Skip to content Skip to navigation

I teach my classes through a social justice lens, and I hope my students leave my classroom with a greater awareness of their individual and social responsibility to work for equity and well-being for all people.

Grace Bagwell Adams, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

I came to the University of Georgia in August of 2007 to begin my Master of Public Administration program in UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs—the reputation of the program and the city of Athens is what brought me here. It was the only graduate program I applied to because I knew that this is where I wanted to be.

As an assistant professor in the College of Public Health, I help students connect the dots between their academic training and the work they will be doing in the field after they graduate. In addition to being a member of the Graduate School Faculty, I am the Assistant Dean for Outreach, Engagement, and Equity for UGA’s Institute of Gerontology. I am also a member of UGA’s Obesity Initiative. 

In regard to my most recent line of research, I have been honored to work with a team of talented faculty and graduate students to investigate the link between medical cannabis and the opioid epidemic. We have produced several papers together and are working on a grant to fund this line of work.

My work focuses on vulnerable populations and the policy responses to mitigate that vulnerability. This is true for my first and longest line of research analyzing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and its impact on various outcomes; and it is true for other lines of work that I now have on maternal and child health, community health needs assessments, and most recently, the opioid epidemic.

I am always looking for ways to bring my research into the classroom for my students to have concrete, real-world examples to understand concepts we study, and I am also always learning from my students. They inspire me to be a good teacher, and I am encouraged by their ability and willingness to make the world a better place.

I hope my students gain the ability to connect the dots between their academic training and the work they will be doing in the field once they graduate. I primarily teach MPH students, which is a practical, terminal degree, so I hope they leave ready to contribute to the fields of public policy and public health.

My ideal student is curious and ready to learn, and one who is looking for new ways to build bridges between their education in the classroom and the job/career path they will eventually take. I like to work with students and see them develop a research idea, then take it all the way through to a finished project.

In 2019, I was one of the featured speakers for TEDxUGA where I discussed Public Health Policy and Management, and in 2014 I was honored to received the Professor of the Year from UGA’s Department of Public Administration & Policy. I have also served as a Faculty Mentor for the Fels Institute of Government Policy Challenge Finalists in 2013, 2014, and 2017. 

I have also enjoyed serving as principal investigator of the Athens Wellbeing Project (AWP), a collaboration among community stakeholders to collect and use data to guide local public policy.

Learn more about Grace Bagwell Adams.