The University of Louisville School of Medicine is a vibrant and robust medical school centered on a mission to improve the health and vitality of our community, our commonwealth and our world. We educate the next generation of physicians and scientists, make discoveries that transform lives, provide exceptional clinical care, forge partnerships to achieve common health goals and celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion.
The School of Medicine has been home to life-changing discoveries and life-saving care for more than 185 years. The students and faculty who pass through our halls become industry leaders and influencers in the field of medicine.
Dedicated to impacting lives in our city and beyond, the people who make up UofL’s School of Medicine never settle in their quest for knowledge, continuously seeking treatments for medical mysteries and everyday illnesses. Rigorous and thorough training and handson experiences that allow our students to work beside elite faculty, researchers and clinicians ensure we carry on our tradition of excellence in service and teaching.
648 800 900 OUR PEOPLE MEDICAL STUDENTS RESIDENTS & FELLOWS FACULTY 312 GRADUATE STUDENTS
Since we first opened our doors in 1837 as the Louisville Medical Institute, it has been our mission to adequately prepare future physicians and scientists to advance the human condition. Every day, we cultivate an inclusive learning community that engages in bold and innovative education for the advancement of science, health and healthcare delivery. With everchanging needs in our community, we adapt a curriculum open to flexibility to provide a solid foundation for our doctors.
The School of Medicine’s educational programs extend beyond medical students, with many opportunities for residents, fellows and graduate & postdoctoral scientists. We continue to attract top talent into these programs year after year, increasing the knowledge base in Kentucky required to conquer health disparities in our commonwealth and beyond.
THE PULSE OF POSSIBILITY
Cultivating student success
Students are a vital part of the lifeblood of our school. Access to the latest training technologies and innovative curriculum, a dedication to providing hands-on clinical experience in a variety of settings and a campus climate centered on striving for equity for all prepares our students for success as physicians and empowers them to create a healthier world.
Ankur Gupta , a third-year medical student, was inspired to pursue medicine due to the immediate impact he can have on the lives of patients and their families. “Medicine is a dynamic field that has changed and improved over time, led by scientific curiosity and innovation, to make a real change in patient care,” says Gupta. It’s that scientific curiosity and innovation that has led Gupta throughout his years in medical school.
As part of the Distinction in Business and Leadership track, Gupta works with School of Medicine faculty on developing financial cost-effective models that reduce unnecessary patient costs and improve quality of care. His experiences led him to develop Bluegrass Biodesign— an innovative program that focuses on training medical students to understand the core principles of biodesign and apply it to realworld healthcare problems. “Often, physicians identify unique healthcare problems, but don’t have the time or resources to solve them. On the other hand, engineers have the expertise but lack the exposure to hospital settings. Bluegrass
Biodesign aims to bridge this gap,” says Gupta. He also serves as a Medical Advisor in digital medicine startups, such as Andwise, to improve financial transparency and t ackle physician burnout.
In addition to providing medical care, he strives to be an advocate for his patients and their communities by “continuing to pursue projects that tackle physician burnout and building cost-effective models to clinical problems.” Gupta hopes to make a difference in the way we treat patients and physicians, emphasizing effective and efficient care.
The impact Gupta has made at the School of Medicine and in the Louisville community is undeniable. As the leader of Bluegrass Biodesign, his hope is to “inspire medical and engineering students to build a strong foundation in biodesign through our robust curriculum and apply these principles to their future practice; identifying unmet clinical needs and finding solutions to improve patient care.”
Leading the country in LGBTQ+ curriculum
The School of Medicine was the first in the nation to provide curriculum centered on the unique health care needs of LGBTQIA people and continues to lead the nation in training future physicians in the field. The School of Medicine’s pioneering work with its eQuality program has received numerous national awards and is the go-to model for incorporating training for the care of LGBTQIA patients into medical school curriculum.
A prime example of UofL’s dedication to diversity, inclusion and health equity, the innovative eQuality program is integrated into the first two years of medical school curriculum and ensures UofL medical students learn how to serve and communicate with all patients from a standpoint of sensitivity, compassion and the necessary knowledge to treat them. The curriculum also is being integrated into clinical clerkships and students can earn the LGBTQ Health Studies Certificate through extracurricular offerings.
