New Webinar: Opportunities for Walkability in Rural Communities and Small Towns (July 11th at 2pm Eastern, 11am Pacific)


Webinar Title: Opportunities for Walkability in Rural Communities and Small Towns

Webinar Date/Time: July 11, 2018 at 2pm Eastern, 11am Pacific


About the Webinar

At America Walks, we believe that all communities of all shapes and sizes have the potential to be walkable communities. We have seen inspiring work being done across the US to promote physical activity and improve walkability in small towns and rural communities. This webinar will explore some of that work and the trends of walkability in rural communities.

Attendees of this webinar will:

  • Learn about programs, policies, and projects that support walkability in rural communities and small towns 
  • Hear inspiring stories of communities on the walking path 
  • Explore resources that can help you in your work to create walkable communities
About the Panel

Dr. Renée Umstattd Meyer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health at Baylor University in Waco, TX, where she also serves as the Graduate Program Director.  She is recognized nationally and internationally for her work with diverse underserved and rural communities.  The aim of her research is to better understand and promote physical activity for all people across the lifespan, specifically acknowledging the importance of and interrelationships among behavioral, environmental, cultural, and policy factors.  Dr. Umstattd Meyer often uses mixed method approaches in her research, has published over 55 refereed scientific journal articles, and has secured over $500,000 externally as PI or co-PI and over $5 million externally as a co-investigator.  Her work has been supported through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through Active Living Research and the Physical Activity Research Center (PARC), the Physical Activity Policy and Research Network+ (PAPRN+) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education.  She is the immediate past-President of the American Academy of Health Behavior, a multidisciplinary society of health behavior scholars and researchers; the co-chair of the PAPRN+ rural workgroup; the co-chair for the 2019 Active Living Research annual meeting; and has served as an advisor regarding active living in rural areas in multiple capacities, including the diversity committee for the 2016 National Physical Activity Plan.

Keshia Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH, is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she directs the Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Research Core of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. Dr. Pollack Porter’s research advances policies that create safe and healthy environments where people live, work, play, and travel. Central to her epidemiologic and mixed methods research is the consideration of how the social determinants of health contribute to health outcomes and disparities. Dr. Pollack Porter’s research includes reducing injuries at work and during sports; promoting safe places for children to play and safe opportunities for walking and biking; and creating safe, healthy, and equitable built environments. She also leads the national Physical Activity Policy Research Network Plus (PAPRN+), which advances policy research to increase the number of Americans who achieve adequate physical activity to promote and sustain health. Dr. Pollack Porter’s research involves engaging with policymakers to promote the use of evidence during the policy process. She has been helping to advance “health in all policies” strategies among federal, state, and local policymakers.

Corianne Payton Scally is a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she explores the complexities of interagency and cross-sector state and local implementation of affordable housing and community development policy, finance, and development. Through her research, Scally evaluates how well the affordable housing and community development system works to serve vulnerable communities and populations – including low-income households, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

From 2015-2016, Scally led a variety of data and research initiatives at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Services on preserving existing affordable rural rental housing, and using “smart growth” principles to prioritize future rural development. Prior to that, she was an associate professor in urban and regional planning at the University at Albany, SUNY, where she focused on small city and rural issues including improving health and well-being through community revitalization and housing development. Current research includes understanding the distribution of rental housing financed in rural communities by the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, and leading an evaluation of the Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency Service Coordinator program for public housing on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Scally received her BA in international affairs and MS in urban and regional planning from Florida State University, and her PhD in urban planning and policy development from Rutgers University.

Joseph Stemberger, Mayor, Elmer Borough, Salem County, New Jersey

Joe has been an elected official in Elmer for 31 years, serving first as a Councilman, then as a Council President, and now as Mayor for the last eleven years. He has been married for forty four years to Donna and they have three adult children and a granddaughter.

Joe started playing soccer in 1965 when soccer on the local level was in its infancy in the United States. He played throughout high school, then in college, and continued with the sport into his adult life by coaching and becoming a certified USSF NJSIAA Official. His love for all sports, especially intramural participation, has been an integral part of his life, and now in his sixties, he sees walking as a great exercise for everyone, but especially the senior citizen age group.

His vision for the Greater Elmer Area which includes Pittsgrove Township and Upper Pittsgrove Township is the creation of urban sidewalk trails (sidewalks), a half mile paved trail in the recently purchased Green Acres site, and an unpaved former railroad line (Elephant Swamp Trail) which covers over five miles through beautiful farm and wooded land in Upper Pittsgrove.

Our goal is to have our community of 15,000 enjoy the outdoors of their choosing (urban, park, rural). It’s a unique and wonderful project and we look forward to its completion.

Rebecca Williams is the Information Specialist for the Southeast ADA Center, a project of the Burton Blatt Institute of Syracuse University. She has been employed there since 2011. She provides technical assistance and resources/referrals to callers from eight southeastern states on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act, Air Carrier Access Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other disability related inquiries.

Rebecca has over 30 years of experience working with children and adults with disabilities. Previous employment includes working as: a therapeutic recreation coordinator with adults with severe/profound intellectual disabilities; a supported employment job coach coordinator; an independent living counselor and vocational rehabilitation counselor; the ADA and Community Education Coordinator at a Center for Independent Living (CIL); and as a Living Well Specialist with another CIL. During employment, Rebecca has received extensive training on the ADA.

Rebecca has developed and presented numerous workshops and trainings on the ADA and other disability rights issues to a wide variety of audiences both locally and nationally. She continues to expand her knowledge by participating in webinars addressing disability issues and attending several disability focused national conferences every year. Rebecca completed the ADA Coordinator Certification Program offered through the University of Missouri – College of Human and Environmental Sciences, School of Architectural Studies and the Great Plains ADA Center in April 2012.

Rebecca is a member of the National Council for Independent Living (NCIL) and of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL). She is also a board member of the Lancaster Lions International and is a member of the Millersville University (PA) Disability Arts Advisory Council. Rebecca provides audio description services for live theater for patrons with visual impairments for Millersville University.