kentucky Youth Advocates

S15 E6 Length 27:47 Premiere Date 10.6.19

Aaron Thompson - Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

S15 E5 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 9.29.19

Opioid Addiction Response and Research

S15 E3 Length 28:42 Premiere Date 9.15.19

Pastor Edward Palmer

S15 E2 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 9.8.19

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers

S15 E1 Length 28:14 Premiere Date 9.1.19

Explore KET