Metro-Atlanta Cities Wellbeing Initiative Cities Receive Seed Money

Staff Report

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

Metro-Atlanta Cities Wellbeing Initiative participants presented plans for their communities at their final meeting last week at the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) offices. City leaders from Atlanta, Chamblee, College Park, Decatur and East Point were also awarded $4,500 from the Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI) as seed money to implement their plans.

“This process has been a fantastic learning experience and has helped us determine where we can benefit our residents and move the needle on wellbeing,“ said Michelle Johnson, Director of Recreation & Cultural Arts for College Park. 

The Metro-Atlanta Cities Wellbeing Initiative was developed in partnership with ARCHI, GMA and its non-profit, Georgia City Solutions (GCS), National League of Cities, with financial support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The 8-month course brought together city officials, staff and community leaders to improve the quality of life in their communities through greater understanding of local well-being metrics, stewardship, social determinants of health, equity and systems. With the support of University of Georgia Health Equity Fellows and regional experts, these leaders developed action plans by translating data and insights into tangible policy action to improve community wellbeing. 

“We provided an opportunity for these city leaders to dive deep and explore their role to affect wellbeing and health outcomes in their communities,” said ARCHI Senior Innovation Manager Carrie Oliver, MPH, CHES, CNP, PMP. “Their local context was essential and ensured that each proposed program and policy was the right fit. The action plans have a lot of diversity, as each was developed in response to an area’s individual needs and strengths.”

The final plans for each participant are outlined below:

  • The City of Atlanta deepened the partnership with Jean Childs Young Middle School “The Den”, in support of the City’s Year of the Youth initiative, aimed to reduce violence, increase access to quality education in a safe environment, improve youth mental health and overall wellbeing to ensure Atlanta’s youth have all of the resources to thrive.

  • Chamblee is focused on its one-year-long GICH report and prioritizing housing-related initiatives. 

  • College Park is forming partnerships to encourage a supermarket opening and advocating for increased food access in the city to address food insecurity issues.  

  • Decatur is promoting physical activity among adults, especially older adults, by identifying physical health activity needs and barriers to access and incorporating weight inclusivity into new or existing programs.

  • East Point is supporting its ongoing Healthy Point initiative by collecting data to reflect its impact and developing city-level policies that establish health equity as a pillar in the city. 

The Metro-Atlanta Cities Wellbeing Initiative was developed following a scan and risk assessment conducted by ARCHI and GMA to evaluate the development of a city-wide wellbeing metric. The assessment highlighted the challenge of using data for decision-making and led to a recommendation to leverage existing data collection across metro Atlanta and offer technical support to understand and apply metric findings.