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Institute for Health Logistics and Analytics hosts grand opening, celebrates monumental achievements

The Institute for Health Logistics & Analytics (IHLA) at Georgia Southern University celebrated the grand opening of their downtown location in the heart of the community. Leading from their strengths, the IHLA team is on a mission to transform the health and well-being of our communities.
IHLA office located at 58 East Main Street in downtown Statesboro

The Institute for Health Logistics & Analytics (IHLA) at Georgia Southern University hosted its grand opening on Thursday, November 30, 2023 amid a buzzing crowd. The downtown Statesboro location that formerly housed Cake Bistro and Bakery has been transformed into a modern and welcoming office environment where the IHLA team has been working since September.

Remarks began with IHLA Director, Dr. Jessica Schwind, who introduced Georgia Southern University’s Provost, Dr. Carl Reiber. Reiber applauded the efforts of the IHLA team and thanked the many distinguished guests and community members in attendance. “It is my great honor to welcome you to the grand opening of the Institute for Health Logistics and Analytics. Today marks a pivotal moment in the history of Georgia Southern University as we unveil the breadth of a groundbreaking institution that embodies the spirit of our commitment as a public impact university.”

Large crowd attended the celebration. DeWayne Grice

Reiber praised the IHLA’s efforts to foster vibrant communities, promote holistic well-being, advance logistics and build resilience. He also acknowledged IHLA’s success in securing over 125 million dollars in grants and contracts which will be used to make an incredible impact on communities across the region.

Reiber acknowledge that this achievement is a testament to the dedication, expertise, and innovation of the IHLA team and the trust placed in them by those funding these projects. IHLA is not just checking boxes, they are making real impact.

IHLA: A bridge between research and practice

IHLA’s mission, “To transform the health and well-being of our communities through applied evidence-based practices and technology integration” embodies the spirit of Georgia Southern’s commitment to excellence, impact and innovation, and of making a meaningful difference in the lives of those they serve. Reiber concluded by echoing that creating meaningful, positive community impact is the future of Georgia Southern University.

Remarks continued with Dr. Dominique Halaby, Associate Vice President for Innovation at Georgia Southern University. “I am genuinely honored to stand before you at this historic event.” Halaby shared, “I cannot believe that it has been 13 years since the University’s impact in downtown Statesboro began.” 

Dr. Dominique Halaby, Associate Vice President for Innovation at Georgia Southern University speaking as Georgia Southern University’s Provost, Dr. Carl Reiber. Reiber looks on. DeWayne Grice

When the University partnered with the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority and the City of Statesboro 13 years ago, they looked for intentional and strategic ways to engage the community and benefit community members and local businesses. They looked for opportunities, “Not just to give the University a presence in downtown, but to engage the community in a meaningful way,” Halaby recalled.

Halaby briefly recounted the University’s history in downtown Statesboro, beginning with the relocation of the Small Business Development Center, the creation of BIG, and the countless events hosted and entrepreneurs served. “Now the opening of the IHLA represents another monumental achievement,” Halaby acknowledged. As Halaby closed, he encouraged attendees to embrace the exciting possibilities that IHLA represents to benefit the community and local businesses.

At the heart of IHLA: A dynamic team with a culture-first work environment

Schwind returned to the mic to introduce each member of the IHLA team and expressed her gratitude for each person’s unique strengths:

  • Jill Johns, Project Manager
  • Kathryn Stewart, Business and Finance Coordinator
  • Marie Williams, Administrative Assistant
  • Michelle Tremblay, Learning Experience Designer
  • Deborah Harvey, Outreach and Marketing Coordinator
  • Tanya Jules, Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Hailey Hunnicutt, Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Keegan Kiely, Graduate Assistant
  • Mackenzie Mann, Graduate Assistant
  • Joana Tome, Graduate Assistant
IHLA Director, Dr. Jessica Schwind introduces their staff. DeWayne Grice

Schwind attributed the tremendous success of their organization to IHLA’s culture-first work environment. “In the beginning, I was going to be very mission-centric, […] but as we’ve grown, we’ve decided to be culture first,” Schwind shared. “Ultimately, if we focus on culture and how we can thrive in the workplace, how we can do amazing things in the community, then mission will come.”

Schwind explained, “The way that we work at IHLA is really project-based. So we talk about the project, and then we talk about what our roles are based on each of our strengths.”

She mentioned specific projects, including their recent K-12 initiative to place COVID-19 mitigation products in over 1,280 schools across the state of Georgia. “I am just so thankful to work for each and every one of you,” Schwind closed.

As the event continued, Jill Johns, IHLA’s project manager, recognized the contributions of each member of their team and acknowledged the tremendous effort that it took to get where they are now, “I stand before you today with immense pride and excitement as we inaugurate this new chapter for our Institute. The journey to this grand opening was paved by strategic vision and fueled by the unwavering dedication of an extraordinary group of individuals.”

Jill Johns, IHLA’s project manager speaking. DeWayne Grice

Schwind concluded the event by recognizing each of the vendors chosen for the grand opening. True to their mission of supporting local communities, they “stuck to the heart of the community” when choosing businesses to cater and decorate their celebration:

  • Boro Bagels
  • Tandoor and Tap
  • Soyumi
  • Daily Grind
  • Cool Beanz
  • Vandy’s
  • Sugar Magnolia Bakery
  • Flower Girl
  • Party Impressions

All of these local merchants played a role in making the grand opening a success.

Learn more

For more details about the specific projects and initiatives IHLA is working on, visit their website at or stop by their new office at 58 East Main Street in downtown Statesboro.