Saturday, February 29, 2020

UCLA Health: Welcome to Santa Monica (An Open Letter)


Johnese Spisso, CEO, UCLA Health
c/c Rick Cole, City Manager, Santa Monica

Dear Johnese,

UCLA Health is going from strength to strength under your leadership. Congratulations! I am a resident of Santa Monica and I understand that the hospital is now the largest employer in our fine city. Welcome to "populus felix in urbe felici." For the healthy transportation advocate the car dealerships on Santa Monica Blvd always were a sorry sight. I am sure your new premises there will be a great improvement.

Over many years our city has developed a sophisticated planning process which ensures new developments conform with the long term vision of our community. While you are exempt from most of this process as a state entity, I am sure you will use this privilege with caution and keep in mind your local impacts on our community. 

But the relationship between the hospital and its community is also about money. The IRS has certified the hospital as a charity, hence exempting you from local (and other) taxes. As a resident of Santa Monica I personally do not mind that I may now pay a little more for our roads, schools, policing and garbage collection because the tax-paying car dealership will be replaced by a 501c3 entity. But I am extremely interested that the tax privilege is part of a local engagement that makes a real difference in your service area. 

Let me outline some pointers how the hospital can become a positive presence in Santa Monica, rather than a tax exempt trip generator, unrestrained by planning guidelines. (Traffic engineers tell us that medical offices do generate a great deal of car traffic) 

A recent piece by Danielle Ofri, MD, in the New York Times ("Why are Nonprofit Hospitals so Highly Profitable") has argued that the arithmetical exercise that declares Medicaid losses as a community benefit may be insufficient to justify these tax benefits. Those health fairs she considers marketing pure and simple. That is why improvements in the structure and delivery of community benefits are needed. The community is footing your tax break and it must have a say in the design of such benefits. But delivering benefits from inside the marketing department gives them a self-interested appearance that is most disconcerting. The Bicycle Academy engaged with the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process recently but were disappointed: The Metro Best program, which would have delivered bicycle safety education for staff, patients or community members at no cost, was not pursued, in spite of our best efforts. Ofri's piece suggests there may be legal remedies.

At the UC Regents Health Services Committee, UC Health CEO Carrie Byington has recently spoken of the need to better present the community benefits the system must provide as part of its tax exempt status. Ambiguity at the highest level is often paired with a real reluctance about proper, hands-on community engagement. Sure, medical research is a benefit for humankind, but what is needed across the road from the hospital in Santa Monica may be funding for a Safe Routes to School program to keep kids healthy and to reduce driving in our community. Because community (and planetary) health suffers greatly from a transport system that discourages the use of active modes, we hope the hospital will establish a Healthy Transportation Committee in conjunction with public health researchers on the other side of Westwood Blvd. Your marketing department will then be keen to place your brand on a local bike share system and underwrite the message that active transportation is healthy. The committee would remind capital programs never to enter into leases that include bundled car-parking. And  R Gluckson's message that "unfortunately", "u-n-f-o-r-t-u-n-a-t-e-l-y, there are no bike racks or any place for visitors to park and lock their bikes at your new premises in Glendale" will seem as outrageous as a doctor who recommends smoking. Your director for government relations will then eagerly seek the dialogue with local transport agencies, because he has your back when joining the conversation about community health (obesity, diabetes and cancer) which need to be addressed in the transport domain. Because less drive we must! And if we drive less, we and our planet will be healthier.

Welcome to Santa Monica, Johnese! The UCLA Bicycle Academy and many stakeholders in Santa Monica and on the Westside are eager to assist you to become a shining beacon of healthy transportation. Perhaps a meeting in Santa Monica City Hall with Professor Richard Jackson or another public health expert of your choosing would be a good beginning. 

Dr Michael Cahn
Secretary, UCLA Bicycle Academy



Monday, November 11, 2019

The Path to Platinum Leads through the Neighborhoods of UCLA

DRAFT:


Congratulations, Gold Level Bicycle Friendly University! Good stuff is happening on campus. The next stop: Platinum.

