Proximity of transportation can have a major impact on people’s health for better or worse. Having easy access to transportation is an important benefit to people, but proximity can work against health as well—it can impede quality of life in a number of ways, including air quality, noise, pedestrian safety, and aesthetically.
That is why the Transportation Reform Law in Massachusetts included not only realignment of agencies in order to make operations more efficient, but mandated that health be considered in future transportation projects. By requiring that health impact assessments (HIAs) be factored in to decisions around transportation, Massachusetts has become a leader in the nation.
MA health and transportation officials are piloting an HIA as part of the Grounding McGrath Highway Transportation Study. This is the first step of a long-term project. The Grounding McGrath Study and the HIA are not only looking at the best way to address traffic issues on a major thoroughfare, but is also focusing on reducing environmental hazards and safety issues associated with the current configuration, and ultimately creating a design that actually promotes healthy behaviors by encouraging physical activity with a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly design.
Critical to this process is a newly formed partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Transportation. Of paramount importance is the collaboration occurring right from the start with the community that is affected by these decisions. By forming these partnerships to protect and improve the health of people affected by the McGrath Highway, Massachusetts is working toward goals set forth in the National Prevention Strategy. Indeed Massachusetts is on the move.
Folic Acid for the Future! posted on Jan 18
We all know the common New Year’s resolutions this time of year: losing weight, getting more organized and catching up on sleep are at the top of many people’s lists! But chances are, many women, in particular, are overlooking an important addition to their list: …Continue Reading Folic Acid for the Future!
Weekly Flu Report, January 13, 2017 posted on Jan 13
The latest weekly flu report shows a slight decrease in rates of flu-like illness in Massachusetts over the past 7 days. But flu can be unpredictable, and we’re not likely to see the peak of flu season until February or even March. So if you haven’t gotten a …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, January 13, 2017
Highlights of the January 11th Public Health Council Meeting posted on Jan 11
The first monthly PHC meeting of 2017 featured one Determination of Need (DoN) request, votes on two final amendments to regulations, and an informational briefing on proposed guidelines associated with the Determination of Need program. First, the Council took up a DoN application from Baystate Medical …Continue Reading Highlights of the January 11th Public Health Council Meeting