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TRANSP Seminar: Leslie Meehan, TDOH

Date: Thursday, February 23

Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Location: 327 John D. Tickle Building


Public health’s greatest accomplishments have focused on partnering with stakeholders to reshape our places and spaces to engineer and guide healthier, safer behaviors. This presentation will focus on the internal and external active transportation efforts of the Tennessee Department of Health to create conditions in the places where Tennesseans live, work, play, pray and learn which support positive health outcomes.

The presentation will describe the Tennessee Department of Health’s shift in prioritization from healthcare to primary prevention, focusing on physical activity through active transportation and built environment improvements as the foremost ways to improve population health.  The Department’s Primary Prevention Initiative involves 95% of the workforce participating in over 2,000 upstream prevention efforts involving many active transportation efforts such as master plans, bike share, law enforcement trainings and others. By providing paid time for all of the nearly 4,000 staff, no matter their role in the department, the Tennessee Department of Health is providing free expertise to the state and creating a true culture of health inside and outside the Department focused on primary prevention via physical activity from active transportation.

Finally, the presentation will cover the Tennessee Livability Collaborative, one of only four U.S. states using a Health in All Policies approach to state government.  The Collaborative was co-founded by the Tennessee Departments of Health, Transportation, Economic and Community Development and Education and now has more than 10 agency/department members with a mission of improving the prosperity, quality of life, and health of Tennesseans through state department collaboration in the areas of policy, funding, and programming. The vision is a high quality of life for all Tennesseans that includes opportunities for education, employment, health, active transportation, healthy foods, housing, recreation and culture in Tennessee communities with the goal of advancing the economic competitiveness by enhancing the livability of Tennessee communities.


Leslie Meehan, MPA AICP oversees the Office of Primary Prevention in the Commissioner’s Office of the Tennessee Department of Health.  Her focus is increasing physical activity through the built environment as the foremost way to combat the state’s largest health issues.  Previously, Ms. Meehan served ten years as the Director of Healthy Communities for the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in Tennessee. At the MPO, she focused on the intersection of transportation and health, specifically transportation’s impacts on physical activity, air quality and injury.  Her work has been recognized nationally and internationally.

Ms. Meehan is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Association of Bicycle and Pedestrian Professionals and the Tennessee Public Health Association.  She is co-author of the Transportation Sector of the National Physical Activity Plan, served as expert advisor on the U.S. Department of Transportation and CDC Transportation and Health Tool, was appointed by Transportation Secretary Peters to the National Safe Routes to School Task Force and has presented at a White House event on Transportation and Health. She currently serves as a panel member on the National Academies: National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s Research Roadmap for Transportation and Health and is a member of the National Academies – Transportation Research Board Taskforce on Arterials and Public Health.

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