Now is a good time to survey some of the approaches to campus. Because on the roads to and from campus we really struggle to convince Bruins to leave the car at home. Connectivity for active modes is our weak point. The attitudes are in place, the desire to improve our communities has been established, the need to address the climate crisis which is burning only a few miles from Murphy  Hall is evident. All that is in place. But we need help. Help to work with our neighbors, help to facilitate the collaboration among our neighbors, help to address decades of car-centric infrastructure around UCLA. We need the Bike Fairy (him/her). Here are some examples:

1) Streetlight Down


A streetlight rests on the sidewalk at Sepulveda. The sole and unpaved sidewalk herewith fully blocked. Bruins will have to lift their bike over this obstacle. Wheel chair? Forget it! Who would dare to block a traffic lane for cars for a whole week? UCLA Bike Fairy (him/her) makes the call to have it removed, presto. Because pedestrians and cyclists are important for UCLA. Very. Very very.

2) Detour?


The unnamed CALTRANS bike path leading from the VA to Church Lane (and on to mountainous Montana Ave) is closed. UCLA Bike Fairy (he/she) calls the contacts at these agencies, questions, reminds, resolves, and re-opens this path for the benefit of our current and future bike commuters. And for the benefit of our planet. Because we simply can not afford to lose a single cycling Bruin. Indeed, we need to find many more.

3) Deadly Manhole cover on Veteran

Two mean manhole covers on Veteran and Wellworth. They are going to be chief witnesses in a million dollar legal case brought by an injury lawyer. The ignorance of the road maintenance crews who would sign off on such criminal workmanship beggars belief, but that is what we have to deal with here. (Attention Injury Lawyers: The office of the local councilmember has been informed) Who? Which fairy?


3b) UCLA Health Supports Active & Healthy Modes 
A recent study at UCLA Health Facilities found that 30 % of employees would consider a bicycle commute if incentives and secure parking for bikes was on offer. Bike Fairy (m/f) springs into action and makes sure that all UCLA Health locations offer secure bike parking and that leases for medical offices do not include bundled car parking. Bike Fairy may also facilitate a research project with UCLA Fielding School for Public Health to encourage patients riding their bike to their neighborhood clinic. Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) will include healthy transport programming. Because our hospitals and our health clinics know that cycling is healthy. For our communities and for our planet. And urgent.

4) Walk with Bike (WTF)


Planners sometimes made life difficult for cyclists. Whenever bicycle convenience was an obstacle to car convenience, they used cement to tell our riders to get off and to walk their bike. An ancient vestige of this attitude has been found on Sepulveda, on the official and advertised access route to campus. In large letters the sign commands: Walk with Bike.

The full height curb will force anybody to dismount. But the UCLA Bike Fairy (m/f) knows that the times of torturing cyclists is over. Bike Fairy will investigate, arrange for the removal of signage and amend this curb to its proper sunken state. And a new sign will go up: It will be straight. It will read: UCLA Welcomes Cyclists! Because UCLA does.

5) Yuck under the I-405

Roadways are cleaned weekly. Sidewalks less so. One of the most important sidewalks connecting Brentwood and Westwood - for those who do not drive - has not been cleaned for years. Fancy car ramps soar overhead, but down under pedestrians are treated to years (years!) of accumulated refuse, dust and excrement. Located under the freeway, some mid-ranking administrator has simply dropped the ball. The UCLA Bike-Fairy (him/her) will identify the responsible party, get this stretch onto the schedule of weekly cleaning, and help to make a nightmarish campus approach just a little less horrible. With a sidewalk neglected like this, how would you even dare to suggest that anybody walk or ride rather than drive? Yet less drive we must. Must.

6) Wilshire Center Picks a Fight with Cyclists


Wilshire Center, right at the intersection of Westwood and Wilshire, is a high-rise with many UCLA offices. If you have arrived at Wilshire Center, you have survived, by limb at least, one of the most dangerous intersections in the country. Now get ready for a "Not A Walkway" fight to access a few poor bike racks perversely placed, and over-regulated by someone who really tries to pick a fight with the most sustainable mode of transportation. The regulatory venom on display here is a kick in the head for any Bruin who would consider getting out of the car. It sign shouts out:
Go Away! We really do not want you here! 


Our Bike Fairy (Any pronoun) will make the call, investigate leases entered into, push to amend them, arrange for the removal of signage and provide for easy and welcoming and plentiful bike parking at Wilshire Center. Because we must! UCLA pays a lot of rent here, but Bruins on two wheels get the worst service. The sheer inequity of it.

7) Find the curb and hit your head


Bruins driving cars from Brentwood to Westwood have ten car lanes, lanes designed for speeds of 50 MPH or more. Bruins riding a bike to campus along the same route will soon enough make the acquaintance of a non-compliant street sign mounted so low, and located right at the sunken curb, that it must have caused many a concussion with cycling heads. Bike Fairy, please! Do something. Do we really need to call our Senator to get this sign out of the path of Bruin heads? 

8) Narrow Sidewalk / Bike Path: Just Add the Bus Stop 


Bruins taking the tree slalom sidewalk on Wilshire along the National Cemetery have a hard time managing pedestrians and these mid-path tree obstacles. Now a bus stop chicane has been added to the mix. Really? So there are ten high speed lanes for cars, and a narrow congested sidewalk for the rest. This is how they used to do it before the Bike Fairy (she/he) looked into it. Because we urgently need more space for sustainable and healthy modes around UCLA. The planet is burning. And our communities expect that UCLA and UCLA Health will speak out for a better future.


9) Bike Parking Rift Found on Kinross


Some Bruins drive their gas guzzler to campus. The combined weight and acceleration of these vehicles ruins the roadway, so much so that a rift has now opened on Kinross, large enough to securely place a bike into the slot which has appeared here. But woe if your bike wheels ever get stuck in this opening. The lack of road maintenance throughout the Westwood Village is a scandal, and it gravely affects sustainable modes of transportation. Calling Bike Fairy, environmental justice hero, to the rescue! 

10) Don't go here between October and February

(image of Wilshire dark)
The I-405 widening project included community input, and UCLA was part of these conversations. But back then nobody invited the Bike Fairy to the table. This is why so much pedestrian and bicycle injustice has been cemented along Wilshire. Consider streetlights for the sidewalk. Missing. So for four months every year, when the sun sets before you go home, the walk and the ride along the VA becomes a hair-raising adventure in the dark. Blimey, we forgot to put in street-lights for the sidewalk. Blinded by fast moving cars, the sidewalk users are struggling to find their way. Is that even legal? What says the Bike Fairy?

11) UCLA Health Pathway

(image cover of report)
The project to create a improved bicycle connection between Santa Monica and Westwood hospitals is on life support. The project has been designed on paper, now the conversations with neighbors have to follow. With the help of the Bike Fairy, the Best in the West Hospitals we take full ownership of this project, and make sure it will be built. Because being in the health business gives you an keen awareness of the unhealthy consequences of our dominant transport modes. Unhealthy for people, unhealthy for planet.  

12) Only in Westwood

Imagine a world-class hospital where the main approach is without a bike lane. Imagine a world-class university where the main approach is without a bike lane. Is cycling not healthy and sustainable? Do we not all need to do much more of it? Without bike lanes? How then?  
The students have painted their own bike-lane here, but it was removed without delay. A great street, a great campus, a great hospital, all suffer from a lack of bicycle infrastructure on the main approach. Why is it still all about cars?
  

Bike Fairy to the rescue: Facilitating a committee of hospital leadership, campus leadership, public health experts, local stakeholders and neighborhood leadership, laying out the path to a safer Westwood, more equitable and more sustainable. Call it Paul Koretz Bike Lane if you want, but do [expletive deleted] paint it. Sure, this is a big one. This is why our Bike Fairy that has the full support of UCLA Health and of the campus, this is why it can draw on the legal firepower of our Law School, and on the expertise from the hospital and from the Fielding School of Public Health. Yes we can. Yes we must.

13) Discouraging Cycling 


Last year, traffic planners in West LA turned a trickle of bicycle traffic headed for UCLA into a odd occasional drop.  At Barrington & Goshen, a relatively quiet route to campus, a forced right turn sign has appeared last years. Bruins on two wheels who follow the signage will have to make a left turn at Wilshire & Barrington: A most hostile intersection for bikes. Can we please have a "Except Bicycles" addition to this signage? And can we please have the UCLA Bike Fairy (m/f) at the table when the regional traffic planners come up with ideas that simply do not help us to get more people out of cars? Why do so many minor planning decisions in the environs of our campus still point in the wrong direction, failing to make it easier, safer, simpler for the most sustainable street users we try to recruit?  To remedy this, the Bike Fairy will also call on the support of experts from the UCLA School of Law, who are eager to help to make Los Angeles a sustainable, resilient, more equitable, more livable city. As our Executive Vice Chancellor Emily Carter said

x) Metro First & Last Mile 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis vulputate, eros id volutpat aliquet, lacus quam ornare lectus, nec faucibus dui velit id augue. In mollis turpis et justo dictum, nec eleifend dolor hendrerit. 

x) Greta and Arnold


Here is Greta Thunberg cycling in Santa Monica. In a few years she may apply at UCLA. It is high time to get our bicycle infrastructure into shape: For this prospective student, and for everybody else. Luckily, we have the Bike Fairy (him/her). Arnold is on standby to help in real difficult cases. So that we can "help LA to become the city it should be, the city of the 21st century, an opportunity unlike any other on this planet that UCLA should seize." As our Executive Vice Chancellor Emily Carter said.

