Skip to Content

Wrap-up: Connections 2006: Paving the Way to Better Health and Health Care Across Georgia - February 15-16, 2006

Nearly 200 of the Foundation's grantees, partners and community leaders participated in the two-day event, which provided attendees with a unique opportunity to network with, and learn from, their colleagues in the nonprofit health and health care community.

For more information about the conference, please click on the links below:

Welcome Reception and Community Service Awards Ceremony

Welcome and General Session

Morning Sessions

Lunch and Program

Afternoon Skills Workshops

Reflections and Future Directions 

Welcome Reception and Community Service Awards Ceremony

Connections 2006 opened on the evening of Wednesday, February 15th with a Welcome Reception and Awards Ceremony for the honorees of the Foundation's Community Service Awards. Nearly 200 attendees from across Georgia were present to see five individuals and one collaborative effort recognized for their dedication and commitment to improving health and health care across Georgia.










Dr. Edith Biggers accepts congratulations from Symone McClain, Director of Grants Management of Healthcare Georgia Foundation






Each of the honorees received an engraved crystal award. Honorees were also recognized on the Foundation's website and in a press release, which was distributed to communities across the state. In addition, Healthcare Georgia Foundation donated $1,000 to the charity of their choice.

To read more about these five outstanding individuals and one collaborative effort and their unselfish commitment to advancing the health of all Georgians, please visit our Champions for Health.

2006 Award Recipients

Left to Right: Joe Wilbur, MD (Individual), Jack Chapman (Health Access Initiative, Collaborative), Donna Tate (individual), Jonathan Dubin, DMD (Individual), Jonathan Dubin, DMD (Indvidual), Nelson Conger, MD (Individual)






2006 Collaborative Award Recipient


Representatives from Health Access Initiative (Top Left, Healthcare Georgia Foundation Chairman of the Board, Joe Greene Top Right, Healthcare Georgia Foundation president, Gary Nelson)






Welcome and General Session

Thursday, February 16th began with an early morning breakfast and opening message from Healthcare Georgia Foundation president Dr. Gary D. Nelson. As Dr. Nelson spoke of the goals of the conference and began to set the stage for the day's sessions, he was interrupted by a loud voice from the back of the room.

A "waiter" challenged Dr. Nelson and everyone in the room to help him with his health care needs. The waiter was a minimum wage worker who had just been diagnosed with diabetes. Due to this preexisting condition, he was having a difficult time getting insured. He worked hard to pay his bills and his family depended on him for support. Unfortunately, they were "on the poverty line" and "insulin is a very expensive treatment." He indicated some of his other concerns, including the fact that he is overweight, but that one of the good things about working in the hotel industry "is that you get free food."

Unbeknownst to the audience, the Dr. Nelson was in on the "interruption," having brought in the services of the award-winning organization Stop-Gap to help further illustrate the plights of those being served by the Foundation's grantees. Stop-Gap, ( is an organization that uses theatre as a therapeutic and educational tool to make a positive difference in individual lives.

After a short monologue, the attendees caught on, and four other actors with difficult and varied health care challenges joined in the conversation from all around the room. Each of the five actors challenged a sixth Stop-Gap actor (posing as a health care provider) to help them with the complexities of getting adequate and accessible health coverage.

In the end, the health care provider acquiesced that more resources needed to be directed towards foundations and other organizations serving individuals and families not covered by traditional or adequate health care insurance. The performance ended on a note of hope and inspiration.

Leaving the Welcome and General Session energized and inspired, attendees broke out into morning sessions.


Morning Sessions

Health Disparities - Unequal Access and Unequal Outcomes

Session Description: Health disparities directly impact the overall health and wellness of the most vulnerable residents in Georgia. To reduce health disparities, increase access to health services, and improve health outcomes, innovative program strategies are the key. This session will provide examples of successful programs focused on health disparities and offer ways to address cultural, language and social barriers to implementing a program.

Moderator: Michael Elliott, Union Mission, Inc.
Presenters: David Gibbs, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc.
Natalie Hernandez, National Council of LaRaza, Atlanta
Ella Williamson, St. Joseph's Candler Health System, Inc.


Pharmaceutical Access: A Prescription for the Underserved Habersham Room

Session Description: Given the rapid growth in Georgia's aging population, the prevailing rates of chronic disease, and a health care system unable to address inequalities in health care access and outcomes, the safety net has become a lifeline for underserved populations. Dramatic shifts in federal and state assistance have caused Georgia's nonprofit health organizations to address the significant needs for pharmaceutical care. Accessing health-sustaining medications is a significant patient and provider challenge. Learn how communities are managing patient assisted pharmaceutical programs that provide free or discounted medicines.

