Brenda Fitzgerald, MD
Executive Board Chair Person
Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., was the 17th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Dr. Fitzgerald served as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and state health officer from 2011 to 2017.
Dr. Fitzgerald, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, has practiced medicine for three decades. As Georgia DPH Commissioner, Dr. Fitzgerald oversaw various state public health programs and directed the state’s 18 public health districts and 159 county health departments. Prior to that, Dr. Fitzgerald held numerous leadership positions.
She served on the board and as president of the Georgia OB-GYN Society and she worked as a health care policy advisor with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senator Paul Coverdell. She has served as a Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Board for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
Dr. Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Georgia State University and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine. She completed post-graduate training at the Emory-Grady Hospitals in Atlanta and held an assistant clinical professorship at Emory Medical Center. As a Major in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Fitzgerald served at the Wurtsmith Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) Base in Michigan and at the Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.
The Executive Board
Executive Board Member
Rebecca Blanton, School Climate Transformation manager, at the Georgia Department of Education, has over 30 years of public-school education experience at the school and district and state levels. She also was the director of Project AWARE, a five year SAMHSA grant, focused on blending education and mental health services for students.
Prior to working at the Department of Education Rebecca was the Principal of an inclusion school in a metro school district. Rebecca has a Masters’ Degree and certification in Educational Leadership. She is a member of and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a member of the Association for Positive Behavior Support.
Executive Board Member
Bonnie Hardage is the Executive Director of the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2016 after serving 17 years in healthcare marketing and development at Saint Joseph’s Health System, Shepherd Center, and Mercy Care Foundation.
The mission of Jesse Parker Williams Foundation is to support highly effective organizations that emphasize preventive, comprehensive health opportunities and enhance access to health services for women and children.
The Foundation supports individual and population health programming with priority given to programs addressing social determinants of health in community- and hospital-based services. Foundation support addresses physical, oral and/or mental health services with priority given to integrated care models.
Kathryn Martin, PhD
Executive Board Member
Kathryn Martin, PhD is Associate Dean of Regional Campuses at Augusta University. Her academic appointments include the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. She is the 2012 Recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award for Institutional Service from the Georgia Health Sciences University Faculty Senate of the Medical College of Georgia; the 2012 Recipient Women of Distinction Award from Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia; and the 2008 Founder’s Choice Award from Top Ten Working Women of Savannah.
She holds a MPH of Public Health, General from Armstrong Atlantic State University, a PhD of Health Services Administration from Warren National University; a MPA of Public Administration from Augusta State University; and a BA of Sociology from Augusta State University. She has served as Committee Chair on the Chatham County Board of Health; a member of the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) Accreditation for Schools of Public Health; as Officer, President/Elect/Past of MedBank Foundation and as Officer, President/Elect/Past of the Georgia Public Health Association.
Executive Board Member
Michael O’Neal is a leader in creating nurturing, community-empowering and capacity-building spaces. A founder of Parent University, he serves as the Executive Director of Community United Services Inc., the entity that manages the Parent University program. Currently, he is facilitating Parent University and its component pieces in several other cities throughout the U.S. He also hosts the TV show “Parent University TV”.
He previously managed a pilot project called the Strong Families Program to give parental training to the parents of youth considered at risk by the schools or courts. He has co-facilitated Parental Engagement seminars at locations in Georgia and South Carolina in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Education, which was featured on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
He serves on the Advisory Board of the Savannah Early Childhood Foundation and has served on many Boards or councils in the Savannah area, including the Healthy Savannah Board of Directors. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and 100 Black Men of Savannah, President of the Rotary Club of Savannah West, and Secretary of the East Savannah United Board.
O’Neal has been the recipient of numerous awards over his storied career, most recently receiving the Georgia Senate Resolution 639 commendation for 20 plus years of achievement with Parent University.
