Results from an Educational Needs Assessment Conducted in a Former Slave Community: Implications for Public Health Policy

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The study present a perspective on barriers encountered by children residing in a low income former slave community in rural Georgia (referred to as Willow Hill) in Portal, Georgia. The purpose of this needs assessment (NA) is to identify challenges and facilitators that youth in the community face on a daily basis while they attempt to accomplish their individual learning goals and related public health outcomes. The results of this NA will lay a pathway for improving learning and public health outcomes for the youth. For data collection, a sequential mixed method design was used. Intercept surveys were conducted followed by individual key informant interviews, and a focus group. For quantitative analysis, survey data was entered into an Excel spreadsheet and SPSS and descriptive statistics, including means and frequencies were calculated. For qualitative interviews, audio recordings of the interviews were transcribed verbatim and uploaded into NVivo for content analysis. The results highlighted several educational challenges such as low graduation rates and parental involvement in schools, lack of college preparation activities, and lack of financial and physical resources in the community. Overall, there is a need for better infrastructure that better meets the needs of community members which can be done by utilizing identified assets which includes active community leaders and commitment of community members. This study has important implications for public health policy efforts in rural, under-served communities.


American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA)


Denver, CO