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Nesbitt: Many Louisvillians Face Health Problems From Smoking, Weight

The director of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has delivered an assessment of the health of Louisville citizens and some strategies for improvement.

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt has been studying the city’s health statistics—the latest available are from 2009.

Nesbitt says the smoking rate among Louisville adults was almost 24 percent, down slightly from previous years but still well above the national average. And nearly two-thirds of Louisville adults were overweight or obese.

Nesbitt says, among other things, she plans to work with the Metro Housing Authority
on smoke-free policies in public housing, and with the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown movement on nutrition and disease prevention programs.

She also wants to hear from citizens about the health care services they receive.

“And understanding if we have a match of the services that are available with the community need. And the best way for us to do that is to go directly to the community and understand why they’re seeking care in the way that they are, or not seeking care,” she said.

The department has scheduled four public meetings this month:

Each meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will last for approximately one hour.

Tuesday, March 13
NIA Center, 2900 W. Broadway

Thursday, March 15
Southwest Government Center, 7219 Dixie Hwy.

Tuesday, March 27
Worthington Fire Station #1

9514 Featherbell Blvd.

(in Norton Commons)

Prospect, KY

Wednesday, March 28
Okolona Branch of Louisville Free Public Library

7709 S. Preston Hwy.

Thursday, March 29
Greater Louisville Medical Society, 101 W. Chestnut St. (This meeting is targeted to physicians, leaders of community based organizations and business leaders and is cosponsored by the Greater Louisville Medical Society.)

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Local News

Health Department Seeking New Medical Director

A national search has been launched for a new medical director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

The post was vacated late last month when Dr. Matt Zahn accepted a job in California.

Zahn, a California native, is the new epidemiology medical director at the County of Orange Health Care Agency.

He had held the Louisville post since 2004, and served as acting health department director after Dr. Adewale Troutman took a job in Florida last year.

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Local News

Flu Shots Begin This Week At Jefferson County Public Schools

Louisville’s heath department and Jefferson County Public Schools are embarking on a campaign to immunize thousands of students against the flu.

The immunization campaign was launched two years ago in response to the H1N1 outbreak.

This year’s free doses of combined H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine are funded by various federal programs.

Health department spokesman Dave Langdon says the first shots will be administered this week at six schools.

“Over the course of the next eight or nine weeks, through December 8, we’ll be out for one day at every Jefferson County public school,” Langdon said.

Students must have written parental permission to get a shot. Officials expect to vaccinate about 20,000 or 20 percent of JCPS students.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Town Hall On Infant Mortality To Be Held In West Louisville

The Healthy Start Initiative of Louisville’s health department will hold a town hall meeting tomorrow on infant mortality.

Health department spokesman Dave Langdon says much of the discussion will focus on infant mortality rates in west Louisville neighborhoods.

“Those are the neighborhoods that healthy start serves. We see infant mortality rates that are anywhere from double to two-and-a-half times higher than the infant mortality rates in the rest of the community. The infant mortality rate is the rate at which babies die before their first birthday,” he said.

Participants in the town hall will include experts from the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, the March of Dimes and Kosair Children’s Hospital.

It begins at 6:00pm tomorrow at the NIA Center on West Broadway.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Restauranteurs Urged To Take Part In Menu Labeling Program

Twenty-nine Louisville restaurants at 46 locations have signed up so far for a voluntary program to list calorie and other nutritional information on their menus.

Department of Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt says the program is aimed at smaller establishments, and as many as 1,300 of them are eligible.

“We are funding this initiative,” she said. “So it would be…one of the best opportunities to get on board while we do have the resources to be able to give back to the community and to be able to invest in the community and to be able to assist, especially our smaller, independently owned businesses and them being able to participate.”

National chain restaurants will soon be required under the federal health care overhaul to list the information.

Money for the local program comes from a nearly $8 million federal grant awarded last year to the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement.

Nesbitt spoke at the Yang Kee Noodle restaurant at Oxmoor Center, which was one of the first to put the information on its menu.

Owner Dan Huckestein says he wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the $10,000 it cost to change his menu listings.

“It’s very difficult when you’re one independent restaurant to be able to find the time and the resources to compile accurate and complete data. So when we heard about the program we were very excited. Our customers have been asking about it for years.”

Last year the health department recommended that the city mount an educational campaign on the risks of foods that contain trans fat, but that program has not yet been launched.

