Apr
20

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AIR Louisville Progress Report: Watch us on KET tonight at 9

Matt Mehalik from the Air Quality Collaborative in Pittsburgh describes the challenge of raising awareness of unhealthy air.

Matt Mehalik from the Air Quality Collaborative in Pittsburgh describes the challenge of raising awareness of unhealthy air.

The AIR Louisville team been busy hosting events, discussing policy ideas with stakeholders and continuing our data analysis.

Watch Crowd & Cloud tonight on KET
Our work is featured on a documentary showing on KET tonight at 9. AIR Louisville is proud to be featured in The Crowd & The Cloud, a new 4-part documentary funded by the National Science Foundation about the power of citizen science, big data, and mobile technology. We are featured in Program 3 and will air tonight at 9pm EDT on KET.

You also can watch Program 3 online.

AIR Louisville Policy Summit
We had a great turnout in March for our AIR Policy Summit. Seven speakers covered everything from how air pollution gets into our blood stream to asthma trends in Jefferson County to government policy on diesel trucks. We also heard from three special guests from out of town:

• Matt Mehalik, executive director, Air Quality Collaborative, Pittsburgh
• Lindsay Pace, Tennessee Chapter Leader, Moms Clean Air Force
• Mary Peveto, Mary Peveto, executive director, Neighbors for Clean Air, Portland

Each person shared ideas that were very relevant to Louisville. Matt described Smell Pittsburgh, an app built in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon.

Lindsay shared the goals of the Mama Summits she has hosted in Nashville. These yearly events connect parents and legislators to discuss how air pollution affects children’s health.

Mary explained how her organization helped the community take action after the Forest Service
used moss to detect high levels of air pollution linked to glass manufacturing plants. A public health study revealed a cancer cluster near the same plant.

These two news stories motivated the entire community to start torewrite the rules around air quality. Mary and I also spent time at the Air Pollution Control District on Friday to learn more about our STAR program. Mary wants to launch a similar program in Portland to track toxic air pollution.

You can see the presentations from our guests in this Google drive folder.

Policy survey
A central goal of our work is to turn data into policy. We are working with city leaders and project stakeholders to do just that. This collaborative process will end with our final report release, highlighting community priorities and policy recommendations. I surveyed the AIR Summit audience and other project supporters to gauge support for these ideas. You can see the full results here. Some of the most popular ideas were:

• A statewide smoking ban
• More tree planting
• New rules for diesel trucks

If you have any policy thoughts, please send them my way. I’ll be back soon with an update on our data analysis.

Apr
17

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New Ambassadors for Health in All Policies make decisions through the lens of health

PinsThe Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil is proud to announce the founding class of Ambassadors for Health in All Policies. These 32 community leaders represent businesses, schools and philanthropic organizations around the city. There are students, doctors, entrepreneurs, artists and poets in this class.
The Ambassadors include Sadia Abdirahman, PACT In Action; Joe Franzen, Fern Creek High School; Lindsay Gargotto, Athena’s Sisters; Kent Oyler, Greater Louisville Inc; Yonbretta Stewart, Humana; Paul Varga, Brown-Forman, and Eddie Woods, LIFE Hope Center for a Safe Louisville. Scroll down for the full list or see everyone here with a list of pictures and titles.

There are three types of Ambassadors: students, business leaders and community leaders. These individuals understand the interconnections and interdependence among the many factors that influence human health. Each Ambassador is working in at least one of the eight areas of health represented the Circle of Health and Harmony:

• Cultural
• Environmental
• Financial
• Intellectual
• Nutritional
• Physical
• Psychological
• Spiritual

The Institute launched the Ambassadors for Health in All Policies to start a health in all policies movement and to build a well-grounded, long-term culture of health in Louisville said Christina Lee Brown, founder of the Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil.

Christina Lee Brown

Christina Lee Brown

“We have selected thoughtful caring health leaders who are helping all of the individuals and institutions they work with to understand that all decisions must always be made through the lens of health,” said Christina. “Louisville’s founding Health in All Policy Ambassadors represent our city’s circle of harmony and health in all eight dimensions of health. It is our hope that Louisville’s newly designated health in All Policies ambassadors will work together in new kinds of innovative partnerships so as to have Louisville recognized nationally as a model Health in All Policies Urban laboratory.”

The Institute’s work is inspired by Aruni Bhatnagar’s work in understanding the connections between human health and the health of the environment. Aruni states that while many factors contribute to the poor health of Kentuckians, there is little doubt that living in clean, health conducive environments will help in significantly addressing the problem.

“To understand the extent of the problem in greater depth, we must assess how urban environments affect human health,” he said. “Based on this understanding, we have to empower citizen scientists to exert greater control of their environment and to develop new paradigms for urban living in which clean, healthy, and harmonious environments foster human health and promote human flourishing.”

