Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

New Orleans Mayor appointments new city health chief
In July, two months after taking office, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell named Jennifer Avegno, MD, to serve as the Director of the New Orleans Department of Health.
A New Orleans native, Avegno previously served as the Director of the Division of Community Health Relations & Engagement at LSU Emergency Medicine. She also served in overlapping capacities as an academic faculty member and staff physician throughout New Orleans. Her clinical, program and research interests include the role of social determinants of health, particularly access and barriers to care; health equity; violence intervention/prevention; sexual assault and human trafficking; and homelessness.
Avegno received her M.D. from LSU School of Medicine-New Orleans, Master of Arts in Sociology from Tulane University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame. She completed her residency at LSU/Charity Hospital Emergency Medicine.

New Orleans re-establishes the City Council’s Food Policy Advisory Committee
By a unanimous vote on Aug. 23, the New Orleans City Council re-established the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee as an advisory group of the council for one year. FPAC brings together individuals and organizations that work to create a healthier, more accessible food and agricultural system in New Orleans.
The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) initiated the founding of FPAC in 2007 at the request of the City Council. Since then, many of the original members continued to meet and the Tulane PRC continued to provide research support and technical assistance to the group.

Complete Streets gets support of New Orleans City Council
The New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition, led by local bike advocacy nonprofit Bike Easy, was invited to the New Orleans City Council on July 26 to make a presentation on the importance of Complete Streets for New Orleans. Dan Favre and Rob Henig Bell from Bike Easy, Jeanette Gustat, PhD, from the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), and Coretta LaGarde from the American Heart Association spoke about the safety, health, and community benefits of Complete Streets built for all modes of transportation.
Following the presentations, city councilmembers unanimously passed a resolution supporting New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s efforts to implement a data-drive and equity-focused Complete Streets policy. Mayor Cantrell has laid out plans for an update to the city’s Complete Streets policy in her Forward Together Transition Report.

Louisiana Obesity Prevention and Management Commission is on the move again
In its regular session this spring, the Louisiana Legislature voted to extend for two years the Louisiana Obesity Prevention and Management Commission. The approved law, Act 409, authored by Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-Lafayette, not only extended the commission but also expanded its membership, with required representation by: Secretary of Louisiana Department of Health, State Superintendent of Education, Commissioner of Insurance, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Director of the Tulane Prevention Research Center, Director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and Director of the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning. And, because of the broad-based expansion of the powers, functions, and duties of the commission, multi-sector partners were recommended from: city planning and transportation, health systems and healthcare providers, Medicaid, local governments, food banks, employer organizations such as chambers of commerce, community-based organizations and other professionals who are addressing the issue of obesity in adults and children.
Consequently, the first meeting of the newly-constituted commission, held at the Pennington Biomedical Research Conference Center in Baton Rouge on Aug. 10 was standing room only. The meeting included a panel presentation on “Complete Streets.” The panel presented outcomes of Complete Streets implementation, such as increased safety, air quality, physical activity, green space, access, and foot and bike traffic.
For more information about the commission, visit wellaheadla.com/ObesityCommission

September 2018

(Photo courtesy of Bike Easy: New Orleans City Council members present a proclamation to the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition)

Topics:   community health , policy , built environment , bike lanes , sidewalks , food environment , farmers market , agriculture

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