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Pitt Public Health Walking Advocate Receives National Award from America Walks

PITTSBURGH, May 25, 2016 – America Walks, a national advocacy organization that promotes walking and walkable communities, announced today that Carol Reichbaum, M.S.L., M.S.P.A., of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship. Follow link for more information.
The Fellowship will enable Ms. Reichbaum and 24 other advocates from around the country to participate in a four-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable.
“We are delighted to welcome Ms. Reichbaum as a member of our 2016 Walking College class,” said Ian Thomas, state and local program director with America Walks. “This program was developed in response to our findings that access to technical assistance and a national peer network are among the most pressing needs for advocates working at the local level.”
Ms. Reichbaum is the program manager of WalkWorks, a collaboration between Pitt Public Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, funded through a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Department of Health. Through the fellowship, she will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer and participate in the international Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in September.
“I am thrilled and honored to have been selected as a fellow in the Walking College,” said Ms. Reichbaum. “This will afford me an incredible opportunity to enhance my knowledge of, and to be exposed to, strategies for expanding and strengthening walkable communities, thereby feeding my passion to improve the health status of the population.”
WalkWorks aims to increase opportunities for physical activity by developing walking routes and sustainable walking groups in communities with high rates of obesity and related chronic diseases. A critical component of the program is influencing policy – in particular, incorporating “health” and active transportation in policies and plans.
“Policy that promotes walking is essential to improving the health of community members,” said Ms. Reichbaum. “Participating in the Walking College will enable me to more effectively work and communicate with policymakers to create changes that help entire communities increase opportunities for physical activity.”
The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents.  Topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers.  At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a strategic plan for improving walkability in their communities.
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