Katherine McDonald appointed Falk College assistant professor of public health and Burton Blatt Institute faculty fellow
Katherine McDonald will assume a dual appointment this fall as assistant professor of public health in the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, and as a faculty fellow with the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University.
“The dual appointment reflects a unique and unprecedented partnership between SU’s colleges and BBI toward infusing disability awareness across disciplines. McDonald will contribute to strengthening students’ understanding of disability and working to improve the lives of persons with disabilities,” says University Professor Peter Blanck, BBI chairman.
In the fall semester, she will teach a graduate seminar on disability and health. In addition, McDonald will lead BBI’s cutting-edge research activities on community participation for people with disabilities.
“With its historic role in promoting quality of life for persons with disabilities, I am honored to be joining the faculty at Syracuse University. At SU, I will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with leading scholars concerned with social justice and well-being for long marginalized populations,” says McDonald.
“As a native of Syracuse and a community psychologist, it is particularly meaningful to participate in SU’s vision to foster respectful, effective, longstanding academic-community partnerships. I greatly look forward to collaborations with my new colleagues and students of all levels.”
McDonald comes to SU and BBI from Portland State University (Oregon), where she served as an assistant professor of psychology. McDonald’s work, research and service center on using ecological theory and action research to understand and promote the community integration of individuals with disabilities.
Her current research examines the inclusion of persons with developmental disabilities in research, participation in online communities and its relationship to autistic adults’ social connectedness and well-being, health disparities experienced by autistic adults and community participation among persons with disabilities.
“We are extremely eager to have Katie join the college in partnership with the Burton Blatt Institute. She will lead the further integration of disability studies as a focus throughout the college in teaching, research and community work,” says Diane Lyden Murphy, dean of the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. “Katie is establishing herself as a robust young scholar on the cutting edge of scholarship in this important field, which crosses all of the academic programs in the college.”
She received the Stevens-Shapiro Fellowship from the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities and was an international visiting fellow at the University of Western Sydney in Australia. McDonald received her bachelor’s degree with distinction in human development and family studies, with a minor in French from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in community and prevention research psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.