Equity ARC--February 2017

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February 2017

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Raising the Bar for Everyone

This year we are celebrating our 10th Anniversary by continuing to connect and build with others to advance equity. Join us!


Center for Health Equity

400 East Gray Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40202



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CHE food map feb 2017

Louisville’s Food System in Crisis

by Rebecca Hollenbach

The Kroger at 942 S 2nd Street closed its doors at the end of last month. This closure comes on the heels of several other high profile closures of downtown grocery stores including the First Link in Phoenix Hill, the Pic Pac in Portland, and the Kroger on Southland Terrace in Shively.

Grocery stores are key anchors in the food ecosystem, which can include farmers markets, corner stores, convenience stores and even pharmacies. Full service grocery stores often provide a greater array of choices, including fresh produce, than these other food providers.

We know that what people choose to eat is often shaped by the choices that they have available to them. When a local grocery store closes, people’s choices become more limited. Should they frequent the local corner store which might have higher amounts of processed foods high in sugar or fat content? Should they spend extra hours out of their week to take a bus across town once a week to stock up on fresh produce? We know that these food “choices” then shape health outcomes such as diabetes, oral health, mental health, and heart health.

Concerned by the possibility of a systematic narrowing of food choices, the Center for Health Equity conducted a spatial analysis of major full service grocery stores. This was overlaid with 2011-2015 American Community Survey data on households without a car. This map demonstrates that every single census tract where at least 38.5% of households do not have a car also lacks a full service grocery store within half a mile. Additional analyses revealed that census tracts without a grocery store within a half mile were composed of at least 20% persons with a disability, and 40% of persons in poverty. These households do not have the easy choice of walking to get food, and now must confront other hurdles such as public transportation schedules and routes, added transportation fares or complications, and increased travel time all in order to get groceries. 

CHE redlining map

Redlining Louisville: Community Dialogue 

The Office of Redevelopment Strategies has launched an interactive story map that illustrates the modern day consequences of redlining in Louisville. With the launch of this map, a year-long community conversation will take place to address the issue of redlining in our community. Redlining, which takes many forms, is most commonly the practice of denying loans in certain neighborhoods because of race or socioeconomic characteristics. Read more here

Please join the Office of Redevelopment Strategies in community dialogue about "Redlining Louisville: The History of Race, Class and Real Estate," on April 26, 2017 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at YouthBuild Louisville (800 S Preston Street, 40203). Find the event on Facebook.

CHE james mccune smith

Tracing the Origins: Black History Month 2017

by Aja Barber

In 1837, James McCune Smith traveled to Scotland to obtain his bachelor’s, master’s and medical degree after being denied university enrollment in the United States. When he returned to the States, he started a medical practice and a pharmacy (the first African-American to do so). During his practice, he became a staunch abolitionist and used his medical expertise to combat scientific racism, a pro-slavery narrative that included describing enslaved people who attempted to escape slavery as mentally ill

Although his impact on medicine and theory span far and wide, Dr. Smith, along with other medical professionals such as Dr. John Rock, are credited for developing the foundation of health equity as we know it today. In doing so, they cited the overwhelming impacts of slavery and racism as health burdens for African-Americans, a burden that extended far beyond the immediate consequence of health behaviors (Krieger, 2003). Although it would be a theory understood by African-American health professionals, it wouldn’t be until the early 2000s that academics and practitioners would begin to explore the longstanding relationship between racism and health outcomes.

Today, the Center for Health Equity – the first of its kind in the nation - continues the work and advocacy of Dr. James McCune Smith (and countless others) to examine the ways in which racism, and other forms of systemic marginalization, impact health in Louisville.

For more information about Dr. Smith, see the write-up from PBS.