The Georgia Global Health Alliance (GGHA) is a concept that was started in 1999 by Atlanta global health leaders. Originally conceived as the Atlanta Coalition for Global Health by the esteemed Dr. Bill Foege, he spent the next few years meeting with representatives of Atlanta’s global health community to explore the concept’s viability.
By 2002, a charter for the Atlanta Coalition for Global Health was drafted and signed by the CDC, The Carter Center, Morehouse School of Medicine, the CDC Foundation, and the Task Force for Child Survival and Development. The Task Force served as the secretariat and for several years meetings of the Coalition were held to share what each organization was doing in global health and to try to find opportunities for the
members to collaborate. In 2006 Coalition members supported a symposium on Collaboration in Global Health at the Carter Center. When the January 2010 earthquake hit, the Coalition members came together with representatives of the Shepherd Center, the American Cancer Society, MedShare, Habitat for Humanity, and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to explore how they might contribute to the relief efforts. Soon after, these collaborations proved Georgia as an emerging national leader in global health with a broad spectrum of health innovations stemming from universities, private sector businesses and nonprofits, and government agencies. The importance of collaboration among these non-traditional partners was apparent.
Growth of the Coalition was delayed due to the recession, but in October of 2013, the first meeting between the National Health Museum (NHM) and The Task Force for Global Health was held. At this meeting, the concept for a Global Health Alliance Initiative was established. Over the next year a steering committee was established with senior leadership from the Task Force for Global Health, the NHM, Morehouse School of Medicine, CARE, Emory University, The Carter Center, and The CDC Foundation. This committee decided that the focus should be on building the alliance. This would help to mitigate risk and also establish a legacy.
In September of 2014, during an unrelated trip to Seattle, WA, Mark Rosenberg of the Task Force for Global Health met with Lisa Cohen, Executive Director of the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA) where they discussed the GGHA concept and activities to-date, and soon found synergies between the GGHA formation and a Robert Wood Johnson grant that the WGHA was considering. Soon thereafter, an agreement to collaborate on Robert Wood Johnson grant “Collaboration on Collaboration: A model for regional global health alliances,” was formed.
The second meeting of the GGHA Steering Committee was held October 2014. At this meeting models of success and lessons learned from past attempts for an Alliance were discussed. It was decided that there is no need to “reinvent the wheel” and the partnership with WGHA was vital. Later that month the Robert Wood Johnson Grant was submitted and was awarded in November to WGHA for funding and personnel. The grant enabled the WGHA-GGHA partnership to move forward. The NHM then committed SEED funding to GGHA.
By January of 2015 part-time staff was hired to focus on operational setup and fundraising, and the GGHA committed to move forward with the intent to hold a Global Health Workshop, in Atlanta. The steering committee and staff organized a large community stakeholder meeting in June 2015. At that meeting, attendees learned about a Georgia partnership with the Washington Global Health Alliance and ongoing efforts to form a Georgia alliance. WGHA executive management presented at the meeting. Nearly 30 community leaders and stakeholders from the global health community were in attendance. At this meeting, community stakeholders expressed their strong and unanimous support for the formation of a regional alliance.
Following the meeting GGHA staff embarked on an effort to complete a series of in-person meetings during the summer of 2015 with over 15 key opinion leaders and the senior leadership of Georgia’s major global health organizations to determine the value-add benefits of GGHA and its goals. Feedback from these meetings has allow for the development of a strategic framework for GGHA to be development, and for the official launch of GGHA in 2016.