Today we're launching the SafeTREC Spotlight Series to introduce you to members of our team! The research and administrative team at SafeTREC is dedicated to its mission in reducing transportation-related injuries and fatalities through research, education, outreach and community service. Each month, we'll highlight two SafeTREC staff and share their stories, work and interest in the transportation and safety research realm. In today's post, meet Tracy McMillan, Senior Program and Policy Analyst.
Tracy McMillan is originally from New York State, but has lived in at least 10 different metropolitan areas including Boston, Massachusetts, Seattle, Washington, and Austin, Texas. She received her Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Policy and Management at Emory University in 1994, and completed her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Urban and Regional Planning at UC Irvine in 2003. Prior to working at SafeTREC, Tracy taught at several universities, owned a research consulting firm, and founded a technology company called localeikki whose goal was to help people access parks, paths and trails in communities across the globe, to promote physical activity. She is a Senior Policy and Program Analyst at SafeTREC and has been working at the research center for 1.5 years.
What sparked your interest in transportation safety research?
After completing my MPH program at Emory University, I worked in health promotion at the University of South Carolina. In working with communities to promote physical activity, I realized we would encourage them to go out and walk but in many locations residents had no safe places to do so: streets lacked sidewalks and bicycle lanes and there were no safe routes to parks. This clearly illustrated the health impact of the built environment, and the need to bridge the gap between city planning and public health. This, and my internship experience at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while doing my MPH, spurred me to pursue a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning.
What are current projects you’re working on now at SafeTREC?
My current work at SafeTREC focuses on transportation safety, mobility and active community environments for vulnerable populations, particularly older adults, youth and children. I also work, in partnership with California Walks, to provide technical assistance on pedestrian and bicycle safety for municipalities and community organizations.
What are issues you are particularly interested or passionate about?
The majority of my work is centered around urban planning, public health and most importantly people. I’m committed to creating healthy communities that put people first, public places that are livable and sustainable, and vibrant streets and cities that are safe for people of all ages, gender and racial background.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love being active outdoors, running, bicycling and hiking with my family and dog. I also love to cook and eat food!