By Betty Coffman -

Community Engagement

Addressing the needs and interests of our diverse communities locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.

News

All the world’s a stage this summer for UofL students and faculty

UofL Jazz students performing in Ecuador
UofL Jazz students performing in Ecuador

UofL’s School of Music is going worldwide this summer with an especially long list of travel opportunities on the books.

Students and faculty are learning, teaching and performing in such far-flung locales as Ecuador, Costa Rica, Vienna, Austria, Denmark, Korea and Thailand.

It’s no wonder as “advancing the art of music globally through the work of faculty composers, performers and researchers” is a key goal in the school’s mission statement.  

“The faculty and students of the School of Music have been increasingly active from an international perspective for the past dozen years or more, with the current summer representing a kind of apex of these opportunities in terms of the nature of international programs in which we are involved and the numbers of music students and faculty members participating in some fashion,” said Christopher Doane, dean of the School of Music. “Our students and music faculty members expect to have these opportunities as a part of their UofL experience and we have been fortunate to have the international connections and network of friends, donors and music alumni to make these opportunities possible.”  

 

Costa Rica performance
Costa Rica performance

 

Kimcherie Lloyd, director of Orchestral Studies, traveled this May with 32 students – both instrumentalists and singers – to perform in Costa Rica’s National Theater for a concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Instituto Costarricense Pro Música Coral.

The trip, which included sightseeing, masterclasses and other performances, was commended in official letters signed by the president of Costa Rica.

It was the second such trip to Costa Rica for the School of Music. Students performed there five years ago as well. Both trips were a result of connections formed when Josue Ramirez came to UofL to study piano performance in 2010 as a Fulbright Scholar.

As amazing as that first experience was, this one was even better, Lloyd said. The

 

Costa Rica
Costa Rica

 

hospitality, comraderie and quality of music shared was incredible, she said.

“I cannot say enough about our Costa Rican friends who hosted us,” Lloyd said. “It was extraordinary … I think the students would say it was a life-changing experience. There were lots of tears when it was time to leave.”

Jessica Wise, who graduated this spring with her Masters in Music in Flute Performance, agreed.

 

Mike Tracy, Jazz professor, plays with students in Ecuador

 

“Playing the flute duet in the Bach Magnificat with my duet partner Katie McDonald in the National Theater was my favorite part of the trip. To play in such a beautiful hall filled with musicians and a full audience is an experience I will never forget,” she said. “My host family was also absolutely incredible and my favorite part of the trip too. They made me feel a part of their family and so welcome. It was very difficult to leave them. They invited me back to their homes in the near future, so I hope to travel back to Costa Rica and see them again soon.” 

The trip marked the beginning of a formal exchange program between UofL’s School of Music and Costa Rica’s National University School of Music, which will ensure many more students will have similar experiences in years to come.

Other international trips for the School of Music this summer include:

Jazz in Ecuador

Twenty students and faculty from UofL’s jazz program joined Mike Tracy, Jazz Program director, for an exchange program at the Universidad de las Américas Escuela de Música in Ecuador. Read more about the trip on Tracy’s blog.

Music Therapy in Vienna

The music therapy study abroad program is traveling to Vienna, Austria and Denmark in June. The group will visit the University of Music and Performing Arts and participate in a music therapy career day with the famous Vienna Boy’s Choir. In Denmark, they will attend the European Congress of Music Therapy. Students will present a workshop with Petra Kern, UofL music therapy professor.

Cardinal Singers in Korea and Thailand

Kent Hatteberg will lead the award-winning Cardinal Singers on tour to perform in Korea and Thailand June 20-July 8.

Comstock Piano from Germany

Even the instruments are in on the globe-trotting action. Piano faculty members Anna Petrova, Krista Wallace-Boaz and Naomi Oliphant traveled to Hamburg, Germany, to pick out a new Steinway piano for Comstock Hall. The purchase was made possible by a bequest from donor Helen Lang. Click here to see Oliphant performing the piano before it makes its journey back to Louisville. 

 

Piano faculty select a new piano for Comstock concert hall
Piano faculty select a new piano for Comstock concert hall

 

UofL Hospital’s Burn Center telehealth pilot program offers improved health care access

Molly O'Keefe, J'Aime Jennings, Michelle Broers and Jodi Wojcik-Marshall
Molly O'Keefe, J'Aime Jennings, Michelle Broers and Jodi Wojcik-Marshall

As the only provider of burn wound care services in Kentucky and a larger 250-mile radius inclusive of areas within Indiana and Illinois, the UofL Hospital Burn Centerhas piloted a telehealth program to reduce barriers for patient follow-up care.

“Travel distance, along with often other serious health conditions, make it difficult for patients to get to a weekly appointment,” said Jodi Wojcik-Marshall, MSN, APRN, ANP-BC, manager of the UofL Hospital Department of Advanced Practice Nursing and nurse practitioner in the Burn Center. “We saw a need to reduce the high number of missed appointments by reducing access barriers.”

In response to the need, a telehealth burn wound care pilot initiative was developed in collaboration with J’Aime Jennings, PhD, assistant professor and co-director, Center for Health Organization Transformation at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences.

Jennings led the effort to translate the outpatient burn center’s in-person standards and protocol into a telehealth format.

The program uses the technology BlueJeans for providers Wojcik-Marshall and Michelle Broers, PT, DPT, CWS, FACCWS, to have a dialogue with patients during telehealth visits. Each patient downloads the free BlueJeans app to their smartphone or device and uses a unique connection number to sign in for each appointment.

“We found both in the literature and in early observations of this pilot benefits not only for patients but also for home health providers and family members who help the patients with their treatment,” Jennings said.

Jennings and her team are in process of evaluating patient and provider satisfaction surveys. Next steps include determining adjustments to the program, and how the burn center may expand the initiative to benefit more patients.

UofL’s Trager Institute launches support group for those who care for older adults

Caregiver support
Caregiver support

Just in time for the Kentucky Oaks, the University of Louisville Trager Institute has launched its own “OACS” – a new support group for those who care for older adults. The Older Adult Caregiver Support, or OACS, group is open to UofL employees and retirees, along with UofL Hospital and UofL Physicians employees.

The effort is an outcome of the strategic initiative to make UofL a great place to work. Anna Faul, executive director of the Trager Institute, and Paula McGuffey, assistant director of the Gheens Science and Research Planetarium, are co-chairs of the committee tasked with creating the support group.

“Our goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment for caregivers of older adults,” Faul said. “It can be overwhelming, and often people don’t know where to turn to learn about resources and support.”

OACS is an extension of the expanding services for older adults and caregivers offered by the UofL Trager Institute. The group will be hosted on the UofL Trager Institute’s Facebook page, and participants also may participate in periodic education seminars. The first event is an Alzheimer’s Disease Simulation on May 13 from noon til 1 p.m. at the Gheens Science Hall Rauch Planetarium on the Belknap campus. This event is open to both the OACS group and to the general public. Register online here.

“We are thrilled about the launch of this new employee resource,” McGuffey said. “Providing high-quality support groups such as OACS can contribute to the health and well-being of our UofL community, making UofL a great place to work.”

