L. "Neicey" Johnson, RN, BSN, Esq.


Community Health Disparities in Elimination of Social Determinants of Health

  • Founder and Executive Director, VSNS, Inc.

L. Neicey Johnson, registered nurse and attorney, is the founder and executive director of VSNS, Inc. (Visions), a Georgia not-for-profit personal service and mentoring organization in metro Atlanta since 2003. Its purpose is to provide an environment where persons are empowered to improve their economic status through education and skills development by simply changing the way they think. Under her leadership, the organization seeks opportunities to ensure its program participants overcome barriers to success with adequate skills, education, and access to available resources; the basis for its corporate existence.

Neicey has over 25 years of varying administrative and clinical healthcare experience and is the founder of a healthcare consulting firm and served over 10 years as co-producer of a local public television show. She is an active volunteer and participant of several community-based business boards, including the Diversity Leadership Council of the American Heart Association, Southeast Region Health Equity Council, and lifetime member of the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Debra Nesbit

Member, CE Community Steering Board

Community Engagement / Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG)

  • Associate Legislative Director

Debra Nesbit is the Associate Legislative Director at ACCG. In this role she is heavily involved in policy work in the health and human services and criminal justice arenas of county government. She is the point person on these issues with the legislature, state agencies and organizations involved in these areas. Debra has been with ACCG for nine years.

Before joining ACCG, Debra was the Deputy Director of the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts, where she was responsible for budget, trial court and legislative liaison, as well day to day management of the agency. Prior to that Debra was a Program Manager with the Department of Human Services, MH/MR/SA Division and worked in the mental health and substance abuse provider licensing and oversight duties. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Limestone College in Gaffney, SC. She has over thirty years of experience in the policy area of health and human services and court administration.

Lisa Carhuff

Steering Board Member

Community Engagement

Lisa Carhuff is the Director of Hospital Services for the State of Georgia Department of Community Health, State Office of Rural Health. She is responsible for budgetary planning and oversight of $7 million-dollar hospital services department budget. She provides program development, implementation and oversight for thirty-two federal and state grant programs including; the Health Resources and Services Administration Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) Grant and the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant. The hospital services department currently manages concept development and implementation of additional State Office of Rural Health State funding grants, and ongoing technical assistance to Georgia's 62 rural and critical access hospitals. Currently, she serves as project manager for Governor's Rural Hospital Stabilization Project: a $3 million-dollar multi-year grant program focused on strengthening rural healthcare access.

Abigail "Abby" Cox

Member, CE Community Steering Board

Community Engagement / Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services

  • Director of the Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services (DAS)

Abigail (Abby) Cox is the Director of the Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services (DAS). In this capacity she administers a statewide system of services for older adults, their families and caregivers. She works closely with other aging agencies and organizations to effectively and efficiently respond to the needs of elderly Georgians. DAS meets the challenge of Georgia's growing older population through continued service improvement and innovation.

Before beginning her work with DAS, Abby was the Executive Director of the Georgia Gerontology Society (GGS), which is the largest state organization of multidisciplinary professionals in the field of aging. Abby began her career in Gerontology in 2005 with the Georgia Division of Aging Services. She has also worked with Care Improvement Plus as a Medical Social Worker and at the Georgia Council on Aging as an advocate at the State Capitol on behalf of aging issues.

Abby is an MSW. She received her MSW and Gerontology Certificate from the University of Georgia and her B.A. from The University of the South (Sewanee). She is married with two daughters and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Debbie Murray

Co-Director, CE

Community Engagement / University of Georgia

  • Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Dr. Murray, is the Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and provides leadership and direction for the statewide extension program in Family and Consumer Sciences and Health at the University of Georgia. She has expertise in community participatory research methods, diffusion of innovation application and theories, and best practices in working with rural and urban communities.  Her area of research interest is in diffusion of innovation, social networks and analysis, and social marketing. She has had success in developing and supporting partnerships between researchers and the Cooperative Extension Service in Georgia addressing health outcomes. She serves on and provides leadership to the Community Based Research Services Committee of the University of Georgia Clinical and Translational Unit. She is the Community Engagement Co-Director of the Community Engagement Core Function of the Georgia CTSA.

Nikki Randall

Member, CE Community Steering Board

Community Engagement

Nikki T. Randall was born and raised in Macon Georgia, the youngest of five children born to the Honorable William C. and Lauretta Fults Randall. She attended Bibb County Public Schools and is a graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville TN, where she received a Bachelors of Business Administration degree, she also holds a Masters of Public Health from Mercer University School of Medicine.

