The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has recognized the University of Louisville for its exemplary community engagement work at the health care clinic for racetrack workers at Churchill Downs.
Seeking to improve access to health care, the UofL School of Nursing spearheads efforts to partner with the Kentucky Racing Health and Welfare Fund to provide health care services to uninsured workers in the Kentucky horse racing industry. Many workers are non-English speaking with little access to health care or support finding health care. The partnership provides primary care, women’s health care, and mental health care to workers and their families as well as care focused on preventing costly chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
UofL School of Nursing faculty and advanced practice registered nurses Krista Roach and Dedra Hayden, who also serves as the program’s director, engage UofL Latin American and Latino Studies program students to help with interpretation, dental students to provide care to patients with complex dental cases, and nursing students to provide care alongside nurse practitioners. In addition to ongoing year-round health services, during the pandemic the program’s nurse practitioner providers played an indispensable role in addressing vaccine hesitancy among their client population.
“At UofL, we are committed to directly impacting the health and well-being of Louisville and beyond,” said UofL Interim Vice President for Community Engagement Douglas Craddock. “Our clinic for equine industry workers both cares for an often-marginalized community and provides essential hands-on, experiential learning to our students, empowering them to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve.”
“Health care provided by our highly qualified nurse practitioners is critical to helping address the shortage of primary care providers in Kentucky. The UofL School of Nursing is honored to play such an important role in providing care to those who otherwise may not have access. We are thrilled by this recognition,” said Interim Dean of the School of Nursing Mary DeLetter.
Since 2007, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement scholarship and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement missions to deepen their partnerships and achieve broader impacts in their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005.
Rebecca Turney (UofL student), Finley Barber (Duke student), Jody Dahmer (BGT), and Eileen Sember (UofL student) work to clean up the Oak Street alley.
The UofL Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil has partnered with the local sustainability-focused group Beargrass Thunder and the UofL Health Equity Innovation Hub to clean up a local alley and assess the impact of the change on residents’ mental wellbeing.
Volunteers, including UofL students and staff, cleaned up alley space along Oak Street of trash and overgrown invasive plants and added flowers, art and low-level lighting to create pleasant green space. To document the impact of improving green spaces, UofL researchers conducted online surveys of area residents before the cleanup to assess their mental wellbeing and distress.
In a year, they will survey the residents again to find out how having more nature near their homes affects their mental wellbeing.
“This is another way to assess the varied impacts ‘nearby nature’ can have. If gains in physical and mental health can be made through projects like this, it can inform city leaders and policy decisions around urban spaces,” said Jody Dahmer of Beargrass Thunder, who is leading the revitalization project.
University of Louisville social scientist Lauren Heberle has contributed to Louisville's Metropolitan Housing Coalition's housing report since 2006. The current report will serve as a roadmap for the new mayoral administration to help advocate for housing changes in the city.
The University of Louisville’s Health Equity Innovation Hub has announced more than $1 million in research funding to advance health equity for communities that have been marginalized.
The Hub was launched earlier this year as a collaboration between UofL, The Humana Foundation, and Humana Inc. aimed at closing health equity gaps facing vulnerable populations. The 10 projects awarded in this initial round of funding furthers this goal by tackling inequities in areas such as access to mental and physical health care and healthy food. Projects were eligible for up to $100,000 per year for up to three years.
Monica Wendel, who leads the Hub, said finding solutions for these challenges will create more choices for people in making decisions that affect their health.
“These factors play a huge role in our health outcomes,” said Wendel, a professor in the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences. “We all want to be healthy and whole. But the choices people make are the choices people have. For communities that have been marginalized, their choices are greatly limited by structural and social barriers. Our goal with the Hub and with this research is to dismantle these barriers, create more choices and thus empower people and communities.”
The funded projects include:
The Pharmacy Accessibility Index (PAI) Project (Lihui Bai, J.B. Speed School of Engineering);
Healing-Centered Capacity Building: Social Justice Youth Development Certificate (Aishia Brown, School of Public Health and Information Sciences);
An Examination of the Feasibility and Acceptability of a Racial Trauma Processing for Family Health Intervention (Emma Sterrett‐Hong, Kent School of Social Work);
Exploring Workforce Development, Well‐Being, and Organizational Readiness to Recruit, Retain Black American Adults Living in Low Resource Communities (Meera Alagaraja, College of Education and Human Development);
A Community-Engaged Feasibility Study of hrHPV Self‐Sampling for Primary Cervical Cancer Screening in Sexual and Gender Minorities (Mollie Aleshire, School of Nursing);
A Community‐based, Knowledge Translation Approach to Address Neighborhood Factors that Impact HIV Care Continuum Participation (Jelani Kerr, School of Public Health and Information Sciences);
Assessing risk factors associated with childhood lead poisoning in Jefferson County: Structural racism and a legacy of lead (Brian Guinn, School of Public Health and Information Sciences);
“Getting the Listening” in Louisville: Environmental Health Literacy and Justice in and around Rubbertown (Megan Poole, College of Arts and Sciences);
Empowered by the Sun: Exploring the Intersections of Housing Justice and Green Technologies in Louisville (David Johnson, School of Public Health and Information Sciences); and
Equity‐Centered, Trauma‐informed Teacher Preparation: Development and Study of a Teacher Residency Curriculum (Shelley Thomas, College of Education and Human Development).
Wendel said the Hub will work closely with researchers and their community partners throughout the projects and plans to open a new round of research funding in 2023. Many projects will be conducted in collaboration with Louisville-based Humana Inc., which will share anonymized data for research purposes.
“We’re proud to back both research and underrepresented minority researchers to help communities achieve greater health equity and improved outcomes,” said Keni Winchester, director, strategy & community engagement at The Humana Foundation. “Through the collective efforts of researchers, community partners and the University of Louisville’s Health Equity Innovation Hub, people in Louisville and beyond will thrive.”
The Hub launched with a potential total investment of $25 million from the Humana Foundation, Humana Inc., and UofL, representing one of the largest single donations in the history of the university. Humana also recently announced it would donate a fully furnished eight-story building, located at 515 W. Market St., to house the Hub’s administrative team and programming.
“This research is an important facet of the great collaboration we have with The Humana Foundation and Humana Inc.,” Wendel said. “These projects are designed to lead to scalable solutions to health equity issues here in Louisville and beyond.”
Delivering on a commitment to improve access to care, UofL Health has entered into a partnership agreement with Carroll County Memorial Hospital. The partnership allows more patients, communities and providers to benefit from the specialty expertise of UofL Health’s more than 800 academic health providers.
“We are partnering with UofL Health to bring additional resources and specialty expertise into our community,” said Kimberly Haverly, Carroll County Memorial Hospital CEO. “For our patients this means more care close to home and a seamless continuum of care for the most complex cases.”
CCMH is located in Carrolton, Kentucky, primarily serving the residents of Carroll, Trimble and Gallatin counties with a regional population close to 30,000. The hospital is located within a federally designated Medically Underserved Area.
“Reducing barriers to care and increasing access is part of the foundation for UofL Health. This partnership accomplishes both,” said Tom Miller, UofL Health CEO. “The providers and professionals at Carroll County Memorial Hospital have built a strong legacy of health care in the region and we are proud to join the team.”
UofL Health Physicians will see patients in CCMH’s specialty clinic, located within hospital, establish a routine appointment schedule depending on the need. Cardiology and vascular care were identified as immediate priorities, so appointments for those specialties are already being taken.
“Heart disease remains a top issue in Kentucky, but proactive care and regular exams can dramatically reduce risk and improve overall health,” said Dr. Henry Sadlo, a cardiologist with UofL Physicians. “Today’s heart patients have a lot more treatment options, I look forward to sharing my expertise with the Carroll County region.”
The partnership between UofL Health and Carroll County Memorial Hospital directly addresses a barrier to care identified in CCMH’s Community Health Needs Assessment: Lack of access to transportation for health services.
“I am seeing patients in Carroll County so they can receive care close to home,” said Amit Dwivedi, MD, a vascular surgeon with UofL Physicians. “My team will work in collaboration with CCMH’s family practice providers to enhance early detection and treatments to decreases the risk for vascular events, like aneurysm and strokes.”
Additional specialty care is also in the planning for Carroll County including neurology, radiology and utilizing UofL Health’s growing telemedicine program to further increase access. Alongside the patient care services UofL Health will also provide support services to CCMH including IT, supply chain and continuing education.
As a partner, Carroll County Memorial Hospital will help more communities have access to Academic health care.
University of Louisville student-athletes Kaylee Wheeler, Kathryn Schneider, Ashley Osborne, Bradley Sample, Kaden Kozlowski, and Dawson Orlowski have been named as winners of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Top Six for Community Service.
The Top Six for Service is awarded on each institutional campus annually. The criteria for this award are determined by each individual school recognizing student-athletes that have demonstrated outstanding community service and community relations. To be eligible for this award, each student-athlete log hours at community service events and programs.
Swimmer Kaylee Wheeler works predominately with adaptive sports and programs served as an undergraduate research assistant with University of Louisville research and was a disabilities ministry volunteer. This is her second appearance on the Top Six Award List.
Field Hockey player Katie Schneider has acted as a College Mentors for Kids as well as logged hours at the National Girls and Women in Sports Events and Martin Luther King Day initiatives.
Lacrosse player Ashley Osborne has been active with Bless The Block (Change Today, Change Tomorrow), Operationa Brightside Clean Up, Martin Luther King Day initiatives as well as the Jack O’ Lantern Stroll.
Men’s Soccer player Bradley Sample logged hours at the Family Scholar House and games, Churchill Park Elementary games and student mentoring. He also took part in Martin Luther King day initiatives, Adaptative Sports Programming and served as a student mentor at Newburg Middle School.
Kaden Kozlowski, a member of UofL’s co-ed cheer squad, has been active with Adaptive sports, Thanksgiving meal shopping packing and delivery, MLK initiatives and has served as a swim meet timer.
Dawson Orlowski, a member of UofL’s co-ed cheer squad, has been dedicated to providing inclusion through Adaptive Sports. He assisted with Thanksgiving meal shopping, packing, and delivery. He took part in Martin Luther King Day initiatives, acted as a swim meet timer, and assisted with the Feed the West (Change Today, Change Tomorrow) program.
A new consortium of four Kentucky health care organizations, led by the University of Louisville School of Medicine, is working to connect a wide range of health care professionals and employers to better address workforce shortages in rural and underserved parts of the commonwealth.
The Kentucky 3RNET Consortium — which also includes the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), the Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) and the Kentucky Rural Health Association (KRHA) — will maintain and promote Kentucky-specific health care job postings on the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNET), a nonprofit online portal that helps job candidates more easily find health care openings in rural and underserved communities and helps community health centers, critical access hospitals and rural health clinics recruit candidates for open positions.
Consortium members will jointly manage Kentucky’s presence on the 3RNET site to expand the types of jobs posted and increase the use of the service throughout the commonwealth among both employers and candidates seeking jobs. This is the first time that a state’s postings at the 3RNET site will be monitored and maintained by a group of partners.
“Our commonwealth faces significant health care personnel challenges. This new consortium leverages the unique perspective and expertise of each organization to engage with job seekers and employers,” said Brent Wright, associate dean for rural health innovation at the UofL School of Medicine and the brainchild behind the consortium. “If we can fill vacancies in multiple health disciplines, we will improve access to health care services throughout the state.”
KORH Director Ernie Scott said bringing the four organizations together to collectively address health care workforce shortages in Kentucky communities makes perfect sense.
