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Georgia Bio Expert Panel Line-Up Focuses on iCAN Youth Members

ATLANTA, GA- On October 8th, 2019, iCAN President, Leanne West, led an informative panel discussion with four outstanding youth members of KIDS Georgia. The panel discussion, created through the Georgia Bio Summit held in Atlanta, Georgia, was titled the "Importance of the Pediatric Patient Voice in Healthcare" and focused on empowering the patient (and family). Each expert panelist spoke clearly and authentically to share their learnings of living with a medical diagnosis as a young person. These unique stories spotlighted overcoming the many obstacles kids face when living with chronic, complex, or rare medical conditions.

KIDS GA Panelists (l-r) Ananya Ganesh, Macy Yeager, Ava Meisner, Kalee Polk

The iCAN KIDS Georgia panelists included:

Ananya Ganesh
Twelfth Grader, The Westminster Schools

Ananya Ganesh is a senior at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta. She is passionate about improving health outcomes and has been involved in independent research for the past 4 years. She has won several research awards for her work on early onset scoliosis. A firm believer of education as a pathway to empowerment, three years ago Ananya launched an initiative called Girls Maker Initiative to bring innovation and creativity through hands-on STEM projects to girls in rural areas. As a member of iCAN, Ananya has been sharing her experience of living with adrenal insufficiency and why empowerment matters. Along with her teammates, she presented research on patient and caregiver perception relating to barriers to academic performance at the 2019 iCAN Advocacy & Research Summit. Ananya’s goal is to increase awareness about chronic illnesses and inspire other kids like herself that their voices matter. 

Ava Meisner
Tenth Grader, Chamblee High School

Ava Meisner is a sophomore at Chamblee High School.  She is a year-round competitive swimmer and member of the student government association.  She hopes to study medicine to become a surgeon or behavioral science. 

She has endured multiple sports-related injuries, including chronic shoulder issues and a broken ankle; both requiring significant and ongoing rehab. Ava has been a KIDS Ga Member since its creation 5 years ago. 

Kalee Polk
Eighth Grader, Mason Creek Middle School

Kalee Polk is an 8th grader attending Mason Creek Middle School. She was born with Biliary Artesia and has had two Liver transplants. Kalee is a proud member of KIDS GA Since 2014, she has been a member of the FBLA and History Club. She enjoys playing soccer and basketball. Kalee wants to study Healthcare Administration to become an advocate for Pediatric Medicine. 

Maci Yeager
Eleventh Grader, Chamblee High School

Maci Yeager is a junior at  Chamblee High School.  She is in the marching band and also competes on the swim team.  She is hoping to become a physical therapist. She has lived with Asthma and food allergies her entire life. Maci has been a KIDS Ga Member since its creation 5 years ago. 

Since its beginning in 2001, the annual Georgia Bio Innovation Summit (previously the Life Sciences Summit) has grown into a must-attend event for Georgia’s bioscience community. The Summit provides a forum for professionals from industry, academia and government to discuss major trends and issues, including topics related to scientific research, product development, financing, business development and public policy. It is the one time each year companies and universities have the opportunity to showcase Georgia’s bioscience innovation. Approximately 500 professionals from across Georgia, the Southeast and the nation to participated in this year’s event.

The Summit also serves as the only life sciences exposition in Georgia with an exhibit hall featuring the latest research, technology and services at companies, universities and other organizations. In addition to plenary sessions featuring nationally and internationally renowned speakers, the day-long program included breakout sessions featuring Industry Best Practices Roundtables, innovative research panels, CEO Chats, and company investor presentations. The program covered the span of life science sectors including biotech/pharma, medical devices, diagnostics, academic research, agricultural biotechnology, and healthcare IT.

To learn more about iCAN youth members, visit

#iCAN #iCANMakeADifference #YouthVoices #2019GeorgiaBio

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