We all want the same things. It’s time to work together.

In 2020 Georgia officially became a swing state, mirroring the profound incivility, distrust and polarization of the national conversation. But while political campaigns are winner-take-all, almost nothing else about public life is. Georgians need one another. In every city and county across the state, no matter the difference or disagreement, the life of every Georgian is meaningfully linked to the 11M others who call the Peach State home. We rise together.

Our 2021 webinar series will question the rural-urban divide. Reframing the discussions on health care, education, housing and broadband, these conversations will demonstrate how deeply linked and interconnected we are. Addressing these challenges starts with this understanding.

We all want the same things – safe communities, good schools, accessible health care, dependable connectivity. It’s time for rural and urban Georgia to have these conversations and work toward solutions together.

Our first webinar on May 12 at 11am will focus on health care in partnership with Georgia Health News. CEO and Editor of Georgia Health News Andy Miller will moderate our expert panel featuring Dr. Patrice Harris, Immediate Past President of the American Medical Association, Matthew Hicks, Chief Policy Officer of Grady Health System, and Jimmy Lewis, CEO of Hometown Health. It’s time to reframe the conversation about our divisions and remind ourselves why we need each other, how deeply we are linked, and how we might work together to achieve better results for all Georgians. 

This event is free and open to the public.

Register today for our discussion on health care on May 12 at 11am 

Andy Miller has been a health care journalist for the past 25 years. From 1992 to mid-2009, he covered health care for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He won numerous awards for his newspaper reporting on hospitals and health insurers, state government and Georgia’s mental hospitals.

Miller has been an Association of Health Care Journalists member for 17 years and is past president of the organization’s Atlanta chapter.  He was a Kaiser Family Foundation health journalism fellow in 2001-2002.

Patrice Harris, MD, MA is a practicing psychiatrist trained in child/adolescent and forensic psychiatry and the Immediate Past President of the American Medical Association. As former chief health officer for Fulton County, she spearheaded efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care. In addition to her work for AMA as its Immediate Past President, she remains involved in local initiatives ensuring the voices of physicians and patients are represented in local and regional healthcare transformation.

Dr. Harris is also fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and an adjunct clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Matthew Hicks is Chief Policy Officer at Grady Health System. Prior to joining Grady in 2011, Hicks served as Associate Legislative Director for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). He is responsible for managing the vital relationships between Grady and its government partners.

Hicks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Emory University.

Jimmy Lewis came to health care as a result of soaring insurance costs for his manufacturing company. In 1997 he formed Hometown Health, a network of rural hospitals, healthcare providers, and best practice business partners who collectively pursue ways to help its membership survive in the environment of constant change in reimbursement, operations and technology

Lewis has extensive experience advocating for rural health policy in Georgia. He sits on the State of Georgia’s Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee and serves as the Secretary/Treasurer on the Global Partnership for Telehealth Board of Directors.

Register today for our discussion on health care on May 12 at 11am 

For information on sponsorship please contact Brenda Belcher, bbelcher@gacities.com

Past Webinars

Please enjoy past webinars recorded and annotated for your convenience.

Let Your Voice Be Heard: How, When, and Why to Vote

September 15, 2020

GeorgiaForward was pleased to welcome Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Carter Center Chair Jason Carter, Doctor Andra Gillespie of Emory University, and Janet Lee of the U.S. Census Bureau to a deep dive discussion on voting.

