Campus News

State of Public Health conference to convene Sept. 10

The third annual State of Public Health Conference, hosted by the College of Public Health, will be held Sept. 10 in the UGA Hotel and Conference Center.

Featuring interactive workshops and expert talks on important public health issues facing Georgia, the event brings together over 200 public health professionals, elected officials, policymakers, academicians, community-based health organizations and business leaders to inform programs and policy for improving Georgia’s public health outcomes.

“This conference invites individuals who are passionate about tackling Georgia’s public health challenges to come together and collaboratively figure out how we can leverage our assets and strengths to shape what the state of public health in Georgia could be,” said Marsha Davis, associate dean for outreach and engagement in the College of Public Health.

Four keynote speakers will share their expertise on public health issues of increasing importance to Georgia and the nation.

• Steven Woolf, director of the Center for Health and Society at Virginia Commonwealth University, will explore health disparities in the U.S. and social factors that affect health.

• Jean O’Connor, director of the Chronic Disease Prevention Section in the Georgia Department of Public Health, will share current state efforts to reduce some of Georgia’s leading causes of death and disability.

• Corinne Graffunder, acting associate director of policy for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will discuss the role of the Affordable Care Act in implementing national prevention strategies.

• Randy Wykoff, dean of the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, will share lessons from Tennessee’s efforts to connect health and economic development efforts in Appalachia.

Workshops and poster presentations will tackle a variety of key public health issues. Session topics will include Medicaid expansion, quality improvement, childhood obesity, HIV and community health promotion tool improvement. Workshops also will cover building collaborations and partnerships and integrating public health and primary care.

“The topics we address this year have been selected from abstracts submitted by public health faculty and students, policymakers and practitioners from across the state, so they reflect current and pressing issues in Georgia,” Davis said. “Our goal is to continue to grow the State of Public Health Conference as a forum for nurturing statewide, multi-sector efforts to transform the health of our communities.”

The college, in partnership with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, will unveil a new leadership training program at the conference. Beginning in March 2015, the UGA Public Health Leadership Academy will identify, train and inspire a network of public health leaders to transcend boundaries, work collaboratively and foster a culture of health in their communities. Individuals across multiple sectors in their community, in traditional health and health-care related areas as well as others engaged in a range of community efforts will be chosen for the academy.

“This collaborative opportunity will be a unique approach to leadership development as we bring together a cross-section of individuals who are committed to addressing community public health issues,” said Matt Bishop, director of the Fanning Institute, a public service and outreach unit.

Registration for the event is $25. For more information or to register online, visit