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PHWEEK Introduces Georgia Board of Public Health Members

December 13, 2013

Originally published Aug. 29, 2011

Governor Nathan Deal has appointed all nine members of the first Georgia Board of Public Health. PHWEEK is pleased to introduce them to all of you and the entire DPH family!

Donald W. Venn, II, Colonel (Retired) M.Ed
Venn is a retired colonel who retired as the Chief of Staff of the Georgia Army National Guard in 2005. He served as deputy director of the Georgia Office of Homeland Security from 2006 to 2008. He currently serves as assistant adjutant general of operations for the Georgia Department of Defense. Venn received a Master’s in Education in 1976 from Armstrong State College. He and his wife, Carole, have two sons and three grandchildren and reside in Kennesaw.

James M. Smith, Ph.D 
Smith is an adjunct professor of environmental and occupational health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a consultant in the field of biophysics. He worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 22 years and retired in 2006 as associate director for radiation in CDC’s Center for Environmental Health. Prior to CDC, Smith was an associate research professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He is a past recipient of several federal career awards; among them is the U.S. Public Health Service Superior Service Award. He is a graduate of West Virginia University, where he also earned master’s and doctorate degrees in physics. He and his wife, June, reside in Braselton and have three children and five grandchildren.

Cynthia F. Greene , DMD
Greene is a current partner at Bennett Family Dentistry in Gainesville. In Hall County, she serves in the Junior League, is an active board member of Teen Pregnancy Prevention and volunteers at the Good News Clinic to help provide dental care to the underserved. Greene is a member of the Georgia Dental Association, American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia Honors Program in microbiology and a Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Florida. Greene and her husband, John, have two daughters, Bailey and Carly. 

James W. Curran, MD 
Curran has been dean and professor of epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health since 1995. In 2009, the deanship of the school was endowed in his honor and he holds the position as the first James W. Curran Dean of Public Health. Since 1997, he has also served as principal investigator and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research. Curran has been the author of more than 260 scientific publications. He serves on numerous local and national nonprofit boards and committees. Curran has also served as chair of the Association of Schools of Public Health and currently serves on the executive committee. Prior to Emory, he served for more than two decades with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1981 to 1995, he was a leader of the CDC’s HIV research and prevention efforts. Curran and his wife, Juanita, have two adult children and have lived in Atlanta since 1978.

Phillip L. Williams, Ph.D 
Williams is the founding dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia (UGA), and he holds the Georgia Power Professorship of Environmental Health Science in the college’s Department of Environmental Health Science. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications, including two textbooks on toxicology. Prior to his tenure at UGA, which began in 1993, Williams was vice president of the Environmental Health Division of A.T. Kearney, a senior research scientist with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the industrial hygienist with the USDOL/OSHA. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and a doctoral degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Theda, have two children and two grandchildren. The couple resides in Watkinsville.

Kathryn K. Cheek, MD, FAAP 
Cheek is the current president of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has practiced primary care pediatrics in Columbus for the past 25 years, serving on multiple local and state boards throughout her career. Cheek earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina and both a Master’s Degree in health education and a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University. She and her husband, Ben, have three children. The family resides in Columbus.

Gary D. Nelson, Ph.D 
Nelson has served as president of Healthcare Georgia Foundation since its inception in 2002. Prior to joining the foundation, Nelson was program director for the California Wellness Foundation. Nelson previously served as the associate director for evaluation and chief of the Health Promotion and Training Branch in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nelson has held academic appointments at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Nebraska, and he currently holds adjunct appointments at Emory University and Georgia Southern University. He is currently a member of the American Public Health Association and the Georgia Public Health Association. Nelson resides in Smyrna and has four children.

Mitch Rodriguez, MD 
Rodriguez currently serves as Regional Neonatal Medical Director for the Macon region. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, member of the Medical Association of Georgia, clinical associate professor of Pediatrics at Mercer Medical School and is a practicing neonatologist in Macon. He serves as chairman of the board at Mount de Sales, Macon. Rodriguez earned his medical degree from Universidad Nordestana in the Dominican Republic and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. He and his wife have two children. The family resides in Macon.

Robert S. Harshman, MD 
Harshman is the Medical Director of Georgia Power/Southern Company as well as the Trojan Battery Company. He serves on the Advisory Council for Public Health and on the Advisory Board of the Rollins School of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERRC) at Emory. Harshman is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), the Georgia Chapter of ACOEM, the Medical Association of Georgia and Atlanta and the Southern Medical Association. Harshman earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and a medical degree from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara Medical School.