LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 31, 2020) — Mayor Linda Gorton has appointed Mark Swanson, a University of Kentucky professor in the College of Public Health, as 3rd District Councilmember. Swanson has worked with downtown Lexington neighborhoods to improve accessibility to healthy foods.
“Mark is well prepared to be the Councilmember for the Third District,” Gorton said. “He has worked to improve economic opportunity in our downtown neighborhoods. And he is a faculty member at the University of Kentucky, which is another important part of the District.”
Swanson will replace Councilmember Jake Gibbs, who died suddenly on March 3. Gorton said Swanson will be sworn into office after a 15-day waiting period to allow Councilmembers time to meet him.
“I’m honored by the confidence Mayor Gorton has shown in me with this appointment, and I look forward to serving my neighbors in the 3rd District in these unprecedented and challenging times,” Swanson said.
In addition to teaching at UK, Swanson’s work focuses on applied research on food environments. He has worked with stores in low income neighborhoods in Lexington and in Eastern Kentucky to increase healthy food options. He also worked on the “Better Bites” initiative to add healthy items to the menus at Lexington pools and to overhaul pool snack bar menus.
Swanson is a member of the Lexington Environmental Commission, the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition Board of Directors, and the Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association, Kentucky Chapter.
Swanson holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Florida.
Swanson and his wife, Nancy Schoenberg, a professor in the UK College of Medicine, have two adult children, Rachel and Ben Swanson.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.