Grants & Research

The Institute seeks to be on the cutting-edge of optimal aging and sustainable health research. We seek to be a life-long learning organization that never stops asking questions.

Our research is guided by the following goals:

  1. Improve our understanding of healthy aging, diseases, and disability among older adults.
  2. Develop and disseminate information about interventions to reduce disease and disability and improve the health and quality of older adults. 
  3. Improve our understanding of and develop interventions to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and the aging brain.
  4. Improve our understanding of the consequences of an aging society and provide that information to inform intervention development and policy decisions.
  5. Improve our ability to reduce health disparities and eliminate health inequalities of older adults.

We invite you to explore how you can become involved! Contact us if you would like to learn more about a particular grant or study. To view our publications that have resulted from our various grants and research studies, click here.


Baptist Hospital Behavioral Health Study

The Institute conducted research in collaboration with Baptist Hospital on an intervention protocol for older adults suffering from alcoholism. The program was offered at the Baptist Hospital Behavioral Health Clinic to patients that were suffering from alcoholism. The role of the Institute evaluated the intervention protocol.

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 Baptist Hospital VeggieRx Winter Fresh Top Study 

The Institute conducted research in collaboration with Baptist Hospital on a Complete Health Improvement Program that Baptist provided to a number of its patients at a primary care office in South Louisville.

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Behavioral Health Workforce Enhancement Team (BHWET) Trauma-Informed FlourishCare™ Pre-Apprentice Training Program 

The University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging Trauma-Informed FlourishCare Paraprofessional Program is funded by the University of Louisville Rural Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care Training Network and will reach individuals who have experienced trauma and behavioral health challenges across their lifespan in three high need and high demand regions in Kentucky. 

As part of the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant (BHWET), the Trauma-Informed FlourishCare™ Paraprofessional Program at the University of Louisville Trager Institute looks to place 84 paraprofessional interns in 15 trauma-informed integrated primary care/behavioral health training sites.  Training sites will serve rural individuals and their families impacted by severe mental illness, opioid use disorders, and other substance abuse disorders in 14 rural Kentucky counties.  Counties include Trimble, Henry, Shelby and Spencer near Louisville, KY, South Central counties of Hart, Metcalfe, and Barren, and Eastern counties of Owsley, Perry, Letcher, Harlan, Bell, Knox, and Whitley.  To learn how more or to enroll, CLICK HERE.

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Compassionate Louisville Project

The Compassionate Cities Index is a project from University of Louisville's Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, in partnership with Louisville Metro Government, the University of Louisville School of Medicine, the International Charter for Compassionate Cities, Compassionate Louisville and the International Charter for Compassion.

The Index builds on the work of Drs. Anna Faul and Joseph D'Ambrosio and the international compassionate cities movement. As a growing number of cities and communities begin to prioritize compassion and commit to the Compassionate Cities Movement, the need for a standardized measurement tool to evaluate compassion has grown. The Compassionate Cities Index will be a reliable and accurate tool for measuring the prevalence of compassion in cities.

Data collection for this study was completed in Summer 2017, with a minimum of 67 survey responses across all 37 zip codes in Louisville. Compassion Index results per zip are coming soon! Click here to learn more about the study. 

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Fund for the Arts (Funded Grant- $25,000)

This project is a collaboration between Fund for the Arts and the Institute and is funded by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. The purpose of this project is to create partnerships with arts organizations and artists to programs to leverage the power of the Arts to promote physical, emotional, and social healing.

For 2017-2018, this project will focus on an intergenerational initiative between adolescents attending Jefferson County Public Schools and older adult veterans. Three groups of 6 veterans and 6 high school students for a total of 12 participants in each group will be exposed to 6 weeks of art exposure (Exposure group), art participation (Participation group) and art exposure and participation (Combined group). The six-week cycle will be repeated four times during one year for a total of 12 groups being exposed to the program. Each six-week cycle will start with an informational session the previous week where informed consents will be signed, the pretest will be completed, and the veterans and high school students being paired with one another and introduced to the six-week program that will follow. For the first iterations of the project, community art partners will include the Frazier History Museum and Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts (KMAC). If you are interested, contact us at 502-852-8655 or at [email protected]Click here to view the program flyer. Interested in learning more? Check out our FAQ page!

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Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) (Funded Grant - $2.25 Million)

The University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is a project funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve the health and well-being of older adults living in six counties in Kentucky: Barren, Bullitt, Hart, Henry, Metcalfe, and Shelby.


This project addresses 1) the shortage of the geriatric and primary care health workforce; 2) the need to train a health care workforce that can deliver culturally appropriate services to all diverse groups living in our area; 3) the difficulties experienced in decreasing the chronic disease burden in rural KY; 4) the lack of supportive rural environments to promote health, specifically for the older rural populations; and 5) the need for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) Supportive Education and Resources.

The Institute’s GWEP utilizes a four-prong approach to achieve this vision including care coordination, geriatrics workforce education training, grassroots community development, and the creation of Alzheimer’s and Dementia friendly communities.

Click on the below links to learn more about the individual GWEP programs:

1Flourish Program:

A program that delivers interdisciplinary patient-centered care coordination in the Hart, Metcalfe, Barren, Bullitt, Henry, and Shelby counties

Presione aquí para mas información en español

2Interdisciplinary Curriculum for the Care of Older Adults:

A geriatric curriculum that trains students and professionals from medicine, nursing, social work, dentistry, pharmacy, and community health in the Flourish model of care

3. Kentucky Coalition for Healthy Communities:

A community-based coalition that seeks to develop the social networks and resources needed to promote geriatric workforce development in rural communities and to increase the community supports that help older adults in rural counties lead healthier lives

 4Memory 360:

An initiative to create Alzheimer's and Dementia friendly communities through education and training of clinical staff, community partners, persons with dementia, and caregivers

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 Improved Health Outcomes Project (funded - $75,000)

The Passport Improved Health Outcomes Project (IHOP) created comprehensive, culturally sensitive preventative care systems and strategies for a rural Latino food pantry. This project has trained Promotoras, who are also community members, to measure biomarkers of older adults using the food pantry. Through this research, Promotoras were trained to measure biomarkers so that, in the future, they themselves could monitor their own health. 

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2017 KIPDA Needs Assessment (Funded Project - $40,000)

The Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency contracted with the Institute to analyze social service needs in their seven-county region (Bullitt, Henry, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Jefferson Counties). This comprehensive needs assessment analyzed the existing age-friendly features of Louisville as well as identified gaps according to the eight age-friendly domains of livability and provides recommendations regarding priorities and future action steps.

View Full Report Here

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Optimal Aging Study

This study looks at the qualities of older adults who have been nominated for the Optimal Aging Award. It is conducted upon request from Dr. Wright and examines the following questions:

1) What factors contribute to older adults’ ability to optimally age? 
2) Do influences throughout the life of the older adult contribute to their optimal aging? 
3) Do one’s civic, social, spiritual, and creativity levels contribute to optimal aging? 
4) Do factors such as family engagement, civic involvement, occupational success, life satisfaction, and vitality contribute to optimal aging?

Nominees and awardees of the Institute's Gold Standard for Optimal Aging are asked each year to complete this survey.

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Participant Registry

The Institute manages a participant registry of older adults and families of older adults. This registry consists of individuals who have volunteered to participate in research and product testing conducted in the field of aging studies.

The registry allows the community to become actively involved with studies and innovations that can improve the health and well-being of older adults and their families.  As well, the registry enables such studies and innovations to more quickly reach the populations they are intended to help. Click here to view the Participant Registry webpage, where you will find specific information for interested membersfamilies and caregivers, and potential researchers. Still have questions? Feel free to contact us to learn more about the Participant Registry and how it can benefit you.

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VA Medical Foster Homes for Non-Eligible Veterans

 This project seeks to create an adult foster home providing safe, non-institutional care alternative for otherwise non-eligible veterans through a partnership with the Department of Aging and Independent Living and the KVCIC.

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This project connected older adult patients with prescriptions for vegetables and fresh fruits. The project team worked with New Roots, Inc., a nonprofit who manages Fresh Stop Markets and was funded by the Humana Foundation. 

The purpose of this project is: 1) to examine the effects of fresh foods on the health outcomes of adults in local communities; 2) to evaluate the impact of providing access to fresh fruit and vegetables to patients who present to medical practices.

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