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Health Department Revising Restaurant Ratings

The Louisville Metro Health Department is making some adjustments to the letter system it uses grade sanitary conditions at the city’s restaurants and other food facilities.

The changes go into effect September 1st.

Department environmental health administrator Connie Mendel says places that receive an inspection score of 85 or above with no critical violations will still receive an “A” grade.

Critical violations are conditions that are likely to cause food-borne illness.

“Basically a ‘B’ is for facilities that have failed two regular consecutive inspections or they’ve been closed for imminent health reasons. So basically those ‘B’ facilities are under administrative review,” Mendel said.

A “C” is given to a facility that has failed its most recent inspection due to score below 85 or a critical violation. They’re given a follow-up inspection within ten days.

Mendel says the letter grade placards also contain more information for consumers, including past inspection scores. The system was changed to bring it into alignment with Kentucky’s new Retail Food Code.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Audio: Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Louisville’s New Health Dept. Director

A deputy director of the Washington, D.C. Department of Health has been chosen to lead the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt will assume the post vacated late last year by Dr. Adewale Troutman, who took a job in Florida.

Nesbitt is currently deputy director of community health administration for the District of Columbia Department of Health. She says the nation’s capital is dealing with many of the same public health challenges faced in Louisville.

“It won’t be new terrain for me in Louisville. We have worked very aggressively here in D.C. as it relates to tobacco use, especially among youth and minority populations, and looking at issues related to obesity and how to change environment so those individuals are able to make healthier choices,” she said.

In addition to leading the Louisville health department, Nesbitt will have a faculty appointment at the University of Louisville School of Public Health. The city and U of L will split her $180,000 salary.

The entire interview with Dr. Nesbitt can be heard here.

Audio MP3
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Local News Next Louisville

Fischer Appoints Food Policy Council

Mayor Greg Fischer has made his appointments to the recently-created Food Policy Advisory Council, which will work to reduce obesity in the city.

The 25-member panel strives to identify and propose innovative solutions and policies to create a vibrant food system and spur economic development. It is part of a larger movement led by Metro Government in the past few years to help bring healthy foods to impoverished neighborhoods known as food deserts.

“It’s important for local entrepreneurs, farmers, community food advocates, faith based organizations, educators and others in the community to work together to create more opportunities for our citizens to access fresh, local food and encourage a robust, sustainable local food economy,” Fischer said in a news release. “These 25 individuals represent a broad spectrum of our city and they have the experience, vision, and passion to lead our efforts.”

The food council’s agenda hasn’t been set, but it’s expected to tackle issues surrounding Louisville’s lack of food security and make recommendations to city leaders.

In 2010, a city report found large swaths of west Louisville and east downtown lacked fresh produce, but were saturated by fast food restaurants, which has spawned the Healthy in a Hurry Corner Store initiative.

The Food Policy Advisory Council appointees:

  • Bill Lynch, Chef, Louisville Originals
  • Larry Brandenburg, Farmer, Harmony Fields Farm
  • Mary Berry, President, Smith Berry Winery
  • Ann Coffey, Community Volunteer
  • Stan Siegwald, Policy Director, Dare to Care Food Bank
  • Robin Kaukas, Coordinator – Family Resource Center, Fairdale Elementary School
  • Mike Bramer, Director of Healthy Actions, YMCA and Chair, Food in Neighborhoods Committee, Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement
  • Sarah Ludden, Junior League
  • James Neumann, Owner, Valu Market
  • Michael Dean, Neighborhood Coordinator, California Collaborative
  • Dawn Riley, Executive Director, Kentucky Agricultural Council
  • Ellen McGeeney, Manager, Grasshoppers Distribution
  • Jill Costin, Coordinator – Nutrition Services, Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Pat Williamson, Community Advocate, Lamp Ministries
  • Peter Thiong, Agricultural Coordinator, YouthBuild Louisville
  • Dr. Lisa Markowitz, Professor of Anthropology, University of Louisville
  • Lacey McNary, Deputy Director, Kentucky Youth Advocates
  • Cassia Herron, Urban Planner, Founder, Aunties Catering
  • Jennie Jean Davidson, Deputy Director, Making Connections Louisville
  • Joyce Lichtenstein, Community Volunteer
  • Gary Heine, Owner, Heine Bros. Coffee
  • SteVon Edwards, designee for Public Health and Wellness
  • Sarah Fritschner, designee for Economic Development
  • Steve Sizemore, designee for Codes and Regulations
  • John Hamilton, designee for Parks

Over 70 applications were submitted and were reviewed by a development team that measured knowledge, experience and vision for Louisville’s food system. Careful consideration was also made to include a broad representation of occupations, Metro Council districts and diversity in race and gender.

