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Biz bits: Decatur Makers executive director to retire, Stability Engineering opens second office

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Biz bits: Decatur Makers executive director to retire, Stability Engineering opens second office

Irm Diorio, executive director of Decatur Makers on right, with her husband Paul at Farm Burger during the West Ponce Music Stroll in Decatur on Saturday, Sept. 25. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Atlanta, GA — Here’s a look at business news in our community.

— Decatur Makers Executive Director Irm Diorio announced she will retire at the end of June. 

“The years with this organization, and the inspiring community of makers across the United States that I’ve had the pleasure to meet, learn from, and work beside, have been an enriching privilege,” she wrote in a blog post. “I’m grateful for and proud of the incredible growth, progress, and positive impact the organization has made, even during a pandemic. And while changes can bring challenges, they are also a catalyst for growth. Decatur Makers is in a very healthy place, with strong support and momentum to carry into the next season.”

She was involved in the organization for eight years between serving as a volunteer and as an employee. Diorio will work with the Decatur Makers board of directors and stakeholders to find her replacement.

To read the full blog post, click here.

Stability Engineering, which is located on Church Street in Decatur, has opened a second office in North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Stability Engineering.

— Decatur-based Stability Engineering has opened a second office in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Stability Engineering was founded in 2004 in downtown Decatur has has since grown from two employees to over 20 servicing the entire state of Georgia, and much of the Southeast, Eastern seaboard and the Midwest, according to a press release. Founder and Principal Engineer Pierre Coiron sought the opportunity to expand and found a need in Charlotte.

The Charlotte office has been in development for several months and officially opened in September 2021.

The new office will provide structural engineering services for single-family residences, multi-family communities, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, industrial sites, art installations, sound walls, bridges, adaptive reuse and more.

“At the beginning of the pandemic we were cautiously optimistic that our growth would continue. We not only maintained the steady increase in our projects and profits but we far exceeded all of our goals and expectations. Opening an office in a burgeoning market such as Charlotte seemed like the next logical step,” Coiron said.

— Quality Care for Children has announced the resignation of its President and CEO Pam Tatum.

She has served in this role since 2004 and will retire in March. Tatum is the third person to hold this role since the organization was founded in 1979.

Here’s the full press release:

ATLANTA – (Jan. 12, 2022) – Quality Care for Children (QCC), an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization working to equip families and child care providers with the knowledge and resources to nurture and educate Georgia’s infants and young children, today announced that Pam Tatum, the nonprofit’s president and CEO since 2004, will retire in March 2022. Tatum is only the third person to hold this role since the organization was founded in 1979.

“Pam’s knowledge and experience in early care and learning are among the best in the entire country. Her impact on improving the lives of children in Georgia is immeasurable,” said Jerry Boerner, executive director of finance at Cox Communications and former QCC Board of Directors Chair. “Because of Pam, the future of child care in Georgia is brighter and the potential for the continued success of Quality Care for Children is greater!”

“It has been such an honor and privilege to lead this organization and to work on an issue I care about so deeply,” said Pam Tatum. “My decision to retire comes after much thought and hand-wringing, but I know that now is the right time to welcome new leadership in order for QCC to positively impact even more Georgia families and children.”

Tatum began her career with Quality Care for Children in 1990 when it was still an office of Save the Children. After becoming QCC’s president and CEO, she expanded the organization’s scope and impact to become one of the premier child care resource and referral agencies in the country. Under her leadership, Quality Care for Children tripled its operating budget, doubled its staff, and established the first statewide child care referral service 1-877-ALL-GA-KIDS. She also was instrumental in the launch of several programs that benefit Georgia’s families and childcare industry, including the Boost Scholarship program, which helps college students who are also parents and other underserved families with child care expenses, and QCCWorks, which is a suite of programs focused on child care business supports and increasing the sustainability of child care programs. Tatum is frequently called upon to share her insights about early childhood education and has served on many local, state and national boards. It’s with her guidance that QCC earned the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s Managing for Excellence Award.

Quality Care for Children’s Board of Trustees has formed a search committee to conduct a national search for its next CEO. With Tatum’s assistance, the committee created a leadership profile and is launching the search later this month. Visit QCC’s website at https://www.qualitycareforchildren.org/careers to find out more about the CEO position and search parameters.

— East Lake Foundation announced leadership team promotions. 

Catherine Woodling was promoted from director of marketing and communications to deputy executive director. This promotion recognizes the role Woodling has been serving across the foundation and in the community above and beyond her responsibilities for the last several years, according to a press release.

Dwayne Watkins has served as the foundation’s data manager and will now serve as it impact and engagement manager. This new role better defines the broader outreach and engagement work Watkins does with the foundation’s resident and community support program.

The East Lake Foundation announced last month that President and CEO Daniel Shoy, Jr., is leaving the foundation on Jan. 31 after serving at the foundation for 12 years. On Feb. 14, he will join the Arthur M. Blank Family foundation as the managing director of youth development, leading the Blank Family Foundation’s and Blank Family Businesses’ impact on youth in Georgia and Montana.

Woodling will work with the East Lake Foundation’s board of directors to select a new executive director. The board of directors expects to name an executive director in March.

— AccessHope, Emory Healthcare and the Winship Cancer institute of Emory University are collaborating to extend access to specialized cancer expertise to more people living with complex cancers across the country.

