The Council

Group picture of GCDD Council Members

The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, also known as “Georgia’s DD Council” is one of 55 entities of its type in the United States and territories that report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Community Living. It is authorized under Public Law 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act Amendments of 2000.

Our activities are governed by a 27-member board, appointed by the Governor and comprised of at least 60 percent individuals with developmental disabilities and family members. Other members include policymakers that represent various agencies and organizations having a vested interested in persons with developmental disabilities.

Originally established as the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, our name was changed in July 2009 to the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, in accordance with legislation that ordered the reorganization of the Department of Human Resources (DHR), Department of Community Health (DCH) and the newly created Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).

Today, GCDD continues to serve as an advocate for all persons with developmental disabilities. We are charged with creating systems change for people with developmental disabilities and their families by increasing opportunities for independence, inclusion, integration, productivity and self-determination. Activities include public policy research and analysis, reform, project demonstrations, education and training.

Applications for Council Membership

Applying for appointment to the 27-member Council is a true form of advocacy. If you are appointed to the Council, all members are responsible for attending four quarterly meetings, held virtually or in-person. Members are reimbursed for lodging, meals and mileage to attend meetings. Applicants should have first-hand knowledge about DD in Georgia.

To apply, please complete the applications (linked below) and email, mail, or submit online to GCDD. GCDD accepts applications year-round. If you have any questions regarding applying to the Council or completing this application, please email us at 

The online application is available below. The application is also available in the following formats:

Applications can be submitted online; emailed to  with “Council Member Application” in the subject line; or mailed to the GCDD offices at:

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Sloppy Floyd Building, West Tower
200 Piedmont Avenue SE
Suite 426, 4th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30334
Attention: Fanta Mitchell

Since our inception in 1971, GCDD has been a powerful advocate for more than 1.7 million Georgians with developmental disabilities and their families. The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities wishes to thank those members who rotated off the Council this year. Below is a list of current Council members.

Council Members / Advisory Board Members


Melissa Barwick
Georgia Department of Human Services – Designee 

        Jeff Allen
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency – Designee 
 generic headshot female       Melissa Barwick
Georgia Department of Human Services – Designee 
    Lori Campbell
Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities – Designee
 Photo of Mark Crenshaw   Mark Crenshaw
Executive Committee Member
Center for Leadership in Disability - Georgia State University – Designee
 Photo of Brian Dowd   Brian Dowd
Georgia Department of Community Health – Designee
 Photo of Wesley Ford   Wesley Ford
 Photo of Dorothy Harris   Dorothy Harris
Photo of Rena Harris   Rena Harris
Georgia Advocacy Office - Designee
Photo of Nandi Isaac   Nandi Isaac

 gcdd.wina low

Wina Low
Georgia Department of Education – Designee
Photo of Lisa Newbern  
Lisa Marie Newbern
Council Chair
Photo of Evan Nodvin   Evan H. Nodvin
Executive Committee Member
Photo of Sharifa Peart  
Sharifa Peart
Georgia Department of Public Health – Designee
Photo of Dr. Zolinda Stoneman   Dr. Zolinda Stoneman
Institute of Human Development & Disability – University of Georgia
Photo of Sharia Stripling  

Sharia Stripling
Fort Valley

Photo of Elana Meyer Taylor  

Elana Meyers Taylor


State Agency Partners

Commissioner Russel Carlson

Georgia Department of Community Health

Commissioner Candice L. Broce

Georgia Department of Human Services

Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H.

Georgia Department of Public Health

Commissioner Kevin Tanner

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities

Commissioner Christopher Nunn

Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Executive Director Chris Wells

Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency