Board of Directors/Staff

President
Veda Johnson, MD, FAAP, Emory University

Veda Johnson is a Marcus Professor in General Academics and Pediatrics and the Executive Director of PARTNERS for Equity in Child & Adolescent Health for the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to her current position, Dr. Johnson was the Director of Community and School Based Clinics for the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University. In that position, she served as Medical Director of the Whitefoord Community Program (WCP) which consists of two school based health clinics (SBHCs) and the Boatrock and Lindbergh Women and Children’s Health Clinics affiliated with the Grady Health System.

Dr. Johnson has participated in the development of national standards for comprehensive school based health programs.  She has also been active in promoting school health programs in the state of Georgia and in petitioning Congress for increasing federal allocation for school health centers nationwide. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the executive committee for the Academy’s Council on School Health. In addition, she serves as Chair of the School Health Committee for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Ruth Ellis, MPH, JM, Emory University – Retired

Ruth is a native of Atlanta, receiving her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Spelman College in 1976. Shortly after graduation she began her career with Emory University: first in the Human Resources Department as a Recruiter, then as a Research Assistant with the Department of Psychiatry, and finally with the Department of Pediatrics. During her career with Emory, she received a Master’s Degree from the University’s School of Public Health. Ruth has been with Pediatrics since 1989, first working with the Division of Neonatology as Administrator, and then serving as the Administrator for the Department’s Grady Operations. She retired in 2009 and returned in 2010 to serve as the Business Administrator, and was promoted to Program Director for the Department of Pediatrics’ PARTNERS for Equity in Child & Adolescent Health.  Ruth received a Juris Master degree from the Emory University School of Law in 2015.

Board Members:

Joseph Barrow, EdD, Fayette County Schools

Dr. Joseph (Jody) C. Barrow, Jr. began his career in education in 1980.  He is the Superintendent of Fayette County Schools,  having also served previously as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent across the K-12 spectrum in several Georgia school systems.  He has been awarded multiple honors during his career; including being named the Georgia Association of Educational Leader’s Outstanding Educator, the prestigious Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Bill Barr Leadership Award, named the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth Champion of the Year, was recognized by the Georgia Senate for efforts in Educational Excellence, and was chosen as Superintendent of the Year for the Georgia Head Start Program.

He and his wife, Dr. Susan Barrow, are the proud parents of five children, two who are currently enrolled in the Fayette County School System.

During his career Dr. Barrow’s accomplishments include:

  • Improving Student Achievement
  • Increasing Graduation Rates
  • Implementing and advancing cutting edge 21st Century technology
  • Currently serving as President of the Georgia School Superintendent’s Association (GSSA) and on the National Governing Board of the American Association School Administrators (AASA)
  • Educationally overcoming the largest wild fire in the history of GA
  • Led construction projects that have received national recognition
  • The establishment of School Based Health Centers (SBHC)
  • Leading his districts to these accomplishments while dealing with massive budget challenges.

Dr. Barrow truly strives to be a “Champion for Children” in all endeavors, and works to put children first in every situation.

Linda Goler Blount, MPH, Black Women’s Health Imperative, President and CEO

Linda Goler Blount is the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, a nationwide organization devoted solely to advancing the health and wellness of America’s 20 million Black women and girls. As president and CEO, Linda oversees the strategic direction for the Imperative and leads the organization forward in its mission to achieve health equity, reproductive and social justice for Black women across the lifespan.

Before joining the Imperative, Linda served as the vice president of Programmatic Impact for the United Way of Greater Atlanta, where she lead a team focused on achieving transformations in health, income, education and housing stability. She was also the first-ever national vice president of Health Disparities at the American Cancer Society and provided strategic vision and leadership to the Society and its 12 geographic divisions for nationwide health equity policy and social determinants initiatives.

Linda is a sought-after speaker and is a member of several organizations, including the American Association of Cancer Research, American Public Health Association and National Association of Health Services Executives.  She serves on the Emory University Center for Ethics Advisory Board, and Morehouse School of Medicine, Public Health Program Advisory Committee among other board service work.

