University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Grad Students Work on Rails to Trails Plan for Hoquiam

Grad Students Work on Rails to Trails Plan for Hoquiam


A group of first-year MPH students honed their community development skills by working with the city council in Hoquiam (Grays Harbor County) to analyze ways to convert a former section of rail line into a bicycle path.

COPHP students photo
photo by Jeff Hodson
COPHP students mentored by Sharon Bogan (left)

The eight students, mentored by Sharon Bogan, affiliate instructor of health services, interviewed residents, looked up property records, and called potential donor organizations. Students offered a plan to seek sponsorships and business partnerships for the quarter-mile trail.

The goal was to get people out and active, which builds community solidarity while reducing obesity, student representatives said. Bogan's team was in one section of a public health community organizing class as part of the School's Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program.

Another section of the class was led by faculty member Peter House, senior lecturer of health services, whose team conducted an inventory of sexual health education programs in Okanogan County. A third section, led by Affiliate Instructor Brett Niessen surveyed residents of Lake Stevens (Snohomish County) on how the state's new marijuana laws may affect the health of minors.