Groundbreaker Awards - Atlanta Magazine
The core of Atlanta's DNA is development. This is a metro area that has always built, rebuilt, razed, and built again. In our collective rush to grow upward and outward and welcome millions of newcomers, we’ve often failed to stop and think about the day-to-day well-being of all those Atlantans. But booming growth has come at the expense of our collective health: Hours stuck in traffic lead to escalated stress and high rates of obesity (with their many associated ills). All the asphalt and concrete contribute to smog, heat, and spikes in asthma and other chronic illnesses.

As we planned for the second annual Atlanta Magazine Groundbreaker Awards, we decided to focus on people and projects working to improve the metro area’s health. Some of these projects are grand in scope, such as cleaning up a polluted and neglected watershed, while others are (literally) microscopic—examining the connection between environment and childhood diabetes at the genetic level. Some serve our youngest citizens; others cater to our elders. But every member of the 2013 class of Groundbreakers contributes to the same goal: building a healthier city.
Illustration by Richard Perez

Meet the 2013 Groundbreakers

  • Blood and Marrow Transplant Program

    Northside Hospital and Asad Bashey

    For the third consecutive year, the bone marrow transplant program at Northside Hospital has achieved the nation's top posttransplant survival rates. The unique model focuses primarily on factors that produce better survival outcomes Read More
  • Cancer Wellness

    Piedmont Healthcare and Tom and Karen Chapman

    Tom Chapman, former CEO of Equifax, collaborated with Piedmont Hospital to create Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, holistic treatment centers for patients, families and caregivers. Read More

    Michelle LaPlaca, Georgia Tech and David Wright, Emory

    Michelle LaPlaca, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech, and David Wright, an expert in neuroscience and emergency medicine developed DETECT, a device that better diagnoses concussion. Read More
  • Farm to School

    Georgia Organics

    Georgia Organics's Farm to School program connects schools and farms and offers lessons about healthy eating. No local program is as comprehensive as that run by Decatur City Schools and the Wylde Center. Read More
  • Indego

    Shepherd Center, Vanderbilt, and Parker Hannifin

    Michael Goldfarb, head of Vanderbilt's Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, and the Shepherd Center developed Indego, an exoskeleton that can help the paralyzed to walk. Multisite trials are scheduled for next year, and will be overseen by Shepherd and Parker Hannifin, the company manufactures Indego. Read More
  • L.E.A.D.

    C.J. and Kelli Stewart

    Former Chicago Cubs player C.J. Stewart and his wife Kelli started L.E.A.D., a program that provides baseball coaching and mentors at-risk kids in the Atlanta Public School system. Read More
  • Neurotrack

    Stuart Zola, Emory University, and partners

    Neurotrack is a testing system that uses eye-tracking and can determine with uncanny certainty who will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the next three to six years. It was developed based on decades of research by Stuart Zola of Emory University. Read More
  • The Proctor Creek Project

    City of Atlanta, the EPA, and more than a dozen partners

    The movement to rejuvenate Proctor Creek and the neighborhoods through which it snakes involves a coalition of federal, state and local agencies—along with nonprofits, city planners, and private investors. Read More
  • The TEDDY Study

    Jin-Xiong She and Georgia Regents University

    The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) project aims to determine how diet, exercise, or environmental factors might trigger kids carrying high-risk type 1 diabetes genes to develop the disease. Read More
  • Wellness Revolution

    Spelman College and Beverly Daniel Tatum

    Spelman College discontinued its NCAA athletics and reallocated the budget to a Wellness Revolution program and gym upgrade that benefit all 2,100 students instead of just a few. Read More

2012 Groundbreakers

Check out our inagural class of groundbreakers, including the Atlanta BeltLine, Rosalynn Carter, Harriet Robinson, Ponce City Market, and more.


Take a video tour of Cancer Wellness at Piedmont

See Oakhurst Elementary School students harvest sweet potatoes with the Farm to School Program