Hello - I second Jenny's Congratulations to Adrian for this wonderful new position!
To add a bit of history - there are other positions and even joint degree programs (e.g.
Portland State and U Michigan and others) have at various levels integrated transportation
and health for quite some time and this one contributes significantly to the ongoing
formalization of the links between transportation and health within academia.
My position linking transportation and health at the University of British Columbia has
been cross appointed for well over a decade between the School of Population and Public
Health in the Faculty of Medicine and the School of Community and Regional Planning in the
Faculty of Applied Science which is where Engineering and Architecture and Landscape
Architecture are located. It is partially funded through a transportation endowment from
the Bombardier Foundation currently managed by a Faculty of Medicine. The sole purpose of
my position is to research (http://health-design.spph.ubc.ca
) and teach on the links
between planning and health.
Some history - I have worked at the nexus between transportation and health for 30 years
starting with my dissertation research in Seattle linking active transportation with land
use mix and density which eventually led to Walkscore after we published the results in
the form of a map in the Seattle Times newspaper. This was one of the first studies of
its kind (Susan Handy and Ruth Steiner also had some work on this topic around that time
and that was about it). I was told at the time by senior planning colleagues that studying
non-motorized travel was a bad idea and going nowhere and too "pedestrian" and
there would be no money or resources in it. Five years later the U.S. Surgeon General
came out with the report on the population level health benefits of moderate physical
activity (aka walking) and the rest is history. I am happy I looked past this well
intended advice and have seen this field grow from literally nothing to where it is today.
It is a true delight to see more and more of this type of formal integration taking place
between planning and health and I think there are others out there with positions that
make this connection directly through their academic appointments. It is now timely that
we share our experiences and help one another navigate what is true interdisciplinary
experience - which has many important trade-offs to consider. These include having two
homes in disparate parts of universities that otherwise are often not well connected
dealing with resources and funding, accountability and service, promotions and raises,
where you publish and are visibility or not, and many other considerations. Universities
tout interdisciplinarity - yet are poorly equipped to help those that try. and there are
new positions emerging trying to achieve this same thing.
Perhaps we can work on ways to help maximize the success of these early efforts to make
this linkage a success! Honestly, it is not as easy as it sounds ... but it is
Larry Frank, UBC
From: H+T--Friends [h+t--friends-bounces(a)chrispy.net] on behalf of Mindell, Jenny
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 8:58 AM
Subject: [H+T--Friends] New (world first?) Professor of Transport and Health
Congratulations to Adrian Davis, new Professor of Transport and Health at Napier
University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Adrian will be well known to most people in the transport and health field, as he has
combined transport planning and public health as both a practitioner and an academic
(truly multi- and inter-disciplinary work). He will continue working with colleagues at
the University of Western England and his roles as Co-Chair (Science) of the Transport and
Health Study Group (THSG) and as Associate Editor of the Journal of Transport and Health.
We think this is a world first and shows our 'niche' specialty is becoming
Dr Jennifer Mindell
Professor of Public Health
Health and Social Surveys Research Group
Research Dept of Epidemiology & Public Health
1-10 Torrington Place
London WC1E 6BT
Editor-in-chief Journal of Transport and Health:
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