E. Lisako Jones McKyer, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health with secondary appointments in the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Medicine, has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB) Mentor award.

McKyer serves as research development director for the Center for Community Health Development at the Texas A&M School of Public Health and as associate director for the Texas A&M Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research in the College of Education and Human Development.

In 2014, she received the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement award for Graduate Mentoring, given  “to recognize superior faculty mentors of graduate students—those faculty who go well beyond advising by bringing their skills and commitment to a student’s learning and professional development as future teachers, practitioners, researchers and scholars through mentoring.”

McKyer considers mentoring one of the best parts of her job. She has chaired or co-chaired 20 doctoral degree recipients and is currently mentoring four doctoral candidates. Among the degree recipients, 80 percent are first generation college students, 80 percent pursued research and academic positions, 85 percent are women and 85 percent are racial/ethnic minorities.

“I love research and one of the most rewarding aspects of my career is mentoring the next generation of researchers,” McKyer said. “Mentoring is like parenting—you don’t know how well a job you’ve done until years after your mentee has left your nest. To be recognized by the AAHB – the premier health research entity—is the ultimate validation of my efforts. I am humbled and deeply touched by the honor.”

Her research interests and expertise include socioecological determinants of child health, health disparities and cultural competence. McKyer has secured as part of research teams over $20 million in grants and contracts since 2006, serving as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on $3.5 million of those projects. She has published 63 peer-reviewed journal articles and has made over 150 presentations.

McKyer completed her undergraduate degree from California State University, Northridge, and her master’s and doctoral degrees at Indiana University under the mentorship of AAHB co-founder and former president Mohammad R. Torabi, Ph.D.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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