“Workforce shortages cannot be singlehandedly addressed by just one organization in Kentucky or any other state. Instead, we’ve got to take a ‘village’ approach — we’ve got to come together as a unified team with a unified purpose,” Scott said. “Working together, this consortium will allow us to have a greater impact than any of our organizations could have individually.”
Ashley Gibson, KPCA’s workforce program director, called the collaboration between organizations “essential” for the recruitment and retention of employees.
“Workforce shortages in our state are making it harder for people in many communities to access care,” she said. “This collaboration hopes to reverse that trend and actually expand access to health care services.”
KRHA Executive Director Tina McCormick said her organization is always looking for ways to support its members and partner with organizations that have a similar mission.
“Access to care is vital and without the workforce to support that care, our rural areas get left out again,” McCormick said. “We hope with this partnership we will build strong bonds across the state to provide job seekers access to open positions and provide employers a mechanism to locate prospective employees for their vacancies.”
3RNET, which works at the national level to improve rural and underserved communities’ access to quality health care through the recruitment of physicians and other health care professionals, allows health care facilities to post their open positions online at 3rnet.org and lets health care professionals conduct free searches of those job openings. State-specific pages on the website — which contain information about communities, available job opportunities and loan repayment programs — are maintained by 3RNET members, including the newly formed Kentucky 3RNET Consortium.
UofL has a longstanding commitment to educate physicians for rural practice, including the Trover Rural Track in Madisonville, begun in 1998, where UofL medical students may elect to spend their final two years of medical school in a rural community hospital, the Glasgow Family Medicine Residency program, established in 1997, and the Owensboro Family Medicine Residency Program. These programs educate physicians in a rural or community hospital setting to increase the number of physicians who decide to practice in smaller communities.
UofL also co-administers the Kentucky Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to improve the recruitment, distribution and retention of health care professionals in medically underserved areas throughout the state. By leading the creation of this new consortium, UofL underscores its commitment to improve the health of all Kentuckians.
University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering is offering an elective course this semester focused on the design and prototype of educational models to enhance STEM education for blind or visually impaired (VI) students. Currently, 13 Speed School students, including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, have participated. Most of the students are majoring in chemical engineering, but some are mechanical or electrical.
Vance Jaeger, assistant professor, chemical engineering, instructs the class, teaching students about the development of models using CAD software to iteratively design and produce tactile educational prototypes with 3D printers. Since scientific and mathematical concepts are often taught through visual means like graphs, figures, equations, models and videos, these methods are insufficient for VI or blind students. Jaeger and his students are working toward the goal of creating tools for teaching VI students.
The project was granted $25,000 from NASA Kentucky EPSCOR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) funding in September 2021, with $25,000 cost share from UofL.
“The pool of money is meant to fund research that gets people kick-started in a new area,” said Jaeger.
The inspiration for the idea came from Jaeger seeing stories online about aids for blind people, while at the same time being interested in getting into 3D printing.
“The two things sort of clicked in my head, and so I contacted the Kentucky School for the Blind,” he said.
There, he met science instructor Adam Stockhausen, who is now advising the UofL students on which concepts are most needed by visually impaired K-12 students and providing feedback on design iterations. Stockhausen is also developing a curriculum guide and tutorial for other VI instructors to ensure that the models see use within classrooms across Kentucky and the United States. UofL students’ digital designs will be shared freely and openly with the maker community and educators through popular digital file sharing platforms as well.
When Jaeger was doing his research for the project, he found a great resource and ally in Mona Minkara, an assistant professor in bioengineering at Northeastern University, who is blind.
“I met her at one of the chemical engineering conferences, and told her I had some ideas about making chemical models for blind students,” Jaeger said. “She’s somebody who’s been very helpful and has resources on her website on how to reach blind students and how to make things more accessible, so she has helped me learn.”
The course crosses multiple disciplines in engineering concepts.
“Mechanical engineering is very big in computer-aided design and we don’t have much of that around here, so I think that’s a need we have in the department,” said Jaeger. “The 3D printing technology is a mixture – you have the computer side, the mechanical, electrical and chemical side, such as materials. What is the right material and material properties to convey these ideas? What plastic? What polymer? What strength of material?”
