Contemporary Issues in a Changing World

Contemporary Issues in a Changing World

Oct. 1-Nov. 12, 2014
Wednesdays, 6-7:30 p.m.
Braselton Town Hall complex

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Jim Smith, PhD, Course Facilitator

We see our world changing around us, a makeover that presents challenges on many fronts: social, environmental, ethical, economic and technological. The course consists of guest speakers from our greater Atlanta community, with ample opportunity for class participation. Each speaker is a recognized expert in his or her field. Some may challenge our long held beliefs—the way we think about what we read or hear. All will provide insight on complex issues that directly influence not only our own lives, but those who will follow!

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Technology in Medicine and Wellness: What’s Here Today and What’s Coming Tomorrow.

Shean E. Phelps, MD, Technical Director, Health Systems, and Medical Director for the Translational Research Institute for Biomedical Engineering Sciences, Georgia Tech Research Institute (Oct. 1)

Dr. Shean E. Phelps is a graduate of the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University. Enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1981, he served 10 years as a Senior Enlisted “Green Beret.” Following graduation from medical school, he completed a Family Medicine residency at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was subsequently deployed in support of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. He has served as an operational consultant to the Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, examining issues surrounding traumatic brain injury. He retired in June of 2011 with 30 years active duty. As Medical Director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute, his charter is to integrate health and wellness concepts between the fields of medicine, science and engineering technology. Selected as the U.S. Army’s Aerospace Medicine Specialist of the year in 2010, he is a distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and was designated an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medicine Association in 2012.


The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”): Where is It Now and Where is it Headed?

Kenton Johnston, MS, MPH, and Lindsay Allen, MS, Health Services Research & Health Policy, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.  (Oct. 8)

Kenton Johnston is currently working on his PhD in Health Services Research & Health Policy in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. His program concentration is health economics. Prior to entering the doctoral program he was employed within the Division of Medical Informatics at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. His primary responsibilities included conducting health services and outcomes research related to medical care utilization, health benefit design, chronic disease, and employer wellness program evaluation, as well as providing consulting services for large employers.  His education includes a Master of Public Health from West Virginia University, and a BA in Psychology and Communication from the University of Ottawa.

Lindsay Allen is pursuing her PhD in health economics and health services research at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from the Johns Hopkins University, and her master’s degree in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Chicago. She spent several years working in the pharmaceutical industry before transitioning to the non-profit sector, where she worked as a senior healthcare technology analyst at ECRI Institute. Her research interests center on supply and demand factors related to hospital emergency departments.


Climate Change: What’s it Really All About?

David Stooksbury, PhD,
Associate Professor, University of Georgia. Coordinator, Agricultural Engineering Program and Graduate Coordinator, Atmospheric Sciences Program, College of Engineering. (Oct 15)

Professor Stooksbury is a native of Atlanta, born on Peachtree Road. A graduate of the University of Georgia, he received his PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. For seven years he was the Regional Climatologist at the NOAA High Plain Regional Climate Center and for twelve years, the State of Georgia Climatologist. He has also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Service Climatology. Among the courses he teaches at UGA are atmospheric thermodynamics, introductory atmospheric physics, environmental microclimatology and planetary atmospheres. Prof. Stooksbury has published numerous academic research papers and is also the faculty advisor for the Episcopal Center at UGA and for Phi Kappa Theta fraternity.


ISIS and the Sunni/Shiite Conflict in the Middle East.

Allison Shelton Turney, M.S., Research Associate, Department of International Affairs, University of Georgia  (Oct. 22)

Allison Turney is a doctoral candidate in the Department of International Affairs at The University of Georgia. Her dissertation research examines the relationship between asymmetric power relationships and the institutional design of military alliances. Outside of international security cooperation, her research interests include American foreign policy, national security intelligence, and the pedagogy of international relations. She currently works as Assistant Editor on the international academic journal Intelligence and National Security and Research Assistant to Dr. Loch Johnson, Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs.  She has previously taught courses in International Relations and International Law, at both the University of Georgia and Clemson University. Mrs. Turney is also co-author of the Encyclopedia on American Foreign Policy with Glenn Hastedt of James Madison University, to be published this year.


What Role for Religion in our Changing World?

Mike Day, PhD, Pastor of the Celebration Church of Braselton, and Geshe Dadul Namgyal, the Emory Tibet Science Initiative and Senior Resident Teacher at Drepung Loseling Monastery. (Oct. 29)

Mike Day earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has served churches in Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana and Georgia. In 1997, Mike was asked by the Georgia Baptist Convention to start a new church in the growing south Hall, north Gwinnett area. In 2002, Celebration moved to the current campus on Thompson Mill Road near Reunion, Deaton Creek and Chateau Elan Subdivisions. In addition to his responsibilities with Celebration, Mike works with Positive Management Leadership Inc., a leadership development company that motivates and inspires leaders in many of the top fortune 100 companies.

Geshe Dadul Namgyal received his Geshe Lharam, the highest degree of learning in Tibetan Buddhism, from Drepung Loseling Monastery in 1993. He has played a key international role over the years as a convener, interpreter, and speaker for numerous conferences and forums exploring the interface of Buddhism with modern science, western philosophy and psychology, and other religious traditions. Geshe Dadul-la also served as a Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism at the Central University of Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India. He currently serves in the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative at Emory University, engaged in preparing a six-year science curriculum to be introduced in Tibetan monasteries and nunneries. In recent years, he has been an auxiliary English language translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and has traveled extensively in this capacity throughout the world.


Genetically Modified Food in America: What Are We Eating Today, What’s Coming Tomorrow—and Why?

C. S. Prakash, PhD, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL. (Nov. 5)

Dr. Prakash is a professor of plant genetics, biotechnology and genomics at Tuskegee University where he has been on faculty since 1989. He oversees the genetic improvement research on food crops of importance to developing countries and has trained dozens of scientists and students. He has been actively involved in enhancing the societal awareness of food biotechnology issues around the world. Dr. Prakash also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal GM Crops &Food. His declaration in support of agricultural biotechnology was signed by nearly 4000 scientists including 25 Nobel laureates. He has won numerous prestigious awards including the Morrison-Evans Outstanding Scientist Award by the Association of 1890 Research Directors given to a scientist who has made outstanding lifetime contribution to agricultural research among the 1890 land grant universities in the U.S.


The End of Antibiotics

Arjun Srinivasan, MD, Captain, U.S. Public Health Service,  Associate Director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs, ‪and Medical Director, Get Smart for Healthcare, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. (Nov. 12)

Dr. Arjun Srinivasan received his MD from Vanderbilt University and completed his internal medicine residency in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His many honors and awards include Phi Beta Kappa, the USPHS Achievement Medals, the USPHS Commendation Medal, the USPHS Crisis Response Service Award, and the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service. He is also a member of the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars. Dr. Srinivasan envisions a future where patients are safer because healthcare-associated infections have been stamped out and antibiotics are used correctly. Charting the path to this new reality, he investigates hospital-associated disease outbreaks and conducts ground-breaking research into multi-drug resistant organisms and the use of antimicrobial drugs. He also directs CDC’s programs aimed at preventing healthcare associated infections. Dr. Srinivasan advocates for everyone—from parents to farmers to doctors—to “Get Smart” and understand when antibiotics work, and when they don’t. A distinguished research scientist, he also offers clear, crisp explanations of very real healthcare problems and the path toward solving them.

General inquiries:, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions:, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100