Building Active Communities Initiative

The Montana Nutrition and Physical Activity (NAPA) Program’s Building Active Communities Initiative (BACI) is a project of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services in cooperation with Montana State University’s Office of Rural Health. With in-depth, interactive training, mentoring and ongoing technical assistance, NAPA’s Building Active Communities Initiative supports community-led approaches to develop active and healthy communities.  

We have some exciting news!

The MT DPHHS Nutrition & Physical Activity Program will be hosting a 2 1/2 day Building Active Communities Initiative (BACI) Action Institute in Livingston, Montana.  State and local speakers will address topics including walkability/bikeability, healthy community design, local foods, recreational trails, placemaking, accessibility and more. The workshop will be held May 15-17, 2018 and is open to communities across the state who submit an application and are approved. More information to follow. 

Who might be interested in this opportunity?
Elected officials, planners, public works professionals, public health or healthcare professionals, downtown business associations or Main Street programs, senior and/or disability advocates, schools or youth groups, community foundations, or other non-profits.

What can be expected out of this training?
National, state and local experts will present pertinent information that will help communities improve: multi-sector collaboration; community built environment assessment and strategies to create active and healthy communities. An addition to this year’s Action Institute will be a focus on healthy local foods. The ultimate goal is to give communities the tools, resources and technical assistance to develop policies, plans, and projects that support more safe, connected and healthy communities.

Presenters and Technical Assistance Staff:  A national expert on healthy community design and staff from the Montana Departments of Commerce, Transportation, Public Health and Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Western Transportation Institute; Montana State University; University of Montana; Bike Walk Montana and others  will present and/or be available to answer questions and provide technical assistance. 

Why we need safe, connected and walkable communities.
The need for more safe, connected and walkable Montana communities is pressing. Local governments, businesses and families are faced with a crisis of rising healthcare costs driven by ever increasing sedentary lifestyles and preventable chronic diseases. Poor access to safe active transportation and recreation opportunities is putting America’s youngest generation at risk for living shorter and less healthy lifespans than their parents’ generation. At the same time, demand is on the rise for safer and more accessible communities to better serve people with disabilities and the growing number of seniors. Finally, local leaders are recognizing the economic benefits of safe, accessible and walkable communities, including the opportunity to attract new businesses, tourism and a stable, well-paid workforce.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion BACI Success Story - Montana Cities and Counties Working to Build Health into Community Design http://www.umt.edu/sell/cps/baci/imx/MT_PAaccess-Article.pdf - by Cathy Costakis, Senior Consultant, Built Environment

For questions or more information on Montana’s Building Active Communities Initiative, contact: Cathy Costakis, Senior Consultant - Built Environment, NAPA, at costakis@montana.edu or (406) 994-5734.