ATLANTA—A press conference will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 10 a.m. at the Clarkston City Hall council chambers (3921 Church St., Clarkston) to announce the launch of Clarkston’s Health for All campaign. Rodney Lyn, dean of the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, and Beverly Burks, mayor of Clarkston, along with representatives from partner organizations will be present to answer questions on behalf of the campaign.
Clarkston is home to large populations of refugees, immigrants and African-Americans. Based on the findings of a Refugee Stakeholder Alliance Summit, Clarkston residents experience many barriers to health care, such as language obstacles, lack of insurance and challenges in navigating care.
Georgia State University’s Prevention Research Center (PRC), housed in the School of Public Health, is partnering with the City of Clarkston, local clinics, faith-based organizations and apartment complexes to address these barriers and provide access to preventive care with the Health for All campaign. The first goal of the campaign is to connect residents to preventive care services regardless of insurance status by working with local clinical partners that provide health care to both insured and uninsured patients.
Mobile health units from DeKalb County’s Board of Health will be deployed to faith-based sites and apartment complexes throughout Clarkston to provide health screenings and community health assistance to residents. Community health assistance includes trained volunteers to explain health education materials in residents’ languages, scheduling appointments or referrals depending on insurance status and distributing Healthy Living Kits. These kits include resources on clinical information, a Health ID card as a tool to aid in navigating care and information on other free resources in the community.
This campaign will launch on three dates and locations:
- Nov. 6 at Silver Oaks Apartments from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Nov. 7 at Clarkston First Baptist Church from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Nov. 13 at Clarkston International Bible Church from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Improving community health requires reducing the barriers to care and meeting community members where they are, such as in places of residence and worship. Thanks to previous collaborations among the City of Clarkston, local clinical providers, community organizations and the Georgia State University PRC, COVID-19 vaccination rates in Clarkston have outpaced vaccination rates in nearby communities facing similar social vulnerability and barriers to health.
The PRC analyzed recent vaccine uptake data for Clarkston census tracts, and the city continues to outperform similarly vulnerable communities. Clarkston has a 51 percrent partial vaccination rate and a 51 percent full vaccination rate. Those are equal to the rates in DeKalb County, which as a whole has much lower levels of social vulnerability, and higher than Georgia’s overall vaccination rates.
With this record of success, the Health for All campaign will address the community’s chronic disease burden and lack of preventive care during the pandemic with the goal of improving Health for All in one of the most diverse square miles in America.
For press inquiries, please contact Clarkston mayor Beverly Burks (firstname.lastname@example.org, 770-331-3285) or Mary Helen O’Connor (email@example.com, 404-697-8509), director for the Center for Community Engagement at Perimeter College.
For event logistics, information about volunteering or to partner with us in this work, please contact Meck Xayavongsa (firstname.lastname@example.org), research coordinator for the PRC.
School of Public Health
Lyn is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences and deputy director of Georgia State University’s Prevention Research Center. Lyn’s research is focused on childhood obesity prevention, school and community health, and the reduction of health disparities. He has special interest in identifying effective policy and system approaches to increasing physical activity and healthy eating in children.
Mary Helen O’Connor
Director, Center for Community Engagement
O’Connor’s teaching and research in migration studies, education, and rhetoric and composition explores refugee education, agency and identity. For more than a decade, she has been a volunteer and advocate for refugees and immigrants in Clarkston, Ga. O’Connor serves on the Clarkston Community COVID Task Force in partnership with city government and health and social service providers in the community.