With a superb track record as an innovator in advanced business strategies and solutions to socioeconomic issues, Melanie provides her clients sharp, independent analysis and recommendations with a customized scope of work that delivers extraordinary results and unprecedented returns on investment.
At a very young age, Melanie gained recognition for her innovation in the areas of public-private partnerships, finance, human resources, public relations, fundraising, and capital project development, which led to her recruitment for a major NFL project. Before founding GGC, Melanie was recruited to the Ohio River Valley region to oversee the creation and construction of the 52-acre, state-of-the-art Cincinnati Bengals Summer Training Camp facility at Georgetown College—a landmark venture she directed from the business plan through construction to annual operations. Construction included an Olympic-style village with a tri-level stadium, conference and training center, practice fields, and residential housing. This role required her to engage and negotiate with a wide variety of stakeholders, including the National Football League (NFL), Bengals’ Owner Mike Brown, city and state officials, and major corporations like Toyota Manufacturing of North America. The expansive new facilities drew unprecedented national publicity—as well as the attention of the NFL—as a model project for future infrastructure collaborations and the league’s shift to leveraging summer training camp as a fan engagement opportunity. The facilities and the training camp’s marketing events were featured in Sports Illustrated and a myriad of other media outlets, and on HBO’s Emmy award-winning series, “Hard Knocks.”
Another significant testament to Melanie’s early achievements was her leadership in securing funding for and overseeing the construction of a new Visitor’s Center and Chamber of Commerce headquarters in the City of Anacortes, Washington’s Historic District, which launched a successful multimillion-dollar downtown revitalization that is evident to this day.
Since 2005, Melanie has concentrated on health care system transformation by uniting business principles, culture, and innovation to fuel proactive models that support academic achievement through population health management strategies. She specializes in creating functional business models that benefit children’s health, addressing multicultural and multigenerational health care disparities, and promoting Return on Investment measurements related to health care outcomes, particularly in relation to education and workforce achievement. Through that work, Melanie has collaborated with and assembled an impressive team of subject matter experts to support her endeavors and has served as a senior advisor, consultant, and collaborating partner with CVS Health and its Workforce Initiatives Group.
In 2013, Melanie, along with funding partner CVS Health, led a groundbreaking pilot project that evolved to become what is now known as the SMART® Student Health and Wellness Model. Melanie is the accomplished architect and chief strategist of the SMART® Model, leading its initial conception, design, flagship development, and ongoing standardization, adaptation, and preparation for scale for over a decade. SMART® (an acronym for School Health Model for Academics Reaching ALL Transforming Lives) is a school health solution dedicated to improving academic achievement in order to break the cycle of poverty, creating a new, antecedent component on the health care continuum. The flagship SMART® Student Health and Wellness Clinic in Chicago transformed an existing failing clinic operation for pre-K–12 students. In year one, the Chicago site swiftly delivered dramatic results, receiving the highest praise from school administrators, who valued its full alignment with the school’s objectives. By year three, SMART® directly reached and supported the academic achievement of over 85% of the student population. The school enjoyed unprecedented increases in attendance and Freshmen On-Track ratings, while also dramatically lowering disciplinary incident rates, which resulted in a 40% jump in the school’s quality rating.
In 2015, Melanie had the honor of meeting Dr. Liza Cariaga-Lo, former Vice President for Academic Development, Diversity, and Inclusion and faculty member in the Education Department at Brown University, who was intrigued by the dramatic results that the emerging best practice model experienced in its first years of operation. She saw the enormous potential that SMART® Clinics held for multitudes of stakeholders in education, health, and the workforce, and she asked Melanie to co-author the initial white paper on the Model, which was presented at the inaugural SMART® Congressional Breakfast Briefing and Symposium in Washington, D.C., in May of 2017. As a result, Melanie served as a Visiting Scholar at Brown University, offering a preview of the Model to Brown University’s School of Public Health faculty and students.
In 2016, Melanie was thrilled to add a key partner, her husband Stacy Ginn, J.D., organically expanding her scope and brand from Melanie Ginn and Associates to Ginn Group Collaborative. “Stace,” as he is known to colleagues and friends, is an attorney with an extensive finance background. He offers expertise and counsel to the GCC team and its clients, partners, and affiliates. Stace is instrumental in navigating the extensive scope of multiparty agreements required to create the new partnerships that are the hallmark of many of Melanie’s projects, in addition to the myriad of HIPAA, FERPA, and other regulatory issues entailed in working in educational and health care settings. The capacity to offer clients the comprehensive level of expertise that both Ginns bring to the table is a unique and powerful benefit held exclusively by Ginn Group Collaborative.
In May of 2018, the data collected from the nationally recognized SMART® Model was presented to the U.S. Senate Republican Task Force on Hispanic Affairs, founded and led by Senator Orrin Hatch, whom Melanie had the opportunity to meet with following the presentation. Hatch has said of the SMART® Model, “This is exactly what communities should be doing.”