For more information on the School of Medicine’s focus on eQuality, visit louisville.edu/medicine/ume/ume-office/equality.
Health care for the mind, body and soul
Compassion has long been a cornerstone of the School of Medicine, and recent global events have underscored its value. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and became prominent in Louisville, UofL health care workers cared for hundreds of patients. But compassion doesn’t end with patients. It also is important to show care and kindness to peers and medical students and, just as importantly, to one’s self. That’s the idea behind the School of Medicine’s Being Well initiative.
To combat the issue of physician burnout, which is particularly heightened in trying times, the Being Well initiative provides effective tools for medical students, faculty and staff to mitigate stress and loss of empathy while building resiliency and compassion. The program includes classes in mindfulness, yoga, tai chi and more. Students are encouraged to choose one tenet of wellness to focus on each year as an elective — anything from cooking to meditation.
For more information on how UofL’s School of Medicine keeps its students, faculty and patients centered on wellness, visit louisville.edu/medicine/dean/initiatives/being-well.
DID YOU KNOW?
The School of Medicine is the ninth-oldest medical school in the United States.
Supporting careers in academic medicine
Medical students can now enrich their medical school training without prolonging it. The Distinction Track Program at the School of Medicine allows students the opportunity to be part of one of five Distinction Tracks to gain a deeper understanding and research opportunities in Research, Medical Education, Business and Leadership, Global Health and a new distinction track in Health Equity and Medical Justice.
Nearly 28% of medical students are participating in one of our five Distinction Tracks at the School of Medicine. What began as feedback during a retreat with medical student leaders, the Distinction Track program
was created to meet two primary goals: to increase the number of students choosing a career in academic medicine and to provide students with opportunities to focus on areas in medicine for which they have a passion. Each track is unique in its requirements, ensures a mentored longitudinal experience, and culminates in a scholarly project. Students have the opportunity to apply for the programs during their first year of medical education.
For more information on the School of Medicine’s Distinction Track Programs, visit louisville.edu/medicine/distinction/tracks.
Medicine for the heart of the commonwealth
“The best way to get a doctor to a small town is to get a medical student from a small town and train them in a small town.”
This is the unique approach of the UofL School of Medicine Trover Campus.
Surrounded by large trees in small-town Madisonville, Kentucky, stands an eight-story tower, the tallest building in an eight-county surrounding area. Here, the School of Medicine boasts its Trover Campus, which is the home of the first family medicine residency in the state. Led by William Crump, associate dean and professor of family medicine, the Trover Campus hosts third- and fourth-year medical students in a rural learning environment. Ranked No. 2 among 40 rural programs by a HRSA report, the Trover Campus has graduated 164 students dedicated to serving those in the most rural areas of the state with an increased emphasis on the specialties most needed.
Unique not only by its location but also the programs it provides, the Trover Campus supports a High School Rural Scholars program that is designed to reverse the process of urban disruption. Instead of relocating students to a big city for summer enrichment sessions, the Trover Campus brings virtual learning to the homes of the rural students during a three-week summer program, where they are introduced to health careers by shadowing in their hometowns. The College Rural Scholar program brings rural pre-med students to Madisonville to show them that first class medicine is practiced in small towns and immerses them in doing free school physical exams in adjacent underserved counties. Kentuckians have a strong sense of place, and every a spect of the Trover Campus is designed to reinforce that connection.
For more information on the School of Medicine’s focus on rural health, visit louisville.edu/medicine/admissions/programs/ trover-rural-track.
Education and research are critical aspects in advancing medicine and these two areas culminate in clinical care. The School of Medicine aims to provide tomorrow’s clinical care today by translating our work in other sectors to bedside service.
In our current healthcare crisis, we recognize the need to expand care throughout the state and address health inequities. With a focus on patient-centered care, the School of Medicine is moving from a physician enterprise focused on episodic care to a system that provides excellent life-based treatment including wellness, population health and multi-specialty clinics. We create highly reliable, comprehensive relationships with our patients that are fundamentally built on mutual respect.
