Edition 2015

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Meet the Director of NMSU’s Southwest Institute of Health Disparities Research

Jill McDonald (left), Director of NMSU’s Southwest Institute of Health Disparities Research, and Alison Gilbert, graduate student of Public Health Sciences (Photo by Hamid Mansouri Rad)

Jill McDonald (left), Director of NMSU’s Southwest Institute of Health Disparities Research, and Alison Gilbert, graduate student of Public Health Sciences (Photo by Hamid Mansouri Rad)

Jill McDonald, the Stan Fulton Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research and professor of public health sciences at the College of Health and Social Services, was appointed the director of the Southwest Institute of Health Disparities Research. Before joining NMSU, Dr. McDonald was an epidemiologist with the Division of Reproductive Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and served as the PI or Co-PI for several large research and training initiatives, including the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study Data Coordinating Center, the Brownsville-Matamoros Sister City Project for Women’s Health, and the Border Maternal And Child Health (BorderMACH) project.

In recent years, McDonald’s research has focused, increasingly, on reproductive health and chronic disease disparities in the US-Mexico border region. In 2006, she became the CDC Maternal and Child Health Assignee to the US-Mexico border region and in 2009, through a memorandum of understanding between CDC and the HHS Office of Global Health, her position and activities were relocated to the offices of the US-Mexico Border Health Commission in El Paso, Texas. McDonald enjoys working collaboratively; most of her research involves working across disciplines with diverse groups of individuals, including US and Mexican health care providers, health department staff, and individuals from community-based organizations. Currently, she is directing vital record linkage efforts in the US and Mexico to explain relatively high infant mortality rates in Mexican border states and looks forward to developing NMSU expertise in this and related areas. Dr. McDonald has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and has been the recipient of many awards, including CDC’s Charles C. Shepard Science Award for Assessment and Epidemiology.