Executive Board Member
Lynn Pattillo is the President of the Pittulloch Foundation, Chair of Stone Mountain Industrial Park, Inc. and part of the Pattillo Industrial Real Estate team. The Pittulloch Foundation focuses on the prevention of root causes with a statewide focus. Areas of support include working with Early Learning Property Management on the strategic location of Head Start centers in Fulton County, partnering with the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy to train 155,000 people on how to prevent child sexual abuse and working with Georgia State University’s Reading Recovery Department in the College of Education to teach teachers how to teach reading.
She has served on the boards of The Atlanta International School, The Foundation Center, Early Learning Property Management, Wesley Woods, Duke Divinity School, Emory Board of Visitors, Citizens Trust Bank and has participated in Leadership Georgia, Leadership DeKalb and Leadership Atlanta. Lynn graduated from Duke University with a degree in Economics and received a MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Fabricia Prado, LCSW
Executive Board Member
Fabricia Prado is a trilingual licensed clinical social worker with seasoned experience and strong commitment to serving the needs of diverse populations. She is owner of Prado Counseling and Consulting in Marietta, Ga. She is a Certified Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional (CATP) and a master trainer and speaker on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
She has served in leadership roles at CEPTA, Inc. in their telecounseling program and works with the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA) under their cultural and linguistic approach to expand training resources and webinars to include Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish. Fabricia has presented webinars and written articles about ACEs and Trauma-Informed Care as part of the Prevention Technology Transfer Centers efforts to prevent trauma and its consequences
Fabricia earned her master of social work from Kennesaw State University and master of psychology and bachelor’s in psychology from Pontifical University Catholic of Goiás, Brazil.
Daniel Salinas, MD
Executive Board Member
Daniel Salinas, MD, is the Chief Community Clinical Integration Officer for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He establishes and nurtures relationships with community pediatricians, inspiring them to work collaboratively with Children’s to accomplish mutual goals. In addition, Dr. Salinas has worked closely with community providers to develop The Children’s Care Network (TCCN), one of the first pediatric clinically integrated networks in the country, which he oversees. He has also worked to advance behavioral health and primary care strategies at Children’s.
Dr. Salinas provides visionary leadership for our clinical delivery systems and draws on his skills as a relationship-builder and facilitator to forge strong relationships with physicians in Atlanta and across the state. The network ultimately seeks to facilitate higher quality of care and help community providers demonstrate the value of pediatric care.
Dr. Salinas has a proven track record as a well-known pediatrician and physician leader committed to the care of Georgia’s children. Before coming to Children’s, he served as Regional Vice President and National Medical Director for WellPoint Inc. Prior to that, he was Vice President and Medical Director for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and served in a number of leadership roles at Kaiser Permanente Georgia, where he also practiced as a pediatrician.
A native of Houston, Texas, Dr. Salinas earned his medical degree at the University of Texas Medical School after earning his bachelor’s degree from Texas Lutheran College. He currently serves on the Children's Hughes Spalding Hospital Board of Trustees and is a Board Member of TCCN, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities and Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition of Georgia.
Dr. Salinas and his wife, Cindy, live in Roswell and have two adult sons.
Michele Smith, M.S., PhD
Executive Board Member
Michele Smith, PhD is the Director of Collaborative Care in the Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center Family Medicine Residency program. She also serves as adjunct faculty in the Master of Family Therapy Program at Mercer University. Dr.
Smith received her Ph.D. in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia and M.S. from South Dakota State University. She is a Clinical Fellow of AAMFT and an Approved Supervisor. Her therapy and research focus is in the areas of integrated behavioral health and families. She has been involved with GAMFT at the local and state level for several years.
Emily Anne Vall, PhD
Emily Anne Vall has dedicated her career to improving children’s health. In 2019, Vall became Executive Director of Resilient Georgia where she has led the creation of a statewide coalition of trauma-informed organizations by convening diverse private and public partners to create a birth through 26 year old integrated behavioral health system. The statewide coalition includes over 700 stakeholders working to prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and support healing through integrated behavioral health resources and services.
She is a proven leader of collaborative, multi-agency initiatives impacting Georgia’s children having served as the Child Health and Wellness director at the Georgia Department of Public Health where she oversaw Georgia Shape, the Governor’s childhood obesity initiative. She spearheaded robust employee wellness efforts at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, including leading the employee wellness team for the pediatric health care system. She began her career as a Title 1 middle school public school educator.
Vall earned her PhD in Physical Education and Health Pedagogy with a cognate in Diversity Studies from the University of South Carolina. She completed her undergraduate teaching degree at Florida Southern College before attending the University of South Florida focusing on physical education and special needs populations.
Resilient Georgia Staff
Director, Strategy and Operations
Neha Mehta Khanna is passionate about advancing public health innovation in children’s healthcare within local and global communities. As Director of Strategy and Operations for Resilient Georgia, she advances the organization’s mission to lead a state-wide coalition to develop a closely aligned and trauma-informed public and private network working toward a united vision to create a birth through 26 year old integrated behavioral health system. She leads special projects in support of organizational goals, directs system planning and guides operational functions for the nonprofit.
Khanna's expertise builds on over a decade of management consulting experience across corporate and social sectors in the U.S. and abroad. She began her consulting career with Deloitte Consulting, where she worked to improve patient outcomes across diverse healthcare delivery organizations, and later as an internal consultant for Deloitte’s corporate strategy team. Prior to joining Resilient Georgia, she worked as project director for the CEO at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
She graduated with highest honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of arts in economics honors and government. She holds a dual MBA and master’s in public health from the University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business and School of Public Health, with a focus on health policy and management.
Our Valued Consultants and Interns
Thank you to all our current and former Consultants and Interns
Ari David Fodeman
Donna M Talavari
Stephanie M. Basey
Elijah joined the Vashti Center in January 2017. He was previously the HIV/AIDS ProgramDirector for the Southwest Public Health District. Prior to that, Elijah served as Senior HealthEducator at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in NYC. While there, he received hisMaster’s in public health from Hunter College. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion & Behavior from the University of Georgia. Elijah is also a master certified health education specialist.
President | CEO
Sarah McKinney serves the Athens Area Community Foundation as President | CEO. Prior, she had awesome jobs at the UGA, Georgia 4-H Foundation and the Athens Community Council on Aging. Sarah holds a BSW from UGA, Certificate of Gerontology from KSU, a Certificate of Leadership from the University of Dayton, and Certificates of Basic and Advanced Nonprofit Financial Management from Duquesne University’s Nonprofit Leadership Institute. A proud member of the Rotary Club of Athens, 2017-2018 LEAD Athens class, and Leadership Georgia of 2019, she loves an opportunity to grow her brain. In her personal time, Sarah enjoys serving through Rotary, Athens Church, and FFA. When she isn’t at work, Sarah is hanging out with her husband of 20 years, John, and their kids Nate and Anna.
Training & Development Manager
Alex joined the Vashti Center/Resilient SWGA team in August 2020. She graduated from Florida State University in 2015 with a Bachelors degree in Hospitality & Event Management. Alex worked in the hospitality industry for the next 5 years. However, with her interest in mental health awareness, child advocacy, and non-profits, the career change to Vashti seemed to be the perfect fit for her. Since joining the team, Alex has served as the Community Training Manager, and has been trained as a facilitator for three different professional development opportunities that Vashti offers to youth serving organizations and foster parents throughout Southwest Georgia. Alex also manages all internal staff training and development, social media, and Vashti's annual fundraising events.
Meredith Lysaught is the is the project manager on contract with the Athens Area Community Foundation to coordinate the Resilient Northeast Georgia fund. A recent graduate of the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion, with an emphasis on prevention and community-based public health. Meredith joined the Resilient Northeast Georgia project last year as the community foundation’s spring
intern during her last semester. Since graduating, she has transitioned into the role of full-time project manager on the grant. She also has prior experience as an evaluation assistant contracted on the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ State Opioid Response grant, working on both the media campaign and the Sources of Strength program.