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Community Health Charities recently held an invitation-only event hosted by The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta to discuss local workforce health and community resilience and initiate solutions-oriented conversations.

Dr. Arti Aurora, Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at The Coca-Cola Company, welcomed guests and spoke to the company’s focus on offering healthy beverage options.  “Ensuring we are building healthy communities is very important to us,” said Dr. Aurora. “We collaborate with more than 400 companies in the metro-Atlanta region because we believe in the power of working together in partnerships to invest in our community.”

Keynote speaker Karen Minyard, CEO, Department of Public Management and Policy, Georgia Health Policy Center, shared data proving zip code is often the biggest predictor of health status in the Atlanta region. She offered recommendations and implementation strategies for local businesses and others to collaboratively improve healthcare quality, access, and affordability, demonstrating clear return on investment in reduced healthcare costs, reduced absenteeism and improved productivity.

A panel discussion, moderated by Linda Blount, CEO of Black Women’s Health Imperative and Community Health Charities board secretary, followed the keynote presentation and offered additional promising practices and an exchange of ideas on how companies can work together with health and community leaders to improve health outcomes for current and future employees.

“As a global community, companies need to come together to find a way to approach health that is consistent,” said Panelist Alex Cunningham, senior advisor for Chevron and Community Health Charities board member. “In the past, companies focused on direct costs and not on having happy, healthy workers. Today, we need to create cultures of health that leverage technology to allow people to work in ways that positively impact their overall health and wellbeing.”

Dr. Veda Johnson, Marcus Professor in General Academics and Pediatrics/Director for PARTNERS for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health focused on the importance of children’s health during the panel. “Every child who comes in to this world has the capacity to change the world,” said Dr. Johnson. “They are the legacy we leave behind and we need to invest more in them starting from birth if we expect them to be an effective workforce.”

Cynthia Rolfe, Vice President of Brand Strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield (retired) and Community Health Charities board chair, thanked the presenters and the Coca-Cola company for hosting the event.

For more than 60 years, Community Health Charities has been raising awareness and resources for health, working with companies and organizations to build stronger, healthier communities. In 2019 and beyond, we’re focusing on improving the resilience and health of communities across the U.S., focused on addressing the root causes – social, economic, and environmental factors – that impact health. To learn more, contact Amanda Ponzar.