Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

New members join Louisiana Obesity Commission
At its January 2017 meeting, the Louisiana Obesity Prevention and Management Commission voted in two new members: Partnership for a Healthier Southwest Louisiana Southwest Louisiana and the Louisiana State University AgCenter. They will hold two seats designated for community-based groups. The January meeting also resulted in the co-chair nomination of Denise Holston of the LSU AgCenter to join current co-chair Melissa Martin of the Louisiana Department of Health’s Bureau of Chronic Disease and Health Promotion. The commission also includes representatives from the state Senate and House of Representatives, state agencies, such as the Department of Education and Department of Insurance, and research and higher educational institutions, such as Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development. The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) has been an active member of the commission since its inception in 2014.
During its January meeting, the commission also reviewed the state’s Health Improvement Plan and discussed the health indicators and data used to create the plan.
Originally formed during the 2014 Louisiana legislative session and reestablished in 2016, the commission provides regular reports to the Legislature and plans to meet quarterly in 2017. The next meeting will be in late March or early April. All meetings are open to the public.
Additionally, the commission wants parishes, organizations, faith-based groups, schools, businesses, etc. to submit success stories through its page on the state’s WellAhead website: wellaheadla.com/ObesityCommission

New Orleans mayor names new Director of Health
Late last year, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu selected longtime public health professional and Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine alumna Marsha Broussard, MPH, DrPH, to be the city’s Director of Health. Broussard started her new position in December 2016, overseeing the New Orleans Health Department’s operations and initiatives. She took over from interim director Jeffrey Elder, M.D., and prior to that former director Charlotte M. Parent, RN, BSN, MHCM.
Broussard was previously employed at the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) for nearly 10 years. While director of LPHI’s School and Adolescent Health Portfolio, she generated more than $20 million in funding to support community collaborations, establishing the School Health Connection program and the 4Real Health Program. These programs aimed to support vulnerable students in successful educational completion, focusing on eliminating health barriers that interrupt education including unplanned pregnancies.
To read the full news release about Broussard’s appointment, click here.

Bike share preview event held in downtown New Orleans
More than 30 bikes can be spotted along city streets at temporary bike share stations since Feb. 13 in downtown New Orleans. Residents and visitors can try out the bikes from Social Bicycles before they officially hit the streets in Fall 2017, when the City of New Orleans launches its bike share program. Though the preview event was scheduled to end Feb. 23, Social Bicycles worked with the city to keep the bikes available through March 31.
Bike share is a system of short-term bike rentals, usually connected to public stations. The city’s full bike share program will have 700 bikes and 70 stations to start. Another 200 bicycles will be added to the program by 2019. The plan is for the program to be fully funded by rental fees and corporate sponsorships.
Early-stage planning indicates that the bike share program will start in the downtown area and expand to other parts of the city, including Uptown. The exact locations of the Social Bicycle stations will be determined over the coming year. Public meetings and online technologies will be used to gather input from the community about station locations.
For more information on New Orleans’ bike share program, visit www.nola.gov/bikeshare and watch the Social Bicycles video on how to use the bikes.

Community input for public transit
The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has begun the year-long process of developing its Strategic Mobility Plan. This plan will ensure the city meets the public transportation and mobility needs of the region over the next 20 years. Residents are encouraged to express their ideas to improve mobility and public transportation by filling out an initial input survey. To fill out the survey and for more information about upcoming meetings and engagement opportunities, visit the project web-page by clicking here.

Fit NOLA School Designation deadline
There is still time left for New Orleans schools to become Fit NOLA designated. Designated schools receive funding to connect kids to healthy resources. Fit NOLA’s School Designation program has relaunched and has extended its deadline, now accepting applications through Feb. 24 for the 201-18 school year. Complete the survey for school designations by clicking here.

New Orleans Public Library expands food waste collections
The New Orleans Public Library is planning to expand weekly food waste collections to even more library branches. Currently, two libraries – Rosa Keller Library and Alvar Library – are collecting 400 pounds of food each week. With expanded sites, that number can increase. To learn more about the food waste collections or to volunteer, click here.

Tornado relief efforts underway
As a result of the destructive tornadoes that hit New Orleans on Feb. 7, many residents were left homeless or displaced. There are several ways to contribute to the effort of rebuilding the areas that were destroyed and helping those who are currently unable to go home. The Greater New Orleans Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, and City Church of New Orleans are just a few organizations taking donations. To see the full list and how you can help, go to www.nola.gov/ready/help. The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) is also collecting toiletries and personal hygiene products for donation. Contact Catherine Haywood at chaywoo@tulane.edu.

Topics:   community health , obesity , policy , built environment , physical activity , school health

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