The city of Boston is about to get a new administrator, one whose duty it will be to help the city cope with stress.
Atyia Martin has been named “chief resilience officer,” a two-year position funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program. Boston is one of 67 cities worldwide selected so far for the program, which aims to help cities cope with social, economic, and physical challenges.
That could include everything from helping the city prepare for a natural disaster to helping untangle itself from the divisive legacy of the busing crisis.
Martin, 34, earned a doctorate from Northeastern University, focusing on emergency management for socially vulnerable populations, and worked most recently at the Boston Public Health Commission, where she helped coordinate services for survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings. Among Martin’s first tasks when she starts Aug. 30 will be to hold community meetings to hear residents’ concerns, and then devise a plan to address them.
“We’re really trying to make sure we’re connecting those dots, to make sure that people who are most vulnerable in day-to-day life don’t suffer disproportionately,” said Martin, who grew up in Boston.
The 100 Resilient Cities program covers Martin’s $110,000 salary and benefits for two years and will help her design a strategy and provide services to help carry it out.
Boston is known for its stellar response to the Marathon bombings, said Andrew Salkin, chief operating officer for 100 Resilient Cities, but also for the disastrous shutdown of the MBTA last winter.
“What about Boston Strong all the time, every neighborhood, every day?” he said.
Katie Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.