University of Louisville receives nearly $1.2 million from Humana Foundation to address community’s heart health

Grants include support for cardiac disease screening to impact health disparities among underrepresented segments of Louisville’s population

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  –  The University of Louisville joined The Humana Foundation today to announce two grants for the School of Medicine that will support dietary interventions aimed at improving heart health in the Black community.

The grants contribute to UofL’s strategic imperative to address health equity and serve as part of The Humana Foundation’s strategy to eliminate unjust and unnecessary barriers in health care.

“UofL continues to appreciate the support of The Humana Foundation in addressing health equity,” President Kim Schatzel said. “Their generous support will enable us to conduct the important work of engaging with communities of color to research the role of nutrition, food quality and diagnostic screening as they relate to heart health.”

“Every day, people face a multitude of choices that can affect their health and quality of life,” said Tiffany Benjamin, CEO of the Humana Foundation. “In too many communities, these choices are limited by factors beyond their control. That is why we are expanding healthy choices for communities and eliminating social and structural barriers, so that more people can reach their full health potential.”

Each of the three-year grants will fund regional nutrition programs. The larger of the two grants is $1,037,000 and will support the DISPARITY Trial (Dietary Intervention for primary and Secondary Prevention And Plaque Regression Investigated with Computed TomographY). The grant will support cardiac disease screening and nutrition-based interventions to address cardiac health disparities among older Black adults in Louisville.

The second grant of $154,000 is earmarked for the H.E.A.R.T. of Louisville Project: Helping Everyone Address Risk Today. The funding will support the identification of members of the Black community in Louisville at-risk for coronary disease and enrollment into long-term nutrition and lifestyle interventions.

“Food insecurity is a major problem that correlates with health care disparities,” said cardiologist Kim Allan Williams Sr., chair of the UofL department of medicine. “Nutrition education and food quality issues plague our African-American community, keeping heart disease as the leading killer of Americans. Our trials will help detect disease in those who are at risk and manage those already diagnosed using lifestyle changes, medication, enhanced access to cardiac care and advanced diagnostic imaging.”

The programs funded by both grants will include efforts to create healthy emotional connections, as a vital part of a holistic approach to care and shaping a healthier approach to nutrition to support lifelong health and wellbeing.