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Innovative partnership between DMU and Louisville set to transform communities


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Students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have travelled to Louisville, Kentucky to launch an international partnership which will transform communities in both cities.

Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, led the delegation of students to Louisville this week to meet with Mayor Greg Fischer, who is championing innovation and compassion in his city.

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As a scholarly community committed to the public good, DMU uses the creativity of its staff and students to create opportunities for positive change through #DMUlocal – something which has found a resonance in Louisville’s ambitions.

DMU will work with City Collaborative, a non-profit organisation in Louisville which runs projects to positively impact on the city and its citizens. These include ReSurfaced, which explores creative ways to bring empty buildings back into use and Louisville Love app, which encouraged residents to learn new things about their city.

A key focus will be diabetes, which is a major health issue in both Leicester and Louisville. DMU students have been working with Diabetes UK to train as community champions, helping to identify those potentially at risk and referring them to medics.

DMU and Diabetes UK have piloted a new app that has turned diabetes risk assessments from a lengthy 25-minute process into one that can be carried out in a matter of minutes. Once students have been trained they can load the app onto tablets and smartphones. The app links directly to Diabetes UK, allowing staff to book in community members at high risk to see their GP.

Armed with the latest diabetes knowledge, DMU students will be visiting Louisville neighbourhoods and offering free diabetes risk assessments using this app, as well as advising participants on lifestyle changes.

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US Ambassador to Britain, Matthew Barzun, helped bring about the connection after recognising the similarities between the core aims of DMU and Louisville. The US Ambassador is due to receive an honorary degree from DMU next year in recognition of his work with socially disadvantaged young people in the UK.

The partnership will involve two key DMU programmes - #DMUglobal, which offers students the opportunity of an international experience that will enrich them personally and professionally; and #DMUlocal, which works to benefit the community through students who volunteer on projects co-ordinated by the DMU Square Mile team.

A team from Louisville is set to travel to DMU in January to work with students on details of the diabetes programme and develop ideas for other community projects. There will be four #DMUglobal visits to Louisville a year.  

Posted on Wednesday 16th December 2015

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