Meet Us

Vision Statement


UHI began in 2011 through the initiative of William Sexson, MD of the Emory University School of Medicine and Carlos Del Rio, MD of the Emory University School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. In recognition of the substantial health challenges and disparities experienced by local urban residents and the incredible health sciences resources present in Atlanta, UHI was developed to be a unique hub for interdisciplinary and academic-community partnerships around significant urban health issues.

The Urban Health Initiative continues to grow and evolve in response to our community and academic partners. As the landscape changes, UHI is committed to changing, learning, and strengthening right along with it.

What We Do

Our Mission

The UHI forges vital university and community partnerships in health care, education, and community planning, with all partners working to change the trajectory for the children, youth, and families of metropolitan Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

Our work is first and foremost responsive to community challenges and strengths, and we pursue projects, programs, and partnerships on an ongoing basis. Recognizing the significance of the social determinants of health for impacting wellbeing and working through all levels of a socio-ecological model, the work of UHI is inherently diverse, interdisciplinary, and collaborative.

UHI’s strategy for achieving its mission is based on the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence model and include four key overlapping areas of focus: community programs, community engaged learning, training of health professionals, and research. Check out our work for more details on our projects within these areas.

Urban health issues with which UHI has engaged thus far and continue to drive our efforts are as follows: food access and security, transportation, access to health and wellness screenings and resources, obesity, pre-term birth, smoking prevention. See the urban health news page for additional information on issues in urban health.

Where We Work

UHI follows Emory’s Place-Based Strategy for Community Engagement within Emory’s Strategic Plan 2005-2015. This approach focuses in 5 priority areas (NPU-V/Pittsburgh Mechanicsville, East Lake, Edgewood, Northwest Atlanta, and Clarkston) and additional focal areas in the Atlanta community where Emory seeks to concentrate its impact.

Map of Metro Atlanta