2023 Health Equity Fellows to support Metro-Atlanta Wellbeing Initiative project

The University of Georgia’s College of Public Health has announced the third cohort of Health Equity Fellows who will support six Metro-Atlanta cities with well-being, health equity and health disparities research.

Six students are participating in the 2022-2023 cohort of Health Equity Fellows program, which was launched in 2021 to address health disparities across Georgia while providing a uniquely collaborative hands-on learning experience for public health students.

The 2023 Health Equity Fellows are –

  • Abigail Ventimiglia, Health Policy & Management
  • Abraham Adokwei, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Henry Kitiabi, Health Promotion & Behavior, Global Health Institute
  • Melat Mekonnen, Health Promotion & Behavior
  • Rylee Dickinson, Health Policy & Management
  • Caleb Snead, Health Promotion & Behavior

Each student will work in collaboration with a faculty mentor from the UGA College of Public Health and a city leader to carry out their projects.

The fellows were selected after a competitive application process by nine members of the College’s Outreach, Engagement, and Equity Community Advisory Board. The selection process is designed to be as fair as possible.

“After de-identifying applications so that the student identify was unknown to reviewers, the Board read each applicant’s statement on the concept of health equity and community engagement and provided a list of applicants for us to interview. We had 25 applicants, 12 were extended invitations for Zoom interviews, and 6 were selected to serve. The Board played a critical role in selection because of their expertise in university-community partnerships and meaningful community engagement,” said Grace Bagwell Adams, director of the CPH Health Equity Hub and Fellows program.

This year, the fellows’ work will directly support the Metro-Atlanta Wellbeing Project program, in partnership with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and the Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement.

“This kind of work is not what cities, at least in Georgia, are usually involved in, so having someone to help them with the expertise, insight and enthusiasm is really important and will benefit the cities immensely,” said Brian Wallace, GMA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives.

“By including the Fellows program into this work is a great example of how organizations can layer existing programs and resources to address issues in communities.”

The Metro-Atlanta Wellbeing Project aims to educate elected officials and their staff on how to leverage data to improve well-being and to provide them with the tools to create action plans to continue well-being work in their cities at the local level.

The fellows will be collecting and analyzing city well-being metrics, developing a well-being glossary, and providing assistance with completing the action plans for each city.

The cities partners for this cohort are: Atlanta, Chamblee, Clarkston, College Park, Decatur and East Point.

The past two cohorts of Health Equity Fellows were successful in being able to provide their cities with new data that helped to shape policy and fund new programs to address the health disparities the communities had identified.

View the full presentation of the 2021 Cohort of Health Equity Fellows here.

– Chancey Phillips

Posted on December 1, 2022. Updated April 3, 2023.

[Photo – 2023 Health Equity Fellows from left to right: Henry Kitiabi, Melat Mekonnen, Caleb Snead, Abigail Ventimiglia, Abraham Adokwei, and Rylee Dickinson.]

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