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Public Health Employees Earn Emory Degrees: DPH commissioner serves as commencement speaker

December 13, 2013

Originally published May 20, 2013

Two Georgia public health employees were among the graduates celebrating their achievements at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health on May 13.

Albert Wright, emergency preparedness administrator for Fulton County Department of Health Services, and Greg Bautista, project coordinator for the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), earned their Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees from the school. Both participated in the Career MPH program, a distance learning career master's program for public health professionals.

Wright has worked in emergency preparedness for Fulton County since 2011. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and, at age 65, Emory University's oldest graduate this year.

"I consider this my capstone achievement in my life," Wright said. "I just want to be an example for folks, young and old, to look at and know they can realize their dreams."

Wright earned his degree in prevention science and wrote his thesis on public health preparedness in faith-based communities in the Atlanta area.

Bautista also concentrated his degree in prevention science. His research covered factors that contribute to high rates of missing or incomplete behavioral risk factor information on HIV case report forms submitted to DPH by health care providers in Georgia.

"This is a major milestone for me and my family, and I am excited my thesis will be soon published," Bautista said.

DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., was also honored at the ceremonies as the school's commencement speaker. In her speech, Fitzgerald encouraged the graduates to commit to practicing high quality public health by relying on facts and thorough investigation of issues.