Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Emily Graybill, PhD, NCSP

Second Advisor

Katrina Mitchell, M.Ed


Community organizing has long been utilized as an effective and necessary vehicle to promote public health, and more broadly engage communities living at the intersections of racial, gender, housing, education, and immigration injustices. Although meaningful and effective health promotion, and more specifically health equity, requires multiple top-down and bottom-up systems changes, communities organizing around their own health and well-being is fundamentally the crux of many public health strategies and interventions. The aim of this project was to conduct a literature review of community organizing through the lens of: (1) health equity promotion (2) the transformative organizing model (3) impact and power of youth organizing (4) immigrant & refugee-led community organizing and (5) the current funding landscape for community organizing. The summative results of this review suggest that community organizing can serve as a critical and irreplaceable tool for promoting health equity and that in particular; organizing is seen as increasingly impactful among communities that are most marginalized.

In addition to a literature review on community organizing models, practices, and current environmental landscape, a case study was conducted on a small growing organization in Clarkston, GA: The WellRefugee Center (Georgia Refugee Health and Mental Health). This group of local health advocates, mostly from the community they serve, have a history of health justice community organizing for Clarkston residents. The case study highlights their organizing efforts and provides tangible resources and recommendations for expanding their community organizing strategies and approaches to complement their direct services.