The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) has selected Katherine McDonald, assistant professor of public health in the Falk College and faculty fellow at the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI), as the recipient of the 2012 Early Career Award. The