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Faculty News - Fall 2020

Grants & Awards

Scott LaJoie, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, received funding from the University of Kentucky Resident Foundation to help develop 25 short video-podcasts. During the first tier of the project, which will last approximately 14 months, Dr. LaJoie will contribute to script writing, recording/narrating, and editing/production. For the second tier of the project, he will contribute to the development, deployment, and evaluation of five sessions of tele-education interactive webinars (ECHO). Additionally, he will create and maintain a project website for ECHO for participant registration and promotion.

Riten Mitra, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, received a sub-award from Indiana University and will be the site principle investigator looking at the effect of gut microbiota on human malaria. Over the course of five years, he will identify and use statistical tests to analyze complex, multi-variate human gut microbiome data sets, such as regression analysis of known contributors that modulate the gut microbiota and genetic factors that influence susceptibility to severe malaria. Additionally, he will use Bayesian graphical model to test associations between the gut microbiome, malaria severity, and host immune responses.

Natalie Dupre, ScD, MS, Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Epidemiology and Population Health, is part of a team that received pilot funding from UofL's Center for Integrative Environmental Health Sciences Pilot Project Program. Dr. DuPre’s project collaborators are surgeon Tyler Ellis, MD, MSCR of UofL Hospital and Matt Ruther, PhD, Associate Professor of Urban and Public Affairs at UofL. Their study, "Identifying Geographic Clusters and Environmental Correlates of Colorectal Cancer in Kentucky,” will run through summer 2021. Dr. Dupre will serve as a mentor and will work closely with Dr. Ellis, who holds a joint appointment with SPHIS, to recruit and supervise a graduate research assistant and study the role of environmental exposures and cancer incidence by assisting with the data collection of environmental and socioeconomic databases, methodology, and analyses. Funding will also support two SPHIS student workers.

Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK) News

A team of researchers at the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK), led by Susan Buchino, PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences and CIK Assistant Director, recently published their evaluation  of homeless services that were funded by Louisville Metro in FY20. The final report, “Louisville Metro Addressing Street Homelessness 2019-20 Initiatives Evaluation,” was published by the Louisville Metro Dept. of Resilience and Community Services in September 2020.

Previous reports include:
Solving Street Homelessness in Louisville, KY: Improving the Climate of Care for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
Louisville Metro Addressing Street Homelessness 2019-20 Initiatives September – March Outcomes

Commonwealth Scholars Demetra Antimisiaris, PharmD, BCGP, FASCP, Associate Professor, Dept. of Health Management and Systems Sciences, and Ghiyoung Im,PhD, Associate Professor, UofL College of Business, are members of the UofL team granted $6.3 million from the National Security Agency (NSA) to start a new cybersecurity curriculum aimed at safety in healthcare. As a pilot initiative for first responders and veterans, the healthcare cybersecurity workforce certificate will allow associate’s and bachelor’s degree graduates to earn credentialing to enhance their viability in the future workforce. Dr. Antimisiaris will serve as a co-investigator and lead the blockchain curriculum development. The program was featured on Wave3 News and you can learn more about it here.


Theo Edmonds, JD, MHA, MFA, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Health Management and Systems Sciences, has been accepted as a Global Leadership in Equity and Wellbeing Bhutan Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Presencing Institute at MIT. His cohort will spend over a year investigating ways the Bhutan Gross National Happiness Index might offer insights for the U.S. to incorporate wellbeing concepts and measures into economic and health models. Edmonds is also director of school’s Center for Creative Placehealing.

Representatives from the Underestimated People Of Purpose (UPOP) and the Center for Creative Placehealing (CCP), housed within the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, presented at the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management conference in October 2020. CCP Director, Theo Edmonds, and CCP staff member, Cameron Lister, MPH, presented a two-part, two-session track on how diversity, equity, and inclusion can be a lens of business innovation. They discussed cultural wellbeing and the work determinants of health and how to use data to humanize the future of work. 


An interdisciplinary team led by Natalie Dupre, ScD, MS, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology and Population Health (DEPH), had their article “Hepatitis A outbreaks associated with the opioid epidemic in Kentucky counties, 2017-2018” published in the September 2020 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Their study linked county-level characteristics on socioeconomic and housing variables to counties’ hepatitis A rates. They found counties with scores reflecting an extremely disadvantaged profile and greater percentage of nonmarried men, residential instability, and income inequality had higher hepatitis A rates while counties with scores reflecting more married adults, residential stability, and lower income inequality despite disability, poverty, and low education had lower hepatitis A rates. Also, counties with a higher percentage of workers in the manufacturing industry had slightly lower rates. The research team and co-authors include: Lyndsey Blair, MPH, DEPH doctoral student; Sarah Moyer, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Health Management and Systems Sciences (HMSS) and Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness; E. Francis Cook, ScD, Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Bert Little, PhD, Professor, HMSS; and Jeffrey Howard, MD, MPH. Read their article.

A modeling study by Drs. Seyed Karimi, Natalie DuPre, Paul McKinney,   Bert Little, and Sarah Moyer and SPHIS doctoral student Naiya Patel, MPH, analyzed the trends and projected the the numbers of active hospitalizations and fatalities caused by the COVID-19 in Jefferson County, Kentucky, from May 7 to August 20, 2020. The article, “Projecting the Covid-19 Weekly Deaths and Hospitalizations for Jefferson County, Kentucky,” was published in a special issue of The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections on COVID-19 Pandemic Response. Read more.

Seyed Karimi, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Health Management and System Sciences recently published the report “Mobility Trends in Jefferson County, KY: February 15 to October 18, 2020,” on the school’s COVID-19 projections website. He studied Google mobility indicators, which show the number of people going to work has been continuously increasing while residential and grocery store visits have been continuously decreasing from early September 2020. Dr. Karimi also serves as health economist for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. Read more

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