Champion Provider Success Story: Dr. Jyoti Rau

Dr. Jyoti Rau
Working Tirelessly for Safer Communities

Working together to transform communities into healthier places is the reason Dr. Jyoti Rau joined the Champion Provider Fellowship. “The Fellowship is a great learning opportunity, and way to meet and network with other physicians. There is a lot all of us can do outside of our clinics,” Dr. Rau, an internal medicine specialist, says.

For the past eight years, Dr. Rau has run a weight loss clinic for Kaiser Permanente in Silicon Valley, promoting nutritious eating and exercise to help people make healthy lifestyle changes and get off their diabetes medicines.

But last year, when Dr. Rau’s 13-year-old son wanted to ride his bike to school in Cupertino, she faced a moral dilemma. As a doctor, she unequivocally advocates for physical activity for her patients. But as a mother, she feared for his safety and the safety of other children due to the unrelenting traffic and serious accidents between big rigs, cars and bicycles. Instead of saying no, she signed her son and herself up for National Safe Routes to School (SRTS) bicycle safety training and joined the Cupertino Bicycle Pedestrian Commission’s working group.

“Having someone like Dr. Rau bring her extensive health and medical knowledge about the importance of active transportation has been very helpful,” said Chelsea Biklen, city of Cupertino SRTS Coordinator. “She has been a great voice and member of the team.”

“There is so much opportunity to reduce stress and make living better. We can improve the health of our community if we work together.”

Dr. Jyoti Rau, Santa Clara County, Internal Medicine

Dr. Rau helped the group message effectively to a broader audience and create materials promoting safe transportation. She and her son worked with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s Traffic Safe Communities Network on a video that highlights the many benefits of a SRTS program and promotes the creation of walkable/bikeable communities for all.

All of this work has made a difference. In 2016, the Cupertino City Council adopted an updated Bicycle Transportation Plan and allocated $2 million to implement the Commission’s ambitious recommendations. Among its provisions: widening the bicycle lanes and making them more obvious, putting physical separations between the bicycle lanes and cars, hiring crossing guards and a permanent full-time SRTS coordinator, expanding the SRTS program to all 14 Cupertino schools and creating a citywide bicycling corridor without traffic.