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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:
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.”