Here’s the full press release:

DUARTE, CALIFORNIA, and ATLANTA — AccessHope, LLC, a company that provides cancer expertise to employers and their health care affiliates, today announced a new foundational collaboration with Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, extending access to specialized cancer expertise to more people living with complex cancers across the United States.

Emory Healthcare, along with Winship, joins AccessHope’s existing collaboration with three other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers to offer innovative support and deliver advanced, expert knowledge for employees with cancer to their health plans and their local treating oncologists.

Cancer specialists from Winship will provide tumor type-specific expertise for AccessHope’s core services — Accountable Precision OncologyExpert Advisory Review and Cancer Support Team — to plan members in southeastern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and across the United States.

“People deserve access to the latest cancer care knowledge, regardless of their geographic location. The ability to remotely access health information has become increasingly important for the patient experience, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when people’s ability or willingness to travel for cancer care may have been impacted,” says Mark Stadler, chief executive officer, AccessHope.

Through an employer benefit that provides access to a broad network of oncology experts, AccessHope’s cancer support services help employees and their families navigate the complexity of a cancer diagnosis to improve quality of life and health outcomes, return to their work and lives, and reduce expenses. Medical specialists at Emory Healthcare and Winship are at the forefront of lifesaving discoveries and the latest cancer research, and they can help health plans and treating oncologists guide their patients to clinical trials, genetic/genomic testing and the newest personalized treatments, such as breakthrough medications and targeted therapies.

“We are honored to welcome Emory Healthcare and Winship into our growing family of foundational collaborators, which also includes City of Hope, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Northwestern Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University,” adds Stadler. “As we continue connecting plan members and their local treating oncologists with these world-renowned specialists who can review their cases, our primary goal is to share insights they can use to optimize cancer treatment plans and improve clinical outcomes.”

Emory Healthcare, with 24,000 employees and 11 hospital campuses, is the most comprehensive academic health system in Georgia. System-wide, it has 2,722 licensed beds and more than 3,300 physicians practicing in more than 70 specialties, serving metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia with 250 locations.

“At Emory Healthcare, patients are at the center of everything we do, and our mission is to improve lives and provide hope,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, executive vice president for health affairs of Emory University and chief executive officer of Emory Healthcare. “Through innovation and discovery, our clinicians and cancer specialists are focused on advancing medical research and progressive cancer treatments that will benefit those who are diagnosed, and we are pleased to collaborate with AccessHope to provide further access to patients in need of cancer expertise.”

Winship Cancer Institute expertise available for patients with complex cancers

As Georgia’s only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Winship is the epicenter of the state’s cancer research, education and care and is ranked in the top 50 in the United States and No. 1 in Georgia for cancer care, according to U.S. News & World Report. Winship clinicians see more than 17,000 newly diagnosed patients each year. The center is poised to grow; construction is underway on a new 17-story cancer facility, the largest expansion in Winship’s history.

“Winship is proud to work with AccessHope to provide top-notch expertise to the care of patients in our region at an exciting time of new possibilities in cancer care,” says Winship Executive Director Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD. “Winship’s leading experts will work with individuals’ health plans and their local care teams to provide specialized knowledge and insights.”

Research is also a key component of Winship’s mission. Investigators enrolled more than 900 participants in more than 300 clinical trials in 2020, the same year it received $80 million in research funding. Winship collaborates with professionals from around the world and with national and state agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the Georgia Research Alliance.

“Winship oncologists are seeing a recent trend of more patients coming through our doors with advanced or later-stage cancers, which likely progressed from delayed screenings or treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Sagar Lonial, MD, FACP, chief medical officer of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. “Through our new collaboration with AccessHope, Winship clinicians will provide valuable medical expertise for patients with complex cancers, including our multidisciplinary teams that care for head and neck, lung, prostate and breast cancers as well as the rapidly changing field of blood cancers. Those experts can then provide recommendations to local oncologists, so individuals then receive state-of-the-art care as quickly as possible.”

Increased quality and access to health care

Emory Healthcare was named as one of the top 10 most trusted health care brands in the United States and the top health care system in Georgia in a recent survey conducted by the American Hospital Association of more than 30,000 consumers. Consumers reported that three strategies were paramount to boost trust: being transparent and clear with information, listening and being empathetic, and offering care and treatment choices to patients.

“Improving access, increasing options and expanding health literacy can go a long way in addressing critical issues in health care such as health disparities, trust in health care and health care providers, and patients proactively seeking out specialized medical care. AccessHope’s unique approach in connecting people with cancer expertise, regardless of their geographic location, was a natural fit for Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Institute, where patients come first,” says Dane Peterson, president and chief operating officer of Emory Healthcare. “Together, Emory Healthcare and AccessHope will increase access to medical expertise, and we will further transform health and healing at home in Georgia and beyond.”

In December 2021, the medical journal JCO Oncology Practice published a peer-reviewed study on how AccessHope influences lung cancer cases. Titled “A Novel Program Offering Remote, Asynchronous Subspecialist Input in Thoracic Oncology: Early Experience During a Pandemic,” the study found that AccessHope’s NCI-level subspecialists provided evidence-based recommendations to influence 93% of the cases AccessHope received. Accompanying the clinical and humanistic benefits was an average of $19,000 in cost savings per plan member.

Today, AccessHope serves approximately 3.3 million plan members who have access to its cancer support services through 75 employers and collaborative relationships with Collective Health via its Premier Partner Program™ and with Health Transformation Alliance and Quantum Health.

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