About GPHA

The Georgia Public Health Association is an association of individuals and organizations working to improve the public’s health.

Our Vision:
Healthy Georgians, living in healthy communities.

Our Mission Statement:
GPHA’s mission is to advocate for conditions in which all people and communities can be healthy; to promote the scientific foundation of public health practice and policy; and to assure a continuous voice broadly representing public health in Georgia.

GPHA Goals

  • Advocate for the development of policies that positively impact the health of our communities.
  • Promote excellence in public health practices that are based on national public health standards and science-based evidence.
  • Strengthen, advance and support the activities and infrastructures of the organization.
  • Provide membership benefits, services and opportunities that enhance core competencies and celebrate achievements.

2017 Policy Positions:

GPHA supports programs and funding to protect and promote the public’s health throughout the state, including:

  • Workforce development, including enhancements to recruitment, retention and succession efforts, with emphasis on Environmental Health positions where market rate salaries are urgently needed, along with additional personnel at the local level
  • Facilities and infrastructure improvements with an emphasis on further developing telehealth technological capabilities statewide
  • Incentives, such as service cancellable loans, for primary care professionals to practice in Georgia, especially in rural areas
  • Telehealth, telemedicine and teledentistry programs
  • Hold harmless funding in the FY 2018 budget for those counties that would otherwise lose General Grant-in-Aid funding under the distribution formula adopted in 2011
  • Continued health inspections of public swimming pools
  • Adequate cadre budget funding to attract and maintain competent leadership positions in District Public Health Offices
  • Funding to increase the early detection and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, and programs to enhance early brain development
  • A $1.00 per pack cigarette tax increase, raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products, or similar legislation that may be offered

GPHA Resolutions

The following resolutions were approved during the 2015 Annual Meeting and Conference:

Download our GPHA Bylaws (updated 2017)

GPHA Board of Directors


President, Dianne McWethy, MPA
Division Director, Administration
DeKalb County Board of Health


President-Elect, Colin K. Smith, DrPH, MS, CPH
Clinical Assistant Professor, Georgia State University

Vice President, Lawton Davis MD
Health Director, Coastal Health District


Board Secretary, Todd A. Driver
District Environmental Health Director, Coastal Health District


Treasurer, Candace Christian, MSA
Administration, South Central Health District


Immediate Past President, Selina Smith, PhD, MDiv
Director, Institute of Public & Preventive Health
Professor & Curtis G. Hames, MD, Distinguished Chair, Department of Family Medicine Medical College of Georgia

Representative-at-Large, Diane Weems, MD

Representative-at-Large, Carla Coley, REHS
Director of Environmental Health, North Central Health District


American Public Health Association Representative, Melissa (Moose) Alperin, MPH, MCHES
Chair, Career MPH Program
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

National Association of Local Boards of Health Representative, David Gowan

GPHA Section Officers

Joseph Telfair, Academic Section Chair
Stephen Tonya, Administration Section Chair
David Gowan, Boards of Health Section Chair
TimMarie Williams, Career Development Faculty Chair
Lia Scott, Career Development Student Chair
Clay Tracy, Environmental Health Section Chair
Amber Erickson, Epidemiology Section Chair
Jimmie Smith, Health Education and Promotion Section Chair
Sheila Butler, Health Information/Information Technology Section Chair
Lara Jacobson, Maternal/Child Health Section Chair
Jorge Bernal, Medical/Dental Section Chair
Kitty P. Bishop, Nursing Section Chair
Greta Sebestyen, Nutrition Section Chair
Geremy Lloyd, Safety and Health Preparedness Section Chair

Click here to view all GPHA Section Officers
Click here to view the GPHA Committee Chairs

View Past Presidents and Honorary Members