Community Steering Board

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.

Tabia Henry Akintobi, PhD, MPH

Director, Community Engagement

Morehouse School of Medicine

Professor and Chair of Community Health and Preventive Medicine
Associate Dean of Community Engagement


Dr. Henry Akintobi, Professor and Chair of Community Health at Morehouse School of Medicine, is a globally sought health equity champion and social behavioral scientist, leading, or collaborating in the implementation of translational research and participatory evaluations that address health disparities and advance community or population health transformation.

She serves as Principal Investigator of the Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center (PRC), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 1998. Dr. Henry Akintobi leads the Georgia Community Engaged Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She also represents Morehouse School of Medicine as contact PI or Director for other NIH grants including the Georgia Center for Diabetes Translation Research, the Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance Community Engagement Program, and Georgia RADx-Underserved Populations-Promoting Engagement and COVID-19 Testing for Health, among others. She is an extensively published contributor to the peer reviewed literature and co-author of the Johns Hopkins University Press text entitled The Morehouse Model: How School of Medicine, Revolutionized Community Engagement and Health Equity, editor of Black Health in the South and the CDC-NIH co-sponsored Principles of Community Engagement Primer (2nd and 3rd Editions) among many others.

As Associate Dean for Community Engagement at Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Henry Akintobi advances efforts to promote and strengthen effective partnerships between faculty, staff, and students and community residents and leaders, government agencies, faith-based organizations, or health and social service agencies. She has led collaborations with education, clinical, research, practice, and policy leaders to demonstrate preeminence in community health and related engagement strategies through successful acquisition of local and national awards including but not limited to the Carnegie Designation for the Advancement of Teaching in Community Engagement, and the Josiah Macy Inaugural Award for Excellence in Social Mission. Her public health research and practice leadership have been designed to advance the art and science of community engagement. Specifically, her work has focused on community engaged translational research science, the practice of community-based participatory research (CBPR), and approaches to build and sustain effective partnerships among academic institutions, community residents, health departments and policy leaders to understand, develop and shape research, policy, and practice strategies to address health disparities and their root causes thereby advancing health equity led. Her work is guided by training in public health social epidemiology, social marketing, community-based participatory research, and evaluation.

Read Tabia's Bio

Omer T. Inan, PhD

CE Collaborator

Community Engagement / Georgia Institute of Technology

Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Chair in Bioscience and Bioengineering,
Professor, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering


Omer T. Inan is Professor and Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Chair in Bioscience and Bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Adjunct Professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2004, 2005, and 2009, respectively. His research focuses on non-invasive physiological sensing and modulation for human health and performance. He has published 165 journal papers and 175 conference papers / abstracts, and has twelve issued patents. Dr. Inan, a Senior Member of the IEEE, received the IEEE Sensors Council Young Professional Award, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and the NSF CAREER Award in 2018. In 2021, he received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Georgia Tech Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor Award. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the American College of Cardiology. He is a Three-Time National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American in the discus throw.

Read Omer's Bio

Rowena Elliott, PhD, RN


Community Engagement / Emory University


Dr. Rowena W. Elliott is a Professor of Nursing at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. She serves as one of the Co-Directors for the Community Engagement function of the Georgia CTSA. Dr. Elliott earned a BSN in 1982 and an MSN in 1992 from the University of Mississippi School of Nursing. She also earned a PhD in Education from the University of Mississippi School of Education in 2003. She received a post-graduate certificate as an Adult-Geri Primary Care Nurse Practitioner from the University of South Alabama in 2013. Dr. Elliott is certified in nephrology nursing and nursing education. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the Academy of Nursing Education.

Read Rowena's Bio

Allisen Penn, Ed.D, M.Ed


Community Engagement / University of Georgia

College of Family and Consumer Sciences


Allisen Penn is the Associate Dean and State Program Leader for Extension and outreach in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences for the University of Georgia.  She leads the college to fulfill the land-grant university mission to provide Georgia's residents, businesses, and communities access to quality educational experiences and the institution's knowledge base.  Dr. Penn works with leaders of the other UGA colleges and units to successfully apply research to meet the state's priority needs through Extension faculty located in all 159 counties.  She also serves as the co-chair of the Georgia Clinical Translational Science Alliance Community Engagement function to address health and wellness needs, particularly in rural and underserved populations, by strengthening and expanding research collaboration with faculty from various disciplines.

Dr. Penn has over 30 years of experience in the Land-Grant University Cooperative Extension System. Before accepting her current position on August 1, 2019, Dr. Penn was a regional program leader for the University of Tennessee (UT) Extension with responsibilities for family and consumer sciences and 4-H in 31 counties in middle Tennessee. She began her career with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.  D Over a 22-year career, she served as an Extension Agent in four counties; Associate District Director with leadership and administrative responsibilities for Extension agents and programs in the Ouachita District; and as a Leadership Specialist and Associate Professor directing a division-wide faculty leadership program.

Dr. Penn received her doctorate in higher education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and holds a master's degree in counseling and a bachelor's degree in home economics from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. 

Theresa R. Jacobs, MD, FAAFP


Community Engagement / Oakhurst Medical Centers, Inc.

Clinician Chair GAPHC
Site Director Oakhurst Medical Centers, Inc.


Theresa 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.

Theresa 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.

Evonne R Perdue

Member and Secretary, 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.

Dwight Curry Anderson, BA


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 twenty years now. Being a former educator for Atlanta Public Schools, that experience garnered Mr. Anderson the ability to relay technical subject manner in a way that clients of HIV services could understand. Mr. Anderson 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 has worked with the Ryan White Planning Council, Fulton County Department of Health, and the HIV Jurisdictional Prevention Planning Group for Fulton and DeKalb Counties. This often entailed working as an intermediary between clients and providers. Currently Mr. Anderson is the Patient Navigator at a Ryan White clinic for DeKalb County Board of Health, along with being a facilitator for a support group for HIV Positive individuals through the Fulton County Board of Health.

Dwight Curry Anderson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Ohio State University, with a minor in Black Studies, and has taken non-degree curriculums in Teacher Certification at the University of West Georgia, and Georgia State University. He has also embarked on numerous trainings in HIV related subjects like testing procedures, counseling and facilitation, and education. 

Abigail "Abby" Cox, MSW


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



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.

Read Abigail's Bio

Rebecca Hardeman, PHR, SHRM-CP

Community Member

Community Engagement / Clayton County Extension

Director & County Extension Coordinator


Rebecca Hardeman currently serves as the County Extension Coordinator and Director of the University of Georgia Clayton County Extension.  In this role, she provides leadership and management to county professionals in three (3) program areas and administrative oversight for program enhancement, resource allocation, and fiscal compliance.  With over 20 years of experience educating on topics from personal and professional development to financial literacy, she is a life-long learner always desiring more knowledge. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics and a master’s degree in higher education administration.  Rebecca has served as an educator in many capacities including as a professor, college administrator, and Extension agent. Her philosophy has always been motivating and empowering for job success while continuously encouraging for personal growth. 

Olga Lucia Jimenez

Community Member

Community Engagement / Patient Navigator Program Manager

Georgia Department of Public Health

Olga Lucia Jimenez is the Patient Navigation Program Manager of the Georgia Breast and Cervical Cancer Program at the Department of Public Health. She currently oversees the implementation Patient Navigation Program statewide.  Mrs. Jimenez has over 25 years of experience, working first as Promotora/Community Outreach Worker at Fulton County Health District and then working as a health educator in the breast and cervical cancer field. She has vast experience working with underserved populations, including ethnic minority groups, women with disabilities, and the lesbian population. Before joining the Department of Public Health, Mrs. Jimenez managed the Patient Navigation Program at the American Cancer Society. She provided oversight to a cadre of 11 client navigators (community health workers) located throughout the state of Georgia. These Patient Navigators provide/provided education, support, and assistance to low-income women in getting their breast and cervical cancer screening. In 2009, Mrs. Jimenez served as the President of the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia Board of Directors.  She co-authored Con Amor Aprendemos! and BRIDGES curriculums (both ACS Curriculums). Mrs. Jimenez was responsible for providing training to CHWs and Promotoras and supported them with guidance and leadership regarding implementing the programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in science. She is originally from Colombia and moved to the states in 1985.

