Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Fall 1-5-2024

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ashli A. Owen-Smith, PhD SM (Associate Professor of Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences)

Second Advisor

Mary Helen O’Connor, PhD (Associate Professor of English/Joint Appt. In SPH/Deputy Director Prevention Research Ctr.)



INTRODUCTION: Georgia State University's Prevention Research Center conducted a community needs assessment (CNA) survey in Clarkston, GA to gather data on residents' health, experiences with violence and discrimination, and access to resources such as food, childcare, safe housing, early learning programs, and healthcare.

AIM: This capstone project compared socio-demographic characteristics, health status, and access to healthcare among Clarkston residents using CNA data. It specifically focused on documenting disparities between U.S.-born and foreign-born populations, as well as comparing healthcare access based on English proficiency skills. The long-term goal of these analyses is to identify population needs and provide recommendations for targeted public health interventions and policies.

METHODS: The CNA recruited participants who were < 18 years of age, lived in Clarkston (zip code 30021) and who spoke English, Swahili, Arabic, Dari, Burmese, Amharic, Somali, or Spanish with a target sample size of 250 participants. Recruitment was conducted via electronic flyers shared in the community and local businesses, alongside visual banners and yard signs at survey events and high-traffic areas. Data was collected via Qualtrics and paper surveys and analyzed using SPSS.

RESULTS: About two-thirds of survey respondents were young (18-34). The community is ethnically varied, and many speak languages other than English. Foreign-born residents earn less than $30,000. Although general health profiles are good, foreign-born residents have chronic health issues and substance use differs by nationality. The survey also found that linguistic and cost barriers prevent foreign-born residents from accessing healthcare.


The socio-demographic, health profile, and health access data show that Clarkston's diverse community faces challenges and disparities, particularly foreign-born individuals and those with limited English proficiency. The findings call for policy-level interventions and advocate for a multidimensional and holistic approach that would address both the short-term and the long-term well-being and socio-economic advancement, to achieve the final goal, equity.


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