I know my mission is here, to help the people of this community.Chandra Jackson
PhD '12, MSc
Chandra L. Jackson’s research focuses on the epidemiology, prevention and control of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Her past work highlighted the potential for health information technology to improve diabetes care as well as racial/ethnic differences in 1) overweight/obesity trends within levels of educational attainment and 2) obesity-related mortality. As an Alonzo Smythe Yerby Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard, she is working with Drs. Frank Hu and Ichiro Kawachi to investigate the role of suboptimal diet and lifestyle as modifiable contributors to the disproportionate obesity and diabetes risk experienced by traditionally under-resourced populations.
Jackson is also serving as a core member of the Boston Racial/Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Obesity and Hypertension Demonstration Project to address health disparities in a sustainable and scalable manner. By centering her research and public health practice objectives on identifying modifiable, social determinants of both obesity and its publically- and policy-relevant health and social consequences across the life span, she plans to contribute to the translation of epidemiologic findings into interventions and policies that address structural, macro-level as well as individual-level barriers to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. This approach will contribute to an overall obesity prevention strategy in addition to the elimination of preventable obesity-related disparities.
The Brown Scholars program has enabled Jackson to pursue her passions and build a research, public-health practice and policy-oriented career focus. She has, for instance, worked on health-related matters as a 1) White House Intern during the Obama administration, 2) Legislative Intern for a nationally-recognized leader in health disparities and 3) Baltimore City Mayoral Fellow while pursuing a PhD in epidemiology as a Brown Scholar. In addition to partnering with the American Diabetes Association on the Reverse the Trend Healthy Trendsetters Movement in hopes of reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes among children, she helped a non-profit organization secure funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to cultivate environmental stewardship among participating 7th graders in Baltimore City. As a result of these experiences and being the recipient of a certificate in Community-based Public Health as well as Health Disparities and Health Inequalities, she has received three merit-based awards from the Epidemiology Department at Johns Hopkins.
The Brown Scholars Program further supported her commitment to community engagement by providing professional development seminars like media relations training, which she utilizes beyond an appearance on Maryland’s local NPR radio station to promote Diabetes Alert Day with the Associate Director of the American Diabetes Association Maryland Chapter. Through participation in the Brown Scholars program, she has also had unique opportunities to engage in public health-related international travel, public-speaking activities, and academic leadership within the university. Dr. Jackson is certain that being a Brown Scholar has accelerated her progress towards becoming an effective Public Health Leader with interdisciplinary capabilities to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of under-resourced populations.