Tina Nguyen

Community Member

Community Engagement


Ms. ‘Tina’ Khuyen Nguyen received her Master of Public Health from East Tennessee State University Graduate School of Public Health and Bachelor of Arts from Sewanee: The University of the South. Since 2015, Ms. ‘Tina’ Khuyen Nguyen has worked with diverse stakeholders to address the needs of underserved minority communities in Georgia. As a first generation Vietnamese American, Ms. Nguyen is aware of the health disparities and difficulties many Asian Americans and immigrants struggle with. Her work focuses on improving access to healthcare services and promoting preventative health behaviors among the Vietnamese and Asian American communities. During her time as a Program Manager at BPSOS-Atlanta – a nonprofit organization that serves Vietnamese community in Georgia, she successfully attained over $1.8 million dollars from funders such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and Komen Atlanta. Grants from these federal, state, and local foundations allowed Ms. Nguyen and BPSOS-Atlanta to fund and implement programs that provide social services access, domestic violence survivor support, and affordable healthcare access to the community at large.

She is an aspiring writer and currently volunteers on the Georgia Clinical & Translation Science Alliance Community Steering Board, DeKalb County Board of Health Emergency Preparedness Medical Reserve Corps, BPSOS-Atlanta Board, and ETSU Prescription Drug Abuse/Misuse Works Group.

Nikki Randall, MPH

Academic Member

Community Engagement / Navicent Health

Community Outreach & Civic 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 & 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) & Leadership Georgia (2004). She is also an active member of the Democratic Party of Georgia, Healthcare Businesswomen’s 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’s ministry, Beulahland Abroad Ministry, Women of Worship ministry and sings in the Women’s choir. When she is not working she enjoys reading, mentoring rising political leaders, and volunteering with senior and youth organizations.

Rashad Richey, PhD

Community Member

Community Engagement


Dr. Rashad Richey earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and MBA from Beulah Heights University, Ph.D. from Scofield Graduate School (Research Focus: Global Affect of Western Religion on Politics, Policy and Government), Doctor of Education from Clark Atlanta University (Research Focus: Federal Policy and Political Analysis of Higher Education Reform) and completed studies in Executive Leadership from Cornell University. Dr. Richey is currently matriculating at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School obtaining his Juris Doctor Degree. 

Dr. Richey is a noted lecturer, university professor, broadcaster, writer, and entrepreneur. As a political analyst, Dr. Richey was Emmy nominated for his continued work as a television news analyst for CBS 46 News - Atlanta. Nationally, Dr. Richey is a frequent commentator on MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, The Young Turks Network, and the Fox News Channel, where he provides insight and analysis on various political, social and policy-related topics. He is also an award-winning radio personality who was voted “Best Talk Radio Personality in Atlanta” by readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (first African-American to receive this distinction) and named “Most Trusted Voice in Atlanta” by the Atlanta Business Journal. Beyond his broadcasting acumen, Professor Richey serves as Chief Editor and Sr. Writer for Rolling Out Magazine (largest free-print urban publication in America), with a national readership of 2.8 million and combined social media following of half-a-million.

“Ensuring the message is heard” is a frequent Dr. Richey quote. As a lecturer and speaker, his portfolio includes Morehouse School of Medicine, University of West Georgia, Clark Atlanta University, Mercer University, SCLC National Luncheon, Pinnacle Awards and the Atlanta NAACP Jubilee to name a few.

An industry influencer and marketplace leader for over 14 years, Dr. Richey is a practitioner and scholar who believes higher education is best achieved when pragmatic educational elements are combined with research and personal character development. Dr. Richey has both research and non-research material published through an array of platforms, including Grin Publishing, CBS, Fox News, Atlanta Business Journal and Rolling Out Magazine.

Dr. Richey is a well-known social justice leader and national speaker who is actively involved in policy reformation and addressing the social ills of racial disparity. This work has led to Dr. Richey being recognized by various local and national agencies for his collective work and societal impact, including being honored with a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from former United States President Barack Obama. Dr. Richey was also named Top 40 Under Forty Most Influential people in GA by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and one of Atlanta’s Most Powerful leaders according to Atlanta Magazine.

Believing service is a responsibility we all must share, Dr. Richey is a board member at Piedmont Hospital, Recovery Consultants of Atlanta, and Children’s Rights. He is a member of the Atlanta NAACP, National Association of Black Journalists, American Association of University Professors and the Atlanta Press Club.

Darrell Sabbs


Community Engagement / Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (PPMH)

Community Benefits Coordinator


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 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.