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Local data: Athens Wellbeing Project

Alan Flurry

When the novel coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020, it delivered an array of unforeseen hardships including shutdowns, unemployment and overburdened hospitals in communities across the world.

Athens-Clarke County, however, had a head start in reacting to its community’s needs, thanks to an ongoing research project from the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health. The Athens Wellbeing Project (AWP), which surveyed local residents in 2016 and 2018, provided detailed data and analysis at the neighborhood level that allowed community leaders and institutions to deal with variables ranging from food insecurity to vaccination outreach to WiFi distribution for its citizens in need.

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Thanks to our colleagues in the UGA Office of Research for the deep-dive on the Athens Wellbeing Project, which includes faculty participation from the Franklin College and SPIA. Discovering more ways to connect to town and gown has never been more crucial – and rarely as fruitful – as linking civic concerns with the expansive UGA research capabilities.

Image: Hilsman Middle School nurse practitioner Tionya Lawrence.  (Photo by Jason Thrasher)

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