Developing ways of combatting the ongoing obesity epidemic is near the top of the national agenda, and Ashley Wright ’16 was in the trenches, fighting the good fight. Ashley pursued her Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management and interned at the Massachusetts Alliance of YMCAs in Boston where she created programs to get communities moving.
Specifically, through a YMCA Alliances state grant, Ashley had a primary goal of increasing the “walkability” of communities across the state and assessing the impact that physical activity has on the community.
“This project was centered in getting people active in their communities and promoting the necessity of walkable neighborhoods,” says Ashley. “There are many necessary steps that go into designing and implementing programs and health promotion events like the Complete Streets policies and the walkability event.”
Ashley conducted a significant amount of research on Complete Streets policies, which are adopted by municipalities in order to create communities that promote safe and accessible transportation through walking, cycling, public transport and driving.
“I learned a significant amount about the political procedures that must take place in order to get a policy through legislature and into practice,” says Ashley. “Working at the Alliance has been such an amazing educational and professionally rewarding experience. My internship gave me the hands-on experience developing programs using various health promotion strategies in order to address health disparities within communities.”
After graduating with a Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management, Ashley landed a job with the Board of Health in the City of Malden as the Substance Abuse Prevention Outreach Manager.
“The research that I did and the processes that I learned about and experienced first-hand, along with my graduate courses at Merrimack, are exactly what I had hoped to do in my future career,” says Ashley.