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Reporter’s Notebook: CAU professor named on 40 Under 40 by higher ed magazine, Cook Park receives $180,000 grant, “Save the Swamp” fundraiser

The week in local news.

Happy Groundhog Day! On Feb. 2, Georgia’s favorite groundhog — Official General Beauregard Lee — peeked his head out and wasn’t met with his shadow, meaning we’re due for an early spring. Let’s hope he’s right and the gloomy, winter days are behind us.

On to other local news:

Nathaniel Currie.

CAU Professor named 40 Under 40 scholar list by higher ed magazine

Last month’s issue of “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” named Clark Atlanta University’s social work professor, Dr. Nathaniel Currie, on its “40 Under 40” scholars list.

The award selects honorees from a pool of candidates recommended by various department chairs, university public information officers and other. The scholars are chosen based on research, teaching record, and competitiveness and uniqueness of their field of study.

Currie, who works in the Whitney M. Young, Jr. School of Social Work, was one of the 15 scholars selected by the magazine. His research interests include the application of social justice to clinical practice, prison reform and abolitionism, environmental and socially engineered trauma with an emphasis on communities of color and the intersection of Black men, mental health and infectious disease. 

— Allison Joyner

Cook Park, a 16-acre park with green infrastructure in Atlanta’s Vine City. (Photo courtesy of HDR, Paul Dingman.)

Cook Park receives $180,000 Park Pride grant 

The Alliance for the Activation of Rodney Cook Sr. Park recently received a $180,000 grant from Park Pride to install shade structures at the playground and the fitness area. Additionally, the grant will fund more benches, trash cans and dog waste stations.

The Alliance is a nonprofit neighborhood conservancy that aims to activate Cook Park while promoting the historical and cultural importance of the park and Vine City. Park Pride is a nonprofit that works to improve parks around the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County.

The funds are part of Park Pride’s recent 2023 grant cycle, with $2.5 million heading to local 25 communities. Sixty-seven percent of the allocated grant funds will go to parks in low-income neighborhoods.

“The Alliance for the Activation of Rodney Cook Sr. Park is excited about our grant from Park Pride,” Alliance Chair Carrie Salvary wrote in a release. “The shade structures and other amenities funded by this grant will have a great impact on the health, safety, and enjoyment of the park by visitors. Park Pride has been in support of the Alliance since the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to grow and develop our relationship going forward.” 

Click here to read more about Vine City’s Cook Park.

— Hannah E. Jones

The Okefenokee Swamp is one of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders. (Photo courtesy of the Georgia River Network.)

Georgia River Network hosts “Save the Swamp” fundraiser

Environmental experts and advocates have raised the alarm bells over a controversial mining plan less than three miles from South Georgia’s iconic Okefenokee Swamp. Georgia River Network (GRN) is hosting a Save the Swamp Mardi Gras Party on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Atlanta.

The party will include live music by Rob Jordan’s band Five & Dime, a raffle for a High Country Outfitters kayak, mardi gras activities, a low-country boil and a bonfire. The upcoming event will also serve as a fundraiser for GRN’s advocacy efforts around water policy in Georgia.

As part of the contested plan, Alabama mining company Twin Pines seeks to mine 582 acres along Trail Ridge, a hydrological divide between the swamp and the St. Marys River. The company is seeking ​​titanium dioxide, a mineral primarily used for its white pigments. 

Click here for further information and ticketing details. To learn more about what’s going on at the Okefenokee’s doorstep, click here.

— Hannah E. Jones

Ebony G. Patterson. (Photo courtesy of High Museum of Art.)

High Museum selects recipient for David C. Driskell Prize

Earlier this week, the High Museum announced Ebony G. Patterson as this year’s winner of the David C. Driskell Prize, which recognizes contributions in the field of African American art. 

Patterson is known for her multi-layered works in a variety of mediums. Her work often includes themes that explore injustice. 

The High established the Driskell Prize to celebrate early or mid-career scholars or artists whose work makes an original and significant contribution to African American art or art history. 

“Patterson’s striking work commemorates the lives and struggles of marginalized people throughout the world,” the museum put out in a statement. “She asks viewers to consider tough questions regarding social and racial inequality globally.” 

