Georgia Shape Project Manager, Emily Anne Vall, Earns First Lady’s Servant’s Heart Award

February 1, 2016

Emily Anne Vall, Ph.D., Georgia Shape project manager, was recently recognized with the Servant’s Heart Award presented by First Lady Sandra Deal.

She was honored for her exemplary leadership of Georgia Shape, the Governor’s Childhood Obesity Initiative, where she unites her personal passion for health with her public health expertise.

Vall leads a multidisciplinary team made up of philanthropic, academic, community, state and business partners in the coordination of multiple statewide efforts. These efforts are focused on children from birth through high school and include everything from advocating for breastfeeding to increasing physical activity in schools.

Her commitment to the children and families of the state of Georgia is undeniable. She is untiring in her efforts to advance of this initiative.

“I was flattered and grateful to receive this award from the First Lady,” Vall said. “I love my job and to be recognized for my work was just an honor. I’m so grateful to have the support and leadership of such inspiring people such as our commissioner, Dr. Fitzgerald, and our deputy chief of staff, Christine Green.”

Vall is an avid health enthusiast and advocate that found her calling early in life. She has since parlayed that passion into a rewarding public health career dedicated to improving the well-being of children and adolescents.

 “I grew up in an environment that allowed me to be outside and active every day. I was either in the pool, at the beach, on my bike or running around every waking hour,” she said. “Not all children have that luxury and many grow up to be adults that have never moved. My goal is to cultivate a love and appreciation for a healthy lifestyle among as many people as possible.”

Vall’s management of Georgia Shape has been instrumental in the achievement of national recognitions including awards from the President’s Council of Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and the Harvard Kennedy School for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

As Georgia Shape enters 2016 with a new focus on Georgia’s middle schools, Vall remains inspired to continue building the initiative’s extensive collaborations that have significantly contributed to its success in past years.

“I am most proud of Georgia Shape’s deep and diverse partnerships,” Vall said. “We have an army of experts helping us move the needle on child health and wellness in the state. I constantly find myself smiling in meetings because someone offered an innovative solution or perspective that alone we would not have identified. It is a very fun environment to work in and I consider myself very, very fortunate.”

Outside of her professional life, Vall takes her love for children to her role as a “big sister” to young girl in her local community. Vall says the experience of being a mentor and positively influencing a young life is always a role she proudly upholds.

“My little sister teaches me just as much as I teach her, if not more,” Vall said. “When I started I really didn’t think I would be the one benefitting from the program so much. It really makes you see the world in a different way.”

To learn more about Vall’s work with Georgia Shape, visit

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