Samantha is a Health Communication Consultant at the MA Department of Public Health
On Wednesday, April 3, dedicated leaders from state and municipal agencies and community organizations gathered at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough, Mass., for the 2013 Mass in Motion Action Institute. This day-long event focused on the importance of healthy policies and making physical changes to the environment for building healthier communities.
Attendees were welcomed by Cheryl Barlett, interim deputy commissioner, followed by a passionate overview of the Mass in Motion initiative provided by Dr. Lauren Smith, interim commissioner, who described how we got here and how we can move towards healthier living.
Next, keynote speaker Dr. Peter Senge, of MIT and a founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning, discussed the importance of making connections with our environment, each other and ourselves in making community change. His speech really set the tone for a day of collaboration and progressive thinking.
Rose Swenson of Health Resources in Action (HRiA), presented on what it means to be a good leader and the importance of partnerships to reach community goals. Rose was joined by two Mass in Motion community leaders to share their own experiences: Mary Giannetti of Fun ’n FITchburg, and Amanda Ryder of MetroWest Moves.
Final keynote speaker Geoffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America/National Complete Streets Coalition, informed and entertained attendees with an eye-opening chat about city planning and design, and the role it plays in healthy living.
The day ended with four workshops sessions on the topics of Parks and Open Spaces, Pedestrian Paths, Corner Stores and Farmer’s Markets, and School Nutrition and Wellness. Mass in Motion partners and community leaders presented on the work currently being done across the Commonwealth in each topic area. Then the floor was opened up for group discussions.
This year’s Action Institute left attendees empowered to create a healthier community with a fresh toolbox of information, strategy ideas and new network connections. It was a fun and invaluable event for all. Thank you to everybody who made this day possible!