Peter O’Donnell Tapped to Co-chair City’s Effort to Preventy Obesity

A Summer Garden on the Hill

By Carol McCracken (Post # 525)

Former Hill resident and its city councilor, Peter O’Donnell, has just been hired as the Program Coordinator for Portland’s effort to prevent and reduce obesity. He is charged with increasing community access to healthier foods and encouraging physical activity for all residents of the city, according to a press release issued by the city yesterday.

O’Donnell previously served as the director of Portland West.  He;s currently employed  at Mercy Hospital.  A fitness enthusiast as well as a registered nurse, O’Donnell was involved in the planning process for the East End Community School on the Hill as well. The Community Room is named for him.

Portland was awarded a $1.8 million Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to prevent obesity and encourage more active lifestyles. O’Donell’s position is fully funded by this grant award.

O’Donnell will be paid $44,870. for his work. Bruce Hyman, of North Deering, is the other co-chair of the program. He will be paid $46,500 for his work.

Maine was awarded $4.2 million for obesity prevntion efforts for a twenty-four month period beginning in March 2010. This funding is available through America’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act.