Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas
Alva Ferdinand, DrPH, JD

Alva Ferdinand, DrPH, JD

Director of the Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Texas A&M University

Dr. Alva Ferdinand is the Director of the Southwest Rural Health Research Center and much of its outreach work is funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The center’s CPRIT-funded work primarily centers around colorectal and lung cancers, as well as women’s health. Dr. Ferdinand has been a leader of the American Public Health Association’s law section since 2016 and was an integral part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement in 2020. She is also a member of the Ethics Advisory Committee for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and of the Rural Health Panel of the Rural Population Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) at the University of Iowa.

Since 2016, her research activities have been funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the Episcopal Health Foundation, among others. Dr. Ferdinand has examined variations in the burden of chronic diseases across the urban-rural continuum, including cancer and diabetes. She has additionally examined the association of tax-exemption status on the provision of community benefits among various hospital ownership types. She has provided legislative testimony and briefings to policymakers at state and federal levels and continues to inform policy strategies, particularly as they relate to rural populations. In 2014, Dr. Ferdinand received the AcademyHealth Outstanding Dissertation Award for her examination of the effect of texting-while-driving bans on various subpopulations of the U.S. Dr. Ferdinand holds a law degree from the Michigan State University College of Law and a Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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