The Public Health Institute defines health in all policies as a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across all sectors, such as; government, corporate, and non-profits.

The Institute will host a reception for the new Ambassadors for Health in All Policies at 5:00pm on Tuesday, April 18 at the Frazier History Museum, 829 West Main Street, Louisville. The public is welcome to join us to learn more about the program, the Ambassadors and their work.
Nominations for a second class of Ambassadors will be accepted through the summer on the Institute’s website. The second class of Ambassadors will be announced in the fall to coincide with a Health in All Policies Summit. Contact Veronica Combs, 812-987-6076; Kelsie Smithson, 502-2437497 for more information.

2017 Ambassadors for Health in All Policies

Sadia Abdirahman, PACT In Action
Susan Buchino, PhD, Commonwealth Institute
Ebonique Burns, Russell Walks
Ben Chandler, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Linda Danna, WHAS-TV
Pam Darnall, Family & Children’s Place
Keisha Dorsey, Humana
Hannah Drake, IDEAS xLab
Theo Edmonds, IDEAS xLab
George Fischer, Family Community Clinic
Jackie Floyd, Center for Neighborhoods
Michael Fraade, Jewish Community Center of Louisville
Joe Franzen, Fern Creek High School
Lindsay Gargotto, Athena’s Sisters
Chanda Glover, National Black MBA Association – Kentucky Chapter
Ali Haider, MD, World Sight Inc.
Rev. William D. Hammer, St. Margaret Mary Church and School
Nasra Hussein, PACT In Action
Chris Lavenson, Chef Space
Coretta McAllister, Office of Mayor Greg Fischer
Nora Miodrag, Louisville Girls Leadership
Michael Robert Olsen, The Mike Olsen Project
Kent Oyler, Greater Louisville Inc
Lyndon Pryor, Louisville Urban League
Brittney Ridge, Metro United Way
Julia Robinson, Russell Walks
Stacie Steinbock, University of Louisville
Yonbretta Stewart, Humana
Charlotte Gay Stites, MD, Smoketown Family Wellness Center
Pat Sturtzel, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
Paul Varga, Brown-Forman
Eddie Woods, LIFE Hope Center for a Safe Louisville

Apr
17

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Why human health mirrors the health of our environment

By Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD

Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar and Mayor Greg Fischer speak with Prince Charles of Wales at the Big Four Bridge on March 20, 2015.

Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar and Mayor Greg Fischer speak with Prince Charles of Wales at the Big Four Bridge on March 20, 2015.

Humans flourish only in environments that are conducive to our health and well-being. Although all life adapts to its environment, for most animals and plants, the environment consists primarily of their ecosystem. The human environment, by contrast, is much more complex. It includes all natural surroundings, the totality of circumstances, and the composite social and cultural conditions that affect the individual.
Like all other life forms, humans are affected by their geographic location, the cycles of night and day, and the rhythms of the seasons. These features of the natural environment exert a powerful influence on human health. In addition, the health of human beings is also determined by the community in which they live, and the history, culture and technological capabilities of that community. Hence, the primary objective of human civilization in promoting human well-being is to mold the entirety of the human environment to enhance health, comfort and safety.

But uncritical technological advance has led to a mismatch with the rhythms of nature, the pollution of our air, water and soil, and the development of urban living patterns that promote inactivity and overconsumption leading to widespread disease. These developments undermine the primary goal of all human culture, which is to promote human health and well-being.

We in Kentucky are experiencing this problem first-hand. The Ohio valley accumulates most of the pollutants generated in neighboring areas and for most of the year has some of highest levels of particulate air pollution in the country. Moreover, more than 90 percent of the fresh water in the state is contaminated with mercury and because of high levels of pesticide use in the surrounding areas, as well as an abundance of volatile organic compounds and metals generated by local industries, Louisville is one of the most polluted cities in the country. These pollutants and toxic chemicals affect more than just our environment. Studies have shown that exposure to fine particles in the air can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung disease and cancer.
Not surprising, Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in the nation. Statewide, 10 percent of children and 18 percent of adults have asthma. In 2012, the rate of diagnosed diabetes in Kentucky was at 10.7 percent, compared to a national median of 8.3. An astonishing 30.4 percent of Kentuckians are considered obese. While many factors contribute to the poor health of Kentuckians, there is little doubt that living in clean, health¬conducive environments will help in significantly addressing the problem.

To understand the extent of the problem in greater depth, we must assess how urban environments affect human health. Based on this understanding, we have to empower citizen scientists to exert greater control of their environment and to develop new paradigms for urban living in which clean, healthy, and harmonious environments foster human health and promote human flourishing.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D. is the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine, University of Louisville; the Director, Diabetes and Obesity Center, University of Louisville; and the Director, American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center.
This article first appeared in the book published by the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil commemorating the visit to Louisville of HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on March 20, 2015.


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