Mayor Walsh names City of Boston's first chief resilience officer
August 10, 2015
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced Dr. Atyia Martin as the City of Boston's first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), a new position created to lead city-wide resilience building efforts to help Boston prepare for, withstand and bounce back from the 'shocks' - catastrophic events like floods, infrastructure failure and acts of terrorism - and 'stresses' - slow-moving disasters like persistent racial and economic inequality, lack of affordable housing and unemployment - which are increasingly part of 21st century life. As Chief Resilience Officer, Martin will report to Mayor Walsh and the Mayor's Chief of Policy, and will oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive Resilience Strategy for the city.
"Atyia brings an impressive amount of experience, leadership and passion to this position," said Mayor Walsh. "She has dedicated her entire professional life to public service, and we are honored to have her on board as our Chief Resilience Officer."
"I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston and to be able to continue my career in public service in my hometown," said Martin. "I am especially excited about Mayor Walsh's bold and innovative move to focus on social resilience and incorporate root causes of inequity that impact the daily lives of our communities and post-disaster outcomes."
Boston's resilience initiative includes a unique focus on social and economic resilience in a city affected by historic and persistent divisions of race and class, along with a clear eye toward potential shocks the city may be exposed to. Disparities in health, economic and educational outcomes threaten community cohesion and weaken Boston's overall resilience. Martin will therefore be charged with fostering a citywide dialogue on the root causes of these divisions, helping the city to unite and build the collective capacity for change.
Appointing a CRO is an essential element of Boston's resilience building partnership with 100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC). 100RC is part of a $164 million commitment by The Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. In December 2014, Mayor Walsh announced that Boston had been selected as one of 35 cities from around the world to join the 100RC Network, which supplies its member cities with tools, funding, technical expertise and other resources to build resilience to the challenges of the 21st century.
Martin will lead the effort to develop a comprehensive Resilience Strategy for the city by building on the progress and dialogue launched during Boston's Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop this past May. Furthermore, she will receive technical support provided by 100RC and utilize resilience building tools from private, public, academic and NGO sector organizations that have partnered with 100RC. Boston's strategy will be action-oriented and holistic, with an emphasis on partnership building and meeting the needs of poor and vulnerable communities.
"Atyia joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking on resilience," said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100RC. "With her and Mayor Walsh's leadership, Boston will become a global resilience groundbreaker - and we are excited about this partnership."
Martin has been the Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Health Commission since 2011. In that role, she provided strategic direction for Boston public health and healthcare resilience, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery efforts, while obtaining and managing large grants to develop new strategic and work planning process, programs, partnerships and operating procedures. Martin also led a team to coordinated the Boston Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, trauma services to support response and resilience to psychological trauma, and the Boston Medical Reserve Corps volunteer program.
Prior to her most recent role, Martin was the Director of the DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness, which resides at the Boston Public Health Commission. Martin has also worked at the Boston Police Department's Boston Regional Intelligence Center and worked under former Mayor Thomas M. Menino at the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management. Martin has also worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and National Security Agency. She is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Martin has developed resiliency and preparedness models used nationwide and is a published author and popular public speaker. She currently lives in Hyde Park with her husband and five children.
The CRO is an innovative feature of 100RC's resilience building program, specifically designed to break down existing barriers at the local level, account for pre-existing resilience plans, and create partnerships, alliances and financing mechanisms that will address the resilience vulnerabilities of all city residents, with a particular focus on low-income and vulnerable populations
The goal of 100RC is to find ways to infuse the principles of resilience into all aspects of local planning and the overarching issues facing Boston, including racial and socio-economic inequity, the lack of affordable housing, unemployment and underemployment, violence, climate change, flooding and terrorism. Utilizing this lens, Martin will support all of Boston's major planning efforts, including Imagine Boston 2030 and Go Boston 2030, working across City departments and with external stakeholders. The two-year position is fully funded through 100RC.About 100 Resilient Cities-Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation
100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. 100RC currently has 67 member cities. For more information, visit: 100ResilientCities.org.
100RC recently launched the third and final round of the 100 Resilient Cities challenge, where cities can apply to become part of the final cohort of cities in the global network of 100 cities.