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UofL receives funding to support innovative health programs for Kentucky high school students


By Julie Heflin
University of Louisville

High school students across Kentucky will benefit from new funding for the Kentucky Wellbeing Challenge (KWC), operated by the University of Louisville’s Center for Creative Placehealing.

The Bezos Family Foundation has given $30,000, and the C.E. and S. Foundation has provided $15,000 to support the KWC’s health and wellbeing innovation programming for high schoolers throughout the state.

Theo Edmonds

KWC aims to get students excited about public health careers, while they collaborate to solve some of Kentucky’s most pressing barriers to wellbeing. Using STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) tools, KWC focuses on both technical skills, such as research and digital programming, along with human skills, such as emotional intelligence and complex problem solving.

Theo Edmonds, director of CCP, said, “We hope that KWC will enhance connections, enable action and nurture creativity in young people, moving them toward careers in the health sciences across the state of Kentucky.”

CCP will begin with a small prototype phase in Spring 2021 with partners from Jefferson County Public Schools and Breathitt County Schools. Some of the learning modules are being created with national partners like the Aspen Institute, while others will be delivered through regional partnerships. The program also will include enhancements for students and teachers to improve their own personal wellbeing. The digital, fully online platform will launch in the 2021-22 academic year.

“The style of leadership that the Kentucky Wellbeing Challenge seeks is thoughtful and catalytic. By pairing student contribution with true community need, the program is poised to drive important youth-led change across the state of Kentucky and help improve community health and wellbeing,” said Chris Plutte, managing director, Bezos Family Foundation.

The KWC is part of the Center for Creative Placehealing’s efforts to cultivate a talent pipeline of next-generation public health entrepreneurs and is one of several initiatives supported by the NSF-funded Center for Health Organization Transformation based in the School of Public Health & Information Sciences.


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