Health & Wellness Science & Technology Society & Culture

UGA to address State of Public Health at third annual conference Sept. 10

Athens, Ga. – The third annual State of Public Health Conference, hosted by the University of Georgia 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, academics, 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 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 held throughout the day will tackle a variety of key public health issues. Sessions 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 broad range of community efforts—education, transportation, law, planning, policy, education—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 that are committed to addressing community public health issues,” said Matt Bishop, director of the Fanning Institute.
The State of Public Health Conference is funded in part by a grant from Healthcare Georgia Foundation. Created in 1999 as an independent, private foundation, the foundation’s mission is to advance the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities.
Registration for the event is $25. For more information or to register online, see For conference news and updates, follow the UGA College of Public Health on Twitter at or like its Facebook page at

UGA College of Public Health
Founded in 2005 as a response to the state’s need to address important health concerns in Georgia, the UGA College of Public Health offers degree programs in biostatistics, disaster management, environmental health, epidemiology, gerontology, global health, health promotion and behavior, public health, health policy and management and toxicology. For more information, see