GPHA Announces New President at 89th Annual Meeting and Conference

Jekyll Island (GA) – The Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) held its 2018 Annual Meeting and Conference on April 4 – 6 at Jekyll Island, Georgia, where the gavel as President of the association was passed from Dianne McWethy, MPA to Colin K. Smith, DrPH, MS, CPH.

Dr. Smith is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy in the Master of Public Health Program and teaches courses in the Undergraduate Program at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University School.

This was the 89th Annual GPHA Meeting and Conference and the theme was “Unlock the Treasures of Public Health”. Attendees were encouraged to use innovative means to educate Georgians about public health services and to engage individuals, families and communities in making healthy choices.

Several deserving award winners were recognized at the conference, including J. Patrick O’Neal, MD, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, who received the 2018 Sellers-McCroan Award. This award is given each year to a person whose work has had a significant impact on epidemiology or laboratory services in Georgia, and Dr. O’Neal has been a champion of emergency and trauma services throughout the state.

The Legislator of the Year Award went to Georgia State House Representative Terry England, R-Auburn, District 116.

Other GPHA members who were honored as Georgia’s top public health champions received the following awards:

  • Jules S. Terry Memorial Award: Beverly Ming
  • Al Dohany Award for Outstanding Community Service: Cristina Gibson
  • Administration Outstanding Service Award: Yvonne Fuller
  • Environmental Health Specialist of the Year: Mike Pitts
  • Janet Stancliff Epidemiology Award: Amber Erickson
  • Kathy Miner Health Education and Promotion Award: Laura Loyd
  • Larry W. Miller Health Information Specialist Award: Southeast Health District Telehealth Staff
  • Georgia Dental Award of Merit: Carol Smith
  • Fred Agel Governance Award: Hannah Flynn
  • Lillian D. Wald Public Health Nursing Award: Anita Barkin
  • Maggie Kline Nursing Award: Allen Rowland
  • Ruth B. Freeman Nursing Award for Population Health: Teresa Evans

Key note speakers at the conference included Dr. O’Neal; Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the most recent past Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health; Matthew Gribble, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of the Department of Public Health Rollins School of Public Health Emory University; and, Debra P. Hagins, MD, APCR, AAHIVS, Clinical Director of Outpatient Services for the Coastal Health District Ryan White HIV Program.