Column: Atlanta will host ‘pre-summit’ on health, quality of life in May

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on November 28, 2014

As part of the build up to the 2015 Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Atlanta next November, an influential “pre-summit” on Health-Technology-Education will be held in the spring.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate, will lead a global conference in Atlanta from May 10-13 on how innovation can help transform health and quality of life of the billions of people across the planet.

The purpose of the pre-summit will be to reinforce how health and quality of life are essential for peace and prosperity of mankind.

The intersections of today’s lifestyle and location-independent digital technologies offer us a unique opportunity to leverage global knowledge to find solutions much quicker and cheaper than we could ever imagine, according to Mohammad Bhuiyan, CEO of the Atlanta Summit Organization for the Nobel Peace Laureates who is also the president and CEO of Yunus Creative Labs in Atlanta.

The Health-Technology-Education pre-summit will be organized as a precursor to Nobel Peace Laureates Summit six months later, and the outcomes from the pre-summit will roll into an action-oriented Nobel Peace Laureates Summit next November.

The pre-summit will focus on innovative solutions, access and advocacy in collaboration with individuals, organizations, academic and research institutions, foundations, corporations and nonprofits. The event will bring together practitioners, thinkers, health-care leaders opinion-makers, planners, academics, technology experts and top executives.

The goal will be to discover new ideas that can be translated into sustainable social businesses.

More support to fight Alzheimer’s

As baby boomers enter their senior years, the fifth annual “A Family Affair” is becoming more relevant to many as they witness friends and loved ones cope with the trials and tribulations of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sarah and Walton Clarke chaired the event on Nov. 20 at the Piedmont Driving Club joined by more than 200 individuals and couples on the host committee — such notables as Duvall and Rex Fuqua, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Billi and Bernie Marcus, Harriet and Charlie Shaffer, and Carolyn and Andy Young.

The “Affair” raises funds for research at the Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). The event also honored Emory neuroscientist Lary Walker, who just received the Met Life Foundation Award for Medical Research for his innovative work. Walker’s breakthrough research reveals how certain Alzheimer’s proteins act as “seeds” that spread the disease throughout the brain.

“The growth in support for Alzheimer’s research at Emory has been truly phenomenal,” said Allan Levey, director of the Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

Deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease are significantly underreported. The disease actually joins heart disease and cancer as the top three killers of Americans. While there is no cure or effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, the work at Emory is encouraging. The Emory ADRC is the only National Institute of Health-designated comprehensive care center, Levey said.

Emory also is reaching out to Atlanta’s racially diverse community, detecting a higher rate of Alzheimer’s among African Americans, who remain understudied and underserved. That is motivating Emory’s Center to increase participation of African Americans in clinical research. The ultimate goal would be to do a simple blood test to identify and treat patients early.

Dr. Levey recognized Mahlon DeLong for his groundbreaking work with Parkinson’s Disease.

Georgia State honors Sheroes

Two unabashed “feminists” were declared Sheroes of the Year on Nov. 20 by Georgia State University Library’s Women and Gender Collections.

In the 1970s, Joyce Dunaway Parker needed all her Southern gentility when she first went to the Georgia legislature to try to drum up support for the Equal Rights Amendment.

A disheveled legislator spent 45 minutes arguing with her about the constitutionality of the amendment, and then he told her a dirty joke with the punchline “that women who are for this thing aren’t very sexy.” She then went to a church in south Georgia to speak to some women about the ERA, and was told by one woman, “Good Christian women aren’t for the ERA.” So she went back to her home in Cobb County and told her husband, “Not only had I failed as a virtuous woman, I’m not even a successful tramp.” But she and her fellow bandwagon of ERA supporters took “an issue that was worse than dead and made it viable.” State polls showed that there was 73 percent support for ratification. And although it failed, Dunaway went on to start Cool Girls — making sure the next generation of women would have a shot at equality.

The second Shero to be inducted was Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Introducing Philipp was Beth Schapiro, who first met her in the mid-’70s at Emory University through the Feminist Action Alliance. Their friendship continued through the decades with parallel interests in community, philanthropy, leadership and civic engagement. “What’s unique about Alicia — her line of sight is never down,” Schapiro said.

World Children’s Center

After years of trying to provide a community in west Georgia for children in need, the World Children’s Center is changing its mission.

It will be selling 719 acres of its land and using those proceeds to start a foundation to help serve children in need sooner, and ore effectively, according to Donald H. Whitney, its founder and president.

The revenues from the sale will got towards aiding homeless, orphaned or neglected children for which the center was intended, Whitney explained. The newly created foundation will concentrate its efforts on creating strategic alliances and partnerships with other organizations that serve children in need.

“At the end of the day and a very long journey, the funds and investment needed didn’t come forth to see our mission and purpose realized,” Whitney said. “Throughout the years of working on the WCC, we have seen first- hand many great things that are being done for children and feel that our partnership and assistance in these efforts can have an immediate return.”

The World Children’s Center purchased 719 acres of land 40 minutes west of Atlanta in 2005. Over the past nine years, Whitney worked to improve the land by adding infrastructure of roads, power, water, gas, sewer, fiber, the main entrance and the first children’s home.

“It is very disheartening reaching this decision,” Whitney said. “I gave it my all, but I couldn’t find that one short term investor to join me in fulfilling the WCC purpose, mission and vision of serving what would have been thousands of underserved children for generations.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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