In June of 2018, Melanie attended the “Healthy Students, Promising Futures Learning Collaborative” at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington, D.C., along with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams; John Auerbach, President and CEO, Trust for America’s Health; and Jeff Kirsch, Vice President of National Policy and Advocacy, Healthy Schools Campaign. The topic was “Healthy Students, Promising Futures.”
In August of 2018, Aramark Corporation joined Legacy Funder CVS Health to advance student health and education through the SMART® Model with a five-year, multimillion-dollar grant from its Charitable Fund.
In October of 2018, Melanie was recognized with the “Transformational Leader Award” at the 2018 Heartland Health Centers’ From the Heart Gala in Chicago. Award recipients were selected from individuals who are outstanding examples of transformative thinking. Honorees alongside Melanie included Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney, and Mark Ishaug, CEO, Thresholds.
In December of 2018, Legacy funders CVS Health and Aramark sponsored the 2nd Annual SMART® Student Health and Wellness Congressional Breakfast Briefing and Symposium in D.C., hosted by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Ginn Group Collaborative. The event featured the presentation to Congress of a new, formative evaluation of the SMART® Model by Brown University’s Dr. Liza Cariaga-Lo, entitled, “SMART® Leadership: Transformative Change Agents and The Essential Culture and Climate for Achieving Health and Education Outcomes.” The event was attended by Representative Terri Sewell of Alabama’s 7th congressional district. This two-day, interdisciplinary, multisector event was an opportunity for key stakeholders and grassroots professionals implementing the SMART® Model to collaborate and share their personal connections to this emerging best practice.
As a corollary to her work, and because of her desire to measure, research, and manage in a way that produces better health outcomes, Melanie co-created the customization of a software application tool, eTHOS (Electronic Tracker of Health Outcomes System), which is currently used as the Knowledge Management System by all SMART® Clinics. This cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant tool allows entities to track and report, in real time, on individual and aggregate population health and educational data and subsequently design individual and collective interventions based on those findings. Another of GGC’s most powerful analytical tools is Expected Value-Return on Investment (EV-ROI), a methodology for monetizing outcomes developed by its co-collaborator, Andrew Gluck, MBA, of Social Capital Valuations, LLC. Together, Melanie and Andrew pioneered an application for health, social, and community-based programs.
With the ongoing, prestigious recognition of the SMART® Model’s early success at the Chicago SMART® Student Health and Wellness Clinic Flagship, Melanie has been asked to apply and replicate the learnings from her work with CVSH by new stakeholders across the country, including Brown University, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Heartland Health Centers, The Warren Alpert Medical School, Warren Alpert Foundation, Papitto Opportunity Connection, Federally Qualified Health Centers, medical providers, and numerous Washington, D.C.-based advocacy and policy groups.
SMART®’s recent expansion includes five SMART® Clinics in Pickens County, Alabama, in partnership with the University of Alabama and Pickens County Primary Care; two clinics in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, including the Model’s first charter school and community-based clinics; and four school clinics in Providence County, Rhode Island, in collaboration with The Warren Alpert Medical School, the Warren Alpert Foundation, and the Papitto Opportunity Connection.
Today, Melanie is considered one of the foremost thought-leaders on constructing efficacious, efficient, and affordable health-leveraged educational support models for vulnerable and under-resourced populations. She is one of the nation’s foremost private sector experts on school health solutions and innovation and continues to work closely with Ernie DuPont, Executive Director of Workforce Initiatives at CVS Health, as a thought leader and strategist to translate and scale the learnings from SMART® into meaningful, systemic, and cultural change in the health care, education, and workforce arenas.
With the SMART® Model’s growth and level of success in addressing system gaps and barriers comes the opportunity to expand, scale, and adapt the Model to serve new population cohorts through new SMART® approach-based medical models and partners. Melanie and her husband and business partner, Stace Ginn, J.D., have now added the devotion of their professional and personal resources to preserve and strengthen SMART®’s legacy, donating the SMART® proprietary business model to the newly established SMART® Foundation, a public, 501(c)(3) organization, to protect its integrity, growth, and scalability in perpetuity.
Wherever her next challenge takes her, at the heart of Melanie’s success is the courage to pioneer “the road less traveled”—and in most cases, “never traveled”— as well as a commitment to deliver cutting-edge solutions that produce measurable outcomes with a high return on investment for her public and private sector clients and their stakeholders.
Melanie is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and public relations. She also attended the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) postgraduate program for organizational development at Stanford University. She is the co-author of numerous white papers, including “The Economic Impact of School-Based Health Centers”; “Adoption of School-Based Healthcare (SBHC) Innovation Model”; “The Consequences of Youth Risky Behavior”; and “The Value of Risk Assessments for Adolescent Students.” She has also published an array of Expected Value-Return on Investment analyses on school-based health, relationship and marriage education, and youth programs.