MEDIA RELEASE May 10th, 2019                                                                                                              Contact Phil Haberstro 851-4052

WNY Walks! Summit Presents Dr. Ian Thomas & Amanda O’Rourke

Buffalo, NY: The Wellness Institute’s annual Walkability Summit will take place at the Buffalo Grand Hotel (formerly Adam’s Mark) in Downtown Buffalo Thursday June 13th and Friday the 14th. The two-day Summit will explore the challenges addressing rural, urban, and suburban neighborhoods in Greater Buffalo and to develop action plans to address these challenges. This event offers citizens and stakeholders strategic opportunities for networking and taking action in promoting walking and walkability to improve health. The Institute and its partners are excited to announce that the Walkability Summit will feature keynote speakers Dr. Ian Thomas of America Walks (https://americawalks.org/) speaking Thursday afternoon, June 13th, and Amanda O’Rourke, CEO of 8-80 Cities (https://www.880cities.org/) and Buffalo’s WINTERMISSION speaking Friday afternoon, June 14th.


Dr. Thomas is the State and Local Program Director with America Walks, where he develops and delivers education programs about the benefits of walkable communities and strategies to create them. For over a decade Dr. Thomas served as the founding Executive Director of the PedNet Coalition of Colombia, Missouri, where he developed one of the largest Walking School Bus programs in the country, advocated for the adoption of the first “complete streets” policy in Missouri, and worked in reducing neighborhood speed limits to promote walkability.


Amanda O’Rourke works with 8-80 Cities, Toronto-based organization that promotes livable cities for all ages through program planning, policy changes, and engaging community members to build environmental, economic, and social capital. O’Rourke is also leading 8-80 Cities’ national WINTERMISSION; Buffalo is one of three cities participating in this initiative, which will include program implementation and the improvement of sidewalk safety and clearance to promote walkability and livability in winter cities.


Phil Haberstro of the Wellness Institute noted “We are thrilled to have Ian and Amanda join us and assist us in creating the WNY Walks! Community Advocacy Group as a major outcome of this Summit.” Haberstro announced that the Advocacy Group will promote walking and walkability in Western New York as a part of the WNY Walks! Initiative.


For information on attending, tabling, sponsoring, or partnering with the Summit and its efforts, contact the Wellness Institute at (716)851-4052 or BeActive@City-Buffalo.org. See our website for more information: CreatingHealthyCommunities.org.                                                



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