Danté T. McKay, JD, MPA, Director, Office of Children, Young Adults, and Families; Division of Behavioral Health; Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities

Danté T. McKay became the director of the Office of Children, Young Adults, and Families, at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, in February 2016. McKay directs the development and implementation of policies, practices, and programs that facilitate access to behavioral health treatment and supports for children and young adults who are living with serious emotional disturbances or serious mental illness, and who are uninsured or have SSI Medicaid.

Pursuit of a strong personal desire to effectuate systemic change that improves quality of life led to a fellowship opportunity with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2010. The RWJF fellowship opportunity provided a career pivot for McKay. He later went on to serve as Health Policy Director at Voices for Georgia’s Children, and the first and only Georgia State Director at Enroll America, where he was responsible for leading a statewide public education and outreach campaign focused on maximizing the number of Georgians who enrolled in and retained health insurance coverage.

Collectively, McKay possesses more than two decades of combined experience in administration, advocacy, community and stakeholder engagement, philanthropy, program design and implementation, and evaluation. McKay is a member of the NASMHPD Children, Youth and Families Division, a national association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health State Directors. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for Georgians for a Healthy Future, and the Georgia School Based Health Alliance. McKay is 2013 alumni of The Annie E. Casey Foundation Atlanta Leaders for Results, and 2011 alumni of National Urban Fellows.

McKay holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Clark Atlanta University (1997); a Juris Doctor from Southern University Law Center (2007); and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York (2011). He lives in Atlanta with his wife Syreeta, and two sons, Ian and Jaxon.

Polly McKinney, Voices for Georgia’s Children

Polly McKinney has worked for more than two decades in communications, film and video production, advocacy, and policy development, much of her work supporting the objectives of non-profit organizations that focus on social services and education.  As a documentary producer in the late 1980s and early 1990s, she directed, wrote, and edited numerous programs for local public television, several of which were nominated for regional Emmy Awards.  After leaving public TV, McKinney wrote and directed the documentary that is now shown regularly at the National P.O.W. Museum at Andersonville, GA and then moved into work on high-end commercials and national television series.  In addition, she was a legacy advisor for Georgia Gov. Zell Miller.  Following her career in film and television, she served as executive director for the League of Women Voters of Georgia and communications director for the Southern States Energy Board (an economic development organization composed of governors and legislators from 16 southern states and two territories).  She currently serves as the advocacy director for Voices for Georgia’s Children, an organization that supports the implementation of health, justice, welfare and education policies beneficial to children.  She lives in Atlanta with her children, Skye and Zane.

Lisa Medellin, M.S.W., Senior Program Officer, Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Lisa Medellin joined Healthcare Georgia Foundation in 2005. In her current position, Lisa is the primary liaison between the Foundation and its grant applicants, grantees, policy makers as well as other foundations and nonprofit organizations. Lisa also serves as team lead for the program staff at the Foundation, managing the Foundations’ grant making programs, including developing two annual grant programs to support General Operating and Direct Services funding and identifying new strategic funding strategies to award approximately $3-5million annually.  She manages a diverse grant portfolio that includes; Health Policy, Childhood Obesity, School-Based Health Centers, and Integrated Health Care/Behavioral Health.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Lisa was with Emory University-Rollins School of Public Health, where she was the Director of Resource Management and Communications for a national Tobacco Technical Assistance project. She has held various positions with the American Cancer Society-National Home Office, Emory University School of Medicine, and Planned Parenthood of the Southeast.

Lisa is an active member of the community and is on the board of DeKalb County CASA and the Georgia School Based Health Alliance. She has previously volunteered for United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta -Women’s Legacy Council and the Junior League of Atlanta.

