Community Partnerships

Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology

Community Outreach and Educational Core

The primary goal of the NIEHS COEC of the Center for Environmental and Integrative Biology (CEGIB) is to educate disadvantaged communities in the Louisville Metropolitan Area (nine counties in Kentucky and four counties in Indiana) on the importance of interactions between genes, environment, culture, and disease.  Our initial focus population has been the fast-growing Hispanic community of Shelbyville in Shelby County, Kentucky.

Program Objectives
1.  To establish an infrastructure model in Shelbyville and Metro Louisville Area, using a train the trainer model of education and lay health workers.
2.  To assess environmental health literacy of target community residents in order to prioritize their needs and customize the interventional program.
3.  To develop an environmental health curriculum that addresses the needs of the community and that relies on community leaders for dissemination of environmental knowledge among residents of Shelbyville and Metro Louisville Area.

Dr. Irma Ramos, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, is the director of the CEGIB community outreach and education core.

Click hereto learn more about these activities and program partners.

National Children's Study

The National Children’s Study (NCS) is an important, exciting federal initiative to provide critical new information regarding environmental influences on children’s health and development in a carefully constructed longitudinal study of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21. The NCS aims to measure how children are affected by a broad range of factors — including neighborhood safety, chemical exposure, health-care access and bombardment by electronic media. Combining those findings with genetic information could help determine the root cause of many disorders, including diabetes, autism, asthma, schizophrenia, birth defects and learning disorders. The Study will assess how environmental and genetic factors interact — for example, whether a gene that's known to cause a particular disease might be activated by an environmental cause such as chemicals or stress. That could help doctors decide which patients need special attention, such as preventive efforts, vaccines or frequent testing.

NCS-JC includes participants from the School of Public Health and Information Sciences (Drs. Ramos and Tollerud), Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, School of Medicine-Departments of Pediatrics and OB/GYN.  A Community Advisory Board was established that includes: Jill Bell from Passport Health Plans, Dr. Faye Jones from UofL Child Health Specialists, Shannon Turrner from University Health Care, and Joan Buchar from Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Partnership for a Green City

Partnership for a Green City was launched in August 2004 to protect the environment and improve overall quality of life in the community. Objectives include environmental education, public health and environmental management.

The partnership consists of the University of Louisville, Louisville Metro Government, Jefferson County Public Schools.  Committee members from UofL include the KY Institute Environment & Sustainable Development (KIESD), School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS), Center for Environmental Education/College of Ed & Human Development, Geography/Geosciences Dept., Pediatrics/UCHS, School of Medicine (SOM), School of Nursing (SON).  Other committee members include representatives from JCPS; Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness, Passport; KY Lung Assoc.; Kosair Children’s Hospital-Child Advocate/Ed. Dept; Air Pollution Control District.

Dr. Robert Jacobs, Professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, is the SPHIS representative to the Environmental Health/Climate Change Committee. Click here to read about the committee’s goals.

Project Waterway Improvements Now (WIN)

Clean water is essential for our well-being and continued growth. There is a direct link between clean water and healthy communities.  To address the challenges of improving our water quality, the Metro Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) will embark on a comprehensive sewer improvement program that will eliminate major sources of water pollution throughout Louisville Metro. The new initiative is called “Project WIN” (Waterway Improvements Now).  Planned upgrades under Project WIN will allow MSD to comply with Clean Water Act regulations.

Project WIN will address problems with combined and sanitary sewer overflows.  During rain storms, the sewers become overloaded with rainwater and discharge the combined water and sewage into local streams and the Ohio River. Project WIN will ensure that Louisville Metro residents and future generations will enjoy all the benefits of clean streams for many years to come.

Dr. David Tollerud, Chair, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, is point of contact for this initiative.

MSD - Wet Weather Team

In summer 2006, Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) chartered a Wet Weather Team to assist with the development of an integrated Wet Weather Program (now known as the Integrated Overflow Abatement Plan or IOAP) to address the community’s problems with combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) that may occur under wet weather conditions. Project WIN (Waterway Improvements Now) is MSD’s initiative to implement the IOAP.  The Wet Weather Team consisted of community representatives, elected officials, and MSD personnel. This group of stakeholders assisted MSD in making decisions in the design of the IOAP, so that these decisions could be made wisely and in ways that best meet the needs of the local community.

The Wet Weather Team completed its charge in December 2008, when it submitted the Vision for the Integrated Overflow Abatement Plan and a Stakeholder Support Memo to the MSD Board. Both the Vision and the Stakeholder Support Memo received full consensus support from the Wet Weather Team stakeholder group.

Dr. David Tollerud, Chair, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, is point of contact for this initiative.

For more information about these activities, contact the Department for Environmental and Occupational Health at

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