Dr. Debi Mae Starnes serves as president of EMSTAR Research, an Atlanta, Georgia-based consulting firm founded in 1988. A member of the Atlanta City Council from 1994 to 2005 and a member of the Regional Commission on Homelessness from 2003 to the present, Dr. Debi Mae Starnes has engaged in extensive research and consulting activities, primarily offering program evaluation services for prevention and education programs.
From 2007 to 2009, Dr. Starnes served as a Policy Advisor for former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin on human service issues. As a member of the Regional Commission on Homelessness, she led city and regional efforts to help develop and refine services for homeless people. Her accomplishments include helping to create the Gateway Center, Atlanta's central intake and assessment facility, helping to establish the Homeless Opportunity Bond Fund, which raised more than $20 million for housing for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Dr. Debi Mae Starnes holds a doctorate in community and organizational psychology from Georgia State University in Atlanta. She completed her master’s degree in psychology and her bachelor’s degree in social work at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.