Employers and Advocates Working Together to Improve Community Health

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We want to hear from you! Come learn from our speakers and join a facilitated discussion about collaborative efforts of employers and advocacy organizations to improve population health in Savannah and beyond.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Savannah Technical College
Eckburg Auditorium

Click here to view the agenda

Conference Bios

Session Facilitator

Debbie Kibbe joined the Georgia Health Policy Center as a senior research associate in October 2011. Previously, Debbie served as Director of the Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) Program for the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C. Working with PAN since 1998, she helped coordinate, evaluate, and publish results from school, community, and health care intervention projects aimed at health promotion and obesity prevention.

Debbie is faculty for the American Dietetic Association Commission on Dietetic Registration’s certificate program on childhood and adolescent weight management and is a member of the education subcommittee of the United States National Physical Activity Plan. She serves on the board of the Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition and was a steering committee member for Georgia’s Nutrition and Physical Activity initiative funded by the CDC. Debbie has a Master of Science in Personnel and Employment Relations from GSU and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hiram College in Ohio.

Don Betts works in Georgia Tech’s Health IT Extension group which sits at the critical intersection between the health science and technology innovations growing out of the Georgia Tech campus and relationships with health care system components around the state and with thousands of employers.

Don’s current focus is to help non-health related employers operate a new organization called EmployersLikeMe.   EmployersLikeMe is a peer-to-peer learning network to help employers provide better health care for employees at the best possible cost. Don also works with employers for unique technology solutions to health information issues through Georgia Tech’s I3L Laboratory. He also assists primary care health providers adopt and use electronic medical records and connect to local and state health information exchanges.


Sarah Dobra is the Director of Development and Operations for Georgians for a Healthy Future. She provides operational, development, planning and evaluation, and editorial support to ensure the organization is functioning well across programs and projects. Prior to joining Georgians for a Healthy Future, Sarah was the Disparities Manager and Cancer Care Delivery Research Program Coordinator at a community cancer center in Savannah, Georgia. In this position Sarah successfully leveraged community partners to support cancer prevention and screening activities to address cancer disparities as part of a larger community network. She has extensive monitoring and evaluation experience and grant writing and management experience both within Georgia and internationally. Sarah has also worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on international HIV/AIDS prevention and for the University of Kentucky as their Country Coordinator for a public health project in Ecuador. Within Georgia, Sarah has helped to begin the Georgia Colorectal Roundtable to increase colorectal cancer screening. Sarah obtained her law and Master’s in Public Health degrees at Tulane University and a BA from the University of Oregon.

View Sarah’s presentation here> 

Dianne Gorski is the Wellness Coordinator for Georgia Power.  Dianne has more than 18 years of experience in the health and wellness field, including managing health and disease management programs for Corporate Health Partners in Kennesaw, Ga. She is also a registered and licensed dietitian and has considerable experience in hospital and clinically based nutrition therapy, including serving as the clinical nutrition manager for Cartersville Medical Center.  Dianne has many years of experience in the fitness industry, including serving as the program manager at Lockheed Martin’s employee fitness center.


Sarah Hanson is the Employee Health and Wellness Coordinator with the City of Savannah.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Carroll University and went on to earn her Master’s in Public Health.  She’s a Certified Health Education Specialist and has been trained as a Health and Wellness Coach through WellCoaches School of Coaching.


Lisa Hayes is the Executive Director of Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council. Hayes has over 15 years of experience in program and financial management in the non-profit, academic, and private sectors along with extensive experience building effective partnerships. Prior to her most recent work as an independent consultant, she served as a Senior Program Director with the Task Force for Global Health. During that time, she co-authored the book, “Real Collaboration: What it Takes for Global Health to Succeed.” Hayes is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and received her Master of Business Administration degree from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in 2000. She is a Fellow of the 11th class of the Liberty Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

View Lisa’s presentation here>

Polly McKinney  is 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.  Polly 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 production work on high-end commercials and national television series.  In addition, she was a legacy advisor for former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller and worked for national and statewide political ad campaigns.  Following her career in film and television, s moved into the political and social advocacy field.  There she has 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, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).


Ekta Patel is the Public Health Educator for Chatham County Health Department in Savannah, Georgia. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2012. Ms. Patel began her work with Coastal Health District as an intern in Chronic Disease Prevention Program in 2011.  Upon graduation, she continued working with the district as a Perinatal Health Educator for Savannah Perinatal Initiative Program.

She is continuing her work as a Public Health Educator for the Chatham County Health Department by raising awareness on wide range of public health related issues such as diabetes, nutrition and wellness, hypertension, and smoking cessation. Ms. Patel is certified as Child Passenger Safety Technician, Parents Reducing Injury and Driving Errors (P.R.I.D.E) instructor, certified Basic Life Support CPR and Heart Saver instructor, Smoking Cessation facilitator, and Personnel Responsibility Education Program (PREP) facilitator. She is dedicated to increasing public health awareness and help improve the quality of life of Chatham County residents.

