Our History

Health Students Taking Action Together began with a simple conversation.  In 2001 a small group of Emory and Morehouse medical students attended a conference on the uninsured in America.  After their conversation, the students left with the desire to take action.  They realized that their education, while teaching them valuable medical skills,  was not equipping them with the understanding needed to address major problems in our health system.

This small group of students continued their conversation at coffee shops and study rooms. Over the years, the group evolved into H-STAT or Health Students Taking Action Together, Inc., a student-run, non-profit organization that unites professional students throughout the state and across disciplines in service, education, and advocacy to promote a healthier Georgia. H-STAT members are involved in educating their peers about important health topics, performing community service, and engaging their legislators on health issues impacting our state.  We hope to create a healthier Georgia through the development of professional leaders who effect change through interdisciplinary collaboration and embody a civic ethic that will benefit our state for years to come.

H-STAT has members from the following schools and degree programs:

  • Emory University
  • Georgia State University
  • Medical College of Georgia
  • Mercer University
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Business
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Physician’s Assistant
  • Physical Therapy
  • Public Health

Below you will find highlights and accomplishments of our past years.


  • Street Medicine volunteers worked to expand COVID-19 testing, protective equipment, and medical care to the homeless community alongside Mercy Care and the Justice 4 All Coalition
  • Members organized a proactive COVID-19 outreach initiative for the 15,000 highest-risk Grady Health System patients
  • Members organized COVID testing and contact tracing in partnership with the Clarkston Community Health Clinic
  • Members worked to demand decarceration of correctional facilities and detention centers to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in these vulnerable communities
  • Members co-organized and participated in multiple Atlanta Health Students Against Racism movements including a march against structural racism and police violence
  • Cut Hypertension initiative raised over $700 for Barbershop Atlanta
  • Member collaboration with the Emory Pipeline Program to create a COVID-19 virtual curriculum for high school students in metro Atlanta
  • Student Taskforce on ACE and Resilience (STAR)’s third annual virtual Trauma Informed Care Day, which was awarded a $3,000 grant from resilient Georgia and with over 200 attendees including those from New Zealand
  • Student Taskforce on ACEs and Resilience (STAR) Racism in Healthcare Panel explored the racist roots of American healthcare and how to practice in an anti-racist manner.
  • Emory chapter collaboration and expansion with the DPT program
  • Member leadership in voting initiatives for Georgia-specific and national 2020 elections
  • Co-sponsored Georgians for a Healthy Future’s virtual Healthcare Unscrambled
  • Virtual meeting with Representative Carolyn Hugley on HB 73 regarding the fair pricing of Insulin
  • Emory chapter led several voter registration and engagement efforts, including helping currently-hospitalized patients at Grady Memorial Hospital cast their vote.


  • Gun Violence Prevention event in partnership with Atlanta PIVOT (the Program to Interrupt Violence through Outreach and Treatment), ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day, and Congresswoman Lucy McBath
  • Student Taskforce on ACE’s Journal Club with Dr. Stan Sonu
  • GSU Cut Hypertension weekend community blood pressure and health screening events in partnership with The Swag Shop on Edgewood and the American Heart Association
  • Fall kick off event at Manuel’s Tavern
  • Student Taskforce on ACE’s second annual Trauma Informed Care Day
  • 2020 Legislative Training Day with a panel session including Dr. Rebecca Philipsborn (Climate Change), Dr. Antoinette Nguyen (Reproductive Justice), Dr. Henry Kahn (Medicare for All), and Dr. Gabriel Onofre (Homelessness) along with breakout sessions with the following community organizations: Fair Fight, PNHP, Southern Poverty Law Center, and GBPI
  • AMSA Education and Advocacy Fellow sessions with Emory and GSU chapters
  • Meet your representatives meet-and-greet with Mary Market Oliver and Elena Parent
  • H-STAT Signed Georgians for a Healthy Future’s 1132 Medicaid waiver letter of concern



  • 15th Annual Leadership Symposium: “The Ripple Effect”
  • Regular advocacy discussion nights provided students with an opportunity to discuss topics of interest throughout the year.


  • 14th Annual Leadership Symposium: “Outside the Box”
  • Prepared detailed policy briefs on 5 topics in prepartion for meeting with state legislators at the annual Legislative Breakfast.
  • Rolled out new curriculum for Steppin’ for Health.
  • Partnered with “Back on My Feet” running program.


