Georgia State Advocacy Committee


We appreciate the efforts of these volunteers to help lead our advocacy work in Georgia.  Take a moment to learn more about them.

Michael Mumper, Chair

Michael is Director of Programs for Drug Free Fayette, a prevention coalition in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.  He is President of the Georgia Alcohol Policy Alliance.  Michael is a consultant with the SAMHSA-funded Opioid Response Network, serves on the American Heart Association’s Georgia Advocacy Steering Committee, catalyzed a CADCA 2019 “Got Outcomes” award, and was Let’s Be Clear Georgia’s 2020 Prevention Champion for work in marijuana prevention and policy. Michael was one of two CADCA “2022 Advocates of the Year”.  He earned an MBA from Emory University, and led business management teams at GE Capital, Random House and Turner Broadcasting before shifting to prevention and community coalition building.

Kimberly Goodloe

Sharing why I choose to  advocate for equitable policies that support healthy hearts…..

  1. I’m a heart valve disease survivor
  2. Because so many people throughout the community are suffering on different levels and are in need of hope and encouragement
  3. To  raise awareness , make a difference and connect with state lawmakers and share my story of survival from heart valve replacement and three pacemaker surgeries.

Tina Marie Marsden

I developed pregnancy induced heart failure (PPCM) after my own maternal health crisis.  Since my diagnosis I've received a portable heart pump (LVAD) to help sustain life.  Through my own lived experiences I know firsthand the importance of advocating for equitable policies that support healthy hearts.  


Paula Kreissler

As Executive Director Healthy Savannah, Paula has worked in the policy, systems, environmental change (PSE) arena for over fifteen years. Paula is the Project Director of a five-year CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Grant to reduce health disparities in Chatham County.  She works daily with leaders and grassroots community members across all sectors to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for all members of our community through PSE.

Joining the AHA Georgia Advocacy Committee creates the opportunity to support statewide policies that impact the health all communities across Georgia! I know our local community will benefit as I learn more about successful strategies in communities across Georgia! I am excited to part of this group!

John Strong

My name is John R. Strong jr  and I am from Albany GA. I am a  Graduate of Tennessee State University. I currently serve as the CEO/Founder of One Albany and I am the  Executive Director for Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. I have a 13 year old daughter that I adore. I enjoy riding ATVS, traveling, reading and helping people in any way I can. My motto is you must be the change you want to see in the world.

Mirtha Vaca-Wilkens

My name is Mirtha Vaca-Wilkens, and I am the Senior Manager of Institutional Giving and Partnerships at Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, where I help build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. I am also  an Emmy-award-winning journalist and multimedia strategist with nearly two decades of experience providing compelling marketing and communications solutions to both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. As an idealist at heart, I believe doing good always leads to great results. I appreciate the power of a compelling story and believe one of the most pressing narratives of our day is the importance of equitable access to healthcare. I know it saves lives. It’s an honor to serve on the American Heart Association’s volunteer advocacy committee to support policies that nurture a strong and heart-healthy Georgia.


Paige Blankenship

In 2021, my dad passed away from a sudden heart attack. However, knowing what I know now, there were possible warning signs that were missed leading up to the attack that could have possibly saved his life. For this reason, I’m dedicating my time to serve in the mission to help educate the public about heart disease, promoting early detection, and share in the quest to advocate for equitable policies that support healthy hearts.

Professionally, I have been in marketing for over 25 years. I currently offer marketing services through my own boutique firm: Paige Blankenship Marketing Projects.

Suhaas Bonkur

Hi Everyone! I am Suhaas and I am a first-year Biology major at Georgia Tech. I decided to advocate with the American Heart Association through Tobacco Endgame because I am passionate about chronic illnesses such as heart disease and tobacco/nicotine prevention initiatives, especially in teenagers. Through the Georgia Advocacy Committee, I hope to work towards more equitable public policies that support heart health and voice the concerns and ideas of teenagers just like me. 

Jack Bernard

Jack began his career as a community organizer with Georgia’s poverty program. He eventually became the first Director of Health Planning for the State of Georgia. Jack then entered the private sector and served as a senior level executive with national health care firms including Humana, NME (now Tenet), Premier, and MedAssets. During this time, he was on the San Diego North County Boards of the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association. He also did board training for major hospital systems. 

More recently, Jack has been a local activist, serving on the Jasper County, GA Board of Commissioners from 2005 through 2012 and chairing that Board. Jack also chaired the state Tax and Property Tax Committees of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia.  

He has been on numerous other committees and boards, including Fayette Factor, the Jasper County Board of Health, the Peachtree City Zoning Commission and the Fayette County Board of Health, where he is now Chair. He is also on the Georgia Public Health Association Executive Board and the national NALBOH board. He has also done national lobbying for NACCHO. In addition, he is the only non-physician on the State Steering Committee (Board) of the Physicians for a National Health Program. 

Another interest is small business development. He has been a mentor/counselor with SCORE (an SBA affiliate) since 2008, concentrating on the SCORE region for the multi-county area south of I-20. He has been on the SCORE Atlanta Board. 

He is also an editorial writer specializing in healthcare, social and political issues. He has over 1300 columns in print nationwide. 

Nettie Jackson

Stroke awareness, Public Access to Defibrillation, Health Equity and Tobacco control were practically nonexistent 30 years ago.  Advocacy created an atmosphere for some extremely impactful educational, policy, and environmental changes in these and other areas.   I’m a member of the Georgia Advocacy Committee because there is still much we can do to improve health and save lives.

Michael Charles

Michael Charles is a Native Georgian and has been a paramedic for 36 years paramedic. In addition to a lengthy career as a paramedic, he has also been a CPR instructor for 35 years. As a heart attack survivor, he believes in the importance of knowing CPR and feeling empowered to save a life. He founded The Better Outcomes Foundation to increase the number of people trained in CPR, as well as bring attention to the lives that are saved because of CPR and early intervention.