Moderator: Nancy Kennedy, Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership, Inc.
Presenters: Tary Brown, Albany Area Primary Health Care, Inc.
Cheryl Christian, Good News Community Health Center, Inc.
Claire Wilcox, Coastal Medical Access Project


Health Navigators - Disease Management and Community Outreach

Session Description: Are you considering implementing a Health Navigator program? Are you interested in learning about the difference between a disease management model and a community outreach model? Would you like to learn about intervention strategies for African American & Latino populations? This session will provide you with current and relevant information on Health Navigator models.

Moderator: Dr. Henri Treadwell, Morehouse School of Medicine, National Center for Primary Care
Presenters: Andrea Hinojosa, Southeast Georgia Communities Project
Brenda K. Horne, Georgia Cancer Foundation
Nanette Turner, West Central Georgia Cancer Coalition


Promoting Child Health Through Programs and Policy

Session Description: Georgia's children and youth are at risk of becoming the first generation to live sicker and die younger than their parents. On nearly all measures of health and wellbeing, Georgia's children and youth fail to benefit from evidenced-based programs and policies that promote and protect their health. Representatives of nonprofit health organizations widely recognized for their innovative approaches to health promotion and disease prevention will explore the needs and opportunities to halt this downward spiraling trend through clinical service delivery, health promotion, and sound health policy.

Moderator: Rodney Lyn, GSU/Institute of Public Health
Presenters: Donna Hardy, Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce
Veda Johnson, Whitefoord Community Program
Lauren Waits, Voices for Georgia's Children


Advocating for Better Health and Health Care

Session Description: What is advocacy? How do health programs use advocacy strategies to promote health and expand access to health care for underserved populations? How do you engage clients and board members in an effective grassroots advocacy program? Three program leaders will answer these questions and share their experiences in implementing innovative health advocacy programs in Georgia.

Moderator: Charity Scott, Professor, GSU/College of Law
Presenters: Sylvia Caley, Health Law Partnership
Wendy Glasbrenner, Georgia Legal Services
Jeff Graham, AIDS Survival Project


Addressing Diabetes, A 21st Century Epidemic

Session Description: Communities throughout Georgia are facing the same health challenge: 300% growth in the Latino population in the past 15 years combined with the high prevalence of diabetes among Latinos. How can community health programs provide diabetes education and achieve diabetes control among Latinos? What are the best ways to address the cultural, immigration, and language barriers? Three model diabetes programs serving Latinos in Georgia will share their perspectives on the key ingredients of effective programs.

Moderator: Carole Helms, American Diabetes Association
Presenters: Amparo Gonzalez, Hispano Latino Diabetes
Janice Long, Kennesaw State University
Dr. Roberto Garcia, McKinney Community Health Center, Inc.


Serving Our Communities: Community and Volunteer Clinics

Session Description: Do low-income residents in your community need access to quality, affordable health care? Leaders of community and volunteer clinics in different parts of Georgia will share the secrets to their success, the tricks of their trade, and the lessons they have learned.

Facilitator: Mike Sweeney, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Moderator: Dr. Lynne Feldman, Georgia Division of Public Health, South Health District
Presenters: Lynn Denny, Macon Volunteer Clinic, Inc.
Gwendolyn Durnell, Central Savannah River Area Partnership for Community Health
William Warren, MD, Good Samaritan Health Center


Health Disparities Among the Underserved

Session Description: Disparities in health outcomes, health behaviors, access to health care and quality of health care weigh disproportionately on persons with disabilities. Four Georgia practitioners will share the challenges, lessons learned and promising approaches to addressing the health disparities of populations that all too frequently fall outside of conventional health promotion and disease prevention efforts. Join this interactive panel as it examines programs and policies that seek to reverse unequal outcomes and access among special populations.

Facilitator: Dr. Gary Nelson, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Moderator: Mary Sloan, Brain Injury Resource Foundation
Presenters: Susan B. Green, Center for the Visually Impaired, Inc. Heather Hart, Special Olympics Tammy King, Shepherd Center


Women's Health

Session Description: Addressing the health and wellness of women requires commitment, dedication and comprehensive approaches to program delivery. Women's health needs evolve and change over the course of a lifetime. How do you keep your programs fresh and responsive to the current health issues facing women? Three model Women's Health and Wellness programs will share their perspectives and experiences on serving three distinctly different groups of women.

Facilitator: Lisa Medellin, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Moderator: Michele Ozumba, Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Inc.
Presenters: Dr. Ann Dunlop, Emory University School of Medicine Kay Scott, Planned Parenthood of Georgia, Inc. Jemea Smith, Center for Black Women's Wellness, Inc.