What Bike Fairy? 

Not a genuine likeness
The Bike Fairy comes about through the joint commitment of UCLA Health Leadership (Johnese Spisso), UCLA leadership (Emily Carter), and Associate Vice chancellor for Government and Community Relations. (Jennifer Poulakidas). It is a production of the UCLA Sustainability Committee under the leadership of Vice Chancellor of Facilities, Michael Beck. The godparents come from the School of Law (Environmental Law), the Institute of the Environment, and the Fielding School of Public Health. Together they fund and task the Bike Fairy (him/her) to revert decades of car-centric infrastructure around UCLA. Adept in facilitating close interactions with a large number of jurisdictions and administrations in the neighborhood of the campus, the UCLA Bike Fairy fills a glaring hole in how the UCLA Health and the Campus relate with our communities. These are some of the agencies involved: The National Cemetery Administration, the Veterans Administration, the Veterans Hospital, the cities of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City, Metro, Caltrans, transit companies, neighborhood stakeholders, etc. The Bike Fairy will convene and advance a consistent agenda with a variety of stakeholders who for too long have heard far too little from the campus and from UCLA Health. The Hospital and the Campus need to take the lead in these conversations, because as a world class hospital and university in an urban context, it simply is our civic obligation. If we don't show leadership here, well beyond the safe walls of our campus, all campus talk of sustainability will remain hollow and fake.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

But what is the outcome?

On Friday, May 3rd, 2019, we met at UCLA Health. "Mitch Katz Rides On" was the title for an attempt to facilitate healthy transportation programming around medical providers in Los Angeles. It is part of a larger vision of medical providers playing an active role in reducing unhealthy modes of transport. Because as you drive more, obesity becomes a problem. And the more your use actives modes (transit, cycling, walking), obesity and all its side-effects declines. Look here:





This graph gives us the big picture. It was the center of our conversation. The first installment of a good and important conversation. But what precisely was the outcome?

We understand the need for the community benefits teams to learn more about the METRO Best program which provides community based bicycle education and encouragement. We invited Indu Sanwal from the UCLA Health community benefits team, but she cancelled on the day of the meeting. We invited Cindy Levey from the Cedars Sinai community benefits team, but she had a conflict. We invited Katrina Bada from the Good Samaritan Hospital community benefits team. This hospital conducts an annual Blessing of the Bicycles, but she could not come. We invited Justin Joe from Providence, who is in charge for community benefits for a number of Providence hospitals. In his place Paul Makarewicz, Director of Mission Leadership from Santa Monica, joined us. We are very grateful for that. We invited Nancy Clifton-Hawkins from the City of Hope community benefits team, but she had a prior engagement. We invited Celia Brugman from the community benefits team at Kaiser Permanente in West LA, but she could not come, and neither could her deputy. We also invited Melissa Biel, whose firm Biel Consulting contracts with many hospitals to conduct Community Health Needs Assessments. She thought it was an important topic, but she was not available.

Mind you, we were able to make our pitch on the phone, sometimes more than once, and a very useful time on the phone it was, for which we are grateful. But when it comes to a better understanding to how healthy transportation programming could be implemented at UCLA Health, at Cedars Sinai, at Good Samaritan Hospital, at Providence, at City of Hope, at Kaiser Permanente in West LA, we were not really able to share our message and advice. What kind of format would be suitable? What kind of obstacles should we expect? How to advertise, whom to include, how to connect with related efforts. It was a important conversation to have, highlighting the need for such programming, and highlighting the need to build bridges between the domains of transportation and health, referring occasionally to the long list inspiring precedents here. And acknowledging, more than once, the work done by Prof Richard Jackson of Designing Healthy Communities, whose work has left a deep impact at UCLA and elsewhere.


Click to enlarge
From left to right: Eli Kaufman (LACBC), James Evans (UCLA Health, Sustainability), Linda Khamoushian (CALBike), Jean Armbruster (LA County Public Health, Place Program), Jimmy Tran (UCLA Transportation), Karen Miotto (UCLA Health Physician Wellness), Richard Azar (COO UCLA Health), Gustavo Friederichsen (CEO LA County Medical Association), Michael Cahn (Bicycle Academy). Not pictured: Jim Shanman (Walk 'n Rollers), Paul Makarewicz (Providence Saint Johns). Present by implication: Richard Jackson.


Yes, it was a good meeting to have. We are grateful for those who attended, and for those who had time for us on the phone. We learned that the LA County Medical Association is a strong ally for healthy communities. We argued that bike advocacy is health advocacy for everybody, not a special service to a few bicycle enthusiasts. We agreed that the Metro BEST program now offers a very special opportunity for health providers: Too good to be missed. We said that hospitals will soon come to recognize the tremendous health benefits of active transportation. In Los Angeles - where else?

The work continues. At the next round all the community benefits teams will be in attendance. Hopefully.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Hospitals addressing Automobilitis: Examples for the Future


(1992) The British Medical Association publishes "Cycling towards Health and Safety", arguing that cycling should be an integral part of the medical toolkit, as important as addressing alcohol and tobacco abuse

(1996) The American College of Surgeons issues guidelines for trauma prevention. Level I Trauma Centers must implement at least two programs that address major causes of injury in the community (Car Seat Safety etc). We are not aware of any certified hospital that has actively engaged with healthy transport or Vision Zero initiatives

(2003) The Wheeling Hospital Foundation (WV) provides a grant for a "Walk to School Day"

(2003) The CA Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development issues a recommendation that hospitals should, at a minimum, conduct one public meeting to present their community benefit plan to the public

(2003) Victoria Transport Policy Institute issues first version of "If Health Matters" with guidelines how to integrate public health objectives into transportation planning. (Frequently updated since)

Since 2008 Seattle Childrens Hospital accommodates 6000 visitors a day with only 1200 parking spots, issues only daily parking permits, and offers a wide variety of support for bicycle commuters, Certified as Bicycle Friendly Business (now Platinum) since 2009

(2008) National Center for Bicycling and Walking (bikewalk.org) receives funding from Blue Cross & Blue Shield (MN) to "remove barriers and make physical activity the easy choice"

(2008) Lancaster General Hospital (PA) sponsors Mark Fenton, host of the PBS television series 'America's Walking' as a leader of a Walkable Communities Summit (2008)

(2011) UnitedHealthcare, Children's Hospital Colorado and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge launch a Bikes for Life program which provides 1,000 bicycles to Denver-area kids. 'Bikes for Life' will promote the health benefits of cycling, helping curb the growing prevalence of childhood obesity. (Video transcript)

(2011) Centers for Disease Control issue Transportation Health Impact Assessment Toolkit which offers elaborate resources and health planning tools and highlights the health impacts of transportation

(2013) Greenville Memorial Hospital (SC) funds the position of a Project Coordinator, (School Health Bike) to implement bike programs along with other activities to promote the safe and healthy physical activity for children.

(2013) Smith and Hamann Burney publish a paper on "Transportation Demand Management Strategies at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus"

(2013) A group of physicians from St Michael's Hospital (Toronto) are calling for more progress on the City's bike plan: they urge councilors to consider the preventative benefits of cycling and active living in general. “Cardiovascular health, mental health, insomnia—all these things are treated with exercise…this is a public health issue, and an issue of primary care”  

(2014) Boston Medical Center lauches Prescribe-a-Bike which offers patients greatly reduced membership rates for a local bike-share system

(2014) UCLA Health issues a bicycle safety video

(2014) Kaiser Permanente (Folsom) issues Kaiser Pedal Power, a newsletter for Kaiser employees which covers Safe Routes to Schools, community planning, bicycle commuting, health tips, etc

(2015) Rady Children's Hospital El Cajon implements a Safe Routes to School Program

(2015) Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angels conducts annual Blessing of the Bicycles (ongoing since 2003)

(2016) California Hospital Association provides information about hospital based benefit programs that improve local neighborhoods and the built environment, including transportation

(2016) Hilltop Institute highlights IRS regulation that "the health needs of a community [include] the need to prevent illness, [and] the need to address social, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence health in the community"

(2016) AARP Los Angeles becomes a sponsor for CicLAvia, a open streets event which promotes active transportation and good health through car-free streets.