Yuri Okuizumi-Wu, MD, Emory University

Yuri Okuizumi-Wu is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine.   She received her medical degree at The University of Illinois School of Medicine (Chicago) and  completed her residency at Bellevue Hospital/NYU Medical Center in New York City.  After residency, she worked at North Central and Jacobi Hospitals in the Bronx, and then joined a private practice in inner-city Chicago.   In 2002, she relocated to Atlanta and joined the faculty at Emory, practicing at the first comprehensive school-based health clinics in Georgia, the Whitefoord and Coan School Based-Health Clinics for 8 years.  She served  as their interim Medical  Director for both school clinics from 2009-2010. Her experiences at  Whitefoord and Coan have shaped her belief that school based clinics are the ideal models for providing quality care for the underserved children of Georgia.  Since September 2010, she has practiced at the Primary Care Clinic of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Hughes Spalding campus.

Lynne P. Meadows, RN, MS, Fulton County School System

Lynne P. Meadows has 29 years in health care and nursing experience. She received a BSN from Queens College and a MS degree in nursing from Georgia State University. Lynne had an extensive career at Grady Health System in Atlanta, GA where she served in several leadership roles which included: Assistant Head Nurse, Staff Development Instructor, Director of Quality Improvement & Staff Development for Ambulatory Services and the Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services from 1996-2000. Lynne has also worked as a Pediatric Nursing Instructor and a Legal Nurse Consultant. She is currently the Coordinator of Student Health Services for Fulton County School System (FCS) where she has served in this capacity since the program’s inception in 2000.

Lynne was named 2011 School Nurse Administrator of the Year by the Georgia Association of School Nurses and received the “Game Ball” award for exemplary work in 2014 by FCS Superintendent. Lynne is a certified American Heart Association CPR, AED and First Aid Instructor and a designated Training Center Faculty at Grady Health System. She participates and has served on a host of health care and community boards which has included the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, South Fulton United Way Advisory Board, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Van Advisory Council, the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act Committee and Co-Chair for the Fulton County Board of Health. Lynne is very active in public health initiatives and the school health services arena. She currently serves as the State Director and State Data Champion for the National Association of School Nurses and Georgia Association of School Nurses. Lynne also was selected and participated in the School-Based Health Alliance Leadership Fellows Program in 2015. She was one of ten to graduate in the first cohort class.

Stephanie S. Johnson, EdD, Georgia Department of Education

Dr. Stephanie S. Johnson is the Deputy Superintendent of School Improvement at GADOE where she also leads the Division of District and School Effectiveness and Professional Development. Johnson’s focus is building leader capacity and providing resources and support to improve all schools, including those eligible for targeted and comprehensive assistance under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Additionally, her work includes implementing a tiered, proactive system of supports, ensuring that all Georgia schools have the resources they need and are improving student outcomes and expanding opportunities for increased student achievement. Dr. Johnson received her undergraduate degree from University of Alabama, a Master of Education degree from University of West Alabama and her Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership and Management from the University of South Alabama.

Dr. Johnson’s specialty areas are school transformation, rebuilding organizational norms, focusing on successful and measurable academic tactics, communicating a positive vision, and gaining support from key influencers. Her areas of specialty inform her leadership approach, as she views those factors as the foundation of academic and community success for all.  In 2016 Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp proclaimed Johnson as an Outstanding Georgia Citizen and Goodwill Ambassador for the State.

Lynette Wilson-Phillips, MD, FAAP, ABOM, Kids Doc on Wheels

Lynette Wilson-Phillips is originally from Charleston, South Carolina and is a graduate of Wofford College class of 1986. She is currently the President and Founder of Decatur Pediatric Group, P.A founded in 1996; which is comprised of 3 private office locations throughout Metro Atlanta. Dr. Wilson-Phillips earned her Medical Degree at the Medical University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Charleston and she completed her residency at the Emory University School of Medicine in 1994. In 2016, Dr. Wilson-Phillips founded and became a Co-Medical Director for her not-for-profit organization, Kids’-Doc-On-Wheels (KDOW), a school-bound mobile medical unit with telemedicine services. KDOW allows Dr. Wilson-Phillips to put wheels on wellness and deliver high quality and accessible pediatric care to the community. In October of 2019, KDOW received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Wilson-Phillips is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a member of many professional and community organizations. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics as a District Representative. She, along with her practice, has participated with multiple Community Clinical research studies investigating topics of Asthma and Obesity. Moreover, Dr. Wilson-Phillips serves as an Adjunct Professor for both Emory School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine. She participates on the selection committee for both the Pediatric Residency and School of Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Karyl C. Patten, DDS, MPH, JM, FACD, Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Karyl C. Patten has provided oral health to the underserved for more than twenty years. As Dental Director for the nonprofit program Whiteford, Inc., Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Patten has transformed the way we deliver school based dental care.

