Convening influential leaders from across the state’s public health community, the State of the Public’s Health (SOPH) Conference at the University of Georgia is a day-long gathering focused on meaningful, constructive dialogue and practical solutions for Georgia’s public health challenges.

The SOPH aims to bring together the public health workforce, elected officials, policymakers, academia, community-based health organizations, the business community, and others passionate about improving the health of all Georgians. Its goal is to craft a practical, pragmatic plan of action for Georgia’s leaders that is realistic about the myriad of opportunities and challenges confronting the public’s health in Georgia.

To accomplish this, the conference focuses on driving discussion and idea-sharing through interactive, solution-driven workshops, poster sessions, and presentations.

This event is organized and hosted annually by the UGA College of Public Health’s Office of Outreach, Engagement & Equity at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens, Ga. 

About the 10th Annual Conference

When: Thursday, October 14, 2021, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Where: Your computer
Fee: Free

Thank you to all who attended the 10th annual State of the Public’s Health Conference. We hope the day offered new ideas and inspiration to take action in your communities. For those who could not join us or would like to revisit our presentations, video recordings of the main session and breakout sessions are now available here.

A written recap of the conference is also available here.

Thank you once again for sharing your time with us, and be on the lookout for future opportunities from the College of Public Health. 

Featured Keynote Speaker

  • Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, is a nationally recognized mental health expert who advocates for the need to make mental health an integral part of health care. As President of Well Being Trust, Dr. Miller oversees the implementation of the foundation’s strategies to have a real-world impact on America’s mental health and addiction crisis. He is also the author of the weekly newsletter – Mental: Fighting the fragmentation of mental health one policy at a time, where hundreds of subscribers gather to read about how everyday happenings are connected to mental health, and what actions they can take to address them.

Breakout Session Topics

  • Minority Health
    • Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders on COVID19 and Getting Vaccinated: Results from a National Survey
      • Juliet Choi, Executive Director, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
  • Rural Health
    • Facing Three Salient Challenges in Rural Georgia: Aging, Mental Health, and Management of Chronic Conditions
      • On aging: Lisa Renzi-Hammond, Associate Professor, and Jenay Beer, Associate Professor, Institute of Gerontology, College of Public Health University of Georgia
      • On Mental Health and Suicide Prevention among Georgia Farmers: Andrea Scarrow, Director, Southwest District Extension, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia
      • On Managing Chronic Conditions: Henry Young , Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy, University of Georgia
  • Public Heath Law
    • “Public Health Law and the Response to COVID”
      • Fazal Khan, Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Georgia
      • Greg Sunshine, Public Health Analyst, Public Health Law Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      • Ani Satz, Professor, School of Law, Emory University
      • Stacie Kershner, Associate Director, Center for Law, Health & Society, School of Law, Georgia State University

Special Guest

Closing Reflection

  • Yvette K. Daniels, JD, Director of University Relations, Georgia Department of Public Health

Stay Informed

Have questions?  Please email Grace Bagwell Adams.

Looking for recent updates on the upcoming conference? Visit the 1oth Annual State of the Public’s Health Conference Facebook event page.


Highlights from past SOPH Conferences:

Jan. 2021 SOPH Conference: Videos + Presentations

Gain insights from our last conference…

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 9th annual SOPH conference on Tuesday, January 12, 2021Read our conference wrap-up here. We hope you felt as energized as we did from the insights shared. For those who missed out, you can find links to video recordings of all keynote and breakout sessions below. Download the agenda for the full program.

Conference Videos

Slide Presentations

About the 2021 Virtual SOPH Conference

Due to COVID-19, this year’s State of the Public’s Health Conference will be held virtually. We do not want to miss an opportunity to share success stories and continue our dialogue on how we can work together to improve health for all in Georgia. The pandemic that has highlighted the many barriers to health has also illuminated the path for the future work of public health — to focus on social determinants of health, forge new partnerships advancing public health efforts, and to address racial injustice as a public health problem.

  • When: Tuesday, January 12, 2021. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Where: Your computer via Zoom
  • Fee: FREE

Featured Keynote Speakers

  • Amber Schmidtke, Ph.D., science writer, microbiologist, and public health educator, will share how she is translating data into action through her work making COVID-19 data accessible and understandable to the public.
  • Renée Branch Canady, Ph.D, MPA, Chief Executive Officer of MPHI, will broaden the discussion on health equity, cultural competence, and social justice, sharing the insights she has gained as a public health advocate, researcher, educator, and facilitator.

Breakout Session Topics

  • Racial JusticeNadia Siddiqui, Chief Health Equity Officer at the Texas Health Institute, presents on the HOPE Initiative and improving health equity in Texas.
  • COVID-19 Vaccines (and Vaccine Hesitancy) – Glen Nowak, director of UGA Center for Health & Risk Communication, presents findings from a new national study.
  • Behavioral HealthJim Langford, executive director of the Georgia Prevention Project, presents work on the collision of COVID-19 on the Opioid Epidemic.
Briefs from Previous Conferences