Ms. Randall, a third generation elected official, made history in 1999 by becoming the first African American female to be elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Middle Georgia. She retired from the Georgia General Assembly in December 2016. She currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Community Outreach and Civic Engagement at Navicent Health. Ms. Randall serves on the boards of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, and Crisis Line Safe House of Middle Georgia.

Ms. Randall is a distinguished alumnus of Leadership Macon (1998) and Leadership Georgia (2004). She is also an active member of the Democratic Party of Georgia, Healthcare Businesswomen Association, Macon Chapter of the LINKS, Incorporated, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Randall is member of the Beulahland Bible Church, where she works with the single ministry, Beulahland Abroad Ministry, Women of Worship ministry and sings in the Women choir. When she is not working she enjoys reading, mentoring rising political leaders, and volunteering with senior and youth organizations.

Neena K. Smith-Bankhead, MS

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

AID Atlanta, Inc.

  • Emory University CFAR

Neena Smith-Bankhead currently serves as the VP of the newly formed Research, Education, and Development Institute at AID Atlanta, Inc. In this role, Neena is responsible for the conceptualization, development and/or implementation of all agency research projects, as well as provides oversight of community outreach and education services, including behavioral interventions and HIV/STD screening services. Neena currently serves as the co-PI on a CDC-funded research project through the MARI initiative, and participated with the research efforts of Emory University's Involvement Study, HPTN 061 and 064, and Project EBAN. Neena also sits on numerous community advisory boards related to local research projects, including the Women's Intergenerational HIV Study (WIHS) and is a co-chair of the Emory HOPE Clinic Community Advisory Board. Neena represents the Emory University CFAR on ACTSI's Community Steering Board.

Throughout her career, Neena has presented numerous workshops, trainings, and presentations nationally focused on prevention and care, program evaluation, and healthcare provision for underserved populations. Although most of her work has centered on HIV and STDs, Neena also gained substantive experience working on issues including other chronic health conditions, homelessness, mental health, and human sexuality. Neena has also provided technical assistance and support to organizations through consultancies for grant writing, organizational and program development (including faith-based initiatives), and program evaluation. Neena has contributed to work cited in various professional journals, publications, and technical reports, and has been highlighted through local news and media outlets. Neena is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, receiving a BS in human development and family studies with an emphasis in adolescent development, and a MS in health education, and has worked in the field for over 20 years.

Dwight Curry Anderson, BA

Member, CE Community Steering Board

Community Engagement

  • Ryan White Planning Council, Jurisdictional HIV Prevention Planning Group for Fulton & Dekalb Counties

Dwight Curry Anderson has worked in the HIV/AIDS advocacy field for 20 years. Being a former educator for Atlanta Public Schools, that experience garnered Dwight the ability to relay technical subject manner in a way that clients of HIV services could understand. He has advocated and lobbied in Georgia and in Washington, DC on behalf of Georgia clients of HIV services. He has also organized conferences, seminars, and educational forums to inform clients of the best ways to improve health disparity outcomes. He works with the Ryan White Planning Council, Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, and the HIV Jurisdictional Prevention Planning Group for Fulton and DeKalb Counties. This often entails working as an intermediary between clients and providers.

Dwight holds a Bachelors Degree in English from Ohio State University, completed non-degree curriculums in Teacher Certification at the University of West Georgia and Georgia State University, and embarked on numerous trainings.

Lewis Autor

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

  • Director, Destiny: The Rock of Escape
  • Warriors for Life Mentoring, Employment, Community Engagement Program

Lewis Autor is the executive director of Destiny: The Rock of Escape, a non-profit project of the United Charitable Programs. For the last 10 years Lewis has lived in Southwest Atlanta communities where he works to improve education, social, health, and economic opportunities for his neighbors. In 2008, recognizing the significant obstacles facing boys and young men of color, Lewis founded the Warriors for Life-Atlanta, a program designed to take 8th grade boys on a journey that could last as long as 11 years. Boys receive mentoring, employment soft skills training, and conduct community service learning projects to help them stay connected to high school and graduate with excellence, and to equip them to lead families, businesses, and communities.

The native of Baton Rouge, LA, Lewis studied mass communications at Southern University and Texas Southern University. His career and volunteer work reflects his diverse creative skills. He is a graphic artist and themed event planner. Lewis is the playwright and producer of "The Covering: Let's Joyful," a living youth stage play that explores contemporary issues affecting boys and young men. Having discovered the rich history and contributions of the Black Press, Lewis has been on staff of several black-owned publications, including the Houston Defender, where he received 21 awards from the National Newspapers Publishers Association. His community organization experience started at the Houston Area Urban League as its public relations coordinator. In Atlanta, he served as special services coordinator at Victory Outreach Atlanta, followed by a youth coordinator position at the Young Adult Guidance Center. Lewis is a member of the Word of Faith Family Cathedral, under the leadership of Pastor Dale C. & Dr. Nina Bronner.

Janet L. Bivens, MD

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

Community Physicians' Network (CPN)

  • Founder and President, End Black on Black Crime
  • Graduate of the Morehouse School of Medicine Faculty and Development Program, 2012

Janet Bivens is a family physician, practicing in south DeKalb for 25 years. As a member of CPN, Janet participated in several research studies including e-HealthyStrides, a project using web-based technology to help patients improve diabetic control, a hypertension study with the Consortium for Southern Hypertension Control (COSEHC) which focused on aggressively treating hypertensive patients to reduce cardiovascular events. She displayed her e-HealthyStrides research poster at the 2nd National Community Partner Forum held in Washington DC in December 2012.

Janet was awarded a ACTSI Community Engagement Research Program (CERP) mini-grant in 2013 and worked with Dr. Kofi Kondwani to help disseminate his research findings which include a type of meditation (CRM) can decrease the risk of Metabolic Syndrome in at risk African-American communities. End Black on Black Crime is a non-profit community organization founded by Janet to help address the issue of violence in the Black community.

Theresa R. Jacobs, MD, FAAFP

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

  • Clinician Chair GAPHC
  • Site Director Oakhurst Medical Centers, Inc.

Teresa R. Jacobs is a board certified family medicine physician providing the highest quality comprehensive health care to the uninsured and underserved, at-risk populations at Oakhurst Medical Centers. She serves as the clinician chair for the Georgia Association for Primary Health Care, which is the governing body for Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHC) in Georgia. There are 129 FQHC sites scattered throughout the state, servicing over 300,000 Georgians.

Teresa is a scholar who earned an Associate Degree of science in industrial chemistry from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI; a Bachelors of Science in microbiology from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI; and her Medical of Doctorate Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, MI. She completed her residency in Family Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine where she served as chief resident for one year. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She and her sister (Crystal Horhn) are the founders of  The John and Sally Horhn Foundation (JASH), a non-profit organization that is committed to helping disadvantage children excel academically.


Member, CE Community Steering Board

Community Engagement

Evonne has been a business woman in the greater Atlanta area for many years. Her business ventures include a child care center, print shop and presently a partnership since 1985 in a beauty/ barber salon. Evonne is passionate about volunteering, beginning as a teen working in her neighborhood, church and school. She joined the American Business Women's Association over 30 years ago. She is Director of the "Weight Loss =Equal= Health Gain" Challenge, a community-based nutrition, exercise and life changing program designed to meet the emerging needs in the community, specifically public health and social issues of obesity and unhealthy eating/lifestyle habits from a domestic perspective.

Her volunteer experience includes:volunteer facilitator/lead support group instructor at CHHC Overcomer's Ministry; (prepared group meetings weekly and directed class in sharing and going forth in family aide to addicted family member); a past Alternate Atlanta Planning Advisory Board Member for NPU-Z; Thomasville Community Development Corporation Secretary; Thomasville Heights Community Association member; Satcher Community Health Leadership Institute graduate.

Bari Roberts

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

Winship Cancer Institute

  • Patient Family Advisor

Bari and her husband Charles were diagnosed with cancer within two days of each other. She was given a grim prognosis—stage 4B head and neck cancer. Charles was then given the lab results revealing his acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At the suggestion of her daughter, an employee of Emory, she went to the Winship Cancer Institute for a second opinion. Their compassion, dedication, and sense of purpose ignited a feeling of hope and purpose in their hearts as well. “We knew we had a fight before us, but we knew we could win it.”

