Staff

Section Leadership

Jean C. O’Connor, JD, DrPH, FACHE is the Chronic Disease Prevention Section Director. She has more than 17 years of public health experience, including at CDC and as the Deputy State Public Health Director in another state. She earned her BS in Medical Anthropology and Juris Doctor and Master of Public Health in Health Policy at Emory University and her Doctor of Public Health in Health Administration and Policy from the Executive Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Freda M. Parker is the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked as the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Director of Service Operations and Integration at Florida Blue (formerly Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) and worked in a similar capacity for nearly a decade at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Audrey Idaikkadar, MPH is the Program Manager for combined interventions to improve language acquisition and increase fruit and vegetable consumption in early care settings.  Before joining the Department of Public Health, she was with the New York City Department of Health where she worked with schools in high poverty areas to create and implement wellness practices that increased opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. She has worked for over 10 years in public health on projects that have included HIV prevention and education, surveillance, and chronic disease prevention.  Audrey earned her MPH from Columbia University and her BA from University of California at Berkeley.

Administration and Finance

Andrea Wimbush, MPA, MCHES is the Deputy Director for Administration and Finance for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to this role, Andrea served as a Unit Director and Program Manager within the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. She has been with the Department of Public Health for 10 years. Andrea earned her Master of Public Administration from Troy State University and her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from Georgia Southern University.

Russ Hanson is the Operations Support Manager for the Department of Public Health, Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to joining the section, Russ worked for a number of years in the Contracts and Procurement Office of the Department of Public Health.  

Evaluation

Kia Powell-Threets, MS is the Lead Evaluator for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees the evaluators in the Reporting and Evaluation Unit. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, Kia worked in the private sector and academia for 19 years. Kia earned her MS in Biostatistics from the University of Vermont in 1990 and BS in Mathematics/Physics from St. Andrews.

Emma Bicego, MA, MPH is the Program Evaluator for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees Tobacco program evaluation activities. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked in chronic disease in several African countries including Swaziland Population Unit for more than 5 years. Emma earned her MPH from University of Pretoria, South Africa in 2007, her MA from University of Ghana in 1995 and her undergraduate degree in 1992 from University of Malawi.

Chinwe Ejikeme, DrPH, MPH is the Rape Prevention Education Program Evaluator for the Chronic Disease and Prevention Section. She earned her B.Sc. (Biology) and MPH at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria and in 2013, she obtained her DrPH at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA. Prior to working at the Department of Public Health, she worked as a volunteer, interned with the CDC and worked in various Public Health programs overseas for over 10 years.

Janet Jeon, MPH is the Cancer Program Evaluator for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section, where she provides evaluation support to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Prior to joining the Department of Public Health, Janet studied as a doctoral student at the Gillings School of Global Public Health in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her MPH in Health Care Management and Policy from Seoul National University and her BS in Human Development from Cornell University. 

Stephanie P. Hall, MPH, CHES serves as a Program Evaluator in the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. She leads and implements the evaluation efforts for the Georgia Asthma Control Program as well as for the Obesity Prevention, Physical Activity and Nutrition efforts in schools and early child care settings. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Appalachian State University, her MPH from Morehouse School of Medicine, and is currently finishing her PHD in Sociology at Georgia State University. Prior to her current position at the Department of Public Health, she has worked as a program evaluator, research assistant, and research associate. 

Elizabeth A. Otwell, MSPH serves as the Health Systems Evaluator/Epidemiologist in the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. She leads the evaluation efforts and provides epidemiologic support for health systems interventions and cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes prevention. She has more than 10 years of experience working in public health as a quality assurance specialist, research project coordinator, health policy project manager, and project administrator.  Elizabeth completed her BA in Sociology from Emory University, her MSPH from the University of Alabama-Birmingham with a concentration in Health Policy and Outcomes Research, and is currently finishing her PhD in Sociology at Georgia State University

Prevention, Screening and Treatment

Shana Scott, JD, MPH is the Health Systems Project Director for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, Shana worked in policy at the CDC and has been in public health for over 10 years. Shana Scott earned her JD from Loyola University School of Law, her MPH from Armstrong Atlantic State University and her BS in Biology from Morgan State University.

Allison Smith, MPH, CHES is the Policy, Program, and Planning Analyst: Diabetes and Vision for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she has worked in public health for 1 year. Allison earned her Masters of Public Health, her Certified Health Education Specialist certificate in 2014 and her BS in 2012 from Armstrong State University.

