Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Lillian Grant-Baptiste
Chair

Lillian Grant-Baptiste is a celebrant, inspirational speaker, cultural artist, and community change agent. She is known throughout Chatham County for her advocacy for personal, family, and community empowerment. In her present position with the City of Savannah, Lillian serves as the Leadership and Training Coordinator for the WorkSource Coastal Department. Lillian is also the Chair of the Healthy Savannah’s Faith and Health Coalition. Lillian Grant-Baptiste is a 1985 honor graduate of Savannah State University and a 2006 graduate of Leadership Savannah.


“Healthy Savannah is not just an organization that aims to effect positive change around health and wellness, it is a campaign that seeks to connect, inspire and grow to ultimately make Savannah a more holistic, healthy, and abundant community. More than 10 years ago, Healthy Savannah began as a few collaborative conversations and a dream deeply rooted in the heart of Mayor Otis Johnson and has since grown from a hope and a dream to a social movement that has drawn tremendous energy and momentum.”

Blake Caldwell, MD
Vice-Chair

Blake Caldwell is a physician and scientist who retired in 2010 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is a pediatrician, but her early career included 8 years in the Navy doing bacterial research with a two-year tour teaching tropical public health and deployment medicine to Navy physicians in Panama. She joined the CDC in 1989 and her long career there included epidemiological research in HIV, health services research in health care quality and medical errors, and finally health policy for infectious diseases.

She developed and initially ran Skidaway Farms, a large community garden on Skidaway Island. She chairs the Agriculture and Archaeology Committees for Sustainable Skidaway. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Landings Association. She has been Co-chair of the Savannah/Chatham Food Policy Council since 2013 and helped found the Healthy Savannah Grant Planning Working Group. In 2011-2012 she chaired a task force for the Metropolitan Planning Commission to revise the city and county animal control ordinances to encourage urban agriculture.

Blake is married to Joel Rosenstock, an Infectious Disease physician practicing in Atlanta and they have two sons and three grandsons.


“How is Healthy Savannah is making an impact? Healthy Savannah had had a tremendous impact on the grant funding in the community through its Grant Planning Working Group helping coordinate grant planning for many successful grants since its inception.”

Nick Deffley, MS
Treasurer

Nick Deffley is the Director of Environmental Services & Sustainability at the City of Savannah, promoting a healthy, equitable, and economically vibrant community for our current citizens and future generations. Nick has worked with a variety of organizations locally including Armstrong University, Emergent Structures, Sustainativity, and Step Up Savannah on strategic planning, workforce development, and sustainability efforts. Prior to Savannah, Nick worked at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where he developed sustainable building policies, managed the University’s first sustainable building program, and improved collaboration with women and minority-owned businesses on sustainable building projects. Nick has a multi-disciplinary Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, Political Science & Communications and a Masters in Environmental Policy & Organizational Effectiveness. 


“The impact of Healthy Savannah is a direct result of its breadth and depth of relationships, connections, and partnerships that it has developed among so many organizations and people in Savannah and beyond.  Healthy Savannah’s collaborative and inclusive approach spurs innovative policy, environment and systems change that has far-reaching impacts on the health of Savannah and its residents.”

Tom Bullock, PhD
Secretary

Dr. Bullock is the Retention Specialist for Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus’ TRIO Student Support Services program and serves on the President’s Diversity Advisory Council. He serves as a Board member for numerous nonprofit organizations including, the Savannah Multicultural Chamber of Commerce, Healthy Savannah, The Heritage Signature Chorale, Whitman-Walker Health, United Aid for Africa, Resurrection Catholic Church Pastoral Council, and the Savannah Technical College Foundation.

Dr. Bullock is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization LEADERS, Inc., which serves to prepare undergraduate students for self-reliance, postgraduate opportunities, and leadership through the facilitation of, and exposure to, social and cultural competencies, professional development, and life skills.

One of his favorite sayings is, “Don’t wait for tomorrow to be successful, do one successful thing each day.”

Otis Johnson, PhD
Founding Member

Dr. Johnson is the former mayor of Savannah, GA. While Mayor, in 2007, he planted the seed to start Healthy Savannah. A Savannah native, he graduated from Beach High School in 1960, Armstrong Junior College in 1964 (now Georgia Southern University) as the first African American graduate, and the University of Georgia in 1967. He served from 1959 to 1965 in the U.S. Naval Reserve. In 1969, he earned a master’s degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University, and, in 1980, he received his Ph.D. from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Before becoming mayor, Johnson worked for the Economic Opportunity Authority, Model Cities Program, and Savannah State University. From 1983 until 1988, he served as the City Council Representative for the second district of Savannah. He then became the Executive Director of the Chatham Savannah Youth Futures Authority He formerly served as chair of the board of trustees of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. A longtime neighborhood leader on issues of youth development, he led the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Youth Futures Commission in Savannah. He also was dean of the School of Social Work at Savannah State and is a member of the Aspen Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Change.

