Working Meal Sessions Fuel Fact Filled Day and Offer Solutions for Attendees

Summit Breakfast Presenters and DeKalb CEO Lee May

One of the most exciting events in Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority history took place on December 8, 2014. More than 500 people registered to attend a full day of sessions, working meals and a public form on the topic of mental health.

The official theme of the FDHA’s 3rd Annual Summit was: MIND MATTERS: Who Does Mental Health Affect? What made the event different from any other planned activity is that it offered nine separate sessions during an eight hour period.

It kicked off with a breakfast chaired by CETPA founder Pierluigi Mancini with greetings from FDHA Chair Thomas W. Dortch, Jr and Fulton County Chair John Eaves, PhD.

Then attendees received facts about mental health from experts Paul Gionfriddo, the president of Mental Health America and Paul Berry the state commissioner for the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Disabilities. The session required pre-registration and had a capacity crowd.

But it wasn’t the only working meal of the day. After a morning of concurrent sessions, registered attendees munched on the contents of a bag lunch while elected officials and health care professionals explained how to find mental health resources. Veteran broadcast journalist and radio talk host, Monica Pearson, moderated a panel of five very informed public health advocates. Patricia Gardner, State Representative for District 57 began the discussion. She was joined mental health care professionals Wendy Schneider, Katheryn Lawler, Patricia Earnest and Larry Johnson. Dr. Patrice Harris, from Fulton’s County Health and Human Services Department was unable to attend. However, the Chief of Staff for Fulton’s represented the department, Charles Regelman provided valuable information.

The topics of aging, behavioral challenges, which agencies to contact in Fulton, DeKalb and at the state level were addressed as each expert shared their knowledge about mental health resources.

The luncheon ended shortly after 1 p.m. Then, registrants rushed to three concurrent afternoon seminars before everyone converged in the main ballroom to hear Iyanla Vanzant moderate a panel of special presenters and first row guests during the public forum. The summit’s level of participation answered an unasked question. Who in Atlanta cares about the affects of mental health? Hundreds of people responded by attending and pre-registering for the summit. They represented nearly all walks of life in the metro area.

The fourth annual FDHA summit will take place on October 28th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. It will focus on a topic that continues make headlines: violence.

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The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority promotes the health of the greater Atlanta community. Governed by a ten member Board of Trustees appointed by the commissioners of Fulton and DeKalb counties, the Authority is committed to working to meet the healthcare needs of the residents of Fulton and DeKalb counties through oversight of the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation.

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