Funding for the panel comes from a $7.9 million federal grant. The money is being spent on long- and short-term strategies to increase physical activity, provide better nutrition and spur economic development.

Community health specialist Josh Jennings with the Department of Public Health and Wellness’ Center for Health Equity will serve as the administrative coordinator.

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Local News

Flu Shots At Public Schools Start Tuesday

The Louisville Department of Health and Wellness will offer free flu and H1N1 shots to students at some public schools starting this week.

Last year, the department offered immunizations to all students. The money for that program came from federal grants to fight H1N1. That money is no longer available, so the department is working with the government’s Vaccines for Children program this year. Health director Dr. Adewale Troutman says the vaccines are free, but can only be offered at schools where at least 80 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch.

“Other schools, the expectation is that the parents have insurance,” he says. “It’s easier for those kids to get the shots from the doctor’s office or the pharmacy and it’s easier to pay the going rate in the community. That’s what the expectation is.”

The vaccines are optional, and students will need a signed permission slip to receive a shot. The vaccinations begin Tuesday and continue through October 29th.

Public Health and Wellness nurses will immunize children attending these schools on the following days:

Week One

TUES 9/28

  • GILMORE LANE ELEMENTARY 1281 Gilmore Ln., – 40213
  • INDIAN TRAIL ELEMENTARY 3709 E Indian Trail, – 40213

WED 9/29

  • DIXIE ELEM 10201 Casalanda Dr., – 40272
  • LAYNE ELEMENTARY 9831 East Ave., – 40272

THURS 9/30

  • WESTERN MIDDLE 2201 W. Main St., – 40212
  • FOSTER ELEMENTARY 1401 S. 41st St., – 40211

Week Two

TUES 10/5

  • BLAKE ELEMENTARY 3801 Bonaventure Blvd., – 40219
  • BYCK ELEMENTARY 2328 Cedar Street; 40212

WED 10/6

  • IROQUOIS HIGH SCHOOL 4615 Taylor Blvd; 40215
  • KNIGHT MIDDLE 9803 Blue Lick Rd., – 40229

THURS 10/7

  • GUTERMUTH 1500 Sanders Ln., – 40216
  • SANDERS ELEMENTARY 8408 Terry Ln., – 40258

FRI. 10/8

  • SHAWNEE/THE ACADEMY & ESL NEWCOMER 4018 W. Market St., – 40212
  • CRUMS LANE ELEMENTARY 3212 S Crums Ln., – 40216

Week Three

MON 10/11

  • OLMSTED ACADEMY SOUTH 5650 Southern Pkwy., – 40214
  • BLUE LICK ELEMENTARY 9801 Blue Lick Rd 40229

TUES 10/12

  • BRECKINRIDGE-FRANKLIN ELEM 1351 Payne St., – 40206
  • LINCOLN ELEMENTARY 930 E. Main St., – 40206

WED 10/13

  • KENWOOD ELEMENTARY 7420 Justan Ave., – 40214
  • OKOLONA ELEMENTARY 7606 Preston Hwy., – 40219

THURS 10/14

  • WESTERN HIGH 2501 Rockford Ln – 40216
  • COCHRANE 2511 Tregaron Ave.; 40299

FRI. 10/15

  • OLMSTED ACADEMY NORTH 4530 Bellevue Ave., – 40215
  • MILL CREEK ELEMENTARY 3816 Dixie Hwy., – 40216

Week Four

MON 10/18

  • CAMP TAYLOR ELEMENTARY 1446 Belmar Dr., – 40213
  • SHELBY ELEMENTARY 735 Zeigler St., – 40217

TUES 10/19

  • LASSITER MIDDLE 8200 Candleworth Dr., – 40214
  • MINORS LANE ELEMENTARY 8510 Minors Ln., – 40219

WED 10/20

  • KING ELEMENTARY 4325 Vermont Ave., – 40211
  • MAUPIN ELEMENTARY 1312 Catalpa St., – 40211

