Community Leadership Award Winners

2019 - Augusta University Medical Center

After noting that a number of community businesses still permitted smoking indoors during business hours, the Augusta University Medical Center (AUMC) Respiratory Care team worked with other community partners to form BreathEasy Augusta. This coalition, which includes AUMC, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Family Y of Greater Augusta and the Georgia Cancer Center, works to educate the community, raise awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke and advocate for smoke-free workplaces.


The coalition was originally formed in 2012 to urge local lawmakers to consider a smoke-free ordinance. This request stemmed from a 2005 statewide smoking ordinance that banned smoking in restaurants and places that serve people under age 18 yet permitted smoking in bars and similar adult establishments. The coalition dedicated countless hours to the task of producing and distributing marketing materials and advocating to lawmakers. Their hard work was rewarded with the passage of legislation that resulted in a new law that bans smoking in virtually all enclosed public spaces. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2019 and helped make all community businesses safer for employees in the workplace.


With cleaner air more available to its community, AUMC also recognized the need to assist those individuals who smoke, both with their health care and with smoking cessation. With a focus on early detection of smoking-related illnesses, AUMC, through a partnership with the Community Awareness Access Research and Education (c-CARE) at the Georgia Cancer Center, began offering free lung screenings to smokers ages 50-80 who have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years or more.


Smoking cessation assistance was also a priority for AUMC because of a Federal Housing Administration requirement that a tobacco-free policy be in place for all public housing by mid-2018. In partnership with Augusta University’s Georgia Prevention Institute and the Georgia Cancer Center, AUMC worked with the Augusta Housing Authority to provide onsite tobacco cessation counseling and resources for public housing residents. All residents of 12 public housing communities were invited to participate in the Augusta University Tobacco Cessation Program, which uses evidence-based methods to help participants quit tobacco.


“Smoking cessation programs reduce the risk of contracting smoking-related diseases for both smokers and non-smokers,” said GHA President and CEO Earl Rogers. “We applaud Augusta University Medical Center for its dedication to addressing this issue and for empowering its community to take control and be healthier. We are pleased to present Augusta University Medical Center with this esteemed award.”

Past Community Leadership Award Winners

2018 - Floyd Medical Center

2017 - Archbold Medical Center

2016 - Cartersville Medical Center and Rockdale Medical Center

2015 - South Georgia Medical Center

2014 - Houston Healthcare and Tanner Health System

2013 - Gwinnett Medical Center - Duluth

2012 - St. Francis Hospital

2011 - Habersham Medical Center

2010 - Tanner Health System

2009 - Archbold Medical Center and South Georgia Medical Center

2008 - Memorial Hospital and Manor and Southeast Georgia Health System

2007 - Colquitt Regional Medical Center and Memorial Health

2006 - Houston Healthcare and Community Health Works

2005 - Floyd Medical Center and Grady Health System

2004 - St. Joseph's/Candler

2003 - DeKalb Medical

2002 - Clearview Regional Medical Center

2001 - Brooks County Hospital

2000 - Columbus Regional Health

1999 - Union Mission, Inc. - Savannah

1998 - Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Callaway Foundation & Fuller E. Callaway Foundation