Kristina Forbes (BS ’12) wears many hats. As the vice president of operations for the Center for Global Health Innovation (CGHI), the University of Georgia alumna also works for an organization that addresses a broad topic with indeterminate reach: global health.
CGHI is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that represents over 250 organizations working together to address global health crises. CGHI also serves as the parent organization for several other entities such as the Global Health Crisis Coordination Center (GHC3), Georgia Bio and the Georgia Global Health Alliance.
With a broad role that comes with a wide reach, every day looks different for Forbes, from tackling information technology issues to planning a virtual awards dinner to directing overall strategy.
Forbes has always wanted to help people, but she never imagined that she would do it through science. She began her time at UGA as an education major but switched to psychology to better engage with people and understand the reasons behind their behavior.
Then Forbes participated in the Terry College of Business’s Institute for Leadership Advancement. While working with a nonprofit for the program’s service-learning project, Forbes found her passion for giving back.
Five days after graduating from UGA, Forbes started a job with the Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts of America. In this role, she found great purpose.
“I know what I was doing was making an impact,” Forbes said. “I know my work was important.”
Impact without borders
Forbes’ current role with CGHI has provided ample opportunities to give back, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic brought public health into the spotlight across the globe.
“Nobody has gone untouched from this,” Forbes said.
Through CGHI and its many entities, national leaders have partnered to discuss how people can safely return to work, school and worship. A partnership with the Department of Public Health led to the development of the PAVE tool, which addresses equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
CGHI’s work also addresses workforce development in life sciences industries and equips Georgia’s high school science teachers with educational equipment through a loaning program.
Although Forbes’ community impact has been concentrated in the state of Georgia, the work she does echoes across borders to address global issues.
“Health is a global issue,” Forbes said. “There is no border.”
A hub for global health’s future
Because of the pandemic, global health has become a more prevalent topic in day-to-day life. And thanks to the presence of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the city has gained traction as a center for public health.
CGHI and its affiliates will fuel this traction with the creation of a global health innovation district in midtown Atlanta. The facility will house offices, laboratories, meeting spaces and a crisis center to help align global health efforts led by nonprofits and corporations.
Through her work with CGHI, Forbes is committed to improving global health initiatives and engagement with community.
“To me, commitment is being engaged,” Forbes said. “I’m committed to creating better health outcomes for everybody.”
WHERE COMMITMENT MEETS COMMUNITY
Whether life takes them to new cities or to the neighborhoods where they grew up, Georgia Bulldogs do more than get jobs – they elevate their communities. Bulldogs lead nonprofits, effect change and create opportunities for others. Wherever people are suffering, wherever communities are looking for effective leaders and whenever the world cries out for better solutions, Bulldogs are there to answer the call to service. It’s more than our passion. It’s our commitment.
Caroline Odom, an intern with UGA’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations, brings you a spring blog series that celebrates Bulldogs who embrace that commitment to helping others in their communities thrive.