THURS 10/21

  • SLAUGHTER ELEMENTARY 3805 Fern Valley Rd., – 40219
  • THOMAS JEFFERSON MIDDLE 1501 Rangeland Rd., – 40219

FRI. 10/22

  • FROST MIDDLE SCHOOL 13700 Sandray Blvd., – 40272
  • WATSON LANE ELEMENTARY 7201 Watson Ln., – 40272

Week Five

MON 10/25

  • CENTRAL HIGH 1130 W Chestnut St., – 40203
  • CANE RUN ELEMENTARY 3951 Cane Run Rd., – 40211

TUES 10/26

  • AUBURNDALE ELEMENTARY 5749 New Cut Road; 40214
  • RUTHERFORD ELEMENTARY 301 Southland Blvd., – 40214

THURS 10/28

  • COCHRAN ELEMENTARY 500 W. Gaulbert Ave., – 40208
  • MCFERRAN ELEMENTARY 1900 S. Seventh St., – 40208

FRI. 10/29

  • YOUNG ELEMENTARY 3526 Muhammad Ali Blvd.,- 40212

Jefferson County Public School nurses and nurse practitioners will immunize children attending the following schools:

ATKINSON ELEMENTARY
10/27
2811 Duncan Street Louisville KY 40212

BINET
10/11 – 10/15
3410 Bon Air Avenue, Louisville, KY 40220

BUECHEL METROPOLITAN HIGH
10/14
1960 Bashford Manor Lane, Louisville, KY 40218

CENTER @ RIVERPORT
10/21
7401 Riverport Dr. Louisville, KY 40258

CORAL RIDGE ELEMENTARY
10/20
10608 National Turnpike, Louisville, KY 40118

DAWSON ORMAN
10/12
900 South Floyd St. , Louisville, KY 40203

DUVALLE EDUCATION CENTER
10/19
3610 Bohne Avenue, Louisville, KY 40211

ENGELHARD ELEMENTARY
10/8
1004 South First Street Louisville KY 40203

FAIRDALE ELEMENTARY
10/18 & 10/19
10104 Mitchell Hill Rd, Louisville, KY 40118

FRAYSER ELEMENTARY
10/7
13700 Sandray Blvd., Louisville, KY 40272

GOLDSMITH ELEMENTARY
10/28 & 10/29
3520 Goldsmith Lane Louisville KY 40220

HAZELWOOD ELEMENTARY
10/ & 10/11
1325 Bluegrass., Louisville, KY 40215

JACOB ELEMENTARY
10/14 & 10/15
3701 E Wheatmore Dr., Louisville, KY 40215

JAEGER
10/12
502 Wood Road, Louisville, KY 40222

KENNEDY METRO
10/7
4515 Taylorsville Rd., Louisville, KY 40220

LIBERTY
10/7
3307 East Indian Trail, Louisville, KY 40213

PORTLAND ELEMENTARY
10/25 & 10/26
3410 Northwestern Parkway Louisville KY 40212

PRICE ELEMENTARY
WEEK OF 10/11 & 10/18
5001 Garden Green Way Louisville KY 40218

RANGELAND ELEMENTARY
10/27, 10/28 & 10/29
1701 Rangeland Road Louisville KY 40219

ROOSEVELT PERRY ELEM
10/12
1606 Magazine St Louisville, KY 40203

SEMPLE ELEMENTARY
9/30
724 Denmark, 40215, Louisville, KY 40215

WALLER-WILLIAMS ENVIRONMENTAL
10/21
2415 Rockford Lane, Louisville, KY 40216

WELLINGTON ELEMENTARY
10/20
4800 Kaufman, Louisville, KY 40216

WHEATLEY ELEMENTARY
10/11
1107 South 17th Street Louisville KY 40210

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Local News

Flu Shot Clinics Begin This Week

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness begins a series of walk-in flu shot clinics this week.

Starting Thursday, residents can visit firehouses and other sites across the city to get an immunization, which this year includes both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccine.

There’s also push by health officials to vaccinate more African-Americans, who accounted for 35 percent of flu-related hospitalizations across the country last year.

Church leaders are joining the effort this year to spread the word, among them the Reverend Frank Smith.

“We’re asking for pastors to take a time in these next few weeks to specifically address from the pulpits and in your teaching formats the necessity of our faith community to participate in this effort,” he said.

The health department says there is an ample supply of flu vaccine this year.

More flu information at wfpl.org/flu