U of L organizes a research project to find the relationship between pollution and cardiovascular health.

The U of L Envirome Institute launches Green Heart, a research project to study the relationship between environment and health.  Funded by grants from The Nature Conservancy and the the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the Green Heart project will conduct studies in South Louisville in the coming years.

Combined, these organizations have contributed $5 million, just short of Green Heart’s $8.7 million goal.

Globally, heart disease is the fourth leading cause of death, and pollution in urban areas is shown to be a direct cause.

In an effort to reduce heart disease and other health risks, while also benefiting the community, the Green Heart project will plant trees in south Louisville. To conduct the study, researchers plan to screen the residents for health problems, improve air quality, and conduct a second screening after its implementation.

Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, specialist in environmental cardiology, is the front of the project.

“The Green Heart project is not a one step attempt. It is to see how the environment around us affects the way we live,” Dr. Bhatnagar said.

“This project, especially with Dr. Bhatngar’s deep experience and knowledge of environmental intersections with human health, provides an incredible opportunity to gain that evidence and create a platform for positive change in Louisville and beyond,” The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky’s David Phemister said.

“I think that this announcement will be one of the most important things in the city of Louisville,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.

Fischer and Bendapudi are both in support of the research because of the way it will impact the community.

“The Envirome Institute best represents what is called a town-gown relationship,” Bendapudi said, meaning that the university and the city can work as a partnership.

“Lets make Louisville known for being the best in the country at having a city and a university that works together,” Fischer said.