BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Samina Raja, PhD, associate professor of urban
and regional planning in the University at Buffalo School of
Architecture and Planning, is a community-based scholar whose work
continues to earn national visibility and prestige in the fields of
food security planning and community health.
She is the only urban or regional planner appointed to a
committee of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) that has been
charged with developing a framework and guidance for health impact
assessments (HIAs) in the United States, and she recently received
a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build on her
prior research on community food systems in Buffalo.
The NAS committee, sponsored by the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences, the California Endowment, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation, is developing a systematic, conceptual
framework and approach for improving the assessment of health
impacts in the United States.
The group, expected to release its findings in early 2011, will
report on the value and potential value of HIAs; impediments and
countervailing factors that have limited their practice to date;
circumstances, criteria, concepts, tools and information required
for conducting the assessments; and the types, structure and
content of HIAs.
Raja also has just been awarded a two-year, $88,000 grant from
the Healthy Kids Healthy Communities Initiative of the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation to assess healthy eating and active living
policies and environments in the City of Buffalo.
The assessment effort is part of a larger community partnership
to assess and modify healthy eating and active living policies in
the City of Buffalo led by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
A civil engineer and urban planner, Raja' community-grounded
research focuses on planning and design for healthy communities,
the fiscal dimensions of planning and the influence of the food and
built environments on obesity and physical activity.
Her local research partners have included the Buffalo Niagara
Medical Campus, the Massachusetts Avenue Project, the Town of
Amherst and Green Options Buffalo. Her work supports and is
supported by the University at Buffalo Civic Engagement and Public
Policy research initiative.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.