Gary D. Nelson, PhD, Healthcare Georgia Foundation

TITLE: President

FOCUS AREAS: Access to healthcare, health disparities, disease prevention, nonprofit capacity building, health policy, childhood obesity, rural communities, infant mortality

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PROFILE: Gary D. Nelson is the president of the Healthcare Georgia Foundation and has been with the organizations since 2002. Nelson’s foundation bio shares:

As president, Dr. Nelson is responsible for implementing Board decisions and policies and for executive management of the Foundation's program, financial and management operations. Working with the Foundation's Board of Directors, Dr. Nelson oversees the design and management of the Foundation's grantmaking program - dedicated to advancing the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for the underserved individuals and communities.

Prior to joining the Foundation in March 2002, Dr. Nelson served as a program director at The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) responsible for managing the Health Improvement Initiative, Healthy Aging and the Foundation's population health programs.

Dr. Nelson previously was employed at the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 1986 to 1993, where he managed several nationally significant evaluation projects and served as an Associate Director for Evaluation, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Dr. Nelson has held academic appointments in public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He began his public health career with the Utah State Department of Public Health.

He currently serves as a member of the Board of Public Health Foundation Enterprises. He is also a member of the Philanthropic Collaborative for a Healthy Georgia and now serves on the Board of Visitors for Georgia State University's College of Health and Human Services.

Formerly, Dr. Nelson was a member of the Research Committee of the Council on Foundations; and a Board member of Grantmakers Evaluation Network, Grantmakers in Aging, and Grantmakers for Children, Youth, and Families. 

He received his bachelor's degree at Kansas State University, master's degree at Central Michigan University and his Ph.D. at the University of Utah.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal appointed Nelson to the board of the Department of Public Health in 2011.