University of Louisville
2323 S. Brook St.
Louisville, KY 40208
Addressing the needs and interests of our diverse communities locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.
Paige Newquist, a UofL School of Nursing graduate student, is on a mission to increase access to healthy foods in Perry County, Kentucky.
Newquist and Nikki Enlow, a graphic design student at Hazard Community College, have launched a public health information campaign as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. The project is overseen by UofL Professor Frances Hardin-Fanning and is sponsored by Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties.
Newquist, a research scholar, also works at UofL Hospital as a physical therapy technician and has been an active member of the UofL COVID vaccination team. She will graduate in May 2022 with plans to work in orthopedic nursing in Louisville. She uses her skills from her undergraduate research courses to review scientific evidence about the health impact of foods, which is guiding her work with the Perry County program.
As part of the educational campaign, Newquist shares spotlight information on different fruits and vegetables each week on the Perry County Facebook page; for example, “Garlic can be made into an extract and it has been effective in lowering blood pressure in people with uncontrolled hypertension … Garlic can help improve our artery’s flexibility, which results in lowered blood pressure, improved heart health, improved aerobic fitness and a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease.”
The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is a grant-funded project aimed at increasing access to foods that support healthy eating patterns. Perry County, located in Eastern Kentucky, has an adult obesity rate of 47% – 12 percentage points higher than the 35% average for Kentucky. Seventy-four percent of adults who live in Perry County are overweight, and just 10% get their recommended fruit and vegetable intake. The Aetna Foundation issued the grant to Perry County in July 2020.
UofL’s School of Nursing also leads the Food & Faith Coalition, a partnership with either other organizations. In addition to increasing access, the coalition aims to increase food security screenings, grow retailers’ donations to nonprofit food programs and improve the interconnected work of 16 county organizations that provide food to community members.
Read more about Newquist’s work with this project on the UofL School of Nursing website here.
During a time when local and national attention is focused on calls for changes in policing, collaborators from the University of Louisville, Spalding University, Seven Counties Services and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, have initiated planning for a community-centered alternative response model for Louisville 911 calls best served by mental health and social services professionals rather than traditional police engagement.
Diversion Options: Voice and Empowerment (DOVE) Delegates is a research and development partnership that will design an alternative response model that meets Louisville’s unique needs, based substantially on input from the city’s residents and those directly impacted.
The need for an alternative response model derives from community concerns about instances in which law enforcement officers engage with individuals experiencing behavioral health crises.
Susan Buchino, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) and assistant director of the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK), will co-lead UofL’s research effort with Tony Zipple, an executive-in-residence at SPHIS.
“We have the opportunity to create a program that reduces the criminalization of intellectual and behavioral health conditions by using community-care practices and linking people to appropriate health and social services,” Buchino said.
Those involved in the project will assess best practices from other cities, analyze local data and organize community forums. Although similar models have been highlighted nationally, Louisville’s DOVE Delegates planning process is intentional about learning from the work of others while ensuring the model fits the context and climate of Louisville. DOVE Delegates will seek input of invested community members, as well as city leaders, behavioral health and social service providers, and representatives from advocacy organizations.
The Spalding University School of Social Work will concentrate on organizing focus groups of Louisville residents to learn about their experiences and to integrate their input into planning and decision-making. A community survey launched this month with focus groups to be held throughout the city. School of Social Work Chair Shannon Cambron will lead Spalding’s involvement, and Louisville social worker and community organizer Khalilah Collins will serve as a project manager on the forums, which aim to elevate the voices of those whose lives may have been negatively impacted by current systems and practices.
Experts from Seven Counties Services will contribute insight from the perspective of a mental health services provider, focusing on behavioral health crisis response.
The work of UofL, Seven Counties and Spalding will be combined into a progress report that will be presented this summer to Louisville Metro Government, which is providing support to the DOVE Delegates through funds focused on reimagining public safety, including forfeiture monies from the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Recommendations will be made for implementation of a pilot program in the city’s 2022 fiscal year. The goal of implementing such a model is to create a positive health and economic impact on the community.
The Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities is supporting DOVE Delegates through a federal Transformation Transfer Initiative Jail Diversion grant from the National Association of State Mental Health Project Directors.
Key to its community engagement, DOVE Delegates has seated a 20-person accountability/advisory board made up of representatives from around the city and from a range of professional and personal backgrounds. The board was formed to ensure accountability and transparency to the community, and it will provide recommendations and insight into the planning and development process while supporting outreach and engagement efforts of the project.
University of Louisville athletes Kaylee Wheeler, Katlyn Harbsmeier, Makenzie Kelley, Sam Minrath, Meghan Schneider, and Jenna Servi were named as the Cardinals’ recipients of the 2020-2021 ACC Top 6 for Service Award.
Each year the Atlantic Coast Conference honors six University of Louisville student-athletes that have shown a commitment to service throughout the school year with the Top 6 for Service award.