THE PROGRESSION OF PATIENT CARE
Cutting-edge clinical care helping patients thrive
One step. That’s all it took for the world to change. With one step by a patient at UofL’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Center, paralyzed patients with severe spinal cord injuries could experience hope to be able to walk again. In pediatrics, it was one partner that continued UofL’s top-notch care to kids across our region. With UofL’s cardiology programs, it was the choice to focus on the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.: heart disease. In these areas and many more, the School of Medicine strives to bring the fundamental discoveries of our basic and clinical scientists to the bedside, combining valuable expertise with the latest treatments and procedures that give patients world-class, life-changing care.
Meet Jamaal Richie , a class of 2023 resident with the School of Medicine Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine. Upon completing his residency, Richie will join the new UofL Health Urgent Care Plus location in west Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood. Richie is a native to Louisville and grew up two blocks from the medical office location. He is particularly excited to work with residents in the community where he grew up to improve health outcomes. Richie completed a master’s in molecular genetics and earned his MD from UofL.
“I am excited about this opportunity to serve, and I am even more excited for those we will serve. Better access to care will save lives and change lives for generations to come,” Richie said.
More than a primary care physician, Richie is a beacon of light for those underrepresented in medicine and a key influencer of the School of Medicine’s DEIA efforts. He continues to serve as mentor, friend and advisor to students of all ages by directly mentoring second-year medical students and high school students in clinical outpatient and inpatient settings and educating elementary and middle school students from Louisville’s west end schools on the possibility of a career in medicine. Through pipeline programs like We Got Next and UofL’s Signature School Partnerships, Richie’s greatest aspiration is to be a motivation and inspiration to BIPOC students to pursue a future in medicine.
At the heart of the matter
UofL and its School of Medicine professors have long been leaders in the field when it comes to cardiovascular technologies and treatments. The first artificial heart was implanted here. The first study of cardiac stem cells in humans was performed here. UofL is home to the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, where the mission is to improve lives through research, discovery and new enterprise creation, and the Institute of Molecular Cardiology, where researchers are making gains in environmental cardiology, stem cell research and investigations into heart failure and diabetes. With the introduction of the UofL Health System, UofL now boasts the area’s only heart hospital with comprehensive heart healthcare. From innovative treatments to a network of world-class experts, the Heart Hospital is a leader in advancing essential care.
The School of Medicine and the UofL Health - Brown Cancer Center collaborate on the Cardiology-Oncology Program, the only one if its kind in Kentucky, to specialize in the coordinated care of oncology patients and survivors with cardiovascular disease or cardiac risk factors. Patients like Robert Hughes, who learned he had heart failure after undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia and then suffering a heart attack. Hughes was one of two patients to receive life-changing treatment recently from UofL doctors. Dr. Mark Slaughter, a heart transplant surgeon, implanted him with an iVAS (intravascular ventricular assist system) device that allowed him to continue his life at home will waiting for a permanent transplant. UofL was the only site in Kentucky to participate in the iVAS trial.
For more on efforts to help patients suffering from cardiovascular disease visit louisville.edu/medicine/ departments/medicine/divisions/cardiology.
DID YOU KNOW?
UofL surgeons performed the first artificial heart implantation, the first heart transplant in Kentucky and the world’s first heart transplant following the use of an LVAD device.
DID YOU KNOW?
UofL researchers pioneered the use of epidural stimulation and locomotor training, enabling individuals with complete spinal cord injuries to stand and walk again.
Walking away from impossible
An epidural stimulator implanted on his spine allowed Jeff Marquis to walk for the first time in six years after a mountain biking accident rendered him a quadriplegic. The moment was monumental for Marquis and the UofL research team led by Professor Susan Harkema, who has studied the effects of epidural stimulation in spinal cord injury for more than a decade at UofL. For Marquis, those first steps were motivation to continue pushing. He is aiming to gain his independence back after being paralyzed, and he credits the UofL team for his recovery thus far.
UofL’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center underpins the superior patient care for UofL Health – Frazier Rehab Institute and the School of Medicine. In addition to helping paralyzed adults walk again, pediatric patients with spinal cord injuries are receiving top-of-the-line care. Professor Andrea Behrman pioneered the use of locomotor training in children and recently led a transdisciplinary team in developing a new pediatric treadmill that has been licensed for use in Louisville and across the country.
For the latest innovation in clinical care for patients with spinal cord injuries, visit louisville.edu/kscirc.
