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Meeting to Address Top 10 Health Care Needs in Athens-Clarke County

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Members of the Athens community are invited to attend a meeting highlighting the top ten area health needs. Dr. Grace Bagwell Adams, a professor in UGA’s College of Public will present her research regarding those needs at the monthly ACC Interagency Meeting, which is taking place at the Athens Library tomorrow morning from 9:30 am until 11 am.

“What has become crystal clear is the issues around health care access,” according to Bagwell Adams.

She says most people think of particular health ailments when they consider community health concerns, but her research shows a general trend affecting large numbers of Athenians.

“So when we think about health needs in the community we also discuss very specific chronic conditions in that community, things like cardiovascular health, hypertension within that category or maybe cancer or behavioral health, but really what has emerged as the most pressing health need, from my perspective, in Athens-Clarke County is as I look through survey and secondary data is health care access.”

Her research shows one in three Clarke County residents do not have access to dental care, one in four can’t access behavioral health care and one in have do not have access to primary care.

Bagwell says that lack of access poses several problems for communities.

“Let’s think about an individual for example, who has diabetes and multiple chronic conditions on top of that. If that individual is unable to get to the primary care that they need, to get access to things like medications or insulin, or even nutrition and weight management counseling or education; then what happens is that chronic disease is mismanaged or unmanaged and that’s the situation that leads to emergency department utilization.”  

Bagwell says he hopes attendees will feel empowered after the meeting and not overwhelmed by the information.

The meeting is Friday morning, April 12 from 9:30 until 11 am at the Athens Regional Library.