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Alva O. Ferdinand named head of Department of Health Policy and Management

Accomplished public health researcher tapped to lead the Department of Health Policy and Management.

Alva O. Ferdinand, DrPH, JD, has been named head of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. Ferdinand, associate professor and director of the Southwest Rural Health Research Center (SRHRC), will officially assume her new role Jan. 1, 2024. Ferdinand has served as interim department head since January 2023.

“Dr. Ferdinand is an excellent leader who has excelled in the role as interim Department Head for the past year,” said Dean Shawn Gibbs. “The committee and faculty were extremely supportive and enthusiastic of her taking on the position permanently. I know she has great things planned for the department and cannot wait to see the direction she takes it in the years to come.”

Ferdinand’s research has influenced life-saving health policies, particularly Texas’ texting while driving ban. Since 2019, she has served as director of the nationally recognized SRHRC, whose research has impacted federal policies nationwide for the past two decades. Recently, she returned from Washington, D.C., where she worked with the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) on a request from the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on improving access to health care in rural and underserved areas.

Ferdinand has been instrumental in the SRHRC receiving funding of more than $5.5 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policyas the deputy director and subsequently, the director of the center. She has also led the center’s efforts in completing Rural Healthy People 2030, a companion piece to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Healthy People 2030. This is the third set of volumes in this decadal series for the center. This important work will be released in January 2024.

Ferdinand’s research has been recognized in national media outlets, including CNN, US News and World Report, the Associated Press and The Washington Post. Ferdinand has also won numerous awards for her research, including the Journal of Rural Health Article of the Year in 2021 and the School of Public Health’s 2020 Faculty Research Excellence Award.

She received both her Doctor of Public Health and Master of Public Health in health care organization and policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013 and 2008, respectively. She received her Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law in 2006.

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