The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. has hired Thea Hassan from one of its partners, GoBike Buffalo, to help tackle transportation issues on the expanding Medical Campus.
Hassan, who began working as transportation program manager two weeks ago, previously worked as communication outreach director for GoBike Buffalo, where she first began volunteering prior to being hired in 2015.
An Ithaca native who also has worked for Ecology & Environment as a proposal coordinator and editor, Hassan said she welcomes the opportunity to further enhance transportation initiatives – with a health emphasis in mind – as the campus continues to grow.
By late fall, the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital will open and shortly thereafter, the University at Buffalo's medical school will open – bringing even more workers, students and patients and their families to campus.
"There are a number of things we are looking at and we really try to look at transportation holistically," said Hassan, who rides her bike daily to work on a 2-mile commute through all seasons of the year. "Our goal is a new way of thinking. Instead of expanding the supply, we try to reduce demand."
Hassan said one of the top priorities is that BNMC – the non-profit umbrella organization of the anchor institutions that make up the 120-acre Medical Campus – works to restructure its transportation management association with institution partners on campus such as UB, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Kaleida Health among many others to address current and expected transportation needs.
"We're working with them and local partners, such as GoBike Buffalo, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the city, to really tackle the transportation issues on campus," she said. "We're restructuring in order to better address campus needs."
Another new hire for the BNMC is Elizabeth Machnica, who is a healthy communities catalyst, joining the organization's healthy communities team that works on initiatives that support and promote healthy food and active living among campus employees and residents in surrounding communities.
In addition to serving as a liaison to the many partners the organization works with, Machnica will work on programs that encourage healthy food and lifestyle choices among Medical Campus employees and the greater community.
Machnica also conducts public health research through the lens of food and physical activity at the University at Buffalo’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab under Dr. Samina Raja. Prior to joining the BNMC, she served as a health educator dietitian with Wellness Corporate Solutions and sports dietitian with UB's Athletics Department.