Coming together for the kids
When it comes to problem-solving, there’s truth in the old saying “Two heads are better than one.” The School of Medicine invested in that belief when it chose to strengthen its partnership with Norton Healthcare in 2020 to create the integrated Norton Children’s Medical Group. The new model allows practices to enhance their focus on providing highly skilled clinical care integrated with world-class medical education and research. UofL’s academic and research mission is key to teaching the next generation of pediatric providers, which leads to a regionally and nationally recognized pediatric program. In addition, by working together, the organizations recruit, train and retain key talent for pediatric programs.
Much of the outpatient clinical care takes place at the Novak Center for Children’s Health, opened by UofL in 2018. The state-of-the-art facility ushered in a new era of pediatric care by providing families one location to seek services by the region’s leading experts for their children and by providing researchers a space to investigate pathways for life-changing discovery. Among the specialized care centers is the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center, one of only three pediatric centers in the country to earn a Certificate of Distinction for Inpatient Diabetes Care from The Joint Commission.
For more on the School of Medicine’s role in treating children, visit louisville.edu/medicine/departments/pediatrics.
At the School of Medicine, we pride ourselves in our dedication to groundbreaking research. Our teams develop cutting-edge technologies, promising treatments and innovative therapies. We recognize that our discoveries are transformative and offer new beginnings to countless patients. We take our role as a leader in medical research very seriously as we both create and apply knowledge that improves lives.
Behind numerous discoveries are our top-tier faculty. The School of Medicine includes a cadre of intellectually curious researchers who are committed to the art of medicine. Our diverse group of investigators offer various perspectives and help us promote a new vision of health.
THE POWER OF INNOVATION
Breakthroughs in research and discoveries
There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to medicine; the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 proved that. But what is certain is that the School of Medicine is continuously on the leading-edge of medical research and innovation. From creating therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 to uncovering new connections between obesity and breast cancer, School of Medicine faculty, students and staff are unraveling the complexities of health and providing critical knowledge that advances the field of medicine.
Melissa Smith is a visionary in the field of biochemistry. Beyond her work as an assistant professor in the department of microbiology and immunology, Smith is trailblazing a new way of diversifying research on viruses and vaccinations.
As the director of the Genomics Sequencing Technology Center, Smith and others operate a Pacific Bioscience SQL2E machine, an instrument that allows one to observe long sequences of DNA to understand the DNA’s place in the genome, as the only certified service provider in the state and surrounding five states. The center has assisted with projects in 13 states and 11 countries and focuses on experimental methods to answer traditional questions including examining how one problem can affect a variety of research queries.
“Our lab is unique because we try to identify a problem that hasn’t been approached before from our perspective through methods development,” said Smith. “We first develop a method that we put out in the world to enable others’ research, then figure out how we want to focus that method on a biological question. We are empowering researchers with new technology and training students how to build something from the ground up.”
Much of Smith’s work has an underlying focus — diversification of sequencing. She aims for equal data representation specifically in vaccine development. By utilizing samples from all genders, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses and geographical locations, Smith is illustrating the full breadth of human variation, an element critically important for the future of medicine.
Innovation for the body’s largest internal organ
Through the School of Medicine, a driven group of researchers is focused squarely on the body’s largest internal organ – the liver. Dr. Matt Cave, an associate professor in gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition was one of eight scientists to receive the Revolutionizing, Innovative, Visionary Environmental Health Research (RIVER) Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for his record of innovative and impactful research. His first project under the grant centers on chemicals found in plastic bottles, plastic pipes, construction materials and electrical equipment and how exposure to those chemicals can cause or increase liver disease.
UofL also is leading the nation in studying the effects of alcohol. The UofL Alcohol Research Center is the only National Institutes of Health-funded alcohol
research center focused on nutrition, specifically how nutrition interacts with alcohol to cause organ injury. Dr. Craig McClain, a physician and the center’s director, is known as a pioneer in the field of liver disease, investigating topics including alcoholic liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis and the interactions in the liver between alcohol and acetaminophen. He is the principal investigator on an $11.5 million Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant to study these areas of liver disease as well as liver cancer.
For more about how School of Medicine faculty are spearheading efforts to prevent and treat liver disease, visit louisville.edu/arc.
An exceptional response to an unprecedented pandemic
COVID-19 is an extraordinary disease that drastically upended the world. At the School of Medicine, researchers focused on creating treatments, investigating vaccines and developing programs to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
A team of UofL researchers developed a technology believed to block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting human cells. The technology, centered on a synthetic DNA aptamer, is being developed by a biomedical company and fasttracked to completion. Meanwhile, Dr. Kenneth Palmer, a professor and director of UofL’s Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, developed and began testing a nasal spray meant to prevent COVID-19 and other serious viral respiratory infections. The spray uses a drug compound developed and co-owned by UofL in phase 1 clinical trials. Other UofL teams are conducting clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments and investigating how the tobacco plant can help in the d evelopment of therapeutics.
While treatments are critical, School of Medicine doctors have led the efforts to track how and why the virus spreads among communities as well as prevention tactics. Through the work of the Co-Immunity Project, which tracks the spread of COVID-19 throughout Louisville, and professors like Jun Yan, a microbiology and immunology expert who discovered a vital biomarker that predicts a crisis in COVID-19 patients that could lead to death,
the School of Medicine is playing a vital role in ensuring that the virus is overcome. The School of Medicine also plays a key role in community education surrounding the virus. Professors like Drs. Jon Klein, Kris Bryant and Mark Burns hosted weekly town halls to help explain the science of COVID-19 in a relatable way to the public through a wide venue of media streams, including ESPN, state and regional webinars and more.
The School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, in affiliation with Norton Children’s Hospital, served as a clinical trial site for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 investigational vaccine for healthy children ages 6 months to 11 years in 2021 to evaluate safety, tolerability and immune response in this age group. Gary Marshall was the principal investigator for the Louisville trial in which two children were assigned to receive the vaccine for everyone who received a placebo. The study was blinded, meaning no one knew initially which injection children received. Parents and caregivers were asked to track changes to the child’s health in an electronic diary, and children will have at least six in-person visits over a two-year period, some to include blood draws. Importantly, children who were randomly assigned to receive placebo injections were given the chance to receive the active vaccine after six months; therefore, all children in the study had the opportunity to receive the active vaccine.
Strengthening the human-environment bond
The School of Medicine’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute is leading the way in exploring the complex relationship between humans and the environment and how that relationship affects health. From studies on air pollution and cardiac disease to the effects of vaping to environmental research into healthy water and soil, the center is a beacon for transdisciplinary research and aims to develop new models for healthy, urban living.
One of those new models is increasing the number of plants in city neighborhoods. The Green Heart Project, run by Envirome Director Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, examines how increasing the greenness of a community can affect the risk of heart disease. The Envirome Institute partnered with the Louisville-based chapter of The Nature Conservancy to plant trees and shrubs across the city and is assessing the health of more than 700 volunteers in a five-year study. Other areas of focus include pollution; diabetes and obesity research; environmental policy; healthy air, water and soil; and tobacco regulation and addiction.
For more information on how the School of Medicine is embracing interdisciplinary, environmental health research, visit louisville.edu/envirome.
DID YOU KNOW?
UofL was designated the first Center of Excellence by Pfizer Vaccines, a collaboration between the university and pharmaceutical corporation aimed at determining the human health burden of important infectious diseases and potential vaccine effectiveness. The designation made UofL the first Center of Excellence of its kind to be part of Pfizer’s international network of research organizations.
DID YOU KNOW?
UofL began the first medical-school based Medals4Mettle program in 2008, and medical students have run in the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon or minimarathon and presented their medals to pediatric cancer patients each year since.
Pushing the limits of cancer research
UofL and the Brown Cancer Center are dedicated to discovering and deploying the latest advances in cancer treatment and prevention. With potential cancer vaccines and innovative treatments, UofL’s researchers are improving – and saving – lives.
A UofL research team has made recent discoveries in cancer prevention and is seeing success in preclinical trials. School of Medicine faculty Dr. Kavitha Yaddanapudi and Chi Li are the co-inventors of a vaccine against lung cancer and melanoma that is proving effective at preventing cancerous tumor growth in mice.
While leading-edge research is conducted in the early stages of trial and testing at UofL’s Center for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy and other areas, clinical trials are giving patients at the Brown Cancer Center new options for treating cancer and the Dunbar CAR T-cell program is preparing to bring groundbreaking treatments to the Louisville region by harnessing the power of the immune system to eradicate cancer, according to Dr. Jason Chesney, director of the Brown Cancer Center.
