Public Transportation: ‘The Great Enabler’

Henrika Buchanan-Smith, FTA associate administrator for program management, moderated the Closing General Session, “Public Transportation: A Pathway to Health,” which focused on the connection between healthcare and public transit. “Public transportation is the ‘great enabler’ that allows people to get to jobs, housing, shopping,” Buchanan-Smith said, noting that with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, more people than ever can now access healthcare. FTA’s Ride-to-Wellness program ensures that people can get a ride to that care, she said. Tyler Norris, vice president, total health partnerships, Kaiser Permanente, shared his thoughts on the links among mobility, health and economic prosperity. “Mobility is at the center of health,” he said. Also on the panel was Doris Boeckman, executive director, Missouri Public Transit Association, and founder of HealthTran, a consortium of organizations in a 10-county area in central Missouri to improve healthcare access. Among HealthTran’s key goals are to gather data to support transportation’s role in improving patient health and using data to advocate for increased transportation funding.