New physician office aims to improve health of West End families

Dr. Duncan worked for seven years at Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center and lived in the Shawnee neighborhood with his family.

Brent Duncan, M.D., was eager to return to West Louisville, a calling for him to improve the lives of families in the medically underserved area. Dr. Duncan, family medicine physician, will provide comprehensive primary care to patients across the lifespan at Norton Community Medical Group – West Broadway, which opened in December.

The practice is housed at the new YMCA of Greater Louisville facility at Broadway and 18th Street.

Before joining Norton Healthcare in 2018, Dr. Duncan worked for seven years at Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center and lived in the Shawnee neighborhood with his family. He built strong connections with his patients there and fell in love with West Louisville.

Caring for the whole family helps Dr. Duncan when it comes to treating children. Knowing details about a child’s home life allows him to better meet their physical, mental and emotional needs.

Making a connection with kids and families

At the new practice, Dr. Duncan said he wants to address the social determinants of health faced by most children growing up in the West End. Many children there are either involved in or witness community and family violence, crime or physical abuse, according to Dr. Duncan. He works with Family & Children’s Place, also housed at the new YMCA building, to provide integrative behavioral health care.

Establishing contact between patients and licensed clinical social workers under the same roof increases the likelihood of follow-up care.

“The trauma some of these kids and families have experienced can desensitize or dehumanize them. When that happens, other people become less human as well,” Dr. Duncan said. “If you can make a connection with a kid or a family, they feel heard, cared for and loved, and they start to see you and others as people again.”

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Since many West Louisville neighborhoods are food deserts, Dr. Duncan said he plans to bring mobile produce vendors who accept government food assistance to the facility and partner with the YMCA to host healthy cooking classes. The office also will have a Dare to Care food pantry.

“I hope our patients will feel known and cared for,” Dr. Duncan said. “We’re here to help as best we can and to walk alongside our patients through life.”

Read more: Norton Healthcare donates major gift to the Louisville Urban League