View Ekta’s presentation here>

Joy Williams Paulk is Vice-President of Williams Institutional Foods in Douglas, Georgia. Williams is a broad line foodservice distributor founded in 1951 by Joy’s father. Williams continues to be owned and operated by the Williams family. Joy joined the family business over 25 years ago. Prior to joining Williams, Joy worked with Coffee Regional Medical Center as a Registered Nurse in Women’s Health. Williams is in its 4th year of offering a Wellness program to their employees. Joy is involved in Better Health Lower Cost. This group is comprised of local employers, Coffee Regional Medical, Coffee County Board of Education and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Joy is also a Member of Coffee Health Alliance and EmployersLikeMe state board.


Davana Pilczuk is the Corporate Ergonomics Manager for Gulfstream Aerospace, a division of General Dynamics. Previously, she was the Corporate Wellness manager for Gulfstream where she ran the corporate wide program, teaching on the benefits of sleep, exercise, a healthy diet and stress management.

In 2012, she was awarded the Practitioner of the Year award by the Institute of Industrial Engineers for her outstanding achievement in creating a culture driven ergonomics program. The Gulfstream ergonomics program has received seven additional international awards under her tenure and is recognized for its high level of employee engagement in ergonomics.

She sits on several ergonomics and wellness committees (the General Dynamics Ergonomics Sub-Committee, Applied Ergonomics Program Committee, Aerospace Forum, and Healthy Savannah Board) and mentors several other companies, universities and medical schools on how to develop ergonomics and wellness programs.

She received her masters and doctorate degrees in Kinesiology from Auburn University, and her bachelors degree from the University of Miami, in Coral Gables, Florida.


Lizann Roberts is the Board President for Healthy Savannah.  An executive coach, consultant and seasoned leader, Lizann has over 30 years of experience, spanning government, non-profit, and corporate environments. She launched her own coaching and consulting firm in 2005.  Lizann has served as a college professor and administrator, worked for large health care organizations, owned a small business, and served as human resources professional.  Currently she consults with USI Insurances Services, and Quantum Innovations.  She received her master’s degree in Education and earned coaching certificates through Georgetown University and Strozzi Institute.  Lizann is an active community leader and is the Board President of Healthy Savannah, a community-based health initiative held as a national model of leadership for social and environmental change.

 View Lizann’s presentation here>

Gary Rost is the Executive Director of Savannah Business Group located in Savannah, Georgia. Gary has been with SBG since 1993.  He provides leadership and operational oversight of the Coalition’s activities; including value based purchasing, value based benefit design, provider relations, and population health activities.  SBG’s services include a PPO network (using a direct to provider contracting model), a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), and other contracts. Savannah Business Group on Healthcare Cost Management Inc. and its subsidiaries, SBG Preferred Health Resources and Savannah Health Alliance, are located in Savannah, Georgia.  The Coalition was established in 1982, has twenty-three member employers representing over 56,000 lives.

Gary serves on numerous national, regional, and local boards and committees. Prior to joining SBG Gary spent 20 years in the US Army.  Gary and his wife Debra live in Guyton, Georgia and have been married for forty-two years; they have four children and ten grandchildren.


Beth Stephens is the Health Access Program Director at Georgia Watch where she works to ensure access to safe, quality, affordable healthcare for all Georgians through consumer education, policy development and advocacy. Beth conducts policy and advocacy work at the state and national levels. Prior to joining the Georgia Watch team, she was an attorney in the Health Law Unit at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society where she represented low-income Georgians in a variety of civil legal matters.  Beth received a J.D. (magna cum laude) from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and a B.A. in English and Political Science from Emory University.  Beth is a member of numerous professional and bar organizations and served as the Chair of the Public Interest Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association from 2013-2014.

View Beth’s presentation here>

Social Engagement Ladder

Robyn Wainner, Director for Asset Building & Financial Empowerment, Step Up Savannah, is responsible for working with community partners to develop and enhance financial services and asset building opportunities for Savannah’s lower-income residents. She manages the Bank On Savannah program as well as projects involving workplace-based financial education and increasing access to public benefits programs. Prior to joining Step Up Savannah, she worked in Vermont at Casey Family Services, managing the Family Economic Success initiative, which included coordinating the state’s largest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site and strengthening VITA capacity statewide. Ms. Wainner has also worked in London, England as a child protection social worker and in New York, NY as an Assistant Editor for Cambridge University Press. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Northern Arizona University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Vermont.

View Robyn’s presentation here>

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