Published On: Thu, Oct 15th, 2020

Council Member Andy Thomson Invited to Active People, Healthy NationSM Champions Institute

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 Boca Raton City Council Member, Andy Thomson, will be part of the inaugural class of the Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Champions Institute (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. Thomson was selected as one of over 20 local elected officials from across the United States and its territories.

“Being selected to the inaugural class of the Champions Institute is in recognition of Andy’s commitment to making their hometown a more equitable, accessible, and viable community for all residents,” said John Robert Smith, Senior Policy Advisor at Smart Growth America, and the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi. “Andy will learn valuable skills throughout the program and share his 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 activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations 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 inaugural class, participants will be experts in promoting community improvements to create safer streets for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists. Participants 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. They will act as emissaries to other local leaders, sharing their expertise and ideas to grow a network of Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Champions across the country who will build and expand activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations across the country.

“I’m honored to have been selected to participate in the Champions Institute,” commented Thomson. “The design and implementation of Complete Streets in Boca Raton has been a priority of mine since I joined the City Council, and I look forward to learning from national experts in the field so as to better serve our residents in making our streets safer for everyone.”

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.

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