Existing institute renamed, will look at aspects of environment on health


    The University of Louisville Board of Trustees today approved a name change of an existing institute that will contribute to expanding the university’s scope in evaluating the influence of the environment on health and wellness

    The Board okayed the changing of the name of the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development (KIESD), created in 1992, to the Envirome Institute. Like KIESD, the institute will support research and applied scholarship, teaching and educational outreach activities, but with greater emphasis on community engagement and health.

    Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., professor and the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine in the UofL School of Medicine, is tapped to lead the institute, which will have a more focused emphasis on the health effects of the environment, not as separate domains but as an integrated whole. An envirome is the total set of environmental factors, both present and past, that affect the state and disease susceptibility of individuals.

    “Over the past decade, new expertise in the area of environmental health research has emerged,” Bhatnagar said. “To fully meet the needs of our state and nation in environmental health, it is critical for UofL to expand the scope of the KIESD and to recruit new leading scholars with broad backgrounds in health sciences, environmental research and community engagement.”

    The Board also approved the creation of the Center for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil (CHAWS), a part of the Envirome Institute. CHAWS will support outreach activities to promote collaborations and interactions with the community for information exchange, partnership in scientific studies, dissemination of environmental information to the community and consultation by the community  on issues relevant to the environment and health.

    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.