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Alexandra Ricca – Interim Director of Safe Kids Georgia
Alexandra Ricca has almost 15 years of experience in public health and currently serves as the Interim Director of Safe Kids Georgia and as Child Advocacy Project Manager at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Her primary responsibility as Interim Director is to ensure the financial and governmental compliance oversight of the State Office, ensuring alignment of the mission, vision and strategy.
Most recently, Alexandra served as Project Consultant for the Chief Administrative Officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she was responsible for managing long-term, cross-functional projects.
Previously, Alexandra was a member of the Programs and Research in Sexual Minority Health (PRISM Health) research team at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health where she managed multiple research studies investigating HIV prevention methods. She also managed the websites, AIDSVu.org and HIVContinuum.org, both interactive, online maps of HIV surveillance data in the United States.
Alexandra holds a Master of Public Health in Global Health and Epidemiology from Emory University and a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from Miami University. In her spare time, Alexandra enjoys riding horses, hiking, riding her bike and Peloton, Pilates and spending time with her husband and miniature Goldendoodle.
Laura Coleman – Operations Coordinator
Laura received her Bachelor of Science degree from Toccoa Falls College in Communications. Her previous work history includes the Department of Family and Children Services, Legacy Link, and Circle of Hope. During that time, Laura also joined the local volunteer fire department and returned to school to obtain her Firefighter 1 and Paramedic degrees. Recognizing that she had a passion for fire safety, she was then hired with the Forsyth County Fire Department where she served as a Fire Prevention Training Officer. While at the fire department, she assisted her agency in adopting and implementing the Safe Kids program in Forsyth County.
She is active in her community serving as a Firefighter/Paramedic with Lumpkin County Emergency Services and an instructor for the Georgia Fire Academy.
Mahwish Javed – Program Coordinator
Mahwish holds a Master’s degree in Public Health Informatics (MPH) from University of Illinois at Chicago & Masters of Science degree in Agriculture. She has hands-on public health experience in the field of the built environment, community health and social determinants of health. Previously, as a Public Health Analyst with Desighning4Health, she worked on analyses for the Health Design Assessments and for Healthy Food Access in South Carolina and Delaware.
She is a member of Healthcare Association of Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce (Cumming, GA) and has worked on key initiatives including “Walk with a Doc” & “5K Boulder Dash”.
She started her career in a non-for-profit, as an evaluation analyst for UNICEF by working on Universal Primary Education (UPE) especially for girls between the ages 5- 10 years.
Later she worked as a Project Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist with UNDP program activities in the areas of Health, Social Mobilization and Women and child health geared towards polio eradication, routine immunization and malaria prevention and control.
Debbie Mekonnen – Program Consultant
Debbie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion from the University of Georgia. After interning for Safe Kids Georgia, she was hired to serve as a Program Consultant for the organization. Debbie has several years of volunteer experience and a strong passion for public health education particularly the importance of preventing unintentional injuries among children. She continues to show her desire to provide aid to children and families by traveling to different counties across the state of Georgia and educating residents on best practices in Child Passenger Safety. Debbie has a strong background in program development, technical writing, and community engagement.