Piedmont, Mercer Name Nieb Executive Director of Center

May 1, 2008

Judith Lunsford
(678) 547-6425

ATLANTA — Piedmont Healthcare and Mercer University announce the appointment of Sharon L. Nieb as the executive director of the Center for Health and Learning, a center of excellence established by the two partnering institutions to provide solutions to today’s challenges in healthcare delivery, education and research. The appointment is effective May 1.

“Ms. Nieb brings tremendous expertise and experience to this new position,” said Richard Swindle, Ph.D., senior vice president for Mercer University – Atlanta. “Her extensive background in program development, grant coordination, operational management and strategic planning will move the Center for Health and Learning forward effectively and efficiently.”

“We were delighted to bring Sharon to the Center for Health and Learning,” said Michele Molden, president and CEO of Piedmont Heart Institute. “Her skills were a natural fit for both of these organizations. We look to Sharon to help the Center achieve its vision.”

Prior to her current work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Nieb served six years, as program director of the Jane Fonda Center at Emory University School of Medicine, which focuses on maternal-child and adolescent health. During her tenure at Emory, she established a state-of-the-art training facility, developed training modules for physicians clarifying best practices on adolescent reproductive health topics, and secured grants from private foundations.  In addition, she was co-principal investigator on a $1 million federal grant from the Office of Population Affairs.  She is also co-author of a health education curriculum, Media Madness, which is designed to reduce the media’s influence on adolescent sexual behavior.

Before moving to Atlanta in 2001, she was manager of Community Health Enhancement for nine years at Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Ind., a major regional health care system hospital. Among her accomplishments, she collaborated with local and state governments to promote public health and organized highly successful training programs for the community on tobacco use prevention, homeless shelter issues, infant mortality prevention and abstinence education. She also secured and administrated seven public health grants totaling $150,000 a year.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., she holds a master of social work degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. She has begun doctoral studies in sociology at Emory University.

Piedmont Healthcare and Mercer University established the Center for Health and Learning in June 2005. The partnership was formed to create a number of joint initiatives, including nursing, pharmacy, research and other medical and allied health education programs.  While the Center has developed a number of joint initiatives in healthcare, the largest focus over the past three years has been on nursing.

One of the first initiatives under the Center was the Piedmont Nursing Scholars program, a collaborative nursing partnership between Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer and Piedmont designed to help recruit, educate and ultimately place more nurses at Piedmont and in the community at large. Currently, 30 Mercer students are in the highly selective Piedmont Nursing Scholars program.

Last November, Piedmont Healthcare President and CEO R. Timothy Stack and Mercer University President William D. Underwood announced the establishment of the Piedmont Healthcare Chair in Nursing, benefiting Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. Funded by Piedmont Healthcare with a $2.85 million grant to the Center for Health and Learning, the Chair will support the establishment of a Ph.D. program in nursing education at Mercer in 2009.

The Center has also been a sponsor of The Executive Forum of Mercer University, bringing noted speakers to address Atlanta business leaders. The programs have included former Governor Tom Ridge, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and nationally syndicated radio host Herman Cain.

Through the Center for Health and Learning, Piedmont Healthcare aims to enhance its teaching environment and expand on-campus research that is focused on outcomes and improved patient care.  Piedmont also seeks increased access to students and potential employees in nursing, pharmacy and other allied health fields.  Long-term, Piedmont hopes to establish unique hospital/university integrated programs.

Mercer seeks to establish a more vigorous research presence and to deepen program offerings in nursing and pharmacy. Mercer also expects to broaden its medical residency program and its non-clinical education programs, such as chaplaincy, health management and health law.

About Piedmont Healthcare:
Piedmont Healthcare (PHC), a not-for-profit organization, is the parent company of Piedmont Hospital, a 481-bed acute tertiary care facility in the north Atlanta community of Buckhead. Piedmont Hospital offers all major medical, surgical and diagnostic services, and was named Best in Atlanta for Overall Cardiac Care and Cardiac Surgery (2008) by HealthGrades (a leading healthcare ratings company) and one of the nation’s Most Wired hospitals for four consecutive years in the 100 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study. PHC also includes Piedmont Fayette Hospital, a 143-bed, acute-care community hospital in Fayetteville; Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a 42-bed community hospital in Jasper; Piedmont Newnan Hospital, a 143-bed, acute-care community hospital in Newnan; the Piedmont Heart Institute, an integrated cardiovascular healthcare delivery system that combines premier cardiovascular physicians with the prestigious Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta; the Piedmont Hospital Foundation, the philanthropic entity for private fundraising initiatives; the Piedmont Physicians Group, with more than 75 primary care physicians in 25 offices throughout metro Atlanta; and the Piedmont Clinic, a 567-member physician network. For more information, visit www.piedmont.org.

About Mercer University:

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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