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With a PhD in public health from the University of South Carolina, a deep passion for the people and local businesses of our community, and a desire to see Columbia continue to be a thriving place for families to call home, Dr. Aditi Bussells was already serving our town well through her work as a public health researcher. Now, after being elected to City of Columbia Council as an at-large member, she’s ready to dive in and make an even bigger difference.
“As we navigate out of this pandemic, now more than ever, it’s important to have a public health voice at the table,” Aditi said. “I’m uniquely trained in finding the root causes of problems using data and collaborating with diverse communities and sectors. Through my involvement in various Columbia area initiatives and projects, I have proven my ability to energize and mobilize people of all walks of life to understand and develop bold solutions for the complex problems facing our community. That’s exactly what I plan to do in city government.”
Specifically over the next year, Aditi wants to work closely with city staff and community leaders to improve city processes, streamline communications, and enhance customer service to allow our city government to be more responsive, accountable, and transparent.
“It’s the foundation for change,” Aditi said. “My hope is that with an improved infrastructure, we can better serve our residents and attract new businesses to our community.”
Beyond that, Aditi wants to use her background in public health to improve not only our community’s health, but also the health of our economy.
“It’s important for us to recognize that the well-being of our small businesses is deeply connected to the well-being of our neighborhoods and communities,” Aditi said. “When small businesses do well in Columbia, it results in more resources for our communities and our hard-working families. On the other hand, when people have access to resources that ensure their health and well-being, it strengthens our workforce, and thereby our economy.”
Many of those resources include outdoor green spaces that anyone can utilize. Personally, Aditi loves going on long walks with her dogs at Saluda Riverwalk because she enjoys the natural beauty found along the river, but she sees other areas that could benefit from improvement.
“I’d love to see Finlay Park become a hub for all corners of our city to enjoy the outdoors, whether it is outdoor fitness classes, rock-climbing, or just being able to walk with your family,” Aditi said. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on council to explore how best we can revitalize the beautiful park. I’ve always said that I want Columbia to be the best place to raise a family and open a business. I want people, particularly young people, to choose us over other places. Five to ten years from now, I envision Columbia as a vibrant destination to live, work, and play: a city that is safer, more equitable, and more competitive.”