Wheeler, a junior on the women’s swim and dive team, collected the majority of her hours over the past year through her work with CrossRoads Missons, University of Louisville research, and Southeast Christian Church. She worked to manufacture medical masks with CrossRoads Mission, served as an undergraduate research assistant with University of Louisville research, and was a disabilities ministry volunteer for Southeast Christian Church. Wheeler has dedicated a total of 234 hours to the Louisville community.
Servi, a sophomore on the softball team, has been an avid volunteer for the Kentucky Humane Society. She has fostered dogs over the past year and participated in events for the shelter. She has also volunteered with Feed the West, Air Force Reserve, and Blessings in a Backpack. Servi has dedicated a total of 200 hours to the Louisville community.
Schneider, a senior on the field hockey team, has done a great deal of volunteer work with the American Red Cross. She has consistently served as an ambassador for the American Red Cross and was an active volunteer for the San Diego Food Bank over the summer. Schneider has dedicated a total of 106 hours to the Louisville community.
Minrath, a junior on the field hockey team, has a diverse community service portfolio. She has spent many hours donating her blood plasma and platelets for COVID ICU patients to the American Red Cross. She also ran the Cardinal Cupboard on campus, served as a facilitator for One Love programming, and was a note taker for the University of Louisville Disability Resource Center. Minrath has dedicated a total of 78 hours to the Louisville community.
Harbsmeier, a sophomore on the Ladybirds dance team has participated in a wide variety of service opportunities over the past year. She has worked with the American Heart Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Kentuckiana Stroke Association, the Louisville Urban League, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Harbsmeier has dedicated a total of 68 hours to the Louisville community.
Kelley, a sophomore on the Ladybirds dance team, is being recognized with the Top 6 for Service award for the second year in a row. Kelley participates in many different service opportunities that impact the youth of Louisville. Makenzie has served as a Backpack Buddy, a Card Pal, an elementary math helper, and participated in many Read Across America week opportunities. Kelley has dedicated a total of 67 hours to the Louisville community.
The Plan Room, a new business accelerator created by OneWest to assist minority-owned construction companies in developing their businesses, is receiving support for its mission from the University of Louisville College of Business.
The Plan Room, specifically designed as a resource for racial minority contractors and construction business owners to help them grow their businesses, launched with a virtual workshop in February based on curriculum recommendations from UofL College of Business leaders.
“We met with OneWest leadership and developed a focus group to assess the needs of the business community and then developed a curriculum plan,” said Robert Garrett, director of the UofL Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship and chair of Management and Entrepreneurship, who coordinated the effort. “We then identified six areas for workshops to help participants learn specific skills.”
Those skill areas include: landing great projects, developing project management skills, effective networking, management skills and financial management and technology skills specific to the construction industry. Early users of The Plan Room also received access to the College of Business’ Project Management Certificate. UofL faculty will develop the curriculum for project management and management skills.
“We are fortunate to have the partnership and expertise of the UofL College of Business as we develop the curriculum for The Plan Room,” said Evon J. Smith, president and CEO of OneWest, a community development corporation committed to elevating the city through commercial development growth in west Louisville. “Their executive education team jumped right in to get to the essential knowledge and skills related to this industry. This approach is so important, and the UofL team gets it – you have to start from what the clients want, not from an assumption based on any one group’s perspective.”
Garrett said the project is the kind of opportunity the college is eager to engage in to empower the local business community.
“We want to be valuable partners with the community by supporting minority enterprises and helping all constituents of the population be successful. It is our opportunity to be a good neighbor,” Garrett said. “I am genuinely excited to be participating in this project. The Plan Room is very professionally run by committed and passionate people.”
Todd Mooradian, dean of the UofL College of Business, hopes the college will share its strengths in more of these types of projects in the community.
“We hope this is the first of many collaborations between the College of Business and OneWest for the purpose of economic development and wealth creation in our city, with a special commitment to ameliorating legacy disadvantages and improving access for everyone,” Mooradian said. “This effort targets the construction industry, but the college’s core competencies revolve around teaching business skills across sectors, and our mission compels us to invest in using those strengths to improve social and economic justice.”
Emily Vitale, director of business development for OneWest, said the needs assessment and curriculum plan developed by the UofL group were important assets to guide The Plan Room’s activities.
“Thanks to the UofL data collection process, we know the specific areas of competency to focus on with our Minority Business Enterprise construction accelerator programs at The Plan Room – from building and managing the business and projects, to growing and implementing the technology skills that are so prevalent in the construction industry today,” Vitale said.
The first workshop, held Feb. 27, focused on teaching entrepreneurs how to create, discover and take advantage of business opportunities, and the second workshop is in development. Although the workshop was held virtually, The Plan Room soon will inhabit a physical space where it will support business owners through education, training, mentorship and networking opportunities.
Along with the workshop series, The Plan Room provides the business owners with services ranging from procurement and bid opportunities to technical assistance, and aims to help business owners connect with minority-owned firms, mentors and professional service providers who understand the construction industry. Additional support for The Plan Room is provided by Louisville Central Community Center, KPFF Consulting Engineers and the 7PM Group.