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Yolanda J. McDonald, M.A., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development


Dr. Yolanda J. McDonald is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University, Peabody College. She is a founding member and Co-PI of the Vanderbilt University Drinking Water Justice Lab (DWJL). She earned her B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas at El Paso with a focus on human health outcomes associated with lack of access to a public water supply in Colonias located along the U.S.-Mexico border. She earned her Ph.D. in Geography from Texas A&M University with a focus on health inequities associated with accessibility to preventive cervical cancer healthcare services in New Mexico, USA. McDonald’s research focuses on the utilization of geospatial approaches to investigate human health outcomes. She focuses on where and why health disparities exist using geographic information science (GIS) theory and methods informed by environmental and social justice frameworks, social determinants of health, and the theory of intersectionality.