Under her leadership, Whiteford Inc. in partnership with Emory University developed a school-based dental program that provides full service dentistry to Atlanta. The program trains dental students, dental hygiene students, and dental assisting students for challenging but rewarding careers assisting those with the greatest healthcare needs. Dr. Patten holds faculty positions at Emory University School of Medicine, Augusta University School of Dentistry, and advisory board for West Georgia Technical College school of Dental Hygiene. Dr. Patten has garnered local, state and national recognition for her programs in school based dental care. She continues to speak nationally, urging Congress to support oral health for the underserved….improving the world one smile at a time.

Diana U. Allen, CEO, Primary Healthcare Centers

Diana Allen has worked at Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC) since July, 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services/Social Work from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, a Master of Science Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, a Master of Science Degree in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL, and a certificate from the Health Care Executive Program at the UCLA Graduate School of Management. She has 40 plus years of management, program development and administrative experience in acute and long-term health care settings, physical rehabilitation, and geriatric case management. She is a board member of the Georgia Primary Care Association, the Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center and is a member of the National Association of Community Health Centers and National School-Based Health Alliance.

Clifton Bush, COO, Albany Area Primary Health Care

Seema Csukas, MD, PhD, Medical Director, CareSource

Terri McFadden, MD, FAAP, 

Kim Addie, Senior Director of Health, United Way

Quinntez Gurndy, Kaiser Permanente, Community Health

Sara Kroening, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, AE-C, Deputy Chief Nurse, Georgia Department of Public Health

In her current role as Deputy Chief Nurse for School Health at the Georgia Department of Public Health, Sara Kroening serves as a state school nurse consultant offering leadership, technical assistance and educational offerings to those caring for children in the school setting. These services are offered to all who care for school-aged children attending public and non-public schools in Georgia, including school nurses and other school personnel. Sara received both a BSN and MSN from Clemson University and has also earned a post-Master’s certificate from the University of South Carolina, is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner and is a certified Asthma Educator. Sara has been a nurse for over 18 years and has practiced in the areas of acute pediatrics, endocrine and diabetes, and public health among others. She is a member of the National Association of School Nurses, Georgia Association of School Nurses, and serves as Secretary on the Executive Committee for the National Association for State School Nurse Consultants.

Board Support Staff

Carolyn Aidman, PhD, Emory University

Dr. Carolyn Aidman is PARTNERS for Equity in Child & Adolescent Health’s “Convener” for school based health care, sharing the vision, drawing interest in and helping bring School Based Health Center planning grants to 34 counties in Georgia.

Carolyn has over 30 years of front line, programmatic and leadership experience working with and for minority populations in public health, social services, and education. She directed the Georgia Division of Public Health’s Office of Adolescent Health and Youth Development, managing an $11 million budget, providing training to public health staff, and youth development and clinical services to children and adolescents throughout Georgia. As Executive Director of the Professional Development Centers of Florida, she led the 180-member university team that developed, delivered, and promoted a nationally recognized competency-based training, testing, and certification program for Florida’s child protection professionals.

Dr. Aidman is the Associate Director of Emory’s Urban Health Initiative, see www.urbanhealthinitiative.emory.edu developing university and community partnerships for community engaged learning, training future health professionals, and conducting research, especially community-based participatory research. She has developed transportation ministries, providing transportation to needed services, a community teaching garden at a grocery store in a low-resourced area of Atlanta, and helps bring affordable health insurance plans through her Health Insurance Navigators and student Resource Insurance Navigators team. See http://ringofgeorgia.org