Welcome back to the SafeTREC Spotlight Series where we highlight a SafeTREC team member and share their stories, work and interest in the transportation and safety research realm. In today's post, meet Jarah Crowner, Policy & Program Analyst.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and your role at SafeTREC?
I am from Jackson, Mississippi. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in Pre-Medicine at Jackson State University in 2016. I received my Master of Public Health in Health Behavior, Promotion and Education at Jackson State University in 2019. I am a Policy and Program Analyst at SafeTREC and have been working at the research center for 7 months. I am also a certified phlebotomist and a certified health education specialist.
What sparked your interest in transportation safety research?
I come from a state that does not prioritize transportation safety efforts. My first experience with sidewalks, all things bicycle and pedestrian safety, and any efforts related to transportation was here in California. The middle school I attended is literally a 12 minute walk from the neighborhood I grew up in and my mode of transportation was the school bus or private automobiles. What if there were sidewalks in my neighborhood? My peers and I could’ve easily walked to and from school, which would have been great exercise for us. I had no education in grade school about the built environment as it relates to health or climate change. I believe that if the state of Mississippi prioritized built environments that support pedestrians and bicyclists, our childhood and adult obesity rates wouldn't be extremely high.
Public transit is not so popular back home. Some people use it, but most residents have their own private automobiles. One of the visiting professors in my MPH program would use the city bus to get to and from class in the evenings. I remember how we as a class thought it was odd and, collectively, didn't know the hours the bus ran. My first experience using public transit was in Houston, Texas and then again here in California.
What current projects are you working on at SafeTREC?
My main project is promoting and providing technical assistance for the Street Story tool which is an online platform that allows community residents and agencies to report and collect information about near misses, hazards, crashes, and safe places to travel. I also work on the Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training program.
What issues are you particularly interested or passionate about?
The issue that I am most passionate about is Black women’s maternal health. Statistics show that Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women. These issues mainly stem from the lack of health education and poor access to quality care. I believe we have to prioritize listening to their needs and provide resources that help to ensure healthy outcomes for Black mothers and their children.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to read fiction novels and watch reruns of the best show to ever exist: The Golden Girls.
This Spotlight interview was conducted in collaboration with UC Berkeley SafeTREC. The opinions and perspectives expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily those of SafeTREC.