Melanie Willoughby, RN, BSN, CCR

Melanie received her Bachelors in Nursing from Armstrong State College in 1987.  She has worked at St. Joseph’s/Candler for the past 32 years and is currently the Director of Health Management. She received national certification in Critical Care Nursing (CCRN) by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.  Melanie’s area of expertise is critical care, cardiac rehabilitation, and Health Management.

Rhonda Barlow, MPH, RDN, LD, CLC

Rhonda Barlow is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in various capacities as a public health nutritionist for over 30 years, two of those years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She currently works as a School Nutrition Coordinator with Chatham Public Schools. Rhonda has volunteered with Healthy Savannah since 2007. She also serves as the chair of the Healthy Savannah Faith and Healthy Coalition.


Healthy Savannah is important because it’s the single organizing cooperate force in the community moving the people of Savannah towards a healthier life and a better quality of life.

Healthy Savannah is making an impact in the community by consistently being a space for people to engage around, and in, healthy experiences.”

Onetha Bonaparte

Onetha Bonaparte is the Senior Director of School Nutrition for Savannah-Chatham Public Schools.  She has been in School Nutrition for almost 18 years and with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System since 1991.  Bonaparte spent over 20 years in the military before she took on this role as a second career.  Her passion has always been taking care of people and building relationships.  As the Director of School Nutrition, especially in these unprecedented times, has afforded her the opportunity to feed our most precious treasures of this school district.  Bonaparte takes great pride in this second career that she has chosen and it has afforded her the luxury to interact with the many community partners that support the programs in this district. She hopes that our district will help curve the obesity epidemic that is ramped in our state, as well as help close the gap with some of the food deserts we have here locally and to familiarize our students and families that they have choices that are healthy and economically sensible for their budget. 


Healthy Savannah is important because it paints a picture of providing a healthier culture for all citizens of Savannah and all the other municipalities that feed into our school system.

How is Healthy Savannah making an impact?  Healthy Savannah has created a path to provide education for healthy living.  Being a part of this fine organization allows me as a director, to create ways to educate our students on the importance of healthy choices.”

Cristina Gibson, MPH

Cristina has been in public health for 13 years, in the divisions of epidemiology, youth development, and has finally found her passion in health promotion. She is the Chronic Disease Prevention Director for the Coastal Health District, serving all the counties along the coast of Georgia and her branch’s motto is “Make the healthy choice the easy choice.” Her current work involves increasing community assets in the way of opportunities for physical activity, access points to healthy foods, and smoke-free environments. She is a member of the Healthy Savannah Coalition, which was instrumental in helping the City of Savannah and Chatham County pass local smoke-free ordinances and at our local university, Armstrong State, adopt a 100% smoke-free campus policy.

Keon Green, MBA, HCA

Keon Green is a graduate of Armstrong Atlantic State University, with a B.S. in Biology, a minor in Psychology, and a Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration from South University. Keon is a healthcare professional with more than 13 years of experience in healthcare. He is also a nationally certified pharmacy technician registered with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy. 

Keon Green is the Customer Service Representative and Adult Education Instructor at Savannah Technical College. Currently, Keon is a doctoral candidate for the degree Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) at Walden University where his doctoral focus is on sociodemographic factors that predict opioid misuse by types of healthcare insurance. Furthermore, his focus is on research and health policy.  


The impact of Healthy Savannah transcends local and state laws and policies. This organization provides a safe place where citizens can acquire health literacy, access to healthcare, and preventative solutions surrounding health and wellness. Connections facilitated through Healthy Savannah provide a comprehensive community-based approach to population health using an evidence-based approach. Each facet of Healthy Savannah elicits positive social change.”

Rev. Marvin Lloyd

Marvin L. Lloyd, a native Savannahian, is an alumnus of Savannah High School. A basketball standout, he attended college on an athletic scholarship at Lake City Community College in Lake City, Florida.

He later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology, with a Physical Education minor, from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. Lloyd has also benefitted from pastoral seminars and Master of Divinity graduate studies at Gordon-Conwell Seminary North Carolina and Florida campuses. His is a congregant of the First Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia where the Rev. Andre Osborne is pastor.

A licensed and ordained Christian Baptist minister, Lloyd has pastored the Little Bryan Missionary Baptist Church 509 East Gwinnett Street, Savannah, for 24 years. The church’s current ministries include a Sunday School children’s breakfast, small group topical Bible studies, women’s Bible enrichment initiatives, and ministerial social service and social justice support.

A retired Chatham County Health Department and Coastal Health District Epidemiologist, Lloyd is presently a part-time Drug and Alcohol Counselor with the Chatham County Detention Center. His credentials include State of Georgia Leadership Class graduate, certified HIV/AIDS health educator, and U. S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) HIV pre- and post-test counselor.

