Urban Studies Institute receives $250,000 grant to study mobility challenges, improve health outcome


Credit: Georgia State University

Georgia State University’s Urban Studies Institute has been awarded a two-year, $250,000 grant under Systems for Action, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to study the mobility challenges limiting low-income, chronically ill patients in accessing healthcare, healthy food and other activities that enhance physical and mental well-being.

The 18-month study will test the effects of several mobility support options on the health behaviors, use of health care and health outcomes for low-income individuals with Type 2 diabetes in metro Atlanta.

It will be led by Fei Li, an assistant professor of urban studies, and Chris Wyczalkowski, a post-doctoral researcher, in a partnership with the Grady Health System, MARTA, Atlanta Regional Commission and ARCHI, a nonprofit collaborative network working to create and sustain a healthy population. Regents Professor Richard Rothenberg and clinical associate professor Harry Heiman from Georgia State’s School of Public Health will contribute as co-investigators.

An earlier report led by Karen Minyard, director of the Georgia Health Policy Center in Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, shows low-income communities in the region have been found to suffer staggering disparities in health. Mobility and accessibility issues can deepen these disparities even further.

“Accessibility and mobility challenges can adversely affect the health of low-income, elderly and chronically ill populations, but the mobility assistance programs now in operation are often fragmented, underutilized and inadequate,” said Li.

“We hope the outcomes of this study will help facilitate better-aligned policies and practices in our transportation, food and healthcare systems that will address the social barriers to health, help reduce healthcare costs and advance health equity in the region.”


The Urban Studies Institute is an academic unit and research entity in the university’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

Systems for Action is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to discover and apply new evidence about ways of aligning the delivery and financing systems that support a “culture of health.”

NOTE: Support for this research is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

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