Interact for Health

Kate Moening, Ohio advocacy organizer for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership

(Nov 21st, 2016)

Kate Moening is the Ohio advocacy organizer for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The organization aims to improve child and community health by advocating for healthy living, safe infrastructure and physical activity through biking and walking to school. Moening says that such active transportation can help address health disparities across communities and populations.

Interact for Health: Could you explain more about the work of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and its goals?

Kate Moening: The National Partnership is engaged in advancing safe walking to and from schools to improve heath in our communities and the wellbeing of our kids of all races, income levels and abilities. We want to foster the creation of a healthy community for everyone. In addition to working to increase or maintain funding for safe routes and active transportation, we work to improve policies that affect active transportation and shared use, which is a physical activity policy that many schools and communities use to keep recreation facilities open on weekends for residents. We also do programmatic work through workshops, webinars and fact sheets.

Interact for Health: What lessons have you learned?

Moening: Working at the state level, the most positive thing I've found is that there are so many multisector initiatives out there. But at the local level, sometimes these same sectors -- education, transportation and health -- don't always talk to each other, so they don't realize that they have issues and objectives in common. They may be coming at it from different angles, but I've found that all three sectors want to create healthier communities in whatever way they see possible. When they go about that together, they can achieve their goals that much faster.

Interact for Health: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Moening: I'm really proud of the National Partnership's equity work where we highlight physical activity as a way to address health inequities and disparities. We're working to advance walking and biking in low-income communities and in communities of color. And to that end, we have two national task forces that leverage expertise from national partners to explore these issues and how they relate.

Interact for Health: What about your work excites you or is most fulfilling?

Moening: Everybody needs to get somewhere, whether you're a baby in a stroller or a teenager on a bike. I fell in love with the idea of creating the connections so you're able to walk from place to place, getting from home to school or from the library to the park. I like to see people engaging with each other and being active, and that's achieved by designing our communities in a way that creates a healthy environment.