After growing up in rural Wisconsin and attending college in rural Minnesota, Hannah MacDougall was eager to study and positively impact health in rural areas.
As a social worker in rural Minnesota, she witnessed some of the strengths and challenges faced by rural communities as they pertain to health and was motivated to pursue a PhD in social work to further promote equitable health policy for these communities. Her dissertation research on nonprofit hospital community benefits began exploring the unique ways nonprofit hospitals assess and address community health in the rural context.
MacDougall was recently selected as the next Rural Health Equity Postdoctoral Fellow for the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs’ rural health initiative, led by Dr. Katy Kozhimannil. She starts her two-year postdoctoral fellowship this September.
“I have long admired Dr. Kozhimannil’s research and commitment to health equity for rural communities and was thrilled when I saw the call for applications for this post-doc,” said MacDougall. “During this training I hope to hone my research skills so that I can more effectively influence health policy that promotes rural health. Specifically, I hope to continue integrating direct practice knowledge with research skills to ensure the lived experiences of rural residents guide policy.”
As the Rural Health Equity Postdoctoral Fellow, MacDougall will work with Dr. Carrie Henning-Smith on a project related to the social determinants of health, disabilities, or aging in rural communities.
Her next career step? “I hope to find a faculty position in a school of social work or public health that allows me to do meaningful research with the goal of promoting health equity while also teaching and learning from students,” she said.