Norton Healthcare has announced the future location for its Institute for Health Equity, A Part of Norton Healthcare. The institute will move into space in The Village @ West Jefferson, which is opening this summer at the southeast corner of 12th and Jefferson streets in the Russell neighborhood.

“The primary focus of the Institute for Health Equity is to identify and remove obstacles that prevent people from receiving the health care they deserve, as well as to eliminate disparities in care. This includes increasing access to care and partnering with local organizations,” said Russell F. Cox, president and CEO, Norton Healthcare. “Health care is not just a privilege, but a right. We are committed to doing what is necessary so that everyone has access to the health care they need.”

“We have been hard at work since the institute was established in June 2020, and I am excited to have a permanent location where we can provide additional resources and support to the community,” said Kelly C. McCants, M.D., executive director, Institute for Health Equity. “The Russell neighborhood is in the midst of transformational growth focused on meeting the needs of the community, and we look forward to being here as a resource for West Louisville and beyond.

“We want to position the Institute for Health Equity to serve as a central hub for community-based organizations and resources to come together to address factors that contribute to health disparities, including housing, healthy food options, transportation and child care,” Dr. McCants said. “This space is the first step in reaching that goal.”

Over the next few months, the 3,751-square-foot space will be built to accommodate staff members, community meeting space and a telehealth consultation room where patients can have one-on-one appointments with mental health providers and access to resources that align with health and well-being. The space is expected to open in June.

Last summer, Cox outlined five imperatives to address health and racial inequalities. They include:

  1. Establishing the Institute for Health Equity
  2. Ensuring access to primary care for everyone
  3. Committing to mirror our community within the Norton Healthcare leadership team
  4. Providing education and advocacy on health policy issues
  5. Investing an additional $20 million over five years in underserved areas

The Institute for Health Equity has partnered with trusted community and faith organizations to provide COVID-19 testing, flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines to underserved areas.

Dr. McCants outlined three primary goals for the first year of the Institute for Health Equity:

  1. Anchor vulnerable neighborhoods with expanded health resources by positioning the Institute for Health Equity as a vital resource, or central hub, for residents in West Louisville to connect with key services. Having the institute based in Russell will improve our ability to provide and coordinate resources for the broader community.
  2. Improve access to health care in underserved areas. We know which neighborhoods are the most vulnerable. For example, Norton Healthcare’s Community Health Needs Assessment zeroed in on specific ZIP codes that have a shortage of pediatric and women’s health services. Women often are the heads of households, and they need easier access to screenings and other resources, which we will work to deliver.
  3. Bring awareness to the historical disparities impacting certain communities. Work to eliminate barriers locally, regionally and nationally.

Housing the institute in The Village @ West Jefferson continues Norton Healthcare’s investment in West Louisville. The organization is the naming sponsor of Louisville Urban League’s Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center. Norton Healthcare opened a primary care office in the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA building and expanded it to include a COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinic. The organization also recently provided a $1.2 million grant to Simmons College of Kentucky. The grant will help the historically black college in West Louisville with educational and program initiatives, as well as support facility improvements to enhance student and faculty experiences.

In addition, with a $1.25 million grant from the Norton Healthcare Foundation, Norton Healthcare recently purchased a second mobile prevention center to make it easier for community members, including those in the Russell neighborhood, to receive services such as mammograms, well-woman exams and colon cancer screenings. In 2021, the mobile unit will have a dedicated schedule in specific areas of the Louisville community.

Permanent medical offices are being planned in West and South Louisville to further expand access to care. More information will be shared when it’s available.

“The premise of the institute is that health equity can only be achieved when every person has a fair opportunity to achieve their full health potential. I’m proud that Norton Healthcare is striving for health equity and is committing time, talent and resources toward this essential human right,” Dr. McCants said. “I look forward to being more firmly planted with our institute within the communities we primarily serve.”