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Healthcare Georgia Foundation Announces Community Service Award Recipients


  Toni Almasy
Avatar Communications, Inc.


Six individuals are honored for their unselfish dedication to improving the health of all Georgians.

Atlanta, Georgia, December 10, 2003 – Healthcare Georgia Foundation today announced the names of the six recipients being honored and presented with the Foundation’s Community Service Award.

Established by Healthcare Georgia Foundation, the Community Service Award recognizes those individuals that have committed themselves to advancing health and expanding the access to affordable quality health care for all Georgians.

The recipients were selected based on several considerations including their leadership and impact on the community. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to honor and publicly acknowledge these individuals for their dedication and unselfish commitment to advancing the health of all Georgians,” noted Gary D. Nelson, president of Healthcare Georgia Foundation. “They are an inspiration to us all.”

Nominated and selected by their peers, the recipients of Healthcare Georgia Foundation’s Community Service Award are:

Ms. Ginger Ackerman Smith
In 1997, after learning that she had Stage III ovarian cancer, Ginger channeled her anger at having been misdiagnosed into empowering other women with knowledge that could save their lives. As a founder of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Ginger has given women dealing with this devastating “silent killer” a voice and was instrumental in persuading the Georgia legislature to mandate insurance coverage for screening of high-risk women. Today, Ginger sits on a grantmaking committee for the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, is part of the GSU Georgia Women’s Project and has just recently been elected incoming president of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. As part of her award, a $1,000 donation is being made in Ginger’s name to the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance (GOCA).

Ms. Vicki Castleberry
As a 23-year breast cancer survivor, Vicki has made it her life objective to educate women on the importance of taking charge of their personal health, making certain that every woman knows about breast health and breast cancer. Since 1983, Vicki has served as the founder and president of Bosom Buddies, a network providing support to breast cancer survivors in Georgia. No matter where she goes, Vicki touches people’s lives; creating hope, faith and humor even during the most devastating of times. She is an inspiration and a role model to everyone she meets, determined that no woman be lost in the fight against breast cancer. As part of her award, a $1,000 donation is being made in Vicki’s name to the Bosom Buddies of Georgia, Inc.

Mr. Jim Hazel
After dealing with the immense pain associated with his teenaged son’s addiction to drugs, Jim was determined to do something that would help prevent other parents and families from going through the same pain he had endured. Under Jim’s leadership and involvement with Healthy Communities – Healthy Youth, a new Boys & Girls Club was opened in Whitfield County in 2002. The club currently offers an after school program and summer day camp for over 423 children. Jim’s openly shares his thoughts on parenting through his heartfelt poem entitled “If I had my Child to Raise over Again”. As part of his award, a $1,000 donation is being made in Jim’s name to the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership.

Mr. Ken Murphy
Having received two liver transplants, Ken is committed to educating others on the impact that receiving a transplant has on the recipient as well as the entire family. Through Ken’s work with the Georgia Transplant Foundation, the organization has had a direct impact on the lives of more than 5,000 transplant candidates and recipients throughout Georgia. Ken’s efforts are not out of obligation but, reflect a sincere desire to help better the lives of those Georgians who have experienced the same challenges associated with being a transplant recipient. As the senior vice president and general counsel of Acuity Brands, Ken’s leadership qualities serve as a role model for others-inspiring everyone he meets with his commitment to the transplant community. As part of his award, a $1,000 donation is being made in Ken’s name to the Georgia Transplant Foundation.

Dr. Gerald Kramer
Since the opening of the Dental Center at the J.C. Lewis Health Center of Union Mission in May 2002, Dr. Kramer has been a role model for other volunteer dentists, demonstrating his strong commitment to providing dentistry services to homeless individuals. Through Dr. Kramer’s outstanding leadership, the Center’s recruitment of volunteer dentists increased by 20%. In addition to his commitment to the Center, Dr. Kramer is participating in Leadership Savannah, a program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, bringing area business leaders together to address the needs of the community. Dr. Kramer leads by example and has set a very high standard for professional participation at the Center. As part of his award, a $1,000 donation is being made in Dr. Kramer’s name to the J.C. Lewis Health Center of Union Mission.

Dr. Samuel O. Poole
Since founding the Good News at Noon Health Clinic in 1994, Dr. Poole has played an important role in the success of the Clinic. Since the beginning, Dr. Poole has served as the Clinic’s medical director on a voluntary basis. Despite his age, suffering from diabetes and two back surgeries that leave him in constant pain, Dr. Poole still provides his volunteer services caring for the health needs of those without access to traditional care. Dr. Poole is an inspiration to the community and his spirit serves to motivate physicians, dentists and support personnel in Hall County to become involved as a regular volunteer at the Clinic. As part of his award, a $1,000 donation is being made in Dr. Poole’s name to the Good News at Noon Health Clinic.

About Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, private independent 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. Through its strategic grantmaking, Healthcare Georgia Foundation supports organizations that drive positive change, promotes programs that improve health and healthcare among underserved individuals and communities, and connects people, partners and resources across Georgia. For more information, please visit the Foundation online at: