Leadership

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD

Board Chair

Resilient Georgia 

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. 

Emily Anne Vall, PhD

Executive Director

Resilient Georgia

Emily Anne Vall’s career has focused on children’s health. She completed her undergraduate teaching degree at Florida Southern College before attending the University of South Florida focusing on special needs populations. She then attended the University of South Carolina, where she received her Ph.D in Physical Education and Health Pedagogy with a cognate in Diversity Studies.   

Vall started her career as a Title 1 middle school public school educator. This role allowed her to gain hands on, real life experiences with youth with high levels of health disparities. After completing her education, Vall began working in the healthcare setting and continued to teach at the university level. She also began working with a non-profit organization to implement student lead physical activity and nutrition efforts in urban secondary schools. Vall then began managing the employee wellness team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  

For the last 5 years Vall has served as the Child Health and Wellness director at the Georgia Department of Public Health where she has overseen the Governor’s childhood obesity initiative, Georgia Shape, serving under Commissioner Patrick O’Neal. In this role, she has provided leadership in the management and coordination of this statewide, multiagency, multidimensional initiative that brings together governmental, philanthropic, academic, and business communities to address childhood obesity in Georgia. Vall coordinates policy efforts in all aspects of the program, including building innovative partnerships and strategies designed to impact childhood obesity from birth through school years.  

Rebecca Blanton

Board Member

Resilient Georgia

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. 

Bonnie Hardage

Board Member

Resilient Georgia

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.

Lynn Patillo

Board Member

Resilient Georgia

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.

Daniel Salinas, MD

Board Member

Resilient Georgia

Daniel Salinas, MD is the Chief Medical Officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, He provides executive oversight for quality and patient safety, medical staff services, and affiliations. In addition, Dr. Salinas has worked closely with community providers to develop The Children’s Care Network, one of the first pediatric, clinically integrated networks in the country, for which he also has executive oversight. Dr. Salinas has a proven track record as a well-known pediatrician and physician leader committed to the care of Georgia’s children. 

Dr. Salinas earned his medical degree at the University of Texas Medical School and currently serves on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding Board of Trustees and is a board member of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Surgery Center at Meridian Mark Plaza, The Children’s Care Network, the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition of Georgia.

Michele Smith, M.S., PhD

Board Member

Resilient Georgia

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.

Kathryn Martin, PhD

Board member

Resilient Georgia

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.

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