Merle R. Gordon
Merle R. Gordon, MPA, was appointed as the Director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health in June, 2016. She leads a team of over 140 people who serve as stewards of the public health for the residents and visitors of the City of Cleveland. In this capacity, she oversees the divisions responsible for air quality; lead safe living; health promotion, education and communicable disease prevention; the licensure and inspections of restaurants, pools, schools, and solid waste facilities; and addressing concerns about community health issues and code violations.
At 27, she was the youngest woman elected to serve on Cleveland City Council representing the neighborhoods of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. After stepping down from City Council, she attended the John. F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She returned to Cleveland and worked at the Cleveland Clinic as their Public Policy Director, Kaiser Permanente Ohio as their Director of Community Benefit, and HealthSpan as their Director of Government Affairs and Exchange Operations.
Director Gordon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Housing Policy from Hampshire College and studied healthcare management at Case Western Reserve University. She is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland and the Rockwood Leadership Institute.
Commissioner of Health
Persis A. Sosiak was sworn-in as Commissioner of Health for the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) by Mayor Frank G. Jackson on December 5, 2016.
Prior to joining CDPH, Persis spent 11 years in avariety of roles at Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, Ohio) including Senior Director of the Department of Public Health and Research where she developed and implemented the successful 5 to go!® program to reduce and prevent childhood obesity. In addition to partnering locally with 17 public schools, various community organizations and child-care providers, Persis had the opportunity to share the program and participate in its launch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While at Cleveland Clinic Persis also served in a clinical capacity, providing direct patient care as a registered nurse and as an infection preventionist.
Prior to returning home to Cleveland, Persis lived in the Washington, DC area and worked in a variety of public health settings. She held positions with the American International Health Association (AIHA) where her portfolio included public health twinning projects in Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States and the Alexandria Health Department where she ran the Healthy Start program. Persis was selected as a Presidential Management Intern (PMI) and worked for both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the health committee office of US Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH).
Persis’ educational credentials include a Bachelor of Arts from The George Washington University (Washington, DC); a Masters of Public Health from Yale University (New Haven, CT); and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). She is a Registered Nurse (RN) and licensed to practice in the state of Ohio. Persis resides with her husband Brett Miller, Esq. in Lakewood, Ohio. She is active in the community and serves on the Board of Trustees for Lakewood Public Library.