Colleen Commons, MPH is the Tobacco Cessation Coordinator for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to joining the Department of Public Health, Colleen spent 5 years a Health Education Supervisor with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan.  In this role, Colleen spearheaded all the tobacco cessation efforts for the Tribe as well as supervised the Sault Tribe's Nicotine Dependence and Coaching program including development of delivery systems, policies and procedures, staff training, development and purchasing of materials, and on-going evaluation of the program. She has extensive experience in tobacco cessation and is a certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist.   

Cathy Broom, BS is the Program Manager for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program in the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, Cathy Broom worked for two South Carolina governors and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. She has worked in chronic disease for more than 23 years. Cathy earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina in 1974 in Business Administration and Psychology. In April 2001, she received a Certificate of Completion for a 10-month executive leadership course for Public Health Managers from the North Carolina Institute of Public Health, Management Academy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Melody Clark is the Office Admin Generalist for the Prevention, Screening and Treatment Section. Melody works closely with the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, Women’s Health, Medicaid, and Colorectal Program. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health she served other public sector positions. Melody has been with Department of Public Health for 8 years.

Janet Johnson English, RN is the Nurse Consultant for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and provides information to the districts related to programmatic goals and requirements. She has been working for Department of Public Health for over 19 years, including 5 years at the county level as a staff nurse and 7 years at the district level as BCCP coordinator. Mrs. English earned an Associates of Nursing Degree from LaGrange College in 1992.

Yolanda L. Palmer is the Unit Manager for the Cancer State Aid Program and has worked for the Department of Public Health for nearly 8 years. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked in various private sector positions which included management and vendor service responsibilities. Yolanda earned her Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan College in Macon, GA in 1995.

Carla Peterson is the Administrative Assistant for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and supports the Cancer State Aid Program. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she has worked for a few public and non-profit organizations for over 30 years.

Brenda Mitchell is the Financial Operations Generalist for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and supports the Cancer State Aid Program. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she has worked for Grady Memorial Hospital for 15 years. Brenda has over 30 years of work experience.

Tara Perry is the Business Operations Generalist for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and supports the Cancer State Aid Program. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health Tara has worked for 12 years in customer service. Tara has over 11 years working with the Department of Public Health.

Cathy Willard, RN, MSN is a Nurse Consultant for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and provides information to the districts related to programmatic goals and requirements as well as program management support to the program manager. Pror to joining the Department of Public Health, Catherine had a wide range of nursing experience, including serving as a faculty instructor for an Associate Nursing RN program teaching adult health, geriatric nursing and nursing leadership, Hospice Admission Coordinator, and an educator and stress management facilitator. She earned her Masters of Nursing from the University of Florida and her Bachelors from the University of Central Florida. 

Adolescent and School Health

Kia Toodle is the Deputy Director for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees Adolescent and School Health. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked in chronic disease at the district level for over 14 years. Kia is currently completing her MBA from Grantham University in Program Management. Her undergraduate degree is from Covenant Christian in Organizational Behavior Management.

Tamiko Pickett is the Administrative Assistant for the Office of Adolescent of School Health (ASH) within the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health she worked with Behavior Risk Reduction and briefly within the Office of Tobacco, Policy, System and Environmental Change unit for 8 years. Tamiko has also worked with Child Support Enforcement Services and Department of Family and Children Services for over 10 years. Tamiko earned a business certification from Drake Business School, Queens, New York and she is currently attending Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa, to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Leadership.

Anne-Marie Coleman, MPH, PhD is the Youth Tobacco Prevention Coordinator for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees the preventing youth tobacco initiation goal area for the Georgia Tobacco Control Program. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, Anne -Marie Coleman worked in chronic disease prevention including at a local health district for more than 7 years. Anne-Marie Coleman earned her MPH from Walden University in 2010 and her undergraduate degree in Health Science Education from University of Florida in 2005.

Mosi Bayo, MEd is a Program Manager for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees the Sexual Violence Prevention Program. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked in the anti-violence against women’s movement for over 25 years. She earned both her M.ED in counselling and her undergraduate degree in Art Studio from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Joyce W. Eskridge, MBA is the Adolescent Health and Youth Development Program Manager. She has four years of experience working in health districts consulting on evidenced-based teen pregnancy prevention programming. She has a MBA in Marketing and Accounting and is working on her PhD in Educational Psychology. She brings several years of training and facilitation experience in delivering a variety of diverse curricula funded by the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH). 