  • 13th Annual Leadership Symposium
  • Legislative Breakfast


  • H-STAT was awarded the Edward R. Loveland Memorial Award by the American College of Physicians for making a distinguished contribution to the health field.



  • Multiple screenings of “The Waiting Room”
  • Medicaid 101 talks
  • Launched Street Medicine
  • Several members presented on Medicaid Expansion on a Street Medicine conference in Boston
  • Campaign to restore funding to Grady
  • Leadership Symposium



  • Screening of “Escape Fire”
  • Medicaid 101 presentations
  • Legislative breakfast attended by Governor Deal
  • Leadership Symposium



  • Leadership Symposium: “Interdisciplinary Action in Health Reform,” hosted by Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Political Leadership Institute, hosted by Emory University
  • Legislative Breakfast at the Georgia State Capitol, hosted again by Representative Ben Harbin

Partnerships and Campaigns

  • Partnered with the Yes 2 Save Lives campaign to advocate for a ballot measure to ensure sustainable funding for Georgia’s trauma network.
  • Continued to bring our Stepping for Health program to Atlanta schools in an effort to fight childhood obesity at a community level
  • Partnered with Georgians for a Healthy Future and students from the Georgia State University Law Program to introduce Georgia House Bill 644: “Commission to Implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”.
  • Continued to advocate for a solution to Georgia’s Medicaid shortfall through a plan that includes a meaningful increase to the Tobacco Tax.

Development and Awards:

  • The Rollins School of Public Health awarded HealthSTAT the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award for work that exemplifies the legacy of Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr
  • The Community Foundation awarded HealthSTAT $10,000 in recognition of our overall mission and work.
  • The Institute of Medicine‘s The Future of Nursing report recognized HealthSTAT for our interdisciplinary and leadership model.
  • HealthSTAT was recognized in the journal of the American College of Surgeons for our work on Georgia Ballot Measure 2, attempting to obtain sustainable funding for Georgia’s trauma system



  • Leadership Symposium: “Improving the Quality of Health in Our Communities,” hosted by Mercer University
  • Political Leadership Institute: “PLI 2010,” hosted by Emory University
  • Legislative Breakfast at the Georgia State Capitol, hosted by Representative Ben Harbin

Partnerships and Campaigns

  • Partnered with Georgia Watch for its Hospital Accountability Project
  • Partnered with the Tobacco Tax Coalition to advocate for a $1 increase in Georgia’s cigarette tax (organized letter-writing campaign, visits to the Capitol, and created an educational video segment)
  • Volunteered with the International School of Dekalb County for its Saturday School program
  • Supported a student-led P.E.A.C.H. health fair in Southwest Atlanta
  • Supported a student-led Homelessness & Health awareness week at Emory University

Development and Special Awards

  • Emory University pledged $25,000 to HealthSTAT over the next two years, renewing their charter-member status as an institutional donor
  • The Matthew A. Knight Foundation awarded HealthSTAT a $1600 grant for student-led service projects
  • Awarded Community Engagement Award by the American College of Physicians



  • Leadership Symposium: “Lead or Be Led,” hosted by Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Cover the Uninsured Week and Annual Candlelight Vigil, comprised of lunchtime talks, panels, and vigil to raise awareness of the growing ranks of the un- and under-insured in Georgia
  • Political Leadership Symposium: “PLI 2009”

Partnerships and Campaigns

  • Joined Policy/Advocacy group of the AIDS Leadership Team Partners

Development and Special Awards



  • Leadership Symposium: “Childhood Obesity Prevention,” hosted by Morehouse School of Medicine
  • “How to Engage and Communicate with the Media” training with Dr. Art Kellermann at Emory’s Goizueta School of Business media center

Partnerships and Campains

  • Partnered with Hands on Atlanta and the AmeriCorps program to bring Stepping for Health to five elementary Atlanta Public Schools
  • HealthSTAT held its annual Cover the Uninsured Week and Annual Candlelight Vigil, bringing together over 300 students and health professionals with education, networking, and advocacy
  • Grady Is Vital Campaign.
  • Organized Panel on Grady’s Future on September 17 with university administrators, local and state elected officials, and community leaders that was attended by over 150 students, residents, and faculty
  • Created letter expressing students’ deep concern for Grady to Dr. Sanfilippo, CEO of Woodruff Health Sciences Center, signed by over 700 students from across Emory’s health professional schools and presented to him at his welcoming reception
  • Designed and printed 3,000 Grady is Vital Buttons that were distributed to students, residents, and faculty and Grady staff to show solidarity and support for Grady.
  • Designed and printed 5,000 Grady Advocacy Postcards that were distributed to hospital staff and patients to empower them to call Fulton and DeKalb County Commissioners
  • Organized Grady is Vital Rally on the steps of Grady Memorial Hospital, which was attended by over 350 Morehouse, Emory, Mercer, Medical College of Georgia, and Georgia State University students, residents, faculty, and staff and covered by numerous Atlanta media outlets
  • Delivered 500 handwritten letters to the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House from health professional students urging state leaders to fund Grady as a vital healthcare resource for Georgia.
  • Organized meetings with over 10 Georgia legislators including leaders of Senate and House Appropriations and Health and Human Services Committees to advocate that Grady is vital to Georgia
  • Students and residents testified at the Fulton County Commissioners Meeting to urge county commissioners to reverse their decision to cut funding to Grady.
  • Legislative Breakfast hosted for HealthSTAT by Chairman Ben Harbin, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee on January 28
  • Organized march to the Capitol to be present at the Georgia House of Representative during a hearing on the Grady issue
  • Publicly recognized by Representative Edward Lindsey, who delivered a letter from HealthSTAT inviting legislators to tour Grady to the desks of 180 Representatives.
  • Mobilized over 110 students for at several DeKalb County public hearings on the Grady issue

Development and Special Awards

  • Emory University signed on as charter institutional partner with two-year, $25,000 commitment
  • Healthcare Georgia Foundation awarded $50,000 grant for organizational development and sustainability
  • Awarded $15,000 from Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund for Georgia Prevention Justice Alliance project



  • Leadership Symposium: “Access to Care”, hosted by Mercer University
  • Introduced monthly coffee hours, in both Atlanta and Augusta, to allow students a time for dialogue on pertinent health policy issues in Georgia

Partnerships and Campaigns

  • Completed a community needs assessment around the SB 529 legislation.
  • The Prevention Justice Partnership selected HealthSTAT to bring the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) to Georgia.



  • Third Annual Leadership Symposium: “Advancing HIV Prevention: A Role for Health Professional Students,” hosted by Morehouse School of Medicine.

Partnerships and Campaigns

Immigrant Health campaign:

  • Mobilized a grassroots campaign on House Resolution 256, targeting immigration
  • Students delivered a petition to the Georgia Assembly with the signatures of over 40 Georgia physicians urging committee members to vote against the SB 529 as it was currently written, noting “this legislation will place an increased burden on our health-care system rather than solve the immigration problem.”
  • Over 150 students, representing every medical school in the state of Georgia, attended a rally on the steps of the capitol to demand that healthcare be exempted from SB 529.
  • Governor Purdue eventually signed SB 529, containing exemptions for prenatal care, children, emergency services, communicable diseases, and attorney general specifications ― legally exempting virtually all health services
  • A nutrition-education curriculum for elementary students was written by a HealthSTAT student, thus creating our Steppin’ for Health program, which operated its first year out of Perkerson Elementary.
  • HealthSTAT held its Annual Candlelight Vigil focused on access to health care

Development and Special Awards


  • Annual Candlelight Vigil, focusing on access to healthcare


  • Leadership Symposium “Student Perspectives on Combating and Preventing Childhood Overweight and Obesity,” hosted by Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Annual Candlelight Vigil, focusing on PeachCare For Kids and opposing the proposed Lockout policy – the policy did not pass at the Capitol.


  • Leadership Symposium: “Student Perspectives on Protecting and Expanding Access to Care for Georgia’s Children,” hosted by Medical College of Georgia



  • Inaugural Leadership Symposium: Childhood Obesity, hosted by Emory University
  • Inaugural Annual Candlelight Vigil for Uninsured Georgians held at Grady Memorial Hospital
  • Partnerships and Campaigns
  • Launched petition drive and collected several hundred signatures urging Governor Roy Barnes to make healthcare a priority and to ensure that all Georgians receive access to care.

Development and Special Awards

  • HealthSTAT incorporated and applied for 501(c)(3) status
  • Awarded a $35,000 grant from Healthcare Georgia Foundation (link:www.healthcaregeorgia.org)
  • Hired first part-time executive director and moved into an office space