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Jim’s 2017 Highlights

April 2018

Though 2017 had a strong negative undercurrent due to the Trump presidency and for me personally due to continuing grief over my wife Shemi’s death in mid-2016, there were many good times that I want to highlight. These bright spots made a tough year much much better.

Healing visit to Indian Country in New Mexico

Before attending a Voices for Healthy Kids Strategic Advisory Committee meeting on a Pueblo near Albuquerque, I spent a couple of days visiting special places in New Mexico. This was an inspirational and healing visit for me.

This is part of Bandelier National Monument, where Native Americans lived for many centuries in dwellings carved into the volcanic stone.

I was encouraged to visit this place where the Tsankawi people lived. It was spectacular.

I was amazed how generations of Native people had worn these grooves into the rock just by walking during their daily activities. I thought of these as pedestrian highways.

More of the pedestrian grooves. They still work. It is easy to walk on them. And you can see the landscape is outstanding.

This is the main square in Santa Fe that was made very festive at night during the Christmas season. This plaza has been attracting pedestrians for centuries.

February and October. World Bank. I had two interactions with World Bank staff in 2017.

Through Mike Pratt our group received a contract with the World Bank to help them collect accelerometer data in Malawi. This is the group with their certificates, along with Andrea Varela Ramirez (Colombia, Brazil, top left) and Bob Wang (China, bottom right).

In October I presented a seminar to World Bank staff from numerous work groups about the health impact of urban design and transportation.

February. ALR Conference in Clearwater, Florida

Dr. Janna Lynott, who directs the Age-Friendly Communities program at AARP, was our keynote speaker.

Here is Chair Rodney Lyn with two speakers.

This is our panel of decision makers: Otis Johnson, former Mayor of Savannah, GA; Kristyn Wong-Tam, City Councilor of Toronto, Canada, and Toks Omishakin, with Tennessee Department of Transportation.

I was pleased that my highly valued colleagues from the Notah Begay III Foundation presented some of their work to promote active living in Indian Country: Olivia Roanhorse and R. Goldtooth.

Our final panel on lifespan approaches to studying and improving physical activity: David Bann from University College London; NiCole Keith from Indiana University; Adrian Bauman from Sydney University; moderator Jenny Mindell from University College London.

We fought traffic and survived during the bike ride.

March. Society of Behavioral Medicine in San Diego, including my presidential duties and party at my house.

With my SBM presidential successors and wonderful colleagues, Gary Bennett and Sherry Pagato.

A photo from my presidential address.

With David Marquez, SBM Program Chair. It was a pleasure to work with him on shaping an outstanding program.

Former doctoral student Jodi Prochaska is now Professor at Stanford University and mother of two children. We don’t get together often enough.

March, May, August, October. Four visits to Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. These are just a very few of the professional, social, and natural high points of these visits.

March. My first night in Melbourne I went to an Adele concert.

March. On my arrival Ester Cerin and Tony Barnett took me on a long urban hike that included this scene along the Yarra River.

March. During the urban hike we saw this odd architectural juxtaposition.

March. A nice dinner with colleagues: Jenny Veitch, Anna Timperio, Billie Giles-Corti, Jo Salmon.

May. With early career researchers at ACU Institute for Health and Ageing.

May. Neville Owen and I celebrate the release of his new book.

May. I make it a point to get out in nature each visit.

For a report on the August visit that included my UCSD colleagues Terry Conway, Kelli Cain, and Carrie Geremia, please see my separate blog post:

October. A good view of Central Melbourne. This concentration of activities is why Melbourne is routinely named World’s Most Liveable City by The Economist magazine.

October Tony Barnett, Ester Cerin, and I on one of our many outings to enjoy the city.

October. At the conference on Healthy Liveable Cities, organized by Billie Giles-Corti. The social event included a combination of entertainment and advocacy.

October. A great Melbourne scene with a mix of transport modes featuring a very attractive tram.