  • “The shortest line you’ll have, obviously, is at your kitchen table when you vote absentee.” 6:48
  • “Our elections have become almost sad events.” 11:40
  • “I said, ‘Hey, how long have you been in this line?’ and he said, ‘Oh I’ve been here about six and a half hours.’ I said, ‘Oh I’m sorry you had to wait so long.’ And he said, ‘Oh sir, I’ve been waiting so much longer.’ And it just makes you realize, I think, the way in which our vote and right to vote is preservative of all the others. It defines our role in our community.” 15:27
  • “[Y]ou come to this office in awe and reverence for the people who’ve gone before.” 36:24
  • “Simply stated, the Census is the precursor to voting. There are two reasons why we conduct the Census: power and money.” 39:30
  • “[I]f you don’t show up [to vote] you’re truly irrelevant . . . To stay home does not do a service to your view that you’re looking for someone better. What it does is it sends a message that you don’t care.” 50:33
  • “I’m very proud to be a Georgian. I think we have a history that is a microcosm of the struggle that our country has undergone and the transformation that our country has undergone.” 52:28
  • “We have to get a hold of this increasing partisan intolerance. I know how difficult it is but we all have to take steps to make sure that we get to know people and that we don’t stereotype and defame people whose political beliefs are different from ours.” 59:08

Special thanks to Larry Hanson, presenting partner Georgia Municipal Association, and supporting partner Central Atlanta Progress.

Related Resources

Further Reading

Local News, Democracy, and You

June 24, 2020

Three veteran and venerable journalists joined us for a frank discussion of the state of local news in our state: Teya Ryan, CEO and President of Georgia Public Broadcasting; Maria Saporta, Founder of the Saporta Report and Contributing Writer to the Atlanta Business Chronicle; Len Robbins, Editor and Publisher of four community newspapers in South Georgia: The Clinch County News, Lanier County Advocate, Atkinson County Citizen, and Echols County Echo. ⁣

  • “This is very serious. There are two studies that show that if there is no newspaper in a community, no matter how large or how small, that community economically suffers.” 8:45
  • “The other thing that I think is undervalued a lot of times is the historical record that these newspapers provide for these communities. We’re really the only historical record for those communities. For instance with a person, in our pages we’ll have when they’re born in a birth announcement, when they graduate from high school, have that in our pages, when they get married, when they get a DUI, when hopefully they do something good like get a promotion or win an award and also when they die they’ll be in our obituaries. Their whole life’s story can be in a community newspaper. And if we don’t have that community newspaper doing that, nobody else is going to do that I don’t think.” 12:32
  • “This is required, to publicly advertise bids, budgets, public hearings, and if we don’t have a generally circulated public newspaper how are we going to get it done? In that sense it’s a public service and in many cases it’s the law.” 14:50
  • “The business dynamics of what made newspapers and television stations and all that thrive, those factors are no longer working.” 28:12
  • “Every study I’ve looked at says if you are a person that does not trust the media – but there’s a caveat to that usually – they trust their local media. They trust Len. Okay. They don’t trust ‘the media’, but they trust Len. That’s why losing media in communities is so frightening because actually they’re pretty well-trusted.” 32:02
  • “Yes there are a lot of rumors out there, but let’s not get too precious about our background as journalists. If you’re a student of journalism history – which I am – we come from a long background of liars and people that created whole newspaper empires for their own political opinion.” 32:49
  • “Unless you’re a total crook you want as many journalists following [you as possible].” 39:35
  • “The scary part is when you don’t know what politicians are doing.” 41:26
  • “We’re really trying to train journalists to really follow through on how a community is responding to a problem. Not what the problem is but how are we progressing to solve it.” 45:26
  • “I am very very interested in how I reach people with my news that won’t normally come to me. what tools do I need to use that will engage with them, because there are increasingly more and more people like that . . . How do I use the power of [TikTok] to get to people that normally wouldn’t come to me? 46:41
  • “At the same time, I am the person that picks up a newspaper – a physical newspaper – two of them – every day and reads a physical newspaper. I will never give that up, ever.”  48:15
  • I think we’re talking about restructuring the whole model of what journalism means.” 51:20
  • “The good news is that people want to know what’s going on in their community, in their state, in their nation. It doesn’t matter what age they are, 8 to 88. The problem or the challenge for us is that the people that are 88, and the people that are 8, and then all the different ages and demographics, want their news delivered in different ways . . . We’ve got to find that new business model that works for everybody.” 51:57
  • “I feel more hopeful. And I feel more motivated.” 57:37

Special thanks to GeorgiaForward Board Member Bill Bolling for moderating.

Related Resources

Further Reading