Pastor Lloyd is married to the former Ms. Jerry L. S. Artest and is the father of two adult children.

Krystal McGee

Krystal Hill McGee is the District Vice President for the YMCA of Coastal Georgia. She provides leadership to Chatham, Liberty, Effingham, and Bulloch Counties. She is a graduate of the State University of West Georgia where she majored in Recreation and Corporate Fitness.  She was also a member of the collegiate softball team, served as an athletic trainer and Alpha Xi Delta sorority. Her passion is to give tools to people and encourage them to enjoy a high-quality life through recreation, health, and comprehensive wellness. Her past work included the development of the US Army’s Pregnancy Fitness Program and the US Army’s Civilian Fitness Program. 

Krystal serves on the board of Leadership Southeast Georgia and the Savannah South Rotary Club. She is the proud mother of two boys and can be found sitting in the football stands at Berry College every Saturday in the fall watching her oldest, Nick, who is part of the coaching staff, and her youngest, Ryan, as he plays on the team.

Stephanie Small

Dr. Stephanie Small is a dynamic educational leader that has served students and families for over 30 years in Missouri and Georgia. In her personal life, she is an advocate for mental health, writes poetry, engages in public speaking, and is passionate about helping others and giving back to the Black community.

Thomas L. Thomson, P.E., AICP

Tom Thomson has more than 40 years of experience in planning, management, and engineering. He has directed programs and projects in roadway planning, public transportation, marketing, policy, engineering, and community consensus building. Thomson is the principal of Tom Thomson Consulting, LLC. TTC’s services include a range of urban, development and transportation planning; project and program management; and business and organizational consulting. He previously served as director of the metropolitan planning commission and metropolitan planning organization, in Savannah and was director of the transportation division for the Hillsborough County Planning & Growth Management Department in Tampa, Florida. Thomson graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and other professional organizations. He is a licensed professional engineer in Florida.

Robin Tisdale-Turner

Robin Tisdale-Turner is a Teacher Specialist with Savannah Chatham County Public School System where she has served the administrators, teachers, and students for the past 14 years. She is a passionate advocate for children. Her passion motivated her to start a school/community garden at A.E. Beach High School to educate students and the community about the importance of sustainability and wellness. She has served on the Farm 2 School advisory board for SCCPSS and has formed strong partnerships with organizations such as COPE (Childhood Obesity Prevention Education), the Department of Public Health, and The Beach Institute. 

Johnathan Winbush

Mr. Johnathan R. Winbush is a native of Chicago, Illinois with deep ancestral roots in Georgia and South Carolina. He is a writer and researcher of Low Country History and Culture. Johnathan also studies 19th Century American Thoroughbred Racehorses.

An alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana, Mr. Winbush has over a decade of governmental & administrative experience. He co-founded The Ella Baker Freedom School; a parent-based, homeschooling initiative in Chicago. He has worked for the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum in Savannah with noted historian, Mr. W.W. Law. He also served on former Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson’s Citizens’ Task Force on Public Safety and Education. Mr. Winbush currently serves as the Outreach Liaison for Parent University and a Resource Specialist for The Front Porch, a risk-reduction program for families. Johnathan also coordinates special projects on community gardening to promote healthier lifestyles for the residents of Chatham County.


Healthy Savannah is important because it is an organization on the leading edge of advancing policies and programs for health and wellness initiatives for all the residents of our greater community.

How is Healthy Savannah making an impact? Over the course of the past decade and a half, Healthy Savannah has made a difference for those who have embraced the responsibility for their own health. My point of view is: We can lead people to water; though, we must assure them that it is clean and safe to drink! ” 😊

Tiffany Pertillar
Steering Committee Chair

Tiffany Pertillar is a leader in the field of Public Health and a health equity subject matter expert.  Her public health career has spanned over 15 years working on issues related to advocacy, chronic disease prevention, and health promotion.  A University of Maryland-trained public health social worker, Tiffany is an unapologetic social reformer and compassionate crusader for justice, whose mission is to elevate equity and promote health for all people.  Not only is she co-founder and CEO of Epic Health Solutions, a small consulting firm focused on engaging, educating, and empowering this generation to incite the kind of social change that lifts equity and upholds social justice in all ways, but she consults with national organizations such as the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the National Parks and Recreation Association, and the Urban Land Institute on issues of chronic disease and health equity. 

She’s known for her thought-provoking insights into the social issues that adversely impact the health of racial and ethnic minorities throughout the United States and beyond. She has a profound ability to captivate and connect audiences in efforts to bridge the racial and wealth gaps that have both defined and divided our nation.  

