Dr. Joseph R. Bona

dr. joseph bona

July 11, 1960 ~ June 1, 2020

Born in: Rockford, IL
Resided in: Atlanta, GA

Dr. Joseph Bona, of Atlanta, Georgia, MD, MBA, died June 1, 2020 at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. He was 59 years old.

Dr. Bona served as the CEO and Chief Medical Officer of the DeKalb Community Service Board, a provider of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability services to citizens of DeKalb County. He was an advocate for mental health reform. In fact, shortly before his death, he was appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to serve on the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission. Dr. Bona said of his appointment, “It is an honor to be appointed by Gov. Kemp to this Commission and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to help shape a better future for behavioral healthcare in Georgia.”

Dr. Bona was the son of psychiatrist Nicholas Bona and pharmacist Rosalba Silvana Bona (née DeDominico), Italian immigrants. He was born in Rockford, Illinois. Joe had one sister, Giovanna, who predeceased him and worked as a behavioral health technician prior to her illness.

Dr. Bona earned his medical degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed his psychiatric training at the Duke University Medical Center. He and his wife, Laura Bona (née Roberts), met in Raleigh-Durham while Dr. Bona was completing his residency at Duke. The couple then moved to Tampa, Florida where they welcomed their treasured only child, Olivia. Dr. Bona moved the family to Atlanta after accepting a position as Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. He had over 30 years of experience in academic, industry, and community-based healthcare settings.

Dr. Bona was a great mentor to many and was highly revered in the medical community. He was a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, member of the American College of Psychiatrists, Past President of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association (GPPA), and recipient of the GPPA 2016 Psychiatrist of the Year Award. Dr. Bona maintained adjunct faculty appointments to the Departments of Psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine and the Medical College of Georgia.

In his spare time, Dr. Bona enjoyed researching and trading stocks, listening to classic rock, watching sports (especially hockey and football), golfing, and spending time with family and friends.

Dr. Bona is survived by his wife, Laura; his daughter, Olivia; two brothers-in-law; two sisters-in-law; one niece; and four nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dr. Bona’s memory to Brighter DeKalb Foundation online https://dekcsb.org/foundation/

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  1. luis anez says:

    Met Dr. Bona in Tampa in the early 90s when we both were hired to work at a Community Mental Health Center; I was a clinician in need of a job, he was the Medical Director fresh out of Duke. Joe was impressively smart, knowledgeable, with a clear sense of purpose and confidence, yet humble and approachable. Joe became my mentor, took me under his wings and we flew high, inspiring and preparing me to go back to school and pursue a higher education; for myself and for the greater purpose of serving the community. To him I credit my career.

    Beyond the academics; Joe was also the kind of friend that sometimes, if one is fortunate enough, appears when one is desperately needed. His guidance and friendship highlighted a path to follow as a professional and a human being.

    Joe: your untimely departure takes out a piece of me, yet one from you stays within. Thank you for your guidance and long standing friendship; will miss you dearly.


  2. Lu Spotswood says:

    Oh my darlings: my condolences. You know that we understand. Love, the Spotswood women

  3. Renee says:

    Dr. Bona we will miss you.

  4. Rasheen Ward says:

    God Bless….May the grace be with his family in his time.

  5. Karen C. Cook says:

    Saddened and heartbroken by the loss of a strong and compassionate leader.
    Gone but not forgotten. Rest In Peace Dr. Bona.

  6. Nicole says:

    Words cannot express my sadness. You will be greatly missed Dr. Bona.

  7. Felecia Singleton says:

    I didn’t know Dr. Bona very well, but from what I knew of him, he made a strong impression on me and I admired him so much. Blessings to his family.
    -Felecia Singleton, Gateway CSB and Recorder for GA CSB Medical Directors’ Group

  8. Tommy Krenitsky says:

    I knew Dr. Bona for a little over a year when I started with DCSB March 2019. I recently got to know him more in the Leadership Development Training that started January 2020 with 19 other staff. My heart aches and saddened of his passing. Dr. Bona left a legacy within the agency, Dekalb County, and the state. I will never forget your cheery smile and a laugh that could be heard down the hall.

  9. Rosemarie Nelson says:

    Godspeed my friend Godspeed May the Lord bless your soul and comfort your family and friends.Psalms 91.

  10. Victoria Benard says:

    A good heart has stopped beating, a good soul ascended to heaven. Dr. Bona, we are going to miss you. Rest in perfect peace.

  11. Gin and Alan Shaw says:

    Our sincere condolences to you, Laura and Olivia. We are so sorry for your loss.

  12. Dale and Tine Robinson says:

    Rest in perfect peace Dr. Bona. We will always cherish the experiences and lessons learned under your leadership. May it comfort your family to know the impact you had on all those you came in contact with.

  13. Satin S says:

    Sending prayers to your entire family. Thank you for all of the great direction and leadership. May your legacy live on.

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