A move from the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center campus to West Louisville will lead to stronger relationships between UofL’s Office of Public Health Practice and local residents. The Old Walnut Street development at 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. is the new home of several OPHP staff members who will work with residents and community groups to advance social justice, reduce health disparities and build capacity for improved health through the integration of practice, research and teaching.
“This move underscores the mission of UofL’s Signature Partnership Initiative designed to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunities for residents of West Louisville,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “Our university is proud to be a part of more than 100 partnerships in this area, with nearly 4,500 instances of student, faculty and staff engagement during the last academic year.”
“We know social and economic disadvantages, as well as poor health, exist disproportionately among racial minorities and those in poverty,” said Dean of the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Dr. Craig Blakely. “Where a person lives is a predictor of life expectancy – and the lowest life expectancies are in neighborhoods with the highest levels of poverty. Enhancing the lives of all Kentuckians is our mission, and we are doing just that through the Office of Public Health Practice efforts.”
Until the mid-70’s, Muhammad Ali Blvd. was known as Walnut Street. During the 1940’s-1960’s a segment of this street served as a major economic and cultural corridor for Louisville’s African American community.
In 2013 Old Walnut Street was developed by Louisville Central Community Centers, Inc. (LCCC) to create new opportunities for economic development in West Louisville.
“The University of Louisville advances learning and development through research and best practices. We expect the strategic efforts of OPHP to create significant health and business related activities that will improve the quality of life for residents of West Louisville and the state of Kentucky,” said LCCC President and CEO Sam Watkins.
The office is led by Dr. Monica Wendel, associate dean, UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences.