Passport and March of Dimes donate 50 diaper bags to families with babies in UofL Hospital NICU

As part of National Prematurity Awareness Month, Passport Health Plan and March of Dimes are stepping up to help 50 families who have babies being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at University of Louisville Hospital.

Passport (the provider-sponsored, nonprofit, community-based health plan administering Medicaid benefits to more than 310,000 Kentuckians) and March of Dimes (the nation’s leading maternal and infant health nonprofit) are donating 50 fully stocked diaper bags to help families during one of the most emotional and tense times in their lives.

The preterm birth rate in the United States is on the rise for the third year in a row, a trend signaling an urgent health crisis for moms and babies, March of Dimes says. In Jefferson County, the preterm birth rate is an alarming 10.9 percent, based on 2016 data. Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is the largest contributor to infant death in the United States and around the world.

The official donation will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 (World Prematurity Day) at UofL Hospital, 530 South Jackson Street. Members of the news media are invited to attend. Officials from Passport, March of Dimes, and UofL Hospital will be available for comment.

For more about March of Dimes, go online to or


University of Louisville professor thinks trees could help improve region’s health

Blame for Louisville’s high incidence of heart disease has long been attributed to a population that has unhealthy eating habits, a high rate of smoking, and an overall lack of exercise. In some circles, the city’s reputation has earned it an unwelcome nickname — Coronary Valley.

Dr. Aruni Bhatnager

But a new idea called “The Green Heart Program” seeks to determine if the simple presence of trees and more green spaces can improve overall health and lower the region’s rate of heart disease.

“We are testing the idea that if you increase green spaces in an urban community, you will see improvements in health,” Dr. Aruni Bhatnager, a University of Louisville professor of medicine who is leading the study, said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville.

Dr. Bhatnager said the study will enroll 700 people living in south Louisville neighborhoods and measure their risk for heart disease. The project will then plant nearly 10,000 large mature trees in those areas, then go back later to see if the presence of green affects the health of the community.

To hear more from Dr. Bhatnager, please click here. To learn more about the Green Heart project, please click here.

University of Louisville program focuses on reducing ‘explosion’ of diabetes and obesity

Insider Louisville LogoThanks to advances in medicine and technology, life expectancy in the United States has been increasing every year since medical professionals began keeping statistics. But that progress has stopped recently because of an epidemic of diabetes.

That’s according to Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, Director of the University of Louisville’s Diabetes and Obesity Center. For eight years, the Center has focused on performing research and preparing and recruiting investigators to study the disease.

“There’s been a virtual explosion from the 1990s to now, and Kentucky has the highest rates of people who are overweight and obese,” Dr. Bhatnagar said in a recent Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville. “You can make the case that it is the major public health problem in the U.S. and we are at the center of it.”

For more information, please go online to


West Louisville Health Literacy Project Seeks Residents for Focus Groups

The West Louisville Health Literacy Project is looking for adults living in West Louisville for focus groups to talk about health insurance and how to make it easier to understand.

These focus groups are for anyone who lives in the Shawnee, Parkland, Russell, and California neighborhoods of West Louisville. The Health Literacy Project is led by Ryan Combs at the University of Louisville School of Public Health.

For more information, please click here or contact Ryan Combs at (502) 852-1995 or