Joanna Hill, MPH is the Asthma Program Consultant/Trainer for the Georgia Asthma Control Program in the Adolescent and School Health Unit, within the Chronic Disease Prevention Section.  Prior to joining the Department of Public Health, she was an employee with the Department of Community Health and Department of Human Services where she directed and facilitated unit trainings regarding program integrity/monitoring and coordinated provider trainings on quality improvement for the Community Cares Services Program.  She holds a Master of Public Health from Mercer University College of Health Professions and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana. 

Planning and Partnerships

Christine J. Wiggins, MPH, CHES is the Deputy Director for Planning and Partnerships for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees Healthy Communities, Health District  Relations, Asthma Control Program Partnership Coordination, the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and the Chronic Disease Prevention Council. Prior to this role, she was the Director of Special Projects for the Maternal and Child Health Section within DPH. She has 11 years of experience with implementing local health programs and 6 years of experience establishing partnerships at the federal, state and community levels.  Christine received her B.A. in Health Sciences from Lincoln University and a M.S. in Health Administration and in Health Education from Saint Joseph’s University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).

Tamira M. Moon, MPH, CHES is a Policy, Program and Planning Advisor for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she implemented public health initiatives in her native state of Ohio. Ms. Moon is a knowledgeable public health professional possessing more than 12 years of experience. Tamira is a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University earning a B.S. in Early Childhood Development and Master’s in Public Health.

Maria Fontenelle is the Policy, Program and Planning Advisor in the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and serves as the Health District Relations Coordinator. Prior to working for the department of Public Health Maria worked in private and public health both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Maria has over 20 years of experience in public health including over 5 years in chronic disease prevention. Maria earned her degrees from the University of London Management Academy for Public Health Certificate in executive leadership from the North Carolina Institute of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tonia Clifton is the Program Associate for Planning and Partnerships in the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked as a Legal Assistant for nineteen years. Tonia earned a Diploma in Legal Assistant Studies at Piedmont College, Clarkston Georgia in 1998 and is presently working on her Bachelor’s Degree.

Kriti Yadav, BDS, MPH is responsible for oral health and chronic disease partnerships. Prior to joining the Department of Public Health, Kriti had extensive experience in the dental public health field. She has worked for public health for 5 years and before that as a dentist for 3 years in India.  Kriti earned her Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in Punjab, India and her MPH from the University of Florida.

Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change

Kenneth Ray, MPH is the Deputy Director for the Office of Tobacco, Policy, System and Environmental Change for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees the promotion of evidence-based strategies and promising practices for the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Prior to working for Department of Public Health, Kenneth worked in tobacco control for over 20 years and chronic disease for three years. Kenneth Ray earned his MPH from Hunter College, City University of New York in New York City and his undergraduate degree in Health Education from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.

Alesia Gales is the Administrative Assistant for the Tobacco, Policy, System, and Environmental Change Unit in the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, Alesia worked for the Fulton County Sheriff Department for a total of 15 years. Alesia is a former student of Mercer University and is currently applying to return to Mercer University to complete her studies in Business Management.

Oluwayomi Fabayo, MPH is the Policy, Program and Planning Advisor (Smoke-free Air Coordinator) for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees tobacco-free and smoke-free projects. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked at the University College Hospital in Nigeria for 6 years and Albany State University for 5years. Oluwayomi earned her MPH from Mercer University in 2013 and DDS from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

Shalonda Freeman, PhD, MPH is the Chronic Disease Prevention Manager for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section and oversees chronic disease prevention activities to reduce the burden of chronic diseases and their risk factors in Georgia. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked in research at Emory University for more than 8 years. Dr. Freeman earned her PhD from Clark Atlanta University in 2004 and her MPH from Emory University.

Crystal Isaacs, MPH is the Cardiovascular Health Program Manager for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section, with a  focus on health systems interventions and cardiovascular disease prevention. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked at the New York City Department of Health in New York City for 2 years as a Senior Public Health Specialist and has 8 years of Public Health experience. Crystal earned her MPH from Walden University in 2011.

Kimberly Jenkins, MHA is the SNAP Education Program Manager for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section. She focuses on implementing interventions related to worksite health. Prior to working for the Department of Public Health, she worked with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension where she managed the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in several counties in Georgia. Kimberly earned her MHA from Clayton State University and her undergraduate degree in Nutrition Science from the University of Georgia. 

Esther Mune, PhD, MPH is the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Manager for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section.  She focuses on environmental approaches that promote good health. Prior to her current position, Dr. Mune worked in Cobb-Douglas Public Health District in various capacities, including intern, public health educator and planning and policy specialist. She has a MPH and PhD in public health, specializing in community health, from Walden University. 

 

 

 


Page last updated 05/15/2017