To join OACS, visit the UofL Trager’s Facebook page here

UofL Hospital offering service, health education experience for teens this summer

Closing the tech gap: UofL, IBM partnership aims to prepare next-generation workforce

The University of Louisville and IBM today announced the establishment of an IBM Skills Academy that will provide future-focused curriculum.
The University of Louisville and IBM today announced the establishment of an IBM Skills Academy that will provide future-focused curriculum.

The University of Louisville and IBM announced a partnership that includes the establishment of an IBM Skills Academy focused on digital learning and technology skills. It will be housed in the newly-created Center for Digital Transformation in the Miller Information Technology Center on the Belknap Campus and will open by the start of the fall semester.  

Specifically, the academy will provide curriculum and educational tools concentrated on eight fast-growing technology areas: artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, cybersecurity, cloud computing, internet of things, quantum computing, data science and design thinking.

Through IBM’s existing Academic Initiative, IBM will make available software and cloud technology with an estimated value up to $5 million a year.

“But the value of this far exceeds that figure. When you have two great institutions working together, who can say where the opportunity lies?” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, who made the partnership happen along with Naguib Attia, IBM’s vice president of Global University Programs, after the two met recently at an event.

 

IBM's Naguib Attia and UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.
IBM’s Naguib Attia and UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.

 

This skills academy is the first of its kind that IBM has developed with a higher education institute. The company is in discussions with four universities to open similar academies in the United States. Attia said the initiative is starting here because of Bendapudi’s “passionate leadership.”

“When I heard about IBM’s vision to try and bridge the digital divide, I knew we had to work quickly,” Bendapudi said. “It is important for us to be nimble with this, to be truly transformative, to say, ‘We see what’s coming, how can we be proactive?’ I am extremely grateful to IBM.”

Bendapudi said students will benefit from the academy through course credit and IBM certification, while faculty will be trained on skills curriculum to then be able to teach colleagues and students. But the benefits are expected to extend well beyond UofL’s campus, as trained faculty will also serve as workforce development agents for the community.

Attia said over 120 million jobs will be affected within the next three years by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Indeed, the share of jobs requiring AI skills has grown 4.5 times since 2013. Global spending on blockchain solutions in 2018 equated to $2.1 billion and is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2024. Meanwhile, the global cybersecurity market, currently valued around $120 billion, is expected to jump to over $300 billion by 2024

“These skills are the most critical issue of our time and the south has the highest number of employees without an education beyond high school,” Attia said. “If we don’t work to close this gap, it could have a negative impact on millions of people.”

Because of the pervasiveness of these emerging technologies and the speed at which they’re evolving, Attia noted that such skills training will be available for all students, regardless of their area of study.

“The future is not going to leave the good people of Kentucky behind,” he said.

City, state leaders react to announcement

Underscoring the impact this announcement has locally and state wide, today’s press conference was attended by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Congressman John Yarmuth, Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, and – via video –Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I attend a lot of events where I can say ‘this is a great day for Louisville.’ But with this announcement, I can say this is an important day for Louisville; this is a critical day for Louisville,” Yarmuth said. “The world is changing at 100 miles an hour and this initiative will deal with issues of the future, including the benefits and challenges of technological change.”

Mayor Greg Fischer added that the academy will help build on the city of Louisville’s employment growth trajectory from the past eight years – about 80,000 new jobs – noting that nearly every new position includes some technology skill requirement.

“Our goal is to quintuple the amount of employees receiving technology training every year and this (partnership) is exactly what we’re talking about,” Fischer said. “If we’re not integrating technology in everything we do, we’re really missing the boat.

In a prepared statement shown via video, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell said the academy will further advance UofL’s upward trajectory and help push the boundaries of technology while providing the tools students, faculty and researchers need to be leaders in their fields.

“We shouldn’t have to rely on the west coast and the northeast corridor to be nimble in high-tech areas,” Bendapudi said. “This is a game changer for UofL and for the commonwealth.”

More information about the IBM Academic Initiative is available online

UofL’s International Center marks 70 years on campus

UofL's current international students.
UofL's current international students.

For UofL’s International Center, 2019 is shaping up to be something quite special as it marks its 70th anniversary milestone. The center began in 1949 downtown during a time when the United States’ role in global security and economic and cultural affairs were escalating, post World War II. 

According to “University of Louisville Belknap Campus,” written by Tom Owen and Sherri Pawson, when the center relocated to the Belknap Campus, it began facilitating international exchanges, promoted foreign trade, welcomed visiting scholars and dignitaries from around the world, and helped the growing student population feel at home.

In 1970, with financial support from the community, the International Center built its current location behind the Brandeis School of Law. In 1981, it was named for Romanian immigrant George Brodschi, the center’s first executive director, who served from 1949 to 1978.

Now, the center is tasked with multiple obligations as it is split into two offices: the Office of Study Abroad and International Travel, and the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). The Office of Study Abroad and International Travel sends students abroad to study, research, and participate in internships and community engagement. This office also provides advice on travel regulations and host country requirements, assists with enrollment processes, collaborates with university departments on international opportunities, processes transcripts, and collects faculty/staff international travel documentation and more.

The Office of International Students and Scholar Services receives students, scholars and faculty from more than 100 countries. They currently process immigration documents and provide support for over 1,000 students and scholars each year.

 

Destinee is one of the 800+ students who study abroad annually through the Office of Study Abroad and International Travel.
Destinee is one of the 800+ students who study abroad annually through the Office of Study Abroad and International Travel.

 

As the center marks this milestone, however, Thomas Beard, interim director of International Student and Scholar Services, said what he is most proud of are the students who have been served through the center.

“Many of these students go on to be future leaders within their communities and that starts within this office,” he said. “You cannot quantify the global experiences that this center provides and I believe that these experiences have translated into better leaders, scholars and engaged faculty, staff and students toward their local, national and global communities. Opening up this global perspective to the UofL campus has been the center’s biggest impact.”

Virginia Hosono, director of Study Abroad and International Travel, explains that study abroad not only allows students to see the world and experience different educational systems, but it also affords students the opportunity to use their critical and creative thinking skills while immersed in other cultures. Study Abroad further benefits students’ career opportunities by providing more life experiences and personal connections. Indeed, students who study abroad are two times more likely to find employment within 12 months of graduation. One goal for the Office of Study Abroad is to continue to work closely with other departments on campus to make international experiences an integral part of the curriculum.

Through all of its work, the center’s core objective is straightforward – to improve the world through education, research, outreach and engagement.

The center has hit a number of milestones throughout its 70 years, including:

  • George Brodschi founded the center in 1949 with a vision of having a place where international people, like himself, could call their own.
  • The Board of Trustees appointed Brodschi as the director that same year. At the time, his appointment was for a one-year trial period. The center had two international students – from Peru and Bolivia.
  • In 1950, the American International Relations Club was created to promote cultural awareness among students on campus.
  • From 1959 to 1960, Dr. Brodschi’s long-planned project – a separate building for the International Center – was realized with funds from friends of the IC, prominent builder Maria Pantoja and architect Arthur Tafel. The building was completed in 1970.
  • In 1980, after the building was remodeled into two parts – the International Student and Scholar Services on the top floor and the Office of Study Abroad on the first floor.
  • In 1992, the International Center was at risk of being eliminated due to budget cuts, but because of student protests and an outpouring of support from other universities and businesses, the proposal was dismissed.
  • In 2018, Kimber Guinn, a study abroad adviser, went to Romania for a year to teach English through a Fulbright Award.

