Janie Hynson is a consultant at JSI
Congratulations – you recently completed your MPH at Boston University!
Thanks! I was working on the degree part-time for about four years which was challenging while also working here, and I am so glad to be finished. Being at JSI gave me hands-on experience I could apply to my school work all the way through. Last fall, I was the teaching assistant for Tammy Calise’s Obesity Epidemic course at BU, which really tied everything together for me! And I am grateful because JSI has been very flexible and supportive.
What was your focus?
I studied maternal and child health and am particularly interested in perinatal health, nutrition, and addressing disparities in MCH outcomes. Last fall, I worked on a quality improvement project with the Boston Healthy Start Initiative and Healthy Baby Healthy Child Program, which was one of my favorite projects since I have been at JSI.
All while working at JSI?
Yes, I’ve been with JSI for five years now, since I moved to Boston from North Carolina. I learned about JSI at a career fair when I was an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health, but at the time had no idea I would end up moving to Boston and having the opportunity to work for JSI.
I enjoy seeing people work together that ordinarily might not and helping to facilitate this process. One of my primary responsibilities … is to bring together community members and municipal staff from numerous, seemingly unrelated sectors to collaborate on healthy eating and active living strategies.
What does your job currently entail?
I am the coordinator for MetroWest Moves, a Mass in Motion initiative in Framingham, Hudson, Marlborough, and Northborough, Massachusetts. In this role, I work with board of health directors, town planners, schools, and other community organizations to implement healthy eating and physical activity strategies including community design/Complete Streets (making pedestrian, bicycle, and transit travel safer and more accessible for all users), Safe Routes to School, and managing a healthy dining initiative that includes about 25 restaurants.
For the past several years, I have also worked on projects related to cancer disparities in treatment and survivorship and I am currently a technical assistance provider for a community coalition in New Bedford working to implement evidence-based strategies to reduce colorectal cancer disparities. This summer, I also began working on the Massachusetts Ebola monitoring project, monitoring recently returned travelers from Guinea and Sierra Leone.
I know JSI is doing Ebola work in Liberia and Guinea—what’s the work here in the U.S.?
It’s very interesting – we’re monitoring people who return from Guinea and Sierra Leone (Liberia has been taken off the list as they’re currently Ebola free). We contact travelers every day (weekends too!) for 21 days by phone, email, or text to collect their temperatures and find out if they have any symptoms. It is very important that temperatures be up to date at all times to ensure that if a traveler develops symptoms, they can be brought to care promptly. Some travelers have been known to develop malaria upon return to the U.S. and the pattern of temperatures can help to distinguish between malaria and Ebola.
What did you do before joining JSI?
I was a case manager for Meals on Wheels in North Carolina, where I enrolled new clients into the meal delivery program and conducted home visits to assess clients’ health status and connect them to additional resources.
What aspect of your work inspires you the most?
I enjoy seeing people work together that ordinarily might not and helping to facilitate this process. One of my primary responsibilities as the coordinator of MetroWest Moves is to bring together community members and municipal staff from numerous, seemingly unrelated sectors to collaborate on healthy eating and active living strategies.
What do you do when you’re not working/in your spare time?
In my spare time, I also work for Corner Stalk Farm, a hydroponic farm growing lettuce and other greens inside recycled shipping containers in East Boston. For my MPH Practicum, I studied whether this innovative urban agriculture approach could effectively increase access to healthy food for low-income, urban populations year-round and help to reduce overweight/obesity by increasing fruit and vegetable intake. I still help to run the farm and sell their produce at the recently opened Boston Public Market.
I also like to explore and find new restaurants in my neighborhood, East Boston with my husband Warren. Whenever possible, I love to travel and most often go to Charleston, South Carolina to visit my nieces, Maddrey and Annie, and nephew Patrick.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done?
During college, I volunteered at an orphanage in Vietnam and traveled throughout the country. Visiting the Mekong Delta, going on a motorbike tour of Dalat, and staying on a junk boat in Halong Bay were some of my favorite aspects of the trip. I am always looking for an opportunity to go back to Southeast Asia.
If you were not at JSI or working in public health, you would have…
I would be doing something food or farming related! Working with Corner Stalk Farm allows me to pursue my interests in increasing access to healthy foods, food policy, and innovative, sustainable farming.
What else would you like your JSI and World Ed colleagues to know about you?
One of the best parts about working at JSI is the friendships I have made here and the past four years I spent sitting in the 7th floor cube. Now I’m on the 8th floor which is great, too!