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Salinas, Monterey County, California – In support of the Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative, Smart Growth America (SGA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity announced today that Transportation Agency for Monterey County, (TAMC) Board member, Chaps Poduri, City of Pacific Grove will be part of the second class of the Champions Institute. The Champions Institute is a program created to help motivated local elected officials equitably define, design, build, and evaluate Complete Streets in their communities. Chaps Poduri was selected as one of the many local elected officials from across the United States (and its territories).
“We are pleased to welcome Chaps Poduri to the second class of the Champions Institute,” said John Robert Smith, Senior Policy Advisor at Smart Growth America, and the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi. “Chaps Poduri’s commitment to position his hometown to become a more accessible, equitable, and economically viable community for all residents was compelling. Experts in their field will provide Mr. Poduri with valuable skills throughout the program and share their own insights in developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.”
Over the next six months, participants in the Champions Institute will attend virtual learning sessions that will make them experts in equity-based principles and train them on the fundamental steps to take to achieve Complete Streets in their community, from envisioning to implementation. Participants will also learn about best practices and challenges from across the country, as they grapple with different strategies in a collaborative and supportive peer-learning environment.
Local leaders who are selected for the Champions Institute will have the opportunity to learn from a broad array of national experts and former local elected officials in the areas of public health, policy, street design, and project implementation. At the completion of the institute’s program champions will be experts in promoting community reforms to create safer streets for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists. Champions will be prepared to support plans, policies, and funding that promote the CDC's Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative of expanding activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, in their communities.
After participants complete their work in the Champions Institute, SGA will provide continuing support to the local champions as they serve their communities. Newly minted Complete Streets Champions will act as emissaries to other local leaders, sharing their expertise and ideas to grow a network of more Complete Streets Champions across the country who will build and expand activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations across the country.
“We are excited about Director Poduri being selected into the second class of the Champions Institute! This learning opportunity is a win-win, for him, for the City of Pacific Grove, and for our entire community, through his service on the TAMC Board of Directors. The Institutes’ equity-based principles align with TAMC’s mission to create a multi-modal transportation system that is equitable and safer for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists,” said Debbie Hale, TAMC’s Executive Director.
This program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. This program is designed to support the Active People, Healthy Nation initiative through developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.
Smart Growth America envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. For more information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.
Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative is a national initiative led by CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Increased physical activity can improve health, quality of life, and reduce health care costs. These improvements can help reduce the risk of at least 20 chronic diseases and conditions and provide effective treatment for many of these conditions. Other potential benefits include better school performance and improved military readiness. Building active and walkable communities can help support local economies, result in less air pollution, and create more cohesive communities. Learn more here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity protects the health of Americans at every stage of life by encouraging regular physical activity, good nutrition, and healthy weight. Through support of state and community partners, they provide data, programs that work, and practical tools so that Americans have the best possible chance to achieve healthier lives and avoid chronic diseases.