Patterson will accept a $50,000 cash award during the 18th annual Driskell Prize Gala on Apr. 28. Click here to learn more. 

— Allison Joyner

Carlos del Rio.

Emory welcomes interim dean for its School of Medicine

Emory University recently announced that clinician and epidemiologist Carlos del Rio will join the leadership team as interim dean for its School of Medicine. He will also serve as interim chief academic officer for Emory Healthcare. 

He will take on the new position on March 1, replacing current Dean Vikas Sukhatme. Currently, del Rio is the Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases for Emory School of Medicine and executive associate dean for Emory at Grady. He is also a professor of global health and professor of epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health.

Del Rio has worked closely with marginalized communities for over two decades, working to improve clinical care and outcomes for global health crises like COVID-19 and HIV. He was also recently recognized by the CDC Office of Minority Health and Health Equity as a Health Equity Champion

“Dr. del Rio is a renowned physician, researcher and epidemiologist who is dedicated to educating and training future physicians and protecting the health of individuals around the world,” wrote Ravi Thadhani, Emory’s executive vice president for health affairs, executive director for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and vice chair of the Emory Healthcare Board of Directors. “Under Dr. del Rio’s direction and leadership, Emory School of Medicine will continue to be a leader in academic medicine and further enhance the Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s mission to improve health outcomes, cure diseases and save lives.”

— Hannah E. Jones

Fulton County School cafeterias host canned food drive, serving healthy Super Bowl-themed lunches

Fulton County School cafes will host a Super Bowl-themed promotion starting next week, including a canned food drive and lucky tray day. 

From Feb. 6 to 10, the cafes will give prizes to students and surprise “MVP” servers will be helping serve nutritious lunches to students. 

Super Bowl specials will also be available during lunchtime. 

Click here for more information.  

— Allison Joyner

Georgia CORE names 20 trailblazers in cancer care, celebrates 20th anniversary

In celebration of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education’s (CORE) 20th anniversary, the team is honoring 20 Trailblazers — members of Georgia’s oncology community, state leaders, scientists and philanthropists who have committed to making a lasting impact on cancer care in the state.

In Georgia, cancer is the second-leading cause of death, and Georgia CORE is a public-private partnership that increases access to resources, personalized cancer care and support for patients, survivors and caregivers. 

The 20 honorees will be recognized at “A Toast to the Trailblazers” on Feb. 18 at the Atlanta History Center. This is a first-time event, with dining and dancing that’s open to the public, and an expected 300 guests from Georgia’s oncology and philanthropic communities.

“We are happy to honor those individuals who, through research, education, or advocacy blazed the trail to create and sustain Georgia’s innovative, collaborative, and patient-centered cancer ecosystem,” Georgia CORE president and CEO Lynn Durham wrote in a press release. “The Trailblazers were a major force behind Georgia CORE’s statewide impact, and for that, we are eternally grateful.”

Click here for additional event details and ticketing information.

— Hannah E. Jones

Matthew Mooney.

Arthritis Foundation names new Chair of National Board of Directors

The Arthritis Foundation, headquartered in Atlanta, named longtime volunteer Matthew Mooney as the new chair of its national Board of Directors. Mooney will enter his new role this month, following immediate past board chair Frank Longobardi.

Mooney is co-president of ON Partners, an executive search firm, with more than 30 years of consulting experience. Inspired by his daughter who has lived with juvenile arthritis since she was two, Mooney joined the national board of directors in November 2014. Since then, he also served as vice chair of the Board.

“I am incredibly proud to be the incoming chair of the Arthritis Foundation’s national board of directors,” Mooney wrote in a press release. “We have a strong set of priorities, including advancing our scientific agenda by funding innovative research and enabling the development of a diverse rheumatology workforce. We also prioritize improving quality of life for people living with arthritis through legislative advocacy and delivering expert patient education and empowerment programming.” 

Arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability, affecting around 60 million adults and 300,000 children. The nonprofit is dedicated to advancing prevention, control and cure.

— Hannah E. Jones

Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.


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