Healthcare Fellows session five

The Health Enterprises Network (HEN) Fellows cohort continued sessions virtually in June due to the COVID-19 crisis. The session included a presentation from John Launius, acting vice president of Regional Economic Development at Greater Louisville, Inc., (GLI) exploring talent attraction and retention.

From nursing careers to tech jobs – Louisville’s job market is expanding rapidly, especially in the healthcare industry. Launius said that there are over 4,100 health-related organizations, over 124,000 health-related jobs with over $90 billion in annual revenue. Nine of the region’s top 25 companies are health related.

Launius shared information about Live in Lou, GLI’s four-year talent attraction and retention initiative, and the GLI partnership with The Academies of Louisville, a program connecting high schools to business and community partners. The Academy model aligns education and workforce development needs to better prepare students for postsecondary and career success.

The Importance of Innovation

After the presentation, Fellows divided into Zoom groups to discuss ways their companies are being innovative. Highlights are below.

Medical News: What is your company doing that is innovative in your industry?

Ron Bridges, State Director, AARP Kentucky

As a social change organization with more than a quarter million age 50-plus members across the commonwealth, AARP Kentucky believes that it is critically important to be everyday innovators in aging. We are continuing AARP’s 60-year legacy of innovation by working locally with Metro-Louisville’s entrepreneurs, academicians and the private sector to spark new solutions so that more people can choose how they live as they age.

Vanessa Garrett, JD, System VP Compliance and Audit, Norton Healthcare

Norton Healthcare is providing COVID-19 testing to the community at large, but it also continues to reach out to underserved communities. We know that the coronavirus has disproportionately affected black and Hispanic communities, so Norton Healthcare has joined forces with the Louisville Urban League and the Kentuckiana Hispanic Business Council to provide free drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 testing in areas of our city largely populated by black and Latino residents.

The health system’s research arm also is conducting multiple clinical trials aimed at finding treatments for COVID-19. Norton Healthcare has the distinction of being the first facility in the world to enroll a patient in a trial investigating the drug selinexor as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

During this pandemic, Norton Healthcare continues to think outside the box to meet the needs of the community, recently announcing plans to build a permanent drive-through testing center. This is an innovative concept designed to provide the community with a low-contact health services, including blood draws for lab work, vaccinations and tests for COVID-19, flu, strep and other infections, from the convenience of their vehicles.

Marisa Tichenor, Director of Client Management, Humana

Humana recently announced a $11.5 million donation focused on rebuilding, relief and equity and inclusion efforts in Louisville. We also announced we are giving employees an additional half day of Volunteer Time Off that can be used to help revitalize associate communities. We strive to take care of our members, our employees and their communities. Through our Bold Goal mission, we are working to address social determinants and health-related social needs by focusing on issues like food insecurity, loneliness and social isolation, and improving transportation.

Medical News: Why is Louisville the best place for your company to operate? 

Ron Bridges: While most of AARP’s breakthrough ideas are accelerated in our own AARP Innovation Labs, we have a solid opportunity in Metro Louisville to help bring novel approaches, which emerge from within the area’s rich aging care and lifelong wellness ecosystem. Our deeper involvement with the Health Enterprises Network signals our seriousness about leveraging our assets, our brand and our resources to drive real change and to address the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. One example in the works will address isolation and nutrition among our older neighbors, AARP and the Thrive Center will be convening virtual cooking classes broadcast from Thrive’s kitchen facilities.

Vanessa Garrett: For more than 130 years, Norton Healthcare has served the Louisville area. What started as one small hospital in Louisville has grown to a healthcare system with more than 250 locations throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Today, Norton Healthcare is Louisville’s fourth largest employer with more than 16,500 employees, including 1,000 employed medical providers, and approximately 2,000 total physicians on its medical staff. We are the market leader in serving adult and pediatric patients in our region. Our location in Louisville, as well as in the eastern-central part of the U.S., allows Norton Healthcare to serve many diverse residents from both metropolitan and rural areas, and recruit from a large talent pool.

Marisa Tichenor: Because Louisville is a hub for aging care, Humana has access to an extensive talent pool and healthcare related partners making it easy for Humana to thrive and grow.

Session Six
The next session, “Environmental and Occupational Medicine in a Post-Covid-19 World” is virtual and will be held on June 25. Ted Smith, deputy director of the Christine Lee Brown Envirome Institute and associate professor of Environmental Medicine at the UofL School of Medicine, will present.

For more information about the Healthcare Fellows program, visit


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