Today, as a survivor for six years, she is retired, enjoying grandchildren, exercising, volunteering, and taking care to eat healthfully. The randomness of their diagnoses helped her to understand the importance of cancer research, one of the many reasons they participate in races, and frequently registers for the annual Winship Win the Fight 5K. Bari now serves as a Patient Family Advisor Counsel Member with Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Center.

Karen Russell

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

Women's Health Program, Fulton County Health Department

  • Health Coordinator

Karen Russell spent the last 20 years with the Fulton County Health Department as the women's health coordinator. She is now a health coordinator for the Women's Health Program, and is contracted for special projects involving community partnerships targeting women's health initiatives.

Jevon C. Gibson, MA

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

Center for Adolescent Male Development (CAMD)

  • CEO/Founder

Jevon Gibson is an experienced public health and social innovation consultant with over 17 years of experience designing, developing, and implementing public health and social impact initiatives at the local, regional, and national levels. Jevon’s professional experience includes functioning as the director of clinical services for the Georgia Department of Health; director of infectious diseases for the Georgia Department of Health; director of the Office of Coordinated Youth Services with the Clayton County Board of Health; and project director with Constella Group.

As a consultant, he provided consultation and support to multiple agencies, organizations and institutions including; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), University of Florida, Georgia Department of Health, Emory University, and a host of local government, quasi-government, and community-based organizations.

Jevon is also founder and CEO of the Center for Adolescent Male Development (CAMD). CAMD is a non-profit organization established with the mission of building and strengthening the continuum of developmental assets available to young men and boys of color. He cites his work with CAMD as his most fulfilling work to date.

Darrell Sabbs

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

Emory University Prevention Research Center

  • Community Benefits Coordinator, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (PPMH)
For over four decades, Darrell Sabbs has served the communities of Southwest Georgia through hard work and determination, driven by the shared belief that “service is the rent we pay for living.” From teenagers to the eldest members of society, his focus has remained strong – to recognize the struggles of the underserved and to provide tools to help them ensure a healthier future for themselves and their families.

Darrell currently serves as Community Benefits Coordinator for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (PPMH) in Albany, Georgia. His work with the hospital includes identifying ways to impact community health, with particular focus on the underserved. He works closely with the hospital’s Network of Trust, a national award-winning in-school, interactive outreach program for pregnant and parenting teens in rural Southwest Georgia.

Darrell's involvement in Network of Trust originated as the creator and lead instructor of the Teen Fathers Program, which seeks to educate young men and their families on how to live healthier lives. The specially-designed curriculum includes the “Baby Think It Over” program that exposes them to the responsibilities of parenthood through lifelike dolls, as well as a nationally acclaimed program created by Emory University Hospital that educates teens on how to deal with the emotional and physical challenges of today’s sexual society.

A grassroots organizer, he collaborated with local and state services to develop numerous youth programs in Southwest Georgia, specializing in leadership development. He created a voice for youth in rural Georgia by starting the talk show forum, Teen Talk, and has been involved in countless other television and radio community affair programs.

Darrell played a key role in developing health initiatives for “Men on the Move,” a faith-based partnership of more than 30 institutions designed to help Southwest Georgia men. His work with both underserved men and women led to the creation of two of Phoebe Putney’s most successful health events – a Women’s Health Fair and a Men’s Health Fair. More than 300 individuals attend each event annually. For many, these events empower participants to take control of their lifestyle and well-being. For even more, it is the first time they speak to a physician or nurse face-to-face and learn that they, too, can receive healthcare no matter how poor or underserved they may feel. They leave with tools to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

In 2003, in large part a result of Darrell's commitment, Phoebe Putney was awarded the coveted Foster G. McGaw Prize for excellence in community service.

Prior to work in Albany, Darrell served as the Special Assistant for Youth Affairs with the city of Washington, Georgia. His recognitions are many, including the National Congressional Black Caucus Award for establishing the caucuses’ Youth Roundtable, the Sumter County, Georgia NAACP R.L. Freeman Award, and the Martin Luther King Dream Award in Albany. He also serves the Albany State University School of Social Work and is a consultant to the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Morehouse Research Institute.

Hazar Ashouri, MSc

Member, CERP Community Steering Board

Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Graduate research assistant at Omer Inan’s Research Laboratory

Hazar obtained her Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon in 2013 then earned her Master of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in 2016. She is now working towards her PhD at Georgia Tech. Her research focuses on non-invasive cardiovascular monitoring and specifically making home management of chronic disorders, such as heart failure, possible and available for people in low resource communities.