For more information on how UofL’s School of Medicine is combatting cancer with research, visit louisville.edu/medicine/research/cancer.
Community engagement plays an essential role in modern healthcare. Without outreach, our goal of serving more patients and impacting health cannot be met. We must build and nurture relationships to discover the health needs of our neighbors and ultimately enhance our community.
Our innovative partnerships and community collaborations provide opportunities to work with other organizations to achieve common health goals. We aim to establish bidirectional partnerships with our immediate community to expand access to care and promote health equity for all. Together, we can better support our commonwealth through clinical care, research and education.
THE PATHWAYS TO MEDICINE
Community engagement and equitable healthcare
The School of Medicine is the beating heart of healthcare in the greater Louisville region, providing critical service to millions, fueling the pipeline of healthcare providers and serving as an economic engine for local employment. To ensure our community thrives, partnerships with local organizations, and identifying for addressing social determinants of health are essential. The School of Medicine continuously strives to make itself and in turn, its neighbors, better.
Onu and Karen Udoh , both fourth-year students at the School of Medicine, are driven to save lives. But the siblings’ drive extends far beyond their medical courses and eventual work as physicians. Together, the two are addressing factors that ultimately could cause people to become patients, including gun violence, food insecurity, racism and inequity for minorities.
“As future physicians, we will be caring for patients that may not always be survivors of gun violence, but potentially reside in communities that are most impacted by it,” Karen Udoh said. “This all impacts one’s health – that should be taken into consideration.”
In summer 2020, the Udoh siblings helped rally hundreds of their peers for a “White Coats for Black Lives” remembrance in
honor of Breonna Taylor and other victims of violence. Both also have been actively working to address food insecurity in West Louisville as part of Change Today, Change Tomorrow’s Feed The West Initiative. Onu Udoh also is working to improve medical education, teaching future doctors to better treat patients of color, as a member of UofL’s Distinction in Medical Education program.
These issues — all interconnected and often related to health disparities — are deeply personal for the Udohs and inextricably tied to their experience as Black Americans. “As a minority in America, I am faced with the daily reminder of my place in society,” Onu Udoh said. “Thankfully, I learned from my past and actively utilize my platforms because issues of systemic racism are bigger than myself.”
The next generation of student physicians
In a state ranked near the bottom of the country when it comes to its citizens’ health, showing people how they can change the state’s health status is even more important. Through several pipeline programs and support services, the School of Medicine is working to ensure that even Kentucky’s youngest understand they can have a positive effect in health care.
As early as elementary school, students in Kentucky can explore careers in the health care professions thanks to activities and programs provided by School of Medicine and other UofL Health Sciences Center representatives. High school students also can take advantage of summer research internships and job shadowing opportunities to follow UofL medical and dental students. The Summer Health Professions Education Program, now heading into its 17th year, allows undergraduates to explore health professional careers. And for more than three decades, the School of Medicine has operated the Guaranteed Entrance to Medical School (GEMS) program. The groundbreaking program smooths the path into a medical career for 10 academically talented Kentucky students each year by automatically admitting them into the School of Medicine after they earn an undergraduate degree at UofL and fulfill program requirements.
The School of Medicine recently established a partnership with Louisville’s Central High School to create a pre-medical pipeline program that offers educational opportunities, mentorship, college credit and hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships. Participating students will have the opportunity to rotate through 10 core specialties all while earning college credit. Students are able to shadow School of Medicine and UofL Health doctors during rounds at UofL Hospital, scrub into operating rooms and witness surgeries and get practice performing simpler procedures, like sutures, through this immersive curriculum.
For more information on how the School of Medicine is encouraging health care opportunities, visit louisville.edu/medicine/news/CentralHighSchool.
Working outside the classroom and inside clinics, practices and hospitals is critical for medical students. UofL believes in service with a purpose and places a special emphasis on student engagement. Service-learning opportunities, including rotations at our Kentucky Area Health Education Centers (KY AHEC), provide students the hands-on practice they need to build a better, healthier world.
