UAB Grand Challenge – What is it? 

A grand challenge is a significant problem that is large and multifaceted in scope – a problem which resists simple solutions. Part of UAB’s strategic plan, “Forging the Future,” the UAB Grand Challenge is intended to unite university activities across silos and throughout different schools, forge new partnerships, and reach the community. Live HealthSmart Alabama was the winning proposal among 77 submitted for the inaugural Grand Challenge grant.

About the Grand Challenge

Live HealthSmart Alabama

Live HealthSmart is a comprehensive plan to work with businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, and non-profits in order to make changes to policies, systems, and build environment impacting the health of Alabamians. Not only will Live HealthSmart offer meaningful guidelines for improving individual health, and support neighborhood improvements, a key goal of the initiative is to help organizations meet the criteria to earn the designation of a Live HealthSmart business, school, or restaurant.

Live HealthSmart

The UAB Sustainable Smart Cities leading the Built Environment Team

The UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center  has been selected to lead the Live Health Smart Alabama– Built Environment Team (BET). The Built Environment Team is comprised of a diverse group of participants that includes faculty, staff and students, industry leaders, local civic organizations, and community and government representatives, working together towards the common goal of improving the health and quality of life in our communities. 

The midterm objective of Live HealthSmart Alabama is to improve the quality of life in our local communities by focusing on changes that support active living, good nutrition, and wellness through enhancements to policies, systems, and the built environment. In order to do so, Live HealthSmart Alabama convened teams with specific goals and tasks. The Built Environment Team works to reduce the burden of chronic diseases and enhancing the quality of life of the residents through the design of built environments that promote and support physical activity, connect communities, and provide access to healthy foods. The built environment refers to human-made spaces and includes all of the physical parts of where we live and work such as homes, buildings, sidewalks, open spaces, parks etc. 

There is strong evidence that the built environment has an impact on health, especially in relation to chronic diseases. For example, a lack of accessible sidewalks, bicycle lanes, trails, and walking paths contribute to sedentary habits. These habits lead to poor health outcomes such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. To improve our population health rankings, we need to transform our state into one where healthy living is the easy, default choice.


Grand Challenge News & Events

Kingston Ribbon Cutting

Kingston Ribbon Cutting

Live HealthSmart Alabama, a University of Alabama at Birmingham initiative, celebrated phase one improvements in the Kingston community at Stockham Park.




Titusville Ribbon Cutting

Titusville Ribbon Cutting

Live HealthSmart Alabama, an initiative supported by the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), held a ribbon cutting at Titusville’s Memorial Park on September 20 to celebrate recent community improvements.

Titusville Tree Planting

Titusville Tree Planting

Live HealthSmart Alabama, a program of the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center, in partnership with Birmingham Sunrise Rotary Club, hosted a tree planting event in Titusville on November 9, 2020.


Volunteers go Into the Streets for UAB student-led day of service, community cleanups

Volunteers go Into the Streets for UAB student-led day of service, community cleanups

University of Alabama at Birmingham students, faculty and staff gave 316 hours of community service Friday, March 26, for Into the Streets.









Painting a Movement: Live HealthSmart Alabama murals in Kingston and Titusville reenergize public spaces

Painting a Movement: Live HealthSmart Alabama murals in Kingston and Titusville reenergize public spaces

“Welcome to the BBQ,” says the colorful invitation emblazoned on the recently repainted grill in Kingston’s Stockham Park. It is one of several new taglines and murals painted throughout the park inviting community members to come together and enjoy the space.

Building Healthier Environments: Philanthropy helps Birmingham neighborhoods get a healthy new look

Building Healthier Environments: Philanthropy helps Birmingham neighborhoods get a healthy new look

The road to better health runs more smoothly now in the Kingston and Titusville neighborhoods of Birmingham.