Michigan Jaguars FC had the pleasure to catch up with Dionne Bailey (Jaguars '15) this week. Dionne is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan and attended Huron High School. She played for Michigan Jaguars FC from 2011-2015 for coaches Barry Scott, Mike Scobie, Andy Richards, and Brent Kempster. Dionne is now working as a Contact Tracer for the Georgia Department of Public Health.
In addition to our Q&A, we've attached at the bottom of this page a COVID-19 infographic created by Dionne as part of her program.
Michigan Jaguars FC: After you graduated from high school, where did you go to school, and what did you study?
Dionne Bailey: After I graduated from high school, I attended the University of Cincinnati for my freshman year and then transferred to Howard University in Washington, DC for my remaining three years. I was a human performance major with a concentration in sports medicine and a minor in chemistry.
I am currently getting my Master of Public Health at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.
Howard University and Morehouse School of Medicine are both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
MJFC: What was your experience like as a student-athlete? What other activities were you involved in outside of soccer?
DB: Transitioning from being a high school student-athlete to a college student-athlete was a big change. Newfound independence and being forced to handle things on my own was an interesting process, but I was able to get into the flow, develop a good schedule, and fine-tune my time-management skills, which allowed me to succeed in school. My experience had many ups and downs, but I am forever grateful for the opportunity. I was able to win two conference championships, attend the NCAA tournament twice, and most importantly earn a degree.
Outside of soccer, I was involved with multiple organizations. I was a volunteer chair for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Her Campus – a women’s empowerment organization, in a freshman mentoring club, was a part of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and a part of Athletes United for Social Justice – an organization that educates local middle schoolers about health.
MJFC: What led you to choose Public Health as a career path?
DB: Honestly, it was when I became involved in the Athletes United for Social Justice. They had a program called The Grassroot Project. This project educated student-athletes at surrounding colleges in DC on sexual health, physical, nutritional, and mental health, so we all could go into the local middle schools and educate students.
I always cared about health and helping the community, but getting involved with the program opened my eyes to what Public Health is and allowed me to search for what I truly want to do in life.
MJFC: How did you get involved with the Georgia Department of Public Health?
DB: I was able to get involved with the Georgia Department of Public Health through my program at my school.
MJFC: What has your experience been like working in Public Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
DB: It has definitely been an interesting adjustment because we are forced to work remotely for everyone's safety. For example, the local organizations that we volunteer with, we have had to make adjustments so we could all be safe. It has been a time of adaptation, but the mission of helping is still very prevalent and probably accentuated because of the time were in due to COVID-19.
MJFC: Which communities have been impacted most by the health crisis, and what challenges have they faced?
DB: Communities of color have been hit hard during this health crisis. This is due to healthcare discrimination.
Low-socioeconomic areas are being hit hard as well. This is due to not having the proper resources. Whether that be the right education and/or supplies.
MJFC: What strategies has your department used to address those challenges?
DB: With the job of Contact Tracing, we are trying to stop the spread of the COVID-19 by monitoring people that have been in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases. We provide them with information and resources.
With my school, we have made infographics that provide information on COVID-19. We also have been taking an analysis of what our local community needs and trying to supply them with the right information and resources.
MJFC: For those of us who aren’t on the front lines of the pandemic, what can we do to help those in need during the crisis?
DB: Honestly, the best thing that you can do to help other people is to stay at home and only go to essential places. Wear a cloth face covering. Socially distance when outside of your own home. Wash your hands with soap and water, and if you are unable to do that, use 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
MJFC: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work during the COVID-19 pandemic?
DB: I would just like to share that COVID-19 is very serious. Although it may not be directly affecting you, it is affecting others. Please be mindful and do your part in helping slow the spread.
As much as we want to go out and have things go back to normal, we are facing a new reality. Please be safe!