LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A search is underway for the first Kentucky Artist Innovator in Health (KAIH), who will work in partnership with community members to create a digital, arts-based, intervention for obesity-prevention that focuses on the cultural drivers of trust, hope, belonging, and loneliness. Kentucky artists interested in leveraging technology to create change are encouraged to apply for this eight-month paid residency working in Louisville and Jackson, Ky.
Many organizations are coming together to make the KAIH possible. The initiative is being led by IDEAS xLab and the University of Louisville’s Center for Creative Placehealing and Center for Health Organization Transformation, both based in the UofL School of Public Health & Information Sciences (UofL SPHIS). UofL SPHIS faculty and students will also be involved, providing research support and a four-day public health training boot camp.
“We’re developing an entrepreneurial population health workforce who are able to create fresh new approaches to deeply entrenched challenges,” said Theo Edmonds, director of UofL’s Center for Creative Placehealing. “The KAIH residency focuses on building cultural wellbeing while developing new ways for community members, health researchers and practitioners, digital coders, and creatives to collaborate.”
A cornerstone of the KAIH residency is training on the Universal Community Planning Tool (UCPT) developed by the Public Health Department of Garrett County in Maryland. UCPT uses open-source technology to equip communities with sustainable, culturally responsive strategies.
“The Kentucky Artist Innovator in Health will work alongside community members and researchers to adapt the UCPT platform for Kentucky. This digital collaborative will increase equity and support data-driven decisions,” said Josh Miller, co-founder and CEO of IDEAS xLab. “We are excited about this chance to reframe how we approach urban-rural collaboration in creating a more healthy, just, and creative Kentucky.”
The KAIH Residency is supported by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; a County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Community Collaborative Learning Fund award; and State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services.
“Obesity rates continue to rise in Kentucky and across the nation. We know if we want to address this serious health issue, we need to try new approaches and think outside the box. Culture impacts almost everything we do, including how we talk and think about food. We’re excited to see the direction this project will take.” said Elizabeth Anderson-Hoagland, MPH, Health Promotion Section supervisor, Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services.