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Health Initiative pushes back Fall Garden Party to address Obamacare enrollment

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The Health Initiative today announced a rescheduling of the organization's annual Garden Party fundraiser to allow it to focus on helping LGBT Georgians navigate the new health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment begins Oct. 1.

Linda Ellis, executive director of The Health Initiative, told GA Voice today that planning the Fall Garden Party would take away some of the organization's ability to properly address the changes.

“The work that we need to accomplish related to enrolling LGBT Georgians in the health insurance marketplace is core to who we are and what we do,” Ellis said. “It made sense to us to hold off the party and the celebration until after that work is done.”

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Health Initiative prepares for Spring Health Fair

The Health Initiative

The Health Initiative, Georgia’s voice for LGBT health, will host a Spring Health Fair on April 28 at The Rush Center. The event is being held in partnership with Grady Medical.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals will be on-hand to offer a variety of free health screenings and consultations ranging from blood pressure to cholesterol and glucose checks.

Also included in the health fair are short (30-45 minute) health and wellness information sessions that will focus on a variety of topics specific to LGBT participants. These sessions will occur throughout the day, according to the Health Initiative’s James Parker Sheffield.

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Atlanta Pride seeks new head as Health Initiative expands

Atlanta Pride Executive Director James Parker Sheffield stepping down from position

James Sheffield steps down as Atlanta Pride’s executive director Feb. 4 to become the Health Initiative’s new director of organizational development. His goal in the new position is to help expand the agency that is transitioning from being known as the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative.

Atlanta Pride organizers said they won’t rush into hiring a new executive director and will conduct a national search for the person best to lead the largest Pride festival in the Southeast.

Sheffield began volunteering as an intern for Atlanta Pride in 1999 at age 19. In 2001, he started earning an hourly wage with Atlanta Pride. He took the helm of the event after then-Executive Director Donna Narducci resigned in 2008 and was officially named executive director after the 2009 festival.

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Atlanta Pride announces new interim leader

Buck Cooke, the new interim manager of the Atlanta Price Committee

The Atlanta Pride Committee today announced the hiring of Buck Cooke as the interim events manager. Cooke will handle the day-to-day operations of the APC during the search process for a new executive director.

The organization's previous executive director, James Parker Sheffield, stepped down from the position last week to take a job with the Health Initiative, which addresses LGBT health issues.

Cooke has volunteered with the APC in the past, including a recent position as the co-chair of the organization's entertainment committee.

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Atlanta Pride to overlap Jewish holiday

Rabbi Josh Lesser at the Atlanta Pride Commitment Ceremony

When Atlanta Pride announced yesterday that this year’s festival will be held Oct. 8-9, several community members were quick to point out the scheduling conflict with the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

“When I first heard the news, I was terribly disappointed,” Rabbi Josh Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim said in a phone interview. “Yom Kippur is the most holy day of the year.”

Lesser said that James Parker Sheffield, executive director of the Atlanta Pride Committee, has reached out to Atlanta's LGBT Jewish community and will work toward providing Jewish-specific events that recognize the community at this year's Pride.