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Urban Health Initiative Team

Urban Health Initiative

The Urban Health Initiative was formed in early 2008 with initial support from the Partnership for Urban Health Research (PUHR). The overall purpose of this initiative is to examine the health and quality of life implications for vulnerable, predominantly minority, low income residents in urban neighborhoods earmarked for redevelopment. Our approach is multidisciplinary, including a mix of methodologies, and attempts to capture potential inconsistencies between individual and neighborhood analytic perspectives.  

Our first project, begun in 2008, focuses on public housing transformation in Atlanta (relocation and demolition). The overall goal of this longitudinal effort is to document residents’ experiences before and after the relocation, as well as assessing residential, socioeconomic, and health outcomes. Support for the Baseline wave of this study (pre-relocation) was provided by PUHR, the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies, and the GSU College of Arts and Sciences. Wave Two (six month post-move follow-up) was funded by grant # SES-0852195 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Other support was provided by University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, and the American Sociological Association Funds for the Advancement of the Discipline. Wave Three (24 month post-move follow-up), which is about to begin, will also be funded by NSF.

An extension of this project, funded in 2010 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant # 5P20MD004806-02, focuses on examining the person-environment-fit (PEF) of our former public housing resident cohort to their destination neighborhoods. Key components of this project include built environment audits, systematic observation, and interviews with longer-term residents in the neighborhood.

Since 2010, we have also been conducting a smaller scale project in Galveston, TX, funded by the Galveston Housing Authority (GHA). In 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed most of the city’s public housing. But unlike New Orleans, Galveston is rebuilding all of it, a decision that has become politically contested. Our project examines the alternative plans concerning rebuilding, and how these will have varying affects on the former public housing residents.

We offer an undergraduate internship program for Sociology majors.

CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY

Oakley, D., Ruel, E. and Reid, L. “Legislative Proposals to Preserve Public Housing.” Testimony to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunities, Washington, DC, April 28, 2010 (Invited oral and written testimony).

Oakley, D., Ruel, E., and Reid, L. “The Administration’s Proposal to Revitalize Severely Distressed Public and Assisted Housing: The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.” Testimony to the  United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, Washington, DC, March 17, 2010. (Invited written testimony entered into record).

OP-ED PIECES

Oakley, D., Ruel, E. and Reid. L (2010) “Public Housing for the Poor: Mend it, don’t end it.Christian Science Monitor January 27.

Oakley, D. and Ruel, E. (2009) “Atlanta is No Model for Public Housing.Galveston County Daily News September 6.

IN THE NEWS

8/25/11 - Dr. Deirdre Oakley was quoted in Atlanta's Creative Loafing Magazine, "Life After the Projects". 

7/20/11 - Dr. Deirdre Oakley was quoted in a Polifact.com piece "Are former Atlanta tenants flooding the suburbs?"

7/1/11 - Dr. Deirdre Oakley was quoted in the Houston Chronicle "Wait Gets Longer for Public Housing in Galveston".

5/18/11 - Dr. Deirdre Oakley was quoted in an Atlanta 11 Alive news piece, "ATL Black Population Shift Not From Razed Projects".

9/8/10 - Dr. Deirdre Oakley was quoted in the Atlanta-Journal Constition "Last Marietta Housing Project to be Demolished".

4/28/10 - Dr. Deirdre Oakley provided testimony to the United States House Committeee of Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. Click here to download the testimony. Click here to watch an archived webcast (scroll to 1:04:34 - 1:11:00 for Dr. Oakley).

3/17/10 - Drs. Deirdre Oakley, Erin Ruel, and Lesley Reid provided written testimony to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services hearing on "The Administration's Proposal to Revitalize Severely Distressed Public and Assisted Housing: The Choice Neighborhood Initiative". Click here to download the testimony.

1/27/10 - Drs. Deirdre Oakley, Erin Ruel, and Lesley Reid contributed an op-ed titiled "Public Housing for the Poor: Mend It, Don't End It" that appeared in the January 27th, 2010 issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

11/20/09 - Drs. Deirdre Oakley and Erin Ruel were quoted in the Las Vegas Sun, "Changes in Public Housing Bring Fresh Start for Families" published November 16th, 2009.

9/22/09 - Ranell Myles, a GSU PhD student in Sociology and participant in the Urban Health Initiative, received a Ford Foundation predoctoral scholarship. She was featured on the main GSU website in September 2009.

9/9/09 - Drs. Deirdre Oakley and Erin Ruel contributed an op-ed titled "Atlanta is No Model for Public Housing" that appeared in the September 6th, 2009 issue of the Galveston Daily News.

6/20/09 - Dr. Deirdre Oakley was quoted in The New York Times "Atlanta is Making Way for New Public Housing".

PRESENTATIONS

Drs. Deirdre Oakley, Erin Ruel, Lesley Reid, and Ms. Christina Sims presented "Public Housing Relocation and Residential Segregation in Atlanta: Where are Families Going? (Paper / Presentation)" at the February 2010 State of Black Atlanta Conference at Clark Atlanta University.

PHOTOS

Please visit our photo album on the Georgia State University Department of Sociology facebook page.

 

 

Deirdre Oakley
Deirdre Oakley