For more than 40 years, the KY AHEC program – a collaborative effort between UofL, the University of Kentucky and eight regional centers – has provided vital training to students across the healthcare continuum, from elementary and high school students to practicing professionals. KY AHEC strives to promote healthy communities, improve healthcare access and delivery, and increase health equity by promoting workforce diversity and distribution, as well as practice transformation and interprofessional education. At UofL, all thirdyear medical students complete a rotation at an AHEC site in a rural or underserved region and have the opportunity not only to deliver hands-on care, but to experience medical practice in these disadvantaged locations. Community physicians across the commonwealth volunteer their time and energy to provide “boots on the ground” instruction as Gratis Faculty. These programs offer a pathway for students at all levels to continue their medical education throughout the state and for a significant number to return to these regions after graduation to fill physician shortages. In 2022, UofL received notice of renewal for the $5 million grant to continue spearheading the KY AHEC statewide program.
For more information on the School of Medicine’s statewide outreach, visit louisville.edu/medicine/ahec.
Expanding crucial care
Nothing is more critical to a community’s survival than access to health care. When one of the state’s largest health care providers, KentuckyOne, was in dire need, UofL worked closely with the state and two foundations to acquire the Louisville based assets to create UL Health and ensure the citizens of the commonwealth would not lose critical healthcare services.
UofL acquired KentuckyOne health system’s assets, including Jewish Hospital, Peace Hospital, Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, Shelbyville Hospital and multiple health centers throughout the region, combining them with the University of Louisville Hospital under the UofL Health umbrella. Saving the hospitals alone meant keeping more than 1,000 hospital beds and critical programs in cardiology, rehabilitation, bariatrics, behavioral health, transplant and more in place. A large network of outpatient primary and specialty care providers has also joined the University of Louisville Physicians group, expanding outpatient referrals to sub-specialty academic physician expertise and clinical trial participation. The acquisition is providing UofL School of Medicine faculty, residents and students access to more training and research opportunities and saving thousands of jobs in the Greater Louisville region. The system has grown substantially and thrived even in challenging times.
For more information on UofL’s professional partners, visit louisville.edu/medicine/affiliated-institutions.
Bringing healthcare to communities in need
Supporting the workforce in rural Kentucky
A consortium of Kentucky health care organizations, led by the School of Medicine, is working to connect a wide range of health care professionals and employers to better address workforce shortages in rural and underserved parts of the commonwealth.
The Kentucky 3RNET Consortium — which also includes the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), the Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) and the Kentucky Rural Health Association (KRHA) — will maintain and promote Kentuckyspecific health care job postings on The National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNET), a nonprofit online portal that helps job candidates more easily find health care openings in rural and underserved communities.
“Our commonwealth faces significant health care personnel challenges. This new consortium leverages the unique perspective and expertise of each organization to engage with job seekers and employers,” said Dr. Brent Wright, associate dean for rural health innovation at the School of Medicine and the brainchild behind the consortium. “If we can fill vacancies in multiple health disciplines, we will improve access to health care services throughout the state.”
For more on the 3RNET Consortium, visit www.3rnet.org/locations/kentucky.
Diversity at the School of Medicine aims to build community through the composition of faculty, staff and students; curricula and learning experiences that prepare students to live and work in a global society; inclusivity with a focus on mutual respect, fairness, and social justice; and a campus that allows students to develop leadership and social skills.
By expanding a culture of inclusive excellence, the School of Medicine creates an environment where everyone feels welcomed, appreciated, respected and valued. Each perspective enhances the way the School of Medicine learns, makes research discoveries and cares for patients.
THE PUSH FOR PROGRESS
Social justice initiatives and wider perspectives
The School of Medicine is dedicated to fostering and sustaining an inclusive environment that empowers students and professionals to reach their highest potential. We have a genuine respect for and understanding of the spectrum of human diversity, and we pledge to honor the perspectives our learners, faculty and staff bring to the table.
John Chenault , associate professor and director of anti-racism initiatives
in the Office
Undergraduate Medical Education (UME), is leading the charge for a new way of learning by shifting the focus from the historic concept of race as a biological marker of disease to the contemporary concept of race as a social construct. Through his leadership, the School of Medicine was an early adopter of health equity curriculum that spans across the fouryear formal curriculum of medical school.
“Since its founding, our nation has categorized its inhabitants based on purported bio-cultural differences that deliberately obscure or erase the common characteristics we share as human beings. To foster social justice in medicine, we prioritize the value of ‘thinking outside the box’ to transcend the divisive categories of race and gender” Chenault said. “By re-imagining what it means to be human, we can rediscover our shared humanity and overcome the social divisions that undermine our nation’s health and wellness.”
