The Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky

Welcome to the website of the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK).  Established in 2015 with a generous investment from KentuckyOne Health, CIK began to build its infrastructure and initiated several research projects almost immediately.  We were fortunate to recognize considerable growth in 2015, including the hiring of our deputy director, four new faculty, as well as several additional research staff and graduate research assistants.  CIK obtained recognition from the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees in January 2016.  

The past 12 months have brought a great deal of change—in the social and political climate of the country overall, and more specifically, in health equity and health policy. For our researchers in the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK), these changes have yielded opportunities to develop new ideas, strategies, and research targeting policy and practice. We have also seen growth in the past year, including 24 new Commonwealth Scholars, 2 new graduate students, and numerous new contracts and partnerships.

Our ability to shape equitable policy and practice depends largely on our effectiveness in collaborating with a variety of stakeholders who bring diverse perspectives to the conversation and advance our mission. In the past year, our collaboration with the Center for Health Equity, housed within Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness, has expanded significantly. We created a shared post-doctoral research associate, submitted several project and research proposals, enhanced training for our graduate students, and engaged our young people with the 2017 Health Equity Youth Council.

Our partnership with the Kentucky State Data Center, led by Commonwealth Scholar and CIK Executive Committee member Dr. Matt Ruther, enabled CIK to facilitate UofL researchers’ access to the new  Federal Statistical Research Data Center at the University of Kentucky. In addition, an ongoing collaboration with Kentucky Voices for Health, a statewide advocacy group, is fostering the emergence of a strategy to assist Kentuckians in navigating health insurance under the soon-to-be-implemented Medicaid Waiver.

Finally, CIK formalized its partnership with IDEAS xLab, a network of artist-innovators driving change, to advance our collective efforts to create the Center for Art + Health Innovation to conduct cutting-edge research and practice marrying community, arts, culture, and health equity. These are just a few examples among many of the organizations and agencies that are critical to moving the needle in population health improvement.

Highlights from 2016-2017

¨ Secured 10 new research grants and contracts

¨ Published 4 articles

¨ Issued policy briefs on Medicaid expansion in Louisville and ACA implementation in Metro Louisville.



Monica Wendel, DrPH, MPH
Director, Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky
Associate Dean for Public Health Practice
School of Public Health and Information Sciences | University of Louisville

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