October. Though everyone is sitting in this photo, they had to walk to come enjoy this park in the heart of Melbourne. One of many great parks.

October. I am now affiliated with the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research at ACU, so I thought I would take a selfie with Saint Mary.

October. A typically lively street scene in the Melbourne CBD.

Neville took me out on another delightful bushwalk.

April. March for Science. San Diego.

With Elena Martinez, Jesse Nodora, Maria Zuniga—and many thousands more.

It’s good to see young people committed to science.

A small sample of marchers.

June. UCSD Graduation. One of my regrets about (semi-)retirement is that I will have less contact with students. I have been blessed with the chance to mentor many outstanding doctoral students and postdocs. Here are my last two.

Jessa Engelberg and Christy Thornton. It was such a pleasure working with them.

The Dalai Lama was UCSD Commencement speaker June 2017. I was selected by lottery to be one of about 100 faculty to be in a receiving line during a breakfast encounter. It was an honor I never thought I would experience. This was the most special moment of the year for me.

Lobsang Lama (left) was an intern with our research group, and she also graduated. I welcomed her parents on their first trip to the USA, along with Lobsang’s sister. They are Tibetans living in Nepal.

July. Southern tour to reconnect with family, friends, colleagues.

Colin Armstrong was my first doctoral student when I was at San Diego State University. We had a reunion in Nashville. He is on the faculty at Vanderbilt University.

My graduate school mentor at Memphis State University was Kenny Lichstein (far left). I got to visit with him and part of his family in Nashville.

September. New York City. Center for Active Design Award.

On September 27, 2017 I was presented I attended the Center for Active Design Excellence Awards celebration in New York City. I was pleased and honored to receive the Thought Leadership Award. I had the opportunity to give a short talk and participate in a panel discussion. You can learn more about the Awards and the Center for Active Design:

Photo credit: Yetsuh Frank, Courtesy of Center for Active Design.  My award was presented by Joanna Frank, President and CEO of the Center for Active Design.

Photo credit: Yetsuh Frank, Courtesy of Center for Active Design.  Here is the panel moderated by WNYC’s Paige Cowett (far right) and including Linda Gibbs, Principal at Bloomberg Associates, Justin Garrett Moore, Executive Director of the NYC Public Design Commission. You can watch a recording of the 27-min panel at

I always enjoy exploring the streets of New York City on foot, partly because I am in the company of so many other pedestrians.

October. Washington, DC. National Academy of Medicine induction.

My guests at the induction ceremony and dinner. Karen Glanz (Univ of Pennsylvania), Charlotte Pratt (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute), David Berrigan (National Cancer Institute).

The other inductee from Society of Behavioral Medicine was Karen Emmons of Harvard University.

Our group had a special reception and tour of the National Civil Rights Museum, which brought back many painful memories. This was a painting in the Memphis airport.

This is also a painting in the airport, showing the vibrancy of African American culture in Memphis.

The Mayor tells us about life in a very small town in northern Mississippi.

I had a chance to spend time with my cousin Nita Carr, who lives in Memphis. Here we are in the hat department of Schwab’s store on Beale Street, one of my favorite stores anywhere.

It was a treat to tour the legendary Sun Studios with Lisa Klesges.

This is the studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and many African American artists got their start.

September. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Roundtable on Obesity Solutions. Workshop on built environments and obesity. Washington, DC. This workshop was particularly meaningful to me, because I was on the planning committee.

The opening panel was composed of Daniel Rodriguez (UC Berkeley), Karen Glanz (University of Pennsylvania), and Rodrigo Reis (Washington University of St. Louis).

The panel on promoting equity through built environment solutions.

The panel on local actions to improve built environments, with former Maryland Governor Perris Glendening speaking.


Thank you for checking out my 2017 highlights blog. I posted new videos on my Active Living Clips youtube channel. 2018 is starting out almost as busy as ever, which is why I did not get this 2017 blog completed until April 2018!

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