For KSB instructor Stockhausen, partnering with Jaeger and Speed School students was a great collaboration to find ways to get ideas across to his current student population.
“There were some things that I just had no idea how to approach,” he said. “Describing things with words and then having a picture up on the screen that only half of my class can access is not effective to make sure everyone has a good understanding of what we’re talking about.”
He said he’s used some models in the classroom over the last three years that have helped convey his ideas to his students.
“The ones we’re currently working on aren’t quite ready, but by the end of the UofL students’ projects, I’ll be able to bring them into the classroom and show them to my kids,” he said.
Stockhausen will continue working on the project throughout summer 2022 developing lesson plans based on the models created.
Jaeger said he believes the project will impact at least three communities of people. The main focus are the high school students at KSB and other high school students whose instructors decide to use these models. The second group are the Speed School students, who are learning computer-aided product design as well as incorporating accessibility for persons with disabilities into what they are creating. The third group is teachers.
“With 3D printing becoming more commonplace, we can make it simple enough for any instructor out there to use it,” he said.
Madelyn Peter, a junior in chemical engineering, said she was initially interested in the course when she learned they would be doing 3D modeling, something she enjoys but doesn’t often get the chance to do in chemical engineering. Another reason this course appealed to her was the combination of engineering disciplines.
“We’re mixing mechanical, electrical, all kind of things,” she said. “It’s beneficial because just like on co-op, you’re never just a chemical engineer, you’re all kinds. Having a class here that introduces you to other disciplines and having that experience has been really nice.”
She also believes the class has taught her to broaden her perspective.
“As an engineer, that’s something we should always be considering, making things as accessible as possible,” she said.
“I just think it’s great that we’re moving forward with projects in the undergraduate/graduate program with these kids working on stuff that will broaden their horizons and make them actually realize that not everything is built in the world to allow for everyone to have equal or equitable access to it,” Jaeger added. “We can try and bridge those gaps by actively incorporating that into design as we’re making it, rather than thinking of it as an afterthought.”
The University of Louisville and community partners are teaming up to send much-needed medical and other supplies to aid citizens suffering in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
UofL Interim President Lori Gonzalez and local officials gathered Friday to announce the effort through Supplies Overseas (SOS), an organization that works with area hospitals and healthcare providers to collect gently/unused medical supplies and send them to those in need. UofL surgeon Gordon Tobin, a founding board member of SOS, also participated in the announcement.
Former ambassador to the Slovak Republic Tod Sedgwick said his contacts in Ukraine stressed the need for medical supplies. The local organization has collected almost 20 pallets of supplies – worth more than $100,000 — including bandages, defibrillators, and anesthesia and orthopedic supplies, said SOS president Denise Sears. The organization also is sending personal protective equipment in response to Covid-19 concerns in the region.
SOS has worked with local philanthropist Christina Lee Brown to secure funding for the initiative, and officials from UPS have offered their services to help transport the supplies.
“This is a partnership of many elements of our compassionate community,” Tobin said, noting that the organization was created more than two decades ago by physicians at the UofL Department of Surgery, with early participation by UofL, Jewish and Norton hospitals. “And they continue to supply the needed supplies you see here today.”
Tobin said SOS has shipped more than $60 million in supplies to more than 106 countries around the world.
Gonzalez said UofL’s participation is an example of one of its Cardinal Principles, being a Community of Care. And she thanked those who have pulled the initiative together.
“This is an example of the university and the city stepping up to help those in need,” she said. “To the people of Ukraine, you are in our thoughts. You are in our prayers. And more importantly … we are able to take action to actually give help on the ground.”
People wishing to donate medical supplies can drop them off at the SOS headquarters, 1500 Arlington Avenue in Louisville, or request pick up for larger items. The first shipment of supplies to Ukraine is expected to leave Louisville early this week.