Mariana Clair Arcaya, MCP, received the 2012 Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award for young professionals.
The award recognizes a health worker or student, age 30 or younger, who has demonstrated potential in the health field by challenging traditional public health policy or practice in a creative and positive way.
Arcaya is public health manager for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston and is considered a regional and national leader in the integration of public health and urban planning. Her research explores the connections between health disparities, social factors and the built environment using innovative spatial and statistical techniques. Arcaya’s work with Metropolitan Boston’s regional planning agency applies the lessons of that research to local policy, primarily through implementation of an $8 million Community Transformation Grant in Middlesex County.
Arcaya’s research into housing policy and foreclosure applies cutting-edge analysis to quantify how living near foreclosed properties can affect neighbors. She has worked with planners and policy-makers to develop and articulate intervention policies specifically designed to prevent and mitigate these health impacts.
As part of her efforts to bring attention to the issue of health disparities, Arcaya co-authored State of Equity in Metro Boston, giving a picture of the connections between the economic, educational, transportation, housing and health inequities in the region. In 2006,she co-founded the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Urban Planning and Public Health to foster collaboration among Boston-area practitioners, students, and researchers in the fields of urban planning and public health.
Arcaya is a doctoral candidate in social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, earned her master of city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and policy from Duke University. She has worked for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston since 2007 and before that was an analyst and research assistant for ICF International in Fairfax, Va.
“Through both rigorous academic research and on-the-ground practice in the public sector, she is at the forefront of the movement to integrate health and planning policy,” Metropolitan Area Planning Council Executive Director Marc Draisen said about Arcaya. “In addition to her knowledge, intellect and analytical skill, Mariana possesses a remarkable positive attitude and collaborative spirit. She brings respect and openness to any interaction and as a result helps others to do their best work.”