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Jan032014

HEAL NH expands naming Nicholas Coates its first Active Living Coordinator

Healthy Eating Active Living expands to serve more New Hampshire communities

 

CONCORD, NH (January 2, 2014) - A Nashua native with extensive public-private partnership experience has been named as the first Active Living Coordinator for HEAL NH. HEAL, or Healthy Eating Active Living, works with over 65 New Hampshire communities to support their efforts to provide residents with better access to healthy food and physical activity.

 

Nicholas Coates named HEAL NH's first Active Living Coordinator

Nicholas "Nik" Coates began working with HEAL last month after six years as Principal Planner and  PATH Program Coordinator with the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission. He remains chair of the state's Bicycle Pedestrian Transportation Advisory Committee which provides technical advice to the Commissioner of the  New Hampshire Department of Transportation and communities throughout the state.

 

Coates said one thing that attracted him to the new challenge is the opportunity to help communities help themselves.

 

"What I really appreciate about HEAL is that they are a statewide organization focused on empowering communities to make sustainable changes that support more active living, like bike paths and safe routes to school. HEAL already has partners and resources throughout the state that they can bring to the table to assist communities and other statewide organizations bring these ideas to fruition, and I look forward to expanding those partnerships and community connections."

 

According to HEAL Director, Terry Johnson, "Over the past few years, more and more communities have asked HEAL to help with planning and implementing healthy eating and active living strategies and policies. And while we are already assisting many communities, we needed to grow to meet the demand. We are really excited to have someone with Nik's expertise on board."

 

While at the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission, Coates helped employers incentivize employees to carpool, bicycle, walk, and use public transportation to get to work. He led the Commute Green New Hampshire initiative, the statewide collaboration to improve access to active transportation options that created www.commutegreennh.org and  www.commutegreen.net.

 

"I think New Hampshire is very much about working with your neighbors and friends to get things done at the local level," said Coates. "I learned very early on that the best way to succeed is just have coffee with people, and see where they're coming from and how we can best work together."

 

Coates received his master's degree in journalism from Northeastern University and undergraduate degree in communication from Southern New Hampshire University. He recalls that he "unexpectedly" fell into transportation planning after a career in newspaper reporting while at Northeastern where he worked with former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis to develop a strategic passenger rail plan for New Hampshire.

 

Coates also co-founded  New Hampshire Businesses for Transportation and Infrastructure, a private sector advocacy group focused on the restoration of passenger rail service along the Boston-Montreal High Speed Rail corridor. He is also a founding member of the Capital Area Wellness Coalition and a member of the Belmont Conservation Commission.

 

He lives in Belmont with his wife and two sons.

 

About HEAL NH: Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) NH campaign began in 2008 and is led by the Foundation for Healthy Communities, a non-profit New Hampshire organization focused on improving health and health care through innovative partnerships. HEAL is supported by a collaboration of foundations and state agencies committed to promoting health and wellbeing for all New Hampshire residents. Funding is provided by HNH Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Endowment for Health, NH Charitable Foundation, and NH Department of Health and Human Services. More information about the HEAL NH Campaign can be found at www.healnh.org.

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