For Beard, the biggest milestone remains the actual creation of the center.

“Having a center dedicated to global perspectives is a pretty big milestone and especially in 1949,” he said.

Since 1994, the ISSS office has had approximately 14,648 students come through its doors – an average of more than 90 countries represented on campus each year. And, the number of students who participated in international activities has increased by 200 percent since 2005/06.

“Seventy years is a big milestone and I hope we keep growing as we progress for the next several years,” Beard said.

The center’s goals for the next several years are to simply make “global” a part of UofL’s identity and to find ways in which to bring international and education-abroad students’ voices to the UofL community.

“The center is an integral part of the mission and vision at UofL,” Beard said. “UofL still has much progress to make if we hope to fulfill our mission of inclusiveness. Local and global cannot be exclusive of one another if we are to be ubiquitously recognized as a great place to learn, work and invest because we celebrate diversity, foster equity and strive for inclusion.”

The International Center plans a formal celebration to mark its 70th anniversary in the fall. More information will be available soon.

UofL’s annual Engineering Expo inspires young minds

Young, future scientists play with a snow-like substance called sodium polyacrylate.
Young, future scientists play with a snow-like substance called sodium polyacrylate.

More than 400 area K through 12th graders attended University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering’s annual Engineering Expo earlier this month. Students had the opportunity to enjoy a day full of fun, hands-on activities such as turning powder to snow, playing video games and seeing drones fly. 

“It’s important to get the community involved in engineering activities” said Marty Brown, a UofL engineering student and one of the organizers. “We want the future to be engineering and this is a great way to have fun while showcasing engineering as well.” 

In addition to these activities, the E-Expo also included some competitions. Students, for example, were tasked with designing Rube Goldberg, chain reaction machines. The students’ goal was to design a contraption that could spin a wheel around at least once. Jacob Prather and two of his friends created one of the more elaborate Rube Goldberg designs, which included a rocket, toy race-cars and a Ferris wheel. 

“We all like electricity and other scientific forms so it’s a good opportunity to apply those things and you get to make a project that achieves a goal and is fun to work on,” said Prather. 

The UofL engineering students who helped organize this event hope these activities and competitions will inspire these young minds to eventually pursue engineering as a career. 

Check out some highlights from the event: 

 

Researchers to study homelessness, provide recommendations to city task force

By JULIE HEFLIN

Susan Buchino, Ph.D., OTR/L
Susan Buchino, Ph.D., OTR/L

As city officials and organizations work to address homelessness, University of Louisville researchers are working to inform decisions of the Homeless Encampment Task Force appointed by Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer.

Susan Buchino, PhD, OTR/L, assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, is leading a team of researchers from UofL’s Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK) and Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research (CCTSJR) to analyze the situation in the city.

Under a $50,000 contract through the Coalition of the Homeless funded by the city, the UofL team will determine national best practices and provide an assessment of the existing continuum of care for individuals experiencing homelessness in Louisville. This gap analysis between the city’s existing services and best practices can provide direction for strategic planning and next steps toward ensuring individuals without stable shelter in Louisville have access to the services and resources they need to find and maintain housing.

“Homelessness impacts the health and safety of not only those who experience it, but of our entire community,” Buchino said. “We are excited to partner with the Coalition for the Homeless and Louisville Metro to further understand homelessness, and to help identify potential solutions to a pressing problem in our hometown.”

Other UofL researchers include Catherine (Cate) Fosl, MSW, PhD, co-director of CCTSJR, director, Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, and professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Lora Haynes, PhD, associate professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Kelly Kinahan, PhD, AICP, assistant professor, Department of Urban and Public Affairs; Diane Zero, MEd, CIK graduate research assistant and doctoral student; and Jamie Beard, administrative assistant, Anne Braden Institute.

“Understanding why the number of persons living on the streets and in encampments has increased needs to be the first step in helping people find shelter. This study will be vital as we work together to help our homeless neighbors hopefully transition to a stable home,” said Sherry Duffy, MS, CIK’s Deputy Director.

The project will conclude in June 2019 with a comprehensive report that will include recommendations on policies, practices and funding to aid Louisville in progressing toward a reduction in the number of individuals who remain unsheltered.

 

‘Heart of a Champion’ to help Smoketown residents with heart health

By Betty Coffman -

Erica Sutton, MD, a general surgeon with UofL Physicians and associate professor at the UofL School of Medicine
Erica Sutton, MD, a general surgeon with UofL Physicians and associate professor at the UofL School of Medicine

 

A new initiative between the University of Louisville and several community partners will help residents of Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood learn their heart health, and connect them with the right care.

The free clinics will be held in Smoketown starting Feb. 9 and last into the spring and early summer. Participants will learn how healthy their heart is and their risk of heart attack and stroke, and those who need treatment will be given a referral for care. Health insurance is not required.

Inspired by Smoketown’s Muhammad Ali, who trained for boxing in the neighborhood, “Heart of a Champion” is a partnership between the UofL schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health and Information Sciences; the Have a Heart Clinic; UofL Physicians; the UofL Envirome Institute; Surgery on Sunday; the American Heart Association; UofL’s Get Healthy Now; IDEAS xLab; Dare to Care; YouthBuild; Smoketown Family Wellness Center; and several Smoketown-area churches.

“With February being American Heart Month, it’s the perfect time to kick off these screenings,” said Erica Sutton, MD, a general surgeon with UofL Physicians and associate professor at the UofL School of Medicine who will lead the UofL doctors staffing the clinics.

“This is a model for community-engaged care, where we work with partners in the community who are taking care of a population we want to reach. It’s important for us not just to open our office doors to people, but really provide a presence for health and access to care by going out into the community.

“In Smoketown, there’s an abundance of heart disease, and we have the ability to make an impact on risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity and smoking. And screenings are a well-known tool to identify heart disease before the heart is irreversibly damaged. The saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ really rings true here. Not only is prevention or identifying the potential for heart disease easier and more cost effective, but it’s healthier than trying to cure it.”

American Heart Month is a program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The month aims to encourage and motivate everyone to adopt heart healthy behaviors, including screening for risk factors.

Referrals will go to the Have a Heart Clinic and University of Louisville Physicians, and Surgery on Sunday also will be providing services. Sutton also volunteers with Surgery on Sunday.

The clinics will be held at churches and community centers in the Smoketown neighborhood. UofL doctors will staff the clinics, assisted by students and residents from school.

Other UofL faculty involved include cardiologist Andrew DeFilippis, MD, an expert in cardiovascular diseases whose research focuses on cardiovascular risk prediction, and cardiothoracic surgeon Kristen Sell-Dottin, MD.

Clinic dates

No advance registration is required. Dates and locations for the clinics are:

  • Bates Memorial Church (620 Lampton St.)
    • Feb. 9 (Saturday) from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    • Feb. 10 (Sunday) from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Smoketown Family Wellness Center (760 S. Hancock St., Suite B100)
    • Feb. 23 (Saturday) from 12 to 2 p.m.
  • Coke Memorial United Methodist Church (428 E. Breckinridge St.)
    • June 2 (Sunday) from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Grace Hope Presbyterian Church (702 E. Breckinridge St.)
    • (TBD)
  • Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church (1030 S. Hancock St.)
    • (TBD)
  • YouthBuild (800 S. Preston St.)
    • (TBD)

Clinic services

Participants will get screenings for factors that affect heart health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol, body mass, diet, exercise, use of tobacco products and sleep. Arterial ultrasounds also will be available.

A heart health profile will be provided, as well as information on actions to take to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Those who attend will also be able to participate in short informational sessions on diet (including how to cook healthy foods), exercise (including low-intensity options), better sleep and smoking cessation.

Heart disease prevention

In addition to screenings to learn risk, the likelihood of heart attack and stroke can be reduced by:

  • Lowering cholesterol (consider what you eat)
  • Burning calories every day (exercise or walk) and strength training (you can use your body to strength train)
  • Decreasing stress (meditate or relax)
  • Eating a healthy diet, including heart-healthy foods
  • Stopping smoking
  • Finding a physician

Sign up for updates on the clinics online here. For questions about the Heart of a Champion program, contact Lora Cornell, senior program coordinator at the UofL School of Medicine, at 502-852-2120.

 

Unique relationship between SPHIS and city’s public health department

The School of Public Health and Information Sciences and Louisville Metro Department of Public

 Health and Wellness (LMPHW) share a common location - with buildings on opposite sides of Gray Street, and a common goal of creating a healthier population.

A long-standing partnership between the two organizations undergirds the school’s mission to educate future public health leaders. Sarah Moyer, MD, MPH, is the director of LMPHW and holds a faculty appointment at the school. This unique arrangement allows students to learn from top-level officials who are shaping the profession and responding to trends. A similar arrangement is expected with the future leader of LMPHW’s Center for Health Equity, with instruction on health policy and opportunities for students to become involved in data sets and center projects.

“It is strategic for the health department and academia to be joined at the hip, because we can accomplish more together,” said Dean Craig Blakely.

A new senior capstone opportunity is the most recent accomplishment of the partnership. An inaugural cohort of five students rotate through LMPHW departments this semester, gaining experience in all aspects of public health and working on projects ranging from literature reviews to public health preparedness initiatives. School leaders will present this innovative model at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health’s spring meeting.

As students learn vital skill sets in the classroom and on the field, more than a dozen SPHIS alumni have applied their education in careers at LMPHW, holding positions such as academic health coordinator, community health administrator, environmental health specialist, epidemiologist andhealth program analyst.

Blakely added, “The school is grateful to have nearby public health alumni who support current students by giving of their time as guest speakers, career panelists and practicum supervisors.”

Meet Our Alumni

We reached out to the SPHIS alumni working at the health department to learn about their current experiences and experience at SPHIS.

BILLIE CASTLE, PHD (2017), MPH, ACADEMIC HEALTH COORDINATOR

  • Responsibilities: Coordinates student experiences, engages in research, practice, and service, and publishes products that highlight the contributions the health department is making to the field of public health and impact to the health and well-being of Louisville residents and visitors.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “My experience at SPHIS has prepared me to work with a variety of people, who have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and outcomes. It has prepared me to work alongside others to improve population health.”
Yu-Ting Chen, MPH

YU-TING CHEN, MPH (2009), MS (2010), EPIDEMIOLOGIST

  • Responsibilities: Manage several databases (Louisville Metro Syringe Exchange Program Database, Vital Statistics, Hospitalization Claims, etc.), analyze and interpret data to perform epidemiologic studies, monitor program reports, lead the data analysis skillset lab team, and cooperate with external agencies on data issues and data sharing
  • Experience at SPHIS: “Not only I’ve learned fundamental public health knowledge and methods/theories to do my job right, but also had a chance to be connected with LMPHW as an intern when I was a SPHIS student. This helped me understand what is really going on in the field and what challenges they have. I think the relationship between SPHIS and LMPHW is very unique and valuable.”
Angela Graham, MPH

ANGELA GRAHAM, MPH (2015), COMMUNITY HEALTH ADMINISTRATOR

  • Responsibilities: Leads a team of epidemiologists, data managers, and records specialists who focus on finding ways to elevate the work the health department does as it relates to data as well as analyzes data to help partners and colleagues understand challenges. Develops and operationalizes programs and policies. Collaborate with community partners to tackle larger issues, such as improving maternal-child health and promoting health equity across the city.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “We spent a lot of time working in small teams and talking about ways to address issues from different perspectives, and I think that collaborative learning environment helped set me up for Public Health 3.0. As a practitioner, I’m essentially doing the same thing on a bigger scale.”
Taylor Ingram, MPH

TAYLOR INGRAM, MPH (2013), HEALTH PROGRAM ANALYST

  • Responsibilities: Project Manager and Consultant on short-term projects (2 years or less in length). Currently serves as the Deputy Logistics Coordinator for LMPHW’s Hepatitis A response team, co-leads a team focused on expanding LMPHW’s capacity around policy development, manages a legal epidemiology research team which analyzes policies that offer incentives to small food retailers to alleviate food deserts, manages a grant to implement routine opt-out screening for HIV and Hepatitis C, and also served as the project manager for the 2017 Smoke-Free Ordinance to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes and hookah in pubic indoor spaces where smoking was already prohibited.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “My time at SPHIS helped me establish a broad public health lens and a collaborative spirit. I learned that the practice of public health doesn’t have to happen in a silo or in a particular setting. Since graduating I have worked in the nonprofit, private, and now public sector; and I have never focused on the same issue twice. Earning my MPH provided me with a foundation of knowledge and skills that I can now apply in any setting or use to address any health concern.”

TOM MURRO, MPH (2013), ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST

  • Responsibilities: Performs food safety inspections at facilities which hold health permits (i.e. restaurants, daycares, hospitals, convenience stores). Site leader for various Hepatitis A mobile vaccination sites during the peak of the outbreak.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “Going through the MPH program helped prepare me for my current role by providing course work directly relevant to working in Public Health. The information you obtain during the first year will be utilized frequently in any public health profession you choose to work in, having had experience in health behavior or epidemiology for example does not directly apply to my everyday field work, but I use the information I gained from those courses frequently.”
Haritha Pallum, MPH

HARITHA PALLAM, MPH (2010), MS, EPIDEMIOLOGIST

  • Responsibilities: Data analysis, LMPHW program evaluation, Healthy Babies Louisville (HBL) collective impact evaluation, GIS mapping, quality assurance function for Healthy Louisville Dashboard.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “SPHIS faculty/staff support and guidance played a key role in the completion of my practicum internship, and my immediate recruitment into the current position at LMPHW.”
Mary Powell, MPH

MARY POWELL, MPH (2011), EPIDEMIOLOGIST

  • Responsibilities: Works in the Communicable Disease office, investigates illnesses, submits questionnaires, data entry/analysis, and is involved with the Hepatitis A outbreak.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “I learned to see situations from multiple perspectives. Working with students from other backgrounds can be challenging but ultimately you all learn from each other and can use these skills in the work force.”
Matt Rhodes, MPH

MATT RHODES, MPH (2015), DIRECTOR OF HEALTH OPERATIONS

  • Responsibilities: Provides leadership and oversight for environmental health, public health preparedness, health services (WIC and Healthy Start), laboratory services, clinical services (TB, STD, and Methadone), as well as the communicable reportable disease(s) and syringe exchange programs.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “The experience through SPHIS was very much an applied experience for me personally and allowed me to blend years of practical experience with the academic teachings. Understanding the science of epidemiology and biostatistics better and grasping the context for public health law, along with increased knowledge of healthcare management and a better understanding of theories and models impacting health behaviors, helped make me a more well-rounded public health practitioner.”
Terrel Young, MPH

TERREL YOUNG, MPH (2018), HEALTH PROGRAM ANALYST AND OUTREACH SPECIALIST

  • Responsibilities: Develops partnerships and strategies with community agencies and serves as liaison to the department, completes special projects, and prepares reports, evaluates programs, and measures program outcomes, monitors, tracks, documents and evaluates public health prevention and wellness programs, activities, and operations, and compiles data for report development.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “Honestly, I thought that my experience at SPHIS was just going to be busy work in order to obtain my degree. However, of the two years that I was there, I found out who I really wanted to be within this healthcare field. This experience shaped me into a mature individual, and I learned many life lessons from my instructors and going through my own personal journey. Many of the assignments from the courses or practicum I use in my everyday work. The objectives that SPHIS promotes are applicable to healthcare in all areas. The experience is a depiction of the real world in healthcare.”
Ciara Warren, MPH

CIARA WARREN, MPH (2014), ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST

  • Responsibilities: Works in the Public Facilities department, which inspects swimming pools, hotels, tattoo/body piercing studios, micro-blading, mobile home parks, schools, youth camps and shelters, is involved in rabies control activities, responds to complaints, and is part of the hazmat response team.
  • Experience at SPHIS: “The experience through SPHIS allowed me to blend years of practical experience with the academic teachings. Therefore, it was very much an applied experience for me personally. Better understanding the science of epidemiology and biostatistics and grasping the context for public health law, along with increased knowledge of healthcare management and better understanding of theories and models impacting health behaviors served to make me a more well-rounded public health practitioner.”

Acknowledgements

We strived to include all SPHIS alumni who currently work for LMPHW in this article. In addition to those listed above, we also want to recognize the following alumni: Sandra Melendez, MPH (2017), Community Health Nurse Specialist; Libin Korah, MPH (2010), Environmental Health Specialist; and Ryan Irvine, MPH (2018), recently retired and former Assistant Director.

If you are a SPHIS alumni and would like to share your story, please notify Paige Wills, paige.wills@louisville.edu.

Also, please keep an eye out for a future installment with advice for current/prospective students from this fabulous group of SPHIS alumni

UofL researchers examine mental, medical effects of older inmates

UofL's Kent School of Social Work is working with Kentucky Department of Corrections on a study of older prison inmates, their health needs and how it might impact corrections' release policies
UofL's Kent School of Social Work is working with Kentucky Department of Corrections on a study of older prison inmates, their health needs and how it might impact corrections' release policies.

Researchers at the Kent School of Social Work are conducting interviews with older male inmates in Kentucky prisons as part of a study aimed to see what effects being an older inmate has on mental and medical health.

“Mentally, emotionally, it is so stressful. It’s unreal,” said 58-year-old inmate Anthony Trotter. “I was just here two years ago and the difference in two years is astronomical to me.”

Despite reform efforts, Kentucky’s inmate population is rising, along with the average inmate age. They are getting treated for problems that may be more expensive and tougher to address on the outside. Looking at older inmates’ medical and mental health issues, when they are released and what their circumstances are for returning to prison is helping determine if they are actually a danger to the community.

“The better their health is on the way out, along with sustainability in the community, the more likely they will be healthy over time, so that can also contribute to reduced costs,” said Stephanie Prost, an assistant professor at the Kent School of Social Work.

Prost’s research is being done in connection with the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Check out more about this research below:

  

UofL’s Lisa Gunterman celebrates 20th anniversary of Fairness Ordinance

Lisa Gunterman, director of UofL’s LGBT Center on Belknap Campus, recently helped celebrate the 20th anniversary of the passing of Louisville’s LGBTQ Fairness Ordinance.

The Fairness Ordinance, which has now been passed in 10 cities across Kentucky, bans LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. As a young activist, Gunterman was one of the leaders and co-founders of the Fairness Campaign, Kentucky’s LGBTQ advocacy organization, which ultimately helped to get Louisville’s Fairness Ordinance passed.

UofL News had a chance to talk to Gunterman about working with the Fairness Campaign and the grassroots, community-wide effort to pass the ordinance.

UofL News: Why did you first want to get involved with the Fairness Campaign? 

Gunterman: I got involved in the Fairness Campaign because I felt like my life depended on it. As a young, gender queer person, I was ‘outed’ just by showing up. I felt the sting of oppression virtually every time I navigated public spaces, from hateful stares, to workplace discrimination, to police harassment, to strangers making physical threats and even discrimination in a hospital ER. There were so many aspects of my life that didn’t feel safe. I feared for my future — sometimes for my life — and for the future of my LGBTQ family.

As a fifth-generation Louisvillian, I was driven by a passion to build a better city where ALL people were valued, appreciated and able to reach their full potential. I was asked on numerous occasions, ‘why don’t you just leave?’ But I didn’t feel like I should be forced out of the place I called home.

In my late teens and early 20s, I became heavily involved in Louisville’s social justice community. I started doing voter registration drives with the Kentucky Rainbow Coalition and going to marches and events led by the Braden Center, Justice Resource Center and Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. I joined St. William Catholic Church and within a couple of years was elected as co-chair of their Peace and Justice Committee. It was through that work that I learned more about the Sanctuary Movement. I never had positive LGBTQ role models and know how much it would have meant on my journey, so I also volunteered as a mentor with the Louisville Youth Group.

At one point, I felt like I was attending social justice meetings and events almost nightly, but none of them were focused on LGBTQ rights. During one particular event, an elder in the movement pulled me aside and said, ‘You know, it’s OK to take up for yourself, too.’ I almost cried. It was a very different time then and I didn’t know many older people who were supportive of the LGBTQ community. I accepted the charge and got more active in the group March for Justice, an LGBTQ rights organization, which later played a role in birthing the Fairness Campaign. During that time, I also joined with activists to pass comprehensive hate crimes legislation that included LGBTQ people and supported a friend who worked to pass employment protections for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Thanks to social justice and civil right leaders, I learned a great deal about movement work, everything from community organizing, to the proper way to fold a letter for a mass mailing.

UofL News: One of the major accomplishments of The Fairness Campaign was the passage of the ordinance. What was the process of getting the ordinance passed?

Gunterman: People may not realize this, but we actually had enough co-sponsors on the Louisville Board of Aldermen to pass the Fairness Ordinance in December, 1991. Just before the vote was to take place, one of the co-sponsors was told by the bank where he also worked that he would be fired from his job if he supported the ordinance. Because of this last minute change, the Fairness Ordinance died in committee. I was devastated. I remember singing, ”We Shall Overcome’ and holding signs that said, ‘Waiting for Justice’ while members of the Board of Aldermen just went about their business. A few of our supporters, on the other hand, turned around in their chairs and sang with us.

What I didn’t know then, and what would take me years to understand, was that losing was actually a gift. It forced us to re-group and concentrate our efforts on educational outreach and building a community-wide, grassroots movement. We created a speakers bureau where we shared personal stories and information about the ordinance. We trained teams of volunteers to go door-to-door in neighborhoods to educate residents about the ordinance, while also collecting data on Fairness support across the community. We also got more engaged in the political process and formed a Political Action Committee and actively worked to support the candidates who were Fairness Friendly (back then, hardly anyone sought our endorsement). It is through these everyday encounters, speaking engagements and door-to-door work that we started to dispel some of the myths about the Fairness ordinance while transforming hearts and minds. The LGBT Center’s current SpeakOut team is based on this tradition.

We covered a lot of territory through our canvassing efforts and I will always remember one particular visit in the Germantown neighborhood. This area is significant to me because of my German heritage, and because my father grew up there. I was scared to knock on doors because I wasn’t sure whether or not we would be welcome. One of the residents was not supportive of Fairness at first. As I explained what the ordinance would and would not do, he said, ‘I may not understand or agree with you all, but I think you all should be able to keep your jobs.’ I left that encounter feeling hopeful.

Fairness was introduced and voted down three times before it was finally passed in 1999.

UofL News: What are you most proud of from this effort?

Gunterman: One of the things I am most proud of was the way we approached the work. On several occasions over the years, both allies and people in the gay community told us, ‘If you take out the words gender expression and gender identity’ it might pass. Each time this sentiment was shared, we said, ‘we’d rather lose together than leave anyone behind.’ This meant a lot to me as a young, gender queer person.

I’d also like to add that while I am recognized as a co-founder, the Fairness Campaign has always been a broad-based, grassroots, LGBTQ rights and anti-racist movement. There have been thousands upon thousands of people who have contributed to the success over the years and the ordinance would have never passed without everyone who played a role.

UofL News: What has the ordinance meant to the city and you personally?

Gunterman: Being involved in the Fairness Campaign was probably one of the most important things I’ve ever done in my life, other than being a parent. It contributed to my journey of self-acceptance and connected me with social justice and civil rights leaders who are like family to me.

For the city, I noticed that in the years following the passage of the ordinance, I started seeing more LGBTQ people who felt comfortable to be ‘out’ in public. To this day, I still smile when I see LGBTQ couples in public who seem unafraid.

There’s a quote I learned once that says, ‘a law cannot guarantee what a culture will not give.’ The passage of the ordinances like Hate Crimes and Fairness don’t prevent people from harming LGBTQ people, but they do give LGBTQ people recourse should an incident occur. Before these laws existed, if something happened, there was nothing a person could do and no one to document the incident.

The other major change is that in the early days of the Fairness Campaign, I only knew a handful of trans and gender expansive people and each of us took turns sharing our stories during lobby meetings with the Aldermen. Today, I can see a handful of trans and gender expansive people (or more) on any given day in the LGBT Center.

UofL News: How has your work with the Fairness Campaign influenced your work with UofL’s LGBT Center?

Gunterman: I feel like my work with the UofL LGBT Center would not be possible without my history of involvement in the Fairness Campaign, Louisville Youth Group and Civil Rights community.

During my time with the Fairness Campaign, I had the opportunity to hone my skills in public speaking, community organizing, training facilitation, fund development, conflict resolution and event management, all through an intersectional lens. I spearheaded trainings like Dismantling Racism, Non-Violent Civil Disobedience and Grassroots Fundraising, while working with a diverse group of facilitators from across the community. 

In the mid-1990s, I was hired as the first staff person at the Fairness Campaign, and that’s when I met UofL’s Brian Buford. He was one of the few openly LGBTQ people on campus at the time and was often invited to lead class presentations on LGBTQ topics. Given my experience with the Fairness Campaign Speakers Bureau, he’d occasionally reach out and invite me to join him. If I could travel back in time and tell the Brian and Lisa of the 90s that one day, UofL would be recognized by multiple national organizations for LGBTQ friendliness and the president would stop by to inspire and support students during the center’s Welcome Week event, I know we would not believe it. In fact, I’m pretty sure we’d laugh.

The Louisville Free Public library, with the help of Dr. Cate Fosl, Director of the Anne Braden Institute and Delinda Bule of the Williams Nichols Archive, is also hosting an exhibit now through March 17, where library visitors will be able to walk through the history of the 1999 Fairness Ordinance.

Louisville Visual Art honors UofL artists, educators

 

By Niki King - UofL News

Louisville Visual Art has announced its annual Louisville Visual Art Honors, the organization’s highly coveted awards, with all of the recipients having strong UofL ties. 

Grant Johnson, communications and marketing director for LVA, said the awards underscore the significant impact Hite Art Institute plays in the art community of Louisville and the strength and value of the two organizations’ longtime relationship.  

“As I have grown into a role at Louisville Visual Art and as a practicing artist in town, I see the Hite’s influence and presence interwoven throughout the city’s art community,” Johnson said. “As LVA provides exceptional education programs for young artists in primary and secondary school, we often see them continue their studies at Hite.”

The honorees were recognized in four categories:

• The 2019 Legacy Award Recipient is Ed Hamilton, internationally-renowned sculptor whose work often addresses themes of American slavery and the ongoing struggle for Civil Rights. Hamilton is a 1969 UofL graduate and received a Doctor of Arts honorary degree from UofL in 2004.

• The 2019 Benefactor of the Year Award Recipient is Reverend Al Shands III, a prominent collector and commissioner of art by local and international artists. His Great Meadows Foundation has funded numerous UofL educators including, recently, Hite professors Ying Kit Chan, Mary Carothers and Rachel Singel. 

• The 2019 Visual Art Educator Award Recipient is James Grubola, longtime Hite Professor of Art. Grubola also served as chair of the Department of Fine Arts and director of the Hite Art Institute for 16 years, overseeing many changes including the addition of a program in glass along with the construction of the Cressman Center for Visual Arts – the university’s first, permanent, non-medical facility in downtown Louisville. 

• The 2019 Emerging Artist Award Recipient is Monica Stewart, MFA Candidate at Hite. 

 The awards draw energy from the past, present and future and strengthen bonds between successive generations of artists, educators and appreciative audiences, Johnson said.

“Recognizing educators and patrons alongside artists, the Louisville Visual Art Honors embrace the entire ecosystem of visual culture, every part of which enhances the prominence, quality and purposes of art in our visually-vibrant city,” Johnson said.

Honors will be bestowed at a luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Assistant VP to expand interprofessional health education, practice partnerships

The University of Louisville is meeting demands of the rapidly changing health care system by boosting education and practice collaboration among the health disciplines.

Whitney Nash, PhD, APRN, FAANP, UofL School of Nursing associate dean of practice and service, has been appointed assistant vice president of interprofessional practice partnerships at the UofL Health Sciences Center.

Nash will be responsible for expanding multidisciplinary practice at the academic health sciences center and forging partnerships with community organizations.

“The future is in interprofessional health education and practice,” Nash said. “Health care providers can no longer afford to practice in silos. Extensive research supports interprofessional education and practice as a mechanism to decrease medical errors and improve patient care.”

Nash will build upon UofL’s existing education and practice programs that incorporate interprofessional health care.

UofL Care Partners, a nurse practitioner-managed primary care clinic housed at the School of Dentistry, opened in 2018 to serve patients at the dental clinic and members of the community with immediate health needs and chronic issues.

The clinic is an outgrowth of an established relationship between the UofL Schools of Dentistry and Nursing, which in 2012 jointly received a $1.1 million federal grant that supported an educational initiative for nursing and dental students to enhance communication between the professions and develop best practices in patient assessment, consultation and management.

Another interprofessional practice site is the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center, a nonprofit clinic run by UofL School of Nursing faculty that has been nationally recognized as an innovative care model. Medical, nursing and dentistry students rotate at the clinic, which serves low-income backside workers of the thoroughbred racing industry.

UofL has translated interprofessional health research into curriculum changes as well.

Faculty members at the UofL School of Medicine developed a national training program to instruct educators at universities across the United States in teaching interprofessional palliative care for patients with cancer. Supported by the National Cancer Institute, the Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Oncology Palliative Care Education has trained thousands of students from social work, medicine, nursing and chaplaincy.

The Interprofessional Curriculum for the Care of Older Adults was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop and evaluate an interdisciplinary geriatric curriculum for medical, nursing, social work, pharmacy, dentistry and law students. The project aims to meet the needs of rural older adults by integrating geriatrics with primary care, maximizing patient and family engagement and transforming the rural health care system.

UofL, partners launch regional entrepreneurship and innovation hub

UofL President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi speaks at announcement of Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP), a Kentucky RISE-backed partnership between UofL and others.
UofL President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi speaks at announcement of Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP), a Kentucky RISE-backed partnership between UofL and others.

 

By BAYLEE PULLIAM - DECEMBER 17, 2018

The University of Louisville and partners are creating a hub aimed at supporting and accelerating regional innovation and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on the city’s robust health care sector.

“Together, we will commercialize university research, enhance the region’s reputation for innovation, grow jobs and economic development and build the next generation of leaders in the health care sector,” said UofL president Dr. Neeli Bendapudi. 

The entrepreneur-led hub, dubbed the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP), is backed by a multimillion-dollar RISE grant funded by KY Innovation through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. The award is $1.3 million per year for up to five years.

The LEAP effort joins several players in the Louisville entrepreneurship ecosystem — UofL, the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council and XLerate Health, along with support from GLI’s Enterprise Corp., the MED Institute and Techstars.

“It is inspiring to see the expertise of these partners come together for the common good,” said Will Metcalf, UofL’s executive director of Research Development and Strategic Initiatives and the principal investigator on the grant. “Together we are building a community that cultivates and supports elite entrepreneurs.”

LEAP has also hired a seasoned entrepreneur, Wendy Lea, to spearhead its programs and initiatives. Lea is the previous CEO of Cintrifuse, a public-private partnership innovation hub focused on economic development and creating value for both startups and large companies.

“This RISE partnership will kick Louisville’s startup ecosystem into high gear,” Lea said. “I look forward to taking a promising ecosystem to the next level.”

The partnership will also include support from GLI’s Enterprise Corp, the entrepreneurial arm of the Louisville chamber of commerce, which will work with LEAP’s board on education and mentorship programs. Also, TechStars, a national tech accelerator, will support program initiatives. 

Each partner brings its own expertise, and will contribute to programming that includes physical space, entrepreneurial training, building funding channels, forging connections between startups and big companies and other support. 

“Through this collaboration, LEAP will tie together and evolve Kentucky’s existing entrepreneurial ecosystem to cultivate fast growth startup companies and attract the people and financial resources needed to create further innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Tammy York Day, president and CEO of LHCC.

University of Louisville Health names new CEO

By Sam Combest — 

University of Louisville Health announces Tom Miller as the new CEO.

U of L Health is an academic health system which includes University of Louisville Hospital, the U of L James Graham Brown Cancer Center and over 110 specialized clinics and practices.

Miller will take over as CEO on Jan. 7.

Miller most recently worked as the president and CEO of Quorum Health in Nashville, Tenn.

A press release during Miller’s time as president and CEO of Quorum Health said, “Miller oversaw a $2.2 billion health care company that owns 38 hospitals in 16 states and manages or consults with nearly 200 others nationwide.”

While at Quorum, Miller was responsible for all operations including strategic development, investor relations, and capital investment

Miller has had over 30 years of experience in health care with leadership roles at places such as president of Community Health Systems in Franklin, Tenn., CEO of Lutheran Health Network in Fort Wayne, IN. and various positions with Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville, Tenn.

President Neeli Bendapudi said in the press release, “We are thrilled to have a leader with Tom’s experience and ability to join the U of L family. Given all of the possible changes that could take place in the health care market, it is more important than ever that we make sure U of L is positioned in the best way possible.”

U of L Health is rebuilding after the separation from KentuckyOne Health. Ken Marshall has been serving as the U of L Hospital president through the transition and will remain the chief operating officer.

UofL medical residents donate 870 Christmas presents to Louisville kids

The UofL House Staff Council collected 870 gifts during its Toys for Tots campaign this month. Resident physicians pictured are (from left) Jamie Morris, M.D., Jared Winston, M.D., and Taro Muso, M.D.
The UofL House Staff Council collected 870 gifts during its Toys for Tots campaign this month. Resident physicians pictured are (from left) Jamie Morris, M.D., Jared Winston, M.D., and Taro Muso, M.D.

Medical residents and fellows at the University of Louisville have donated 870 new toys to local children for Christmas.

For the fourth consecutive year, the UofL School of Medicine House Staff Council, the representative body for resident and fellow physicians, led a weeklong collection for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Donations were received from individual residents and fellows and School of Medicine faculty, staff and students.

The Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys and distributes them as Christmas presents to economically disadvantaged children in the community in which a campaign is conducted.

“This is our community,” said Jared Winston, MD, a UofL internal medicine resident from St. Louis. “Louisville is hosting a lot of residents who aren’t from this area. It’s a way to say ‘thank you’ to our community.”

There was some healthy competition among School of Medicine departments over donating the most toys. Stock Yards Bank & Trust is providing a luncheon and plaque to the three residency programs that donated the most toys.

The winning program for the fourth straight year, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, collected 370 toys. The Department of Radiology donated the second-most number of toys with 139, and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health finished third by contributing 102 gifts.

