Search for first Kentucky Artist Innovator in Health Underway

A search is underway for the first Kentucky Artist Innovator in Health (KAIH), who will work in partnership with community members to create a digital, arts-based, intervention for obesity-prevention that focuses on the cultural drivers of trust, hope, belonging, and loneliness. Kentucky artists interested in leveraging technology to create change are encouraged to apply for this eight-month paid residency working in Louisville and Jackson, KY.  

Many organizations have come together to make the KAIH possible. IDEAS xLab is working with the University of Louisville’s Center for Creative Placehealing and Center for Health Organization Transformation, both based in the UofL School of Public Health & Information Sciences (UofL SPHIS). UofL SPHIS faculty and students will also be involved, providing research support and a four-day public health training boot camp.  

“We’re developing an entrepreneurial population health workforce who thinks differently about how to solve deeply entrenched challenges that requires new approaches,” said Theo Edmonds, Director of UofL’s Center for Creative Placehealing. “The KAIH residency brings together transdisciplinary teams of community members, researchers, practitioners, and creatives, which is the foundation of our pioneering approach to cultural wellbeing.” 

A cornerstone of the KAIH residency is training on the Universal Community Planning Tool (UCPT) developed by the Public Health Department of Garrett County in Maryland. UCPT uses open-source technology to equip communities with sustainable, culturally responsive strategies. 

“The Kentucky Artist Innovator in Health will work alongside community members and researchers to adapt the UCPT platform for Kentucky. This digital collaborative will increase equity and support data-driven decisions,” said Josh Miller, co-founder and CEO of IDEAS xLab. “We are excited about this chance to reframe how we approach urban-rural collaboration in creating a more healthy, just, and creative Kentucky.”  

The KAIH Residency is supported by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; a County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Community Collaborative Learning Fund award; and State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services. 

“Obesity rates continue to rise in Kentucky and across the nation. We know if we want to address this serious health issue, we need to try new approaches and think outside the box. Culture impacts almost everything we do, including how we talk and think about food. We’re excited to see the direction this project will take,” said Elizabeth Anderson-Hoagland, MPH, Health Promotion Section Supervisor, Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services. 


Kentucky artists interested in applying for the KAIH residency are invited to submit an artist information sheet (accessible here) and CV to by 11:59pm ET on Wednesday, October 9, 2019. 



  • Stipend: $15,000 + travel expenses 

  • Duration: 8 months (approximately 375-400 hours) 

  • Travel to Louisville, KY and Jackson, KY; possible travel to Garrett County, Maryland 

  • Residency includes both in-person and virtual learning modules and community engagement 

  • Artist should have an interest in leveraging digital tools to create change (social media, web-based engagement, digital art, etc.) and co-creation with community and partners. 

The KAIH residency timeline:

  • Month 1: Public health bootcamp through University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences. (4 days total)

  • Month 2: Training on the Universal Community Planning Tool (UCPT) developed by the Public Health Department of Garrett County, Maryland.

  • Month 3: Develop and deploy community engagement approach for creating Kentucky’s custom UCPT for cultural wellbeing related to obesity prevention.

  • Months 4-6: Launch prototype UCPT and create place-based arts engagements facilitating community participation with UCPT, adapting platform when needed based on community input.

  • Month 7-8: Work with UofL and IDEAS xLab to review and reflect back community-created data / priorities generated through artistic engagements and UCPT. These findings will then be utilized by initiative partners to explore opportunities for public health entrepreneurship, sustainable community-guided initiatives, and culturally-responsive policy-making.

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