Tiffany received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services from Geneva College in 2003 and Masters Degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Maryland Baltimore in 2008.  She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist, a Fitness Instructor, a Body Builder, and a Certified Health Coach. Tiffany is originally from Harrisburg, PA but currently resides in Savannah, Georgia with her ten-year-old Maltipoo named Riesling.


Healthy Savannah is important because the work we are doing together with and in the community is saving lives and giving the people who need it most, the access and opportunities they need to live their fullest and healthiest lives.   

How is Healthy Savannah making an impact? Healthy Savannah is making an impact by illuminating the inequities that exist in our community and working to uproot the systems that perpetuate those inequities through policy, systems, and environmental changes.  We are truly working to make the healthy choice the easy choice for every person in Savannah.”

Staff 

Paula Kreissler, MBA, CPA
Executive Director

Paula volunteered with Healthy Savannah from its launch in 2007, prior to accepting her current position. Paula graduated from Concordia University, is a licensed CPA, earned an MBA in Sustainable Business from Marylhurst University in 2012 and is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Southeast Georgia. The first 25 years of her career were spent primarily in Operations Management at FedEx.

As a volunteer at Healthy Savannah, Paula was on the inaugural Board of Directors, has led the Policy and Advocacy Committee, Steering Committee, Food Policy Committee, and Visibility Committee. Paula was the Project Lead on a Healthy Savannah grant to reduce childhood obesity in the Savannah/Chatham County community and currently is the Program Manager for the CDC REACH Grant. In 2008 Paula received the Top Ten Working Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award from A Working Women In Need (AWWIN). Paula’s business Wound Care Clinic -ESU won the 2008 Small Business of the Year Award from the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2015 she was recognized by the United Way Women’s Legacy Council with a “Women Who Rule” award.


“Healthy Savannah and its 200+ public and private partners are making an impact by collaborating around Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change through the lens of health equity.  We collectively have been at the table to educate policy influencers and policymakers on how they can help the healthy choice to be the easy choice.  From the creation of Healthy Savannah in 2007, Savannah has seen positive health outcomes as a result of new policies being implemented like Smoke-Free Air, School Wellness Policy, School Design Guidelines, Complete Streets Ordinance, Community Garden Policy, Farm Truck Ordinance, and many more.  I am looking forward to the next 10 years as we create a Culture of Health in our community.”

Larson Ashford
Communications and Community Clinical Linkages Program Manager

Larson Ashford is a recent Student Athlete and magna cum laude graduate of Savannah State University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Logistics. Larson is a firm believer in teamwork and getting involved in new experiences to expand knowledge. Larson is passionate about business and athletics, and is dedicated to building relationships and strategies to promote a safe, fun, and healthy lifestyle within the community.

Ruby Hallam, MPH
Nutrition Program Manager

Ruby Hallam is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, having recently completed her Master of Public Health degree. Prior to that, she studied Biology and Public Health at Columbia College in South Carolina. Through her role as the Nutrition Manager of the REACH grant, she will continue to improve access to healthy food options for underserved populations alongside other projects in Savannah and Chatham County. Ruby said, “I believe that taking an upstream approach provides the best opportunity to improve the health outcomes of our community.”

Nichele Hoskins, MA
REACH COVID/Flu Communications Manager

A Savannah State University and Beach High School graduate, Nichele Hoskins is a longtime health journalist and group fitness instructor. Hoskins earned an MA in Journalism from The University of Michigan and has worked as a senior editor at national publications including Health and Heart & Soul magazines. Communications and increasing visibility are key parts of her role at Healthy Savannah. 

Ashley Rainge

Director of Fund Development and Communications

Ashley Rainge earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Medieval History and Philosophy from Fordham University. She has spent her career working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector for organizations dedicated to history and the arts. Her passion for social justice, advocacy, and community organizing drives her work with Healthy Savannah.

Elsie Smalls, Ph.D
REACH COVID/Flu Operations Manager

Dr. Elsie W. Smalls earned her Bachelor’s Degree from South Carolina State University, MBA from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Walden University.  Her professional background includes higher education administration, leadership in the nonprofit sector, and adjunct professorship in the areas of public policy and business administration.  Additionally, she is the Co-founder of LoMa Spoken Word and Consulting LLC, an organization dedicated to educating, enlightening, and inspiring individuals and organizations.  Dr. Smalls has facilitated workshops, professional presentations, and keynote addresses to a variety of audiences to include public sector and nonprofit organizations, churches, high schools, and women’s conferences.

Armand Turner
Physical Activity Program Manager

A Gary, Indiana native, Armand Turner is a graduate of Indiana University with a BS in Recreation. Turner interned at the Denver Parks and Recreation Department in 2014. A year later he worked at Texas Parks Recreation Department in Southlake and Grapevine, Texas. Most recently, Armand was the Recreation Coordinator at Albany State University in 2016.