Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Joe Morgan, MD & Joseph Bona, MD

Joseph Bona, MD Honored by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association

DeKalb Community Service Board Chief Executive Officer Receives Psychiatrist of the Year Award

ATLANTA- February 19, 2016 – Joseph Bona, MD, was honored with the Psychiatrist of the Year Award at the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association (GPPA) Awards Luncheon on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. Dr. Bona is the Chief Executive Officer of the DeKalb Community Service Board and also serves as an Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Emory University School of Medicine.  Dr. Bona is currently the President-Elect of the GPPA and will assume the position of President in May 2016.

The GPPA Psychiatrist of the Year Award recognizes a GPPA member who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to psychiatry and has used his or her skills as a psychiatrist in service to the community.

“It is truly fitting that Dr. Bona was selected for the GPPA Psychiatrist of the Year Award,” stated Stephen Preas, MD, Chair of the GPPA Awards Committee.  “He has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to psychiatry through his unflagging dedication to providing psychiatric services to the public sector.”

Dr. Bona has over 25 years of psychiatric experience and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists, and President-Elect of the Georgia Psychiatric Physician Association.  A native of Buffalo, New York, Dr. Bona and his wife Laura live in Sandy Springs, Georgia. They have a daughter who recently graduated from the University of Virginia and works in Atlanta.

DeKalb CSB is a public, nonprofit organization that provides a wide range of evidence-based behavioral health and developmental disability services.  Through more than 20 locations across DeKalb County, DeKalb CSB serves more than 12,000 children, adolescents and adults annually to help them recover and resume productive lives.  DeKalb CSB employs more than 500 staff, and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).   Learn more about DeKalb Community Service Board at

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Meredith McCoyd

DeKalb County Resident Donates $24,000 to Support Behavioral Health Program for Area Youth

City of Decatur resident Meredith McCoyd is a third generation DeKalb County native, who learned at an early age about giving back to the community. When she was just 15 years old, her mother had her volunteer with the Winn Way Clinic – which is a part of the DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB). Fast forward to 2016, McCoyd continues to give back to the organization.

For the past three years McCoyd has served on the Board of Directors for DeKalb CSB. Recently she donated $24,000 to assist in funding a new innovative program that the organization has rolled out. It is called the Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEIP), which aims to assess, engage, support and treat young adults that are in the early stages of schizophrenia.

“PEIP is a specialized, community-based treatment program for young people who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis,” says Sarah Pakenham, the Director for PEIP.  “By intervening early, the trajectory of the illness is potentially disrupted and the chances of recovery are amplified.”

The program uses a social media platform to connect youth and their families. It also helps to build relationships and create a meaningful social support network.

“The emphasis on early intervention with youth and young adults is what excites me the most,” Pakenham explains. “By intervening during a critical time in the emergence of this devastating illness, young people have a better chance at meeting their goals academically, vocationally, and socially. I am thrilled to be a part of this innovative program that is informed by strong research and guided by the resolute hope that recovery is possible.”

Although McCoyd has never been personally touched by mental illness, it was seeing the clients and hearing their stories of recovery that made her want to get involved. She learned about DeKalb CSB after college, when she began working in pharmaceutical sales. It was at that time that she began calling around to mental health centers, and during the calls she was able to learn a lot about the organizations and mental illness. The knowledge she learned was motivation enough to guide her in giving back.

“I feel like if you have the means it’s your social responsibility to give back but also because it’s a great program and has the potential to change the way that we treat schizophrenia and hopefully intervene earlier.”

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects nearly 1-percent of Americans. The onset of the illness usually begins revealing itself between the ages of 16-30. It does not discriminate, affecting people regardless of their sex, culture, race, educational background, and socioeconomic status.

“Meredith McCoyd’s gift will allow us to design targeted educational tools that will help clients, family members and their doctors to better understand this illness and the promise of early intervention,” said DeKalb CSB CEO Joseph Bona, MD.  “Meredith’s support makes a real difference in the lives of young people,” Dr. Bona added.

McCoyd hopes that her donation will help in equipping those who suffer from mental illness, such as schizophrenia. “I feel like no one chooses to have it. It’s a disease, like having cancer. But you have no control over your behavior without help, which is terrible. This program will target youth at a critical time in their life.”

She adds, “Funding will go to some of the educational offerings associated with the program.  This was very compelling to me because it means that we’re going into the schools and focusing on early intervention. Raising awareness and education is a huge part of it.  It effects everyone whether we know it or not.”

On Saturday, March 19th, DeKalb CSB will host the Psychosis Early Intervention Conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. This full-day specialty conference will have some of the top researchers in the county speaking on the latest scientific findings in the developing area of early schizophrenia and psychosis.  To find out more about the conference visit To learn more about the Prevention and Early Intervention Program, visit

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Metro-Atlanta Conference Gathers Top Researchers to Examine Early Intervention for Youth with Schizophrenia

Will Convene Physicians, Researchers, Clinicians, and Educators to Discuss Key Issues Facing At Risk Youth

ATLANTA- February 16, 2016 – DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) today announced that registration is open for Psychosis Early Intervention: From Bench to Practice Conference, the first-ever Georgia conference dedicated to highlight the emerging science of psychosis early intervention for youth. The conference will be held March 19, 2016 at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Conference registration is $50 and limited scholarships are available for those who qualify.

This Psychosis Early Intervention Conference will feature some of the nation’s top researchers. Speakers include Elaine Walker, PhD of Emory University Department of Psychology; Joseph McEvoy, MD and Brian Miller, MD, PhD of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University; Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH of the Lenox Hill Hospital Department of Psychiatry; Robert Cotes, MD of Emory University; and Joseph Bona, MD, MBA of the DeKalb CSB.

“We are very excited about the level of enthusiasm we have received from the speakers and attendees for this unique scientific conference,” said DeKalb CSB CEO Joseph Bona, MD. “We look forward to bringing together this distinguished faculty for a day-long continuing education conference focused upon the latest science related to Psychosis Early Intervention for youth.”

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling mental disorder characterized by deficits in thought processes, perceptions, and emotional responsiveness. Nearly one in 17 adults live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, which if left untreated can lead to a number of significant issues and chronic disability. It is estimated that approximately 82,000 Georgia residents live with schizophrenia. When schizophrenia occurs early in life, it has a profound impact on a youth’s behavior and development. The early age of onset presents special challenges for diagnosis, treatment, educational needs, and emotional and social development.

In 2015, with grant-funding support from Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental and Disabilities, the DeKalb CSB launched the Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEIP). This program strives to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis in youth by providing a quick assessment and enrollment process, individual and group therapy, pharmacotherapy, intensive case management, family support, education, as well as supported employment and educational opportunities to young adults throughout metro-Atlanta.  Conference-goers will learn more about innovative evidenced-based treatment strategies, connect with peers, and review the latest scientific findings in this expanding area of study.

Click here to find out more about the conference. To learn more about the Prevention and Early Intervention Program, visit

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2016 Disability Day at the Capitol


Register now to participate in Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities 18th Annual Disability Day at the Capitol.

More than one million Georgians have some type of disability and approximately 652,000 are voting-age. Exercise your right to vote this election year. Your vote, and your voice, are critical to the political decision-making process.

Visit to learn more.

Mailing: PO Box 1648, Decatur, GA 30031
General information: 404.294.3834
Appointments, referrals and crisis support: 404.892.4646

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