The funding is part of a $7.9 million grant awarded to the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Louisville is one of 44 cities receiving funds for obesity and/or tobacco prevention as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative, a comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

SPHIS will provide project evaluation and develop a joint master’s degree in public health and urban planning.

We strive to encourage better health for local citizens, and are thrilled to be part of this effort to fight obesity, said Richard Clover, MD, SPHIS dean. It’s another opportunity to partner with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness on an important program.

Clover will serve on the project’s leadership team, providing oversight, enacting policies and providing an organizational structure and governance for the community coalition.

Muriel Harris, PhD, SPHIS assistant professor will lead a team that will direct the comprehensive evaluation strategy for the project. The team will use various methods to monitor implementation of the proposed community-wide policy, systems and environmental changes.

Susan Olson-Allen, PhD, SPHIS assistant professor, is responsible for developing the joint master’s degree in public health and urban planning. The degree will educate students about how the environment affects the health and well-being of individuals in a community. The school hopes to begin admitting students to the new degree program in fall 2011.

The grant also will fund city-wide activities that will make healthier foods available in schools, assist students to grow produce, build community infrastructure to encourage biking and walking, and make fresh produce more readily available in underserved neighborhoods.