Humor, Insight, Passion and Audience Participation Make Public Forum Successful

The Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority’s 3rd Health Summit concluded with a public from held in the Imperial ballroom of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis from 3 p.m. through 5 p.m.

There were six on stage guest presenters and five special front row guests. Below is a list of participants in the December 8th event and links to information about them or their organizations.


IYANLA VANZANT She is an accomplished author, inspirational speaker and host of the number one reality program on the Orpah Winfrey Network program- Iyanla Fix My Life. She’s also an attorney and former public defender.

She has a consistent belief in the power of the human spirit. She guided everyone through a town hall meeting that resulted in the most enlightenment possible from a talented and experienced team of presenters.


He is the Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Center of Excellence on Health Disparities and the Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Chair in Mental Health at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. David Satcher is one of the best known medical and health care experts of the 21st century. He is probably also the most qualified person on the planet to discuss topics concerning health care disparities.

He has founded the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, based at Morehouse School of Medicine. He is most widely known as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States but was also a former Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is the first person to hold both titles.

He presented information about mental health that helped everyone understand it better from a cultural perspective.


REGINA BENJAMIN Medical Doctor MBA DAMFP FAAFP Regina Benjamin, MD and MBA is the New Orleans Times Picayune Endowed Chair of Public Health Sciences at Xavier University. She also served as the 18th United States Surgeon General. Dr. Benjamin specializes in prevention policies that concern health care disparities among socio-economic groups which includes suicide, violence and mental health.

Dr. Benjamin is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She has been chosen as a Kellogg National Fellow and Rockefeller Next Generation Leader.

Dr. Benjamin was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. She received a National Caring Award, which was inspired by Mother Teresa and was recognized with the Papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Ponticifice from Pope Benedict XVI. Dr. Benjamin is the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award Fellowship and the 20-11 Chairman’s Award at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards. Last year Reader’s Digest, ranked her number 22 of the “100 Most Trusted People in America.

However, Dr. Benjamin doesn’t live a life based on accolades. She prefers action based on one simple principle. Give treatment to all patients whether they can pay or not.


CHARLES B. WILLIS Georgia Whole Health Workforce Development Director
Charles Willis holds the title of Georgia Whole Health Workforce Development Director and has more than 20 years of successful, results-oriented experience in the helping professions of education and facilitation.

In addition, Mr. Willis has worked as a Senior Research Interviewer with Emory University Grace Crum Rollins School of Public Health. He is the Whole Health Workforce Development Project Director with the GA Mental Health Consumer Network, an organization that promotes holistic recovery and resiliency through advocacy, education, employment, empowerment, peer support and self-help and joins us to share his experiences working with and conquering mental illness.


Sue Smith is well-known and respected in Georgia and across the country for her expertise in children’s services, advocacy, education and Systems of Care.

She is a founding member of the Georgia Parent Support Network, Georgia’s Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. Sue is the Past-President of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Past President of the Mental Health Association of Georgia and past Chair of the Mental Health Planning Council of Georgia.


Atlanta can’t live without Grady and the Grady Health Systems representative on this forum was Christopher Mosley. Mosely is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, has earned a Doctorate of Strategic Leadership and holds the title of Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for Grady Health.


MONICA SAXBY PARKER LPC for DBHDD She is the Division Director for Mental Health for Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. She plans and oversees mental health policies for the state. She is responsible for overseeing the offices for adult, adolescent and childhood mental health in addition to housing programs and federal grants.

She also helps to develop the programs that impact community based health systems.

The forum also featured a front row filled with distinguished guests.


SHERRY BLAKE PhD Some of you might know her as therapist to the stars. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Atlanta who has appeared as a relationship expert on the reality program Braxton Family Values and season five of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.


TAMU LEWIS She is the president of the Lee Thompson Young Foundation. Young was a rising actor who committed suicide in 2013. Ms. Lewis is his sister and she’ll share why de-stigmatizing mental illness is a step vital on the path toward saving the lives of young people.



INDIGO TRIPLETT Indigo Triplett is a successful business woman who has built and operated million dollar companies. She also battles mental illness. She explained why she’s willing to share her story and what needs to happen in work environments to keep people from suffering in silence.


LAURA CARSON not introduced Laura Carson operates a non profit organization called Black Girls Smile. It focuses on mental health for young African-American women. She founded her organization to create a sense of community for black women who are fighting mental illness and to let them know they don’t have to face the battle alone.


SINCLAIR GREY III not introduced Sinclair Grey the third is certified in addiction prevention and recovery.

He is a minister who was raised as a Catholic ordained in both the Baptist and Methodist denominations and earned a doctorate in divinity from Saint Thomas Christian University in Jacksonville, Florida.

He hosts as a radio program broadcast around the country every Monday afternoon and he just concluded a program before joining us here today.

There was one humorous interlude during the forum between Ms. Vanzant and the offstage voice over emcee. The amplified voice relayed instructions from FDHA decision makers about program flow. “Where is this voice coming from?” Ms. Vanzant finally asked. The owner, Marti Covington, stood up from the back of the room. Ms. Vanzant playfully referred to her as ‘the great voice’ for the rest of the program.

The fourth annual FDHA Health Summit takes place October 28th at the Atlanta Hyatt Regency. The topic for 2015 is Violence. Continue to read this web site to learn more.

@TheFDHA on Twitter!

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.

Search the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority