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BECOMING A LOCAL: An Interview with Christine Jellis, MD, PhD

Christine Jellis

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Melbourne, Australia. With the international reputation of the Heart & Vascular Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, there have been many Australian cardiologists who have worked here. I was lucky to have a mentor who encouraged me to accept a two-year Advanced Cardiac Imaging fellowship here in 2013. I was fortunate that in 2015, the Clinic asked me to stay on permanently.


Q: How much did you know about the area before moving here?

A: My husband and I had no idea what Cleveland would be like. We figured it would be a great opportunity to travel, but we didn’t plan on staying more than two years. But after about 12 months, we thought, well, this place is pretty great!

Playhouse Square
Playhouse Square boasts the largest outdoor chandelier in the world! / Photo: MK Feeney

Q: What has surprised you the most about living here?

A: What struck us is how you can have such a great lifestyle. There are all these wonderful resources, community services, fantastic Midwest people, cultural activities like the Art Museum, Symphony, Playhouse Square—all those things I would never expect in a city this size. And the foodie culture is huge.


Q: In what neighborhood do you currently live? What do you like about it?

A: We bought a house in Cleveland Heights. It’s fabulous—such a diverse mix of people of all ages and backgrounds, from young families to retirees. We know everyone on our street.


All Peoples Trail at Shaker Lakes
The All People's Trail at The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. / Photo: Ashley Hall, Marketing Coordinator at Shaker Lakes

Q: What are your favorite places to go or things to do?

A: Every year it seems like there are more and more kid-friendly places, like Adrenaline Monkey, SkyZone, Zip City, Little Gym and Shaker Rocks. As Australians, we love our sports, so we’ve really embraced the Cleveland teams and enjoy going to games. We also love the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. My husband is on the Board there. They have a new boardwalk trail that is not only beautiful but stroller- and wheelchair-friendly.

Q: What are some of your favorite restaurants?

A: We love Pizza Vero in the Cedar-Fairmount area. It’s the best pizza we’ve found in Cleveland. We also really like Barrio.

Q: Being from Australia, how do you feel about the seasons here?

A: I like having seasons. The summer in Cleveland is beautiful.

Q: What advice would you give someone considering moving to the area?

A: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Attend community centers. You’ll find that people are extremely welcoming. I also highly recommend taking out memberships to places like the Cleveland Zoo. It’s phenomenal. Also, the Children’s Museum, Botanical Gardens and Cleveland Museum of Natural History are fantastic, kid-friendly places to go, especially in the wintertime.


Q: Is there anything else you would like to say about the area?

A: I think we’re very fortunate that the public and private school options are plentiful here, even for early childhood education. For daycare and preschool, my children went to the Mandel JCC in Beachwood, Music Settlement at University Circle, and Hathaway Brown in Shaker. They all have wonderful educators.


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