A native Georgian, Dr. Cleveland is a “Triple-Dawg,” receiving three degrees at the University of Georgia. She holds a Practical Nursing Diploma (1986), Bachelors of Social Work (1994), Master of Public Health (2006) and Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Behavior (2018). Her MPH focus and PhD research were in the field of Public Health emergency preparedness and response.
Professionally, she began her career in nursing and social work, working 15 years in the alcohol and drug treatment field. Later, she was the Emergency Preparedness Specialist and Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator for District 2 Public Health in Gainesville, Georgia. Working with Healthcare, Emergency response and other community partners, she assisted with District’s emergency response plans, trainings and exercises. During her time here, some of her additional activities included assisting with worksite wellness, developing internship opportunities, sitting on Georgia Department of Public Health’s Chempack workgroup and training as a radiological and nerve agent first responder.
From District 2, Dr. Cleveland went to the CDC, working with the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine as an emergency response planner for the Quarantine Branch. She supported the division’s preparedness planning and exercise activities, and served as liaison to the Emergency Operations Center.
Dr. Cleveland left the CDC to serve as Practice Coordinator and Academic Professional Associate for the MPH and DrPH programs at UGA’s College of Public Health, where she developed internship opportunities for students in all public health arenas - international, federal agencies (CDC, EPA, USDA), and in state and local public health, corporate and non-profit organizations. She taught Introduction to Public Health, Disaster Management and career courses, all incorporating service and experiential learning components.
Her academic achievements include publications and presentations on academic/practice partnerships in public health disaster preparedness. She is a member of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society. Grants include the Regional Trauma Advisory Committee HRSA funded grant, NACCHO Capacity Building and Challenge Award grants.
She has also volunteered with UGA’s Citizens Emergency Response Team, served as a member of Athens/Clarke County search and rescue management team, founded the UGA Medical Reserve Corps unit, and served on the board of directors of the Athens Nurses Clinic.
Dr. Cleveland has four wonderful boys ages 23, 22, 18 and 13. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, live music and good food.
What is your favorite thing about SoPA?
My favorite thing about SoPA is our talented adjunct faculty. We have a wealth of experience that flows into our courses and classrooms. I think this makes us unique and able to help our students be work-ready when they graduate.
What advice would you give to someone who's considering finishing their degree, or starting for the first time as an adult?
Having finished my PhD later in life, I will say investing in yourself in this way will give you rewards throughout your lifetime. It is definitely a challenge, but well worth it in the end.
Without saying what the category is, what are your top five?
Len Foote Hike Inn
Smith Creek/Anna Ruby Falls
AT access at Amicalola
Springer Mountain to Woody Gap