 The Kid with the Hole in the Middle

Session Description: This interactive play deals with obesity in youth, and will demonstrate how to use the arts to complement traditional approaches to sensitive health issues. (Stop-Gap:


Lunch and Program

Why We Do What We Do

Martha Katz, Director of Health Policy, Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Photographer Billy Howard and writer Betsey Russell traversed the state of Georgia to develop a photographic essay of individuals and families served by Healthcare Georgia Foundation grantees. The compelling stories and faces that were captured reminded those in attendance about the far-reaching impact of their work.







Afternoon Skills Workshops

Grant Writing and Grant Seeking - Introductory Level

Workshop Description: Where do you look for funding sources? How do you prepare a grant application? Discover the answers in this workshop. You will learn the fundamental basics of prospect research, how to identify strengths and weaknesses of grant writing, and how to develop effective skills and strategies necessary to craft a fundable grant proposal.

Presenters: Terri Theisen, Founder, Theisen Consulting, LLC


Health Literacy

Workshop Description:A one-hour workshop for professionals seeking to improve their understanding of health literacy and their ability to select or create educational materials that are easy-to-read, especially for those with limited literacy skills. Ideal session for: patient educators, health educators, nurses, dietitians, social workers, allied health professionals, librarians, teachers, extension service staff, health marketing personnel, wellness coordinators & health advocates.

Facilitator: Lisa Medellin, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Presenters: Julie Gazmararian, Emory University
Kara Jacobson, Emory University


Technology for Nonprofits

Workshop Description: This workshop will present case examples of how technology can be used to enhance the effectiveness of a nonprofit. You will learn how to develop and implement a technology plan for your organization. The tools and resources necessary to get started on a technology plan will be presented. Participants will come away with a better understanding of why technology matters and how to adopt and implement technology solutions.

Facilitator: Mike Sweeney, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Presenters: Jack McMillan, CEO, TechBridge


Paving the Way to Better Health Through Public Policy Research

Workshop Description:If we want to advance the health of all Georgians, isn't it time to change the system? Four Healthcare Georgia Foundation grantees will share their nonpartisan policy research on different strategies for expanding access to health care, improving quality, and strengthening public health policies in Georgia. Workshop participants will identify gaps in health policy research and advise the Foundation on future directions.

Facilitator: Martha Katz, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Moderator: Nancy Paris, Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education, Inc.
Presenters: Dr. William Alexander, Morehouse School of Medicine, National Center for Primary Care Dr. Michael Eriksen, GSU/Institute of Public Health Alan Essig, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute Rita Valenti, Georgians for a Common Sense Health Plan


Grant Writing and Grant Seeking - Advanced Level

Workshop Description: Have you written successful grant proposals? Are you seeking ways to expand your funding sources? This advanced session on grant seeking and grant writing will help you learn and discuss ways to package your organization to solicit different types of funders. You will delve into ways to seek quality prospects for the various programs and services that you offer. Participants will also learn techniques for producing the types of reports funders are looking for.

Facilitator: Symone McClain, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Presenters: Terri Theisen, Founder, Theisen Consulting, LLC


Time for an Organizational Check-up?

Workshop Description: Has your organization changed? Do you know what would strengthen your organization and make it more competitive? Has your organizational infrastructure kept pace? An organizational assessment just might be the answer. Fifteen nonprofit health organizations will be selected to work with the Georgia Center for Nonprofits to conduct an organizational assessment in 2006. Learn more about the process and benefits of an organizational assessment from experts providing this valuable service to nonprofit health organizations.

Facilitator: Dr. Gary Nelson, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Presenters: Martha Talbott, Consulting Services Senior Manager, Georgia Center for Nonprofits Neil Sklarew, Senior Consultant, Georgia Center for Nonprofits


The Business Plan: A Key to a Successful Grant Request

Workshop Description: Ready to make the business case for your organization? Would the financial health of your organization affect the outcome of a funding request? How might a well-developed business plan present a compelling case to prospective donors? Perhaps it's time to invest in the case statement that demonstrates that your organization's capacity and performance is in alignment with your mission. This session will be conducted by one of Georgia's most recognized organizational leaders in nonprofit fundraising and development.

Facilitator: Janette Blackburn, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Presenters: John O'Kane, Senior Vice President, Coxe Curry & Associates


Reflections and Future Directions

The conference closed with a session called Reflections and Future Directions, an open forum for attendees to reflect back on the day's events and make suggestions for future convenings.

At Healthcare Georgia Foundation, we hope that Connections 2006: Paving the Way to Better Health and Health Care Across Georgia provided attendees with the knowledge, support, hope and inspiration to continue to their efforts to advance the health of all Georgians. To view the Reflections and Future Directions presentation, click here