The College of Public Health, in partnership with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and with support from Georgia Power, opened the 2018 Public Health Leadership Academy on Feb. 27.

The program aims to improve the health of Georgians by increasing the capacity of leaders to transcend boundaries and work collaboratively in order to foster a culture of health in their communities.

“Today’s health challenges are influenced by many factors, from our access to educational and economic opportunities to our access of healthy foods and health care,” said Marsha Davis, associate dean for outreach and engagement in the College of Public Health.  “We need to support leaders from all sectors that have an influence on health, to create collaborative solutions that address inequalities and to transform communities where health is not determined by zip code, income or ethnicity.”

The 22 participants in this year’s academy will focus on developing their personal and collaborative leadership skills as part of the program designed by Fanning Institute faculty members Carolina Darbisi and Louise Hill. They will also complete experiential learning projects, conduct discussions with national public health leaders and experts and network with peers to enhance their roles in a collective approach to improving health outcomes in their communities.

“Creating positive change in a community requires strong, focused leadership that sets goals and puts the pieces in place to achieve those objectives,” said Matt Bishop, Fanning Institute Director. “This program will enhance the collaborative leadership skills participants need to return home and guide efforts to establish healthier communities across our state.”

In applying for the program, participants expressed a desire to increase their capacity to lead and build relationships with other public health leaders.

“I want to broaden my leadership skills to allow me to effectively work with other agencies to improve the health of Georgia communities,” said Amy Fenn, assistant director of Nursing and Clinical Services for District 4 Public Health in LaGrange, Ga. “Attending the Public Health Leadership Academy will supply me with additional tools to collaborate with others to implement sustainable solutions to improve the well-being of the public throughout the 12 counties I serve in west Georgia.”

The 2018 Public Health Leadership Academy runs through October.

Participants are:

  • Galen Baxter, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Erin Beasley, Athens Community Council on Aging
  • Tammi Brown, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Jan Carter, Georgia Power Company
  • Elizabeth DeMarco, Athens, Ga.
  • Natasha Dixon, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Oluwayomi Fabayo, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Amy Fenn, District 4 Public Health
  • Richard Gallagher, Moultrie YMCA
  • Michelle Gillig, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Suzanne Girdner-Chalmers, Georgia Organics
  • Janice Guglielmi, Chatham County Health Department
  • Dawona Hough, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Morris Hutcheson, North Central Health District
  • Erin Mundy, Georgia Statewide AHEC/Augusta University
  • Esther Mune, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Courtney Still Brown, UGA College of Public Health Outreach and Engagement
  • Michael Welton, University of Georgia
  • Sherrie Williams, Georgia Partnership for Telehealth
  • Sylvia Woodford, North Central Health District
  • Melissa Wytanis, District 2 Public Health
  • Marcus Wells, The Vereen Rehabilitation Center, Moultrie, Ga.