Health Topics for the Week of February 20



    The positive impacts of exercise on the brain and ways to incorporate physical activity into everyday life are the focus of the “Building Hope” public lecture on Thursday, Feb. 21.

    Raj Gopalraj, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of palliative care in the University of Louisville Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine and geriatrician at UofL Physicians-Geriatrics, will present “Fitness for the Brain” at 7 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Road. The “Building Hope” lecture series is sponsored by the UofL Depression Center.

    Gopalraj is board certified in geriatric and palliative medicine and provides clinical care to patients in hospital, outpatient and nursing home settings. He serves as a preceptor for geriatrics and palliative care medical students, residents, fellows and interdisciplinary learners. He also leads the Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment (GET) Program at UofL Physicians-Geriatrics, which examines social, cognitive and medical conditions of older adults to understand their medically complex issues.

    The UofL Depression Center is Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. It is a charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, a consortium of leading depression centers that develops and fosters connections among members to advance scientific discovery and provide stigma-free, evidence-based care to patients with depressive and bipolar illnesses. 


    UofL and several community partners will help residents of Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood learn about their heart health, and connect them with the right care.

    Inspired by Muhammad Ali, who trained for boxing in Smoketown, a “Heart of a Champion” free clinic will be held this weekend. Participants will learn how healthy their heart is and their risk of heart attack and stroke, and those who need treatment will be given a referral for care. Health insurance is not required.

    This weekend’s clinic will take place from noon – 2 p.m. on Saturday at Smoketown Family Wellness Center, 760 S. Hancock St., Suite B100.


    • Free heart health profile with assessments of blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol.
    • Self-assessments for body mass, diet, sleep, smoking and exercise.
    • FAST (Facts Available in a Short Timespan) classes on diet, exercise, sleep and smoking cessation.
    • Information on how to improve health and reduce the likelihood of heart attack or stroke.

    “This is a model for community-engaged care, where we work with partners in the community who are taking care of a population we want to reach. It’s important for us to not just open our office doors to people, but really provide a presence for health and access to care by going out into the community,” said Erica Sutton, M.D., UofL Physicians-General Surgery, who leads the UofL doctors staffing the clinics.

    Clinics continue through early summer. For more details on the clinics, visit

    The initiative is a partnership of the UofL schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences; the Have a Heart Clinic; UofL Physicians; the UofL Envirome Institute; Surgery on Sunday; the American Heart Association; UofL’s Get Healthy Now; IDEAS xLab; YouthBuild; Smoketown Family Wellness Center; and several Smoketown-area churches. 


    Caring for a partner or family member with Parkinson’s disease has many rewards, but also has been associated with physical, mental, social and financial stressors.

    Beginning in March, the UofL Physicians – Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders clinic will offer a monthly caregiver support group led by Kelly Bickett, a registered nurse in the movement clinic with special expertise in the care of Parkinson’s disease. To facilitate meeting attendance, respite care will be available on an as-needed basis through a professional health-care agency.

    The group will begin Friday, March 29, and meet the fourth Friday of each month from
    2:30 – 4 p.m. Register for the support group by calling 502-582-7654.


    Julie Heflin
    Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.