Heart Foundation Names Executive Director

Thompson, DanielNorth Georgia Heart Foundation (NGHF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has named Daniel Thompson, MPH, as its first executive director.

In late 2012, Dr. Jeffrey Marshall, an interventional cardiologist with The Heart Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, brought together a community-based group of leaders to form North Georgia Heart Foundation. ​

“The foundation is a unique community-based nonprofit that has important goals that no one else is pursuing in North Georgia,” Marshall said. “Historically, there has not been a network of community research in rural areas for cardiovascular disease, and much of the groundbreaking science and research happening around the world never reaches patients in rural areas.  We’re changing that.”

Since its formation, NGHF has embarked on an extensive fundraising campaign in order to pursue its four main goals:

  • Bring science to patients by providing local access to cutting-edge, cardiovascular research.
  • Enhance collaboration among students, schools and medical professionals to decrease incidence of cardiovascular disease through a network of community research and health education.
  • Save lives and improve the cardiovascular quality of life for the communities in North Georgia.
  • Become a “destination” for world-renowned cardiovascular scientists in a premier center of innovation and treatment.

Thanks to the successful completion of the first phase of fundraising, the NGHF board also was able to hire its third full-time research nurse, Greg Adams, R.N., B.S.N., who will assist Donna Patrick, R.N., C.C.R.C., and Janita Mastin, R.N., M.S.N., in the completion of the more than 20 ongoing clinical trials and development of future trials.

A Georgia native, Thompson earned a bachelor degree at Emory University and master of public health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.  Prior to joining NGHF, Thompson served as the Deputy Director for Planning and Partnerships for the Chronic Disease Prevention Section at the Georgia Department of Public Health, where he oversaw the Healthy Communities program, Health District Relations, Asthma Control Program Partnership Coordination, the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and the implementation of Georgia’s first Chronic Disease Prevention Council. Prior to his role at the Georgia Department of Public Health, he spent six years as a lobbyist for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where he also directed efforts of the Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition of Georgia (PHIC).

Thompson is currently a member of the Emory Alumni Board, and spent five years on the Alumni Board of the Rollins School of Public Health Alumni Board, one year as president. No stranger to Hall County, Daniel attended Lakeview Academy and currently lives in Gainesville.

“Like so many others, my family has been touched by heart disease – three times, in fact,” Thompson said. “I’m excited to be part of an organization doing life-saving work through our core values of research, education and hope. The foundation is already making a significant difference in the lives of those in North Georgia and, with the ongoing dedication of our board and community, our impact could be felt statewide.”

NGHF provides local access to cutting edge cardiovascular research, conducting approximately 30 clinical trials annually, and also leads regular CPR and AED trainings for schools, businesses and civic groups.

Added Marshall: “I truly believe this community is the right community to turn this Foundation into one of the nation’s leading entities, attracting the country’s top physicians, providing access to cutting-edge research trials and care, and creating a community revolution against heart disease like no other.”


About North Georgia Heart Foundation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person in the United States has a heart attack every 34 seconds. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.  Heart disease knows no boundaries, impacting every age, income and socioeconomic group. Currently, no network of community research exists in rural areas for cardiovascular disease and, unfortunately, much of the groundbreaking science and research happening around the world never reaches the majority of patients. North Georgia Heart Foundation believes that through local research, both clinical and population based, we have the ability to impact the heart health of our community; that local, community education is the key to eradicating cardiovascular disease and improving outcomes; and that if we provide hope to just one person, family, mother, daughter, grandfather or friend, we have touched a life in our community in a way that cannot be measured. To schedule a training program for your school, business or civic group visit or call 678-717-3648.