“The residents love helping out with the toy drive,” said Jamie Morris, MD, a UofL radiology resident. “The House Staff Council is very big into community outreach and this is such a fun way to do it. We have multiple people in our department who love going shopping for Toys for Tots.”

Campus community focused on giving this holiday season

UofL gets into the holiday spirit through a variety of philanthropy efforts.

You know, Santa Claus wears Cardinal Red for a reason. Every year during the holidays, UofL employees and students essentially take on the role of Santa’s elves, spreading philanthropy throughout the community to those in need.

This year, the UofL community has facilitated toy drives, winter clothing drives, food drives and more. Here’s a glance at our campus community’s benevolence, with some opportunities remaining to get involved.

The UofL School of Dentistry has a “Giving Tree” located in the lecture room hallway on the first floor that serves as a collection site for items needed by local homeless children. The school is collecting scarves, mittens, hats, coats, etc., of all sizes for all ages through Dec. 14.

For many years, ULSD staff member Gene Esterle has coordinated the collection and delivery of these items to local family homeless shelters. Esterle will check the Giving Tree on a regular basis and deliver donated items throughout the holiday season.

Additionally, last weekend dental students led the “Shop with a Dentist” program, partnering with 20 underserved students from Wheatley Elementary School to take part in holiday festivities, buy gifts and engage in learning. Last weekend, each child was paired with a dental student and given $100 to shop for holiday gifts.

Dental student and local Student National Dental Association member Darius Sanford says the Shop with a Dentist event gives kids a fun experience, along with information about budgeting and proper oral hygiene.

“Community engagement is an important mission of our school and we are proud to be a part of reaching out to these children,” Sanford said.  

The Office of Student Involvement works with Family Scholar House each year to buy gifts for kids that live there. 

The PEACC Center hosted a holiday donation drive for a local non-profit, collecting dry beans, white rice, diapers, baby wipes, hats, gloves, scarves, gift cards and more.

Through November, the Latin American and Latino Studies Club collected books and winter clothing for Doors to Hope, a local organization that engages with and advocates for women and immigrant families. 

The Women’s Center Student Parent Association sponsored an Angel Tree initiative.

The School of Public Health and Information Sciences delivered toys, clothing and other necessities to the Home of the Innocents earlier this week. The building SPHIS occupies at 485 E. Gray St. used to be the Home of the Innocents’ primary facility. Since 1880, the home has been helping Louisville’s most at-risk and vulnerable citizens — poor families, distressed mothers, their children and medically-fragile children.

The Student National Medical Association at UofL’s School of Medicine has been accepting coats, gloves and blankets to help the homeless in our community. Project Warm runs through Dec. 7 with a drop-off box in the lobby of the Instructional “B” Building.

According to Sharon Gordon, student success coordinator of Medical Student Affairs, the SNMA chose to focus on the homeless population this holiday season because students walk past many homeless citizens on their way to the HSC campus. 

“They wanted to help those that they see struggling in a way that could have immediate results, and so Project Warm was born,” she said

This year, the Research Resources Center is collecting donations for the Home of the Innocents to help homeless families and displaced children. Items needed include deodorant, feminine hygiene products, socks, laundry baskets, clothes of all sizes, underwear (all sizes), plastic totes with lids, toys, etc. Donations will be accepted through December 13 at MDR 012 (basement) or by contacting Sarah Tinsley (852-3675) about arranging a possible pick up.

The RRC hosts a holiday charity drive each year, coordinated by a team within the department. Typically, donations are collected for children’s hospitals. This year’s host team wanted to help families and people in need of all ages and the department is very excited about this opportunity to give back to the community, said Tegan Tulloch, IACUC coordinator.

UofL Athletics hosted a winter clothing drive during UofL Men’s and Women’s Basketball games earlier this month. Donations were delivered to Kentuckiana homeless shelters.  

UofL senior shares his passion for service

By Brad Knoop

UofL senior John Rhodes

John Rhodes is a senior Public Health major from Lexington. Involvement has been a big part of his life during his time at UofL.

In his own words, “I can see that people here really have a passion for service.”  Here’s his story:

UofL partners on $5 million initiative for trauma-resilient community

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville and Centerstone Kentucky officials announced Nov. 12 that the city has been awarded a $5 million, five-year federal grant to launch an initiative to promote resilience and equity for Louisville families and young people most affected by trauma, inequity and violence.

The Mayor’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods will manage the Trauma Resilient Community Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in partnership with UofL’s Kent School of Social Work and Centerstone Kentucky.

“We’re thrilled to work on this project because it so closely parallels our mission to create a just and better world,” Kent Dean David Jenkins said. “Our role in the Trauma Resilient Community Initiative is evidence of our unwavering commitment to ensure that every community member has equitable access to services that work, services that help people recover and services that help communities heal.”

The initiative will use a community-based approach to build a “trauma-informed” system of care and services to children and families exposed to violence. The effort is meant to increase the knowledge and skills of people who respond to, make referrals for and provide services to youth and families.

“Louisville is a compassionate city, and compassion requires that we work to remove barriers and create opportunities so that every citizen has the ability to reach their full human potential,” Fischer said. “This initiative is another tool we can use to dismantle the very real barriers of violence, trauma and racial inequity.”

The partners aim to provide trauma treatment to 400 children and their families in west and south Louisville, where data show that youth and families are disproportionately affected by trauma, violence and inequities. The initiative also involves training 200 clinicians in trauma interventions and 200 first responders, volunteers and community service providers in a special youth mental health first-aid model.

Another 40 service providers, public school officials and leaders will be trained in a trauma-resilient approach through the initiative, which will also share the trauma-care information with 50 community agencies serving youth and families and develop a leadership advisory board to increase awareness of trauma and its effects. The initiative includes evaluation of its consumer impact.

“To help people traumatized by violence, it’s so important to use an approach that fully takes into account their circumstances,” said Jennifer Middleton, associate professor of social work. “The Kent School of Social Work’s researchers are pleased to be partners in this federally funded effort to aid people in ways that are sensitive to their needs and based on proven methods – and to help train members of our community to continue that care.”

Middleton, Crystal Collins-Camargo and Bibhuti Sar are the Kent faculty working on the implementation, while Shantel Crosby and Heather Storer are on the research and evaluation team. Kent students also will be involved in ways that include conducting community needs assessments and providing trauma-focused therapy interventions. The Kent group will be looking at specific measures of functioning and well-being for the children and families, Crosby said.

“Our city has made significant gains towards deepening our understanding and ability to make progress against complex challenges like violence and racial inequity. This opportunity allows us to elevate a system that does not just focus on the individual, but organizations, systems and community as part of the healing process,” said Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, director of the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.

“At Centerstone Kentucky, we are proud to partner with SAMHSA, the Mayor’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and the UofL Kent School of Social Work to provide evidence-based trauma-informed care, creating stronger neighborhoods across our community,” said Anthony Zipple, president and CEO, Centerstone Kentucky.

Besides the local ones, initiative partners include the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Resilience.

Highlights from Monday’s press release are below. 

Community Engagement

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6026

ceserv@louisville.edu

Office Hours

M-F 8:30am to 5:00pm

No holiday hours


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