Tessa Clemens, PhD, MEd

Tessa Clemens

Health Scientist, Safety Promotion Team, Division of Injury Prevention


Areas of Expertise

  • Drowning prevention
  • Child injury prevention
  • Global public health

Tessa Clemens, PhD, MEd, serves as a health scientist on the Safety Promotion Team in the Division of Injury Prevention (DIP) at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. She identifies effective strategies for preventing drowning through investigating data sources and methods to improve drowning surveillance. Her work focuses on supporting health equity, which includes understanding and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in drowning rates and supporting the implementation of effective interventions among underserved populations with the highest rates of drowning.

Before joining CDC in 2020, Dr. Clemens worked with CDC as a CDC Foundation health scientist, leading drowning data collection projects in sub-Saharan Africa. This work helped address an important gap in global drowning data and led to the initiation of new drowning prevention activities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Clemens has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health science and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She received a PhD from York University, where her research explored the epidemiology and prevention of drowning in Canada and the reporting and classification of drowning deaths worldwide. Dr. Clemens completed a postdoctoral fellowship focused on injury prevention in the Centre for Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She has more than 10 years of experience working in drowning prevention and has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and technical reports.