Fighting for equality
Since 2014, diversity, equity and inclusion have been part of the School of Medicine’s strategic goals. But these issues were brought to the forefront in 2020 and the School of Medicine rededicated its efforts to create a welcoming environment for education and its students to meet its mission of improving the health of patients within the diverse communities it serves.
The School of Medicine identified several key leadership positions necessary to advance its DEIA agenda across missions and placed a high priority on building infrastructure. Four key positions were added in Faculty Affairs, Research, Clinical Care and UME to broaden the DEIA efforts of the School of Medicine. But the recognition doesn’t stop there. Students, faculty and staff that showcase exemplary efforts in DEIA are recognized by the university as stewards of the Cardinal Principles of diversity and inclusion that extends beyond the campus and into the community.
Additionally, a group of faculty pledged $50,000 to establish the Endowed Excellence Fund for Diversity. The fund, which has a $1 million fundraising goal, will pay for student scholarships, resident stipends and faculty recruitment and retention packages to increase diversity.
For more on the School of Medicine’s actions in support of racial justice and strive toward equity, visit louisville.edu/medicine/dean/diversity.
DID YOU KNOW?
Joseph L. Alexander was the first African American admitted to the University of Louisville Medical School, from which he graduated in 1955. Dr. Alexander became a military surgeon after graduation and performed the Army’s first kidney transplant.
Improving access to medical school
Lack of mentorship and exposure to the medical field is often a barrier for Black and Brown students interested in becoming doctors, but UofL is working to change that with the Porter Scholars in Medicine Program. The Porter Scholars in Medicine Program (PSMP) was created through a partnership between the UofL/Norton Children’s Hospital Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine (UL PEM) and the Woodford R. Porter Scholarship program. The goals of the PSMP program are to build connections with students, increase clinical exposure, offer guidance regarding career selection as well as information about the medical training and application process and provide general support for students awarded the Woodford R. Porter Scholarship. Participating students are now granted guaranteed entrance to
the School of Medicine. Named after the first Black trustee at UofL, the Woodford R. Porter Scholarship program serves to provide academic, personal and professional support to recipients. Created in 1984, the Porter Scholarship is the largest Black scholarship organization at UofL. By providing robust mentorship and educational experiences to Porter Scholars who are interested in a career as a physician, the PSMP program aims to increase the number of students who matriculate to medical school.
For more on the School of Medicine’s actions in support of racial justice and strive toward equity, louisville.edu/medicine/news/PortersInMedicine.
Creating a safe, inclusive space
The School of Medicine is committed to pursuing inclusive excellence. It is important to share our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on the national landscape. When the AAMC issued a pilot initiative with the Council of Deans to track institutional and school progress as compared to national benchmarks for a DICE (Diversity, Inclusion, Culture and Excellence) Inventory, the School of Medicine actively participated. In doing so, we have identified opportunities for improvement and developed an action plan for next steps.
The School of Medicine implemented DEI training for its leadership team and department chairs. Dr. Dwayne Compton, chief diversity officer for the School of Medicine, regularly hosts Grand Rounds for requesting departments. In these sessions, he offers ways in which departments can create a more inclusive space for all. In addition to Compton’s efforts, the HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts implicit bias trainings to help develop capacity to identify invisible assumptions and patterns of thinking leading to more inclusive recruitment and search practices.
The LGBTQ+ Affirming Healthcare Series, presented by the UofL LGBT Center, includes training sessions and interactive modules that provide affirming education, applicable skills, and best practices needed to advocate and improve health outcomes for LGBTQ+ patients. The series is specifically designed for healthcare students, professionals, and anyone else interested in LGBTQ+ advocacy to address the significant health disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ community while offering CME credit to attendees. In doing so, it aids to eliminate microaggressions in the community.
As we continue towards the quest for inclusive excellence, the School of Medicine will continue to create an environment where everyone feels welcomed, appreciated, respected and valued and where we celebrate the unique perspective that each of our faculty, students and staff bring to the School of Medicine.
For more on the School of Medicine’s actions in support of racial justice and strive toward equity, visit louisville.edu/medicine/dean/oced.
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