Top Health Leaders in Southeast Convene in Atlanta September 26th for 6th Annual “Health Connect South”

Staff Report

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Health Connect South (HCS) will convene the 6th annual gathering of the Southeast region's top health leaders at Georgia Aquarium on September 26th.

“We are the platform for the most important institutions and individuals in health to learn about and to share opportunities and needs for collaborations.  If you want to find out what else is going on in health - simply put, this is the place to be. Health Connect South has grown to be the largest face-to-face meeting of leading health assets in our region," notes Russ Lipari, Founder & CEO of Health Connect South.

"Our goal is to purposefully bring together seemingly disparate health interests to broaden our collective understanding of the progress erupting throughout our region. This year’s annual event is on track to be a record breaking attendance of leading health decision makers, innovators and next generation health leaders," said Lipari.

This year's agenda includes 54 speakers including the Director of the CDC Dr. Robert Redfield, NY Times best-selling Author and Senior Fellow Duke Univeristy Dan Heath, CEO of The American Cancer Society, Gary Reedy, CEO & President of WellStar Health System, Candice Saunders, CEO of Navicent Health System, Dr. Ninfa Saunders, and many, many more. Selected topics range from leading strategic collaborations and partnerships, brain research, genomics, pediatric cancer, mental health, and stroke care, investment trends, and disruptive innovations in healthcare delivery.

"The exciting part of our program is that the person sitting next to you is likely as impressive as the person on the stage. We are honored to be the gathering place where the best of the best in health to come together to make meaningful connections and gain line of sight on the rest of the health industry. "  



Dan Heath - New York Times best-selling Author and Senior Fellow Duke University

Views From the Top: Leading Successful Strategic Partnerships  

Candice L. Saunders, FACHE - CEO & President, Wellstar Health System

Dr Ninfa Saunders, FACHE – CEO,  Navicent Health System

Cathy Cox, JD – Dean, Mercer University School of Law

Rural Health: Leading Innovations and Better Outcomes

Jean Sumner, MD – Dean, Mercer University School of Medicine

Keisha Callins, MD, MPH - Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine

Lauren R. Gilbert, PhD, MPH - Assistant Professor Department of Community Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine

Laura Calhoun, MHA - Executive Director, SOWEGA-AHEC

Debra Stokes - Executive Director, Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University School of Medicine

CDC Fireside Chat: Priorities, Progress & Partnerships

Robert R. Redfield, MD - Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Judy Monroe, MD - President & CEO, CDC Foundation

David Rubinger - Market President and Publisher, Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Healthcare Investment Trends: Accelerating Health Horizons

Kenneth Saffold – Director, BlackRock

Eller Mallchok - Managing Director, Jumpstart Foundry

Ben Scruggs, PhD – Associate, Hatteras Venture Partners

David Stevenson - Managing Director, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund

Bob Crutchfield – Managing Director, American Cancer Society BrightEdge Impact Fund

Drones Driving Innovation in Healthcare Logistics

Daniel Gagnon - Vice President of Global Healthcare Strategy, UPS

Rick Shrum, MBA, MHA - Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, WakeMed

Andreas Raptopoulos - Founder & CEO, Matternet

5 Keys to Collaboration and Partnership Success

Duane Barnes - President & Head, US Operations UCB, Inc

David Widmann - President & CEO, Konica Minolta

Matt Reed - CEO, Georgia CEO
The Brain: Researching the Next Frontier

Vince Calhoun, PhD - Founding director of the Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging and Data Science, Georgia State University, GRA Eminent Scholar

Sergey Plis –Director of Machine Learning Core at TReNDS, Georgia State University

Jessica Turner – Professor of Psychology, TReNDS Center, Georgia State University

Genomics: How Partnerships are Transforming the Future of Healthcare

Jim Weyhemyer, PhD - Vice President for Research, Auburn University  

Devin Absher, PhD -Faculty Investigator, Director of Genomic Health, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Laura Grill, CEO - East Alabama Medical Center

Mary Shirley-Howell – Director, Research Engagement, Auburn University

Managing Innovation: Near Term Goals and the Pipeline for Long Term Success

Lee Barnes - Senior Vice President, Global R&D and Clinical Affairs, Avanos Medical

Bob Zambon, PhD - Senior Director, R&D Data Science Strategy & Innovation
Janssen Research & Development, LLC

Pediatric Cancer: The American Cancer Society's Perspectives and Progress 

Gary Reedy, MD – CEO, American Cancer Society

Pediatric Cancer: How Partnering Together Changed the Prognosis of Pediatric Cancer 

Kathleen Ruddy – CEO, St. Baldricks

Sharon Byers - Chief Development, Marketing and Communications Officer, American Cancer Society 

Don Mueller – CEO, Children's Hospital at Erlanger

Elizabeth Mynatt - Executive Director and Regents' Professor Institute for People and Technology, Georgia Tech

Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare Delivery: (Qualified ACHE Face-to-Face Credit 1.5 hours)

Sonja McLendon - Chief of Operational Excellence, Northeast Georgia Health System

Ben Isgur - Leader, Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)

Gaurav Lai - Executive Director, Innovative Solutions, Merck & Co, Inc

Jessica Autry, MPH - Business Development Lead, AT&T Foundry for Connected Health

Sepi Browning – Georgia HIMSS

Stroke Care: Creating an Epicenter of Excellence

Michael Frankel, MD – Director, Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center, Grady Memorial Hospital

Diane Foster, RN, BSN, MBA - Vice President, Quality & Systems Improvement, Greater Southeast Affiliate, American Heart Association

Carol Fleming, BSN, RN, CCRN - Clinical Outreach Director, Marcus Stroke Network

Deborah Camp, RN, MHA - Stroke Program Manager, Piedmont Newnan Hospital

Fred Sanfilippo, MD - Medical Director, The Marcus Foundation

Philanthropy, Partnerships & Progress: Leading Community Change

Gary Nelson – President, Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Bobbi Cleveland - Executive Director, Tull Charitable Foundation

Alicia Philip- President, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Milton Little - President & CEO, United Way of Greater Atlanta

Mental Health: How We Solve the Mental Health Crisis in the US and Around the World

Eve Byrd – Director, Carter Center Mental Health Program

Anita Sharpe - Bureau Chief & Editor at Large, Bloomberg News

Innovation in Medical Education

David C. Hess, MD - Dean, Augusta University Medical School

Jean Rawlings Sumner, MD - Dean, Mercer University School of Medicine

Michael J. Sampson, DO, FAOASM - Chief Academic Officer, PCOM South Georgia  

Martha L. Elks, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Medical Education, Senior Assoc. Dean of Educational Affairs, Morehouse School of Medicine 

Evan Beasley, MD – Residency Program Director for MAHEC 

Cynthia George – CEO, Horizons Community Solutions

AI: The Possibilities and Ethical Questions in Healthcare

Junior Harewood - Executive Director, United Healthcare 

Jon Duke MD, MS - Director, Center for Health Analytics and Informatics

Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) 

John D. Banja, PhD – Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Medical Ethicist, Center for Ethics, Emory University

Paul Wolpe, PhD - Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, Director, Center for Ethics - Emory University

Seating is limited. Registration is available today at