(2016) Cleveland Hospitals (OH) provides sponsorship and has naming rights for Bike Share Program 

(2016) The federal Department of Transportation releases a Health in Transport Planning framework which requires transport planners to consider the health impacts of their designs

(2016) Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa (CA) partners with MyCityBikes to support doctors and nurses cycling to work

(2016) Kaiser Permanente issues video advert to promote commuting by bicycle

(2016) American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons launches public service campaign to remind drivers that Cyclists Are Always Fragile

(2016) Insurance Provider HealthIQ offers 25% savings on life insurance because cyclists who ride for 3 hours a week or more have a 28% lower risk of all-cause mortality than non-cyclists

(2017) A major study in the British Medical Journal shows that initiatives that encourage active commuting can reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions. Cycling to work lowers the risk of dying early by 40 per cent, and reduces the chance of developing cancer by 45 per cent.

(2017) Gregory Hood, MD asks "Should More Doctors Ride Their Bikes to Work?" in Medscape, and his readers agree: Yes, they should

(2017) Cedars-Sinai Blog honors a staff member Juan Castillo who rides 15 miles to work but reveal their ignorance when they call him a "cycler"

(2017) American Heart Association issues a major policy statement on active transportation complete with 215 juicy footnotes presenting lots of recent research and evidence

(2017) CALTRANS calculates the savings in healthcare expenses (600M$) as expanded bike network would lead to 3,330,103,000 more hours of physical activity

(2017) Henry Ford Health System and Health Alliance Plan are title sponsors of the new MoGo bike share program

(2017) LA County Department of Public Health releases recommendations for Community Health Needs Assessments to "encourage cities to establish policies and programs that support increased walking and biking"

(2018)  Southmead NHS Hospital (UK) conducts a survey asking all visitors how they arrived at the hospital

(2018) Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park offers safe cycling classes with ActiveSGV

(2018) Sutter Hospital Santa Rosa (CA) is certified as a Bicycle Friendly Employer by the League of American Bicyclists https://twitter.com/newhospital/status/750806700773355520

(2018) Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington uses heat map tool for healthier commutes. Hundreds learned that it would take them less than 3o minutes to ride a bike to work. The Modeify tool also found that almost all of their employees lived within a mile of a potential carpool partner.

(2018) AARP Los Angeles comments on Community Health Needs Assessments for hospitals in Los Angeles and suggests addressing healthy transportation as a community need

(2019) UCLA Fielding School hosts panel led by Richard Jackson on Transportation as a Public Health Issue

(2019) Northwestern Medicine are sponsors of the Fight for Air Ride by the Lung Association 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mitch Katz Rides On

The UCLA Bicycle Academy will hold a round table meeting to bring together hospital executives, community benefits managers, and bicycle advocates on 3 May 2019 at 11:00 (Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, 757 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles 90095, Conference Room 6-6234) We are natural allies, both focused on healthy communities, but we have not been speaking much to each other in the past. We are grateful to the former head of LA County Public Health department who has kindly allowed us to call this conversation "Mitch Katz Rides On". Gustavo Friederichsen of the LA County Medical Association has been the main midwife for this effort. UCLA Health kindly provided a conference room. Paul Watkins, CEO of Northridge Dignity Health and previously sustainability champion at UCLA Santa Monica hospital will join us, Linda Khamoushian from CALbike in Sacramento, Eli Kaufman from the LA County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), Vanessa Gray from C.I.C.L.E., Jim Shanman from Walk 'n Rollers and a number of Community Benefits managers. The scope of the meeting is to learn how bicycle advocates and medical providers can work together to advance a common agenda for better health in our communities. 

"Mitch Katz Rides On" will share best practices by bicycle friendly providers, which include
  • Hospital based safe cycling education provided by certified coaches. Exciting opportunities through the Metro BEST program
  • Health providers increasing their support for active commuting choices for staff and facilitate Bicycle User Groups
  • Wayfinding for locations and appointments should no longer reproduce the notion that everybody drives in LA (include transit and bicycle access in appointment reminders)
  • Make sure leases for medical offices do not include bundled parking
  • Improved stairways in medical offices
  • Enhanced bike parking racks that carry a health message like "The Chief Medical Officer has determined that cycling and walking is good for your health"
  • Hospitals to be League certified as bicycle friendly business 
  • Community Benefits Programs which support active and healthy transportation, Safe Routes to School
  • Hospital based Blessing of the Bicycles, etc
There are a huge number of medical practitioners throughout LA who personally have discovered the pleasures of two-wheeled transport. They are waiting for the right signal from the leadership and are ready to become champions of such an agenda. 

If you want to be involved in the event, please get in touch. Bike advocacy is health advocacy. And it is urgent.