EJ Awardee Spotlight: Equity, Public Transit & Health Access Project

May 10, 2016

In 2014, the Equity, Public Transit & Health Access Project launched to explore the intersection of health and transit justice. The Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center (SJPHC), On the Move (OTM) and ACE came together with Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH) and the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc. (CCHERS) to educate providers, gather data and take action.

"The transit justice collaboration with ACE was transformative for our Health Center. Our partnership opened a new space to combine organizing, public health, racial justice language and values that was powerful and shared," said Abigail Ortiz, Director of Community Health Programs at the SJPHC. "Focusing the goals of the project on the extensive transit organizing done by ACE and its members, rather than re-creating new ones, gave our health center clarity about how we can be most effective in placing our patients' realities at the center of our health equity policy work."

The project collected surveys from over 1,300 patients on how public transportation affects their access to health. The survey found that over 60 percent of respondents had missed a health care appointment due to the MBTA. The findings also showed that people of color are disproportionately impacted by the MBTA’s failures, an issue that is compounded by displacement.

Now, the project is mobilizing health centers and patients to support organizing to improve public transportation and access to health. Leaders have been speaking out in support for a permanent Youth Pass, affordable fares on THE RIDE, improved service on bus routes used by low-income people of color, as well as strategizing to form a Racial Justice and Equity Commission in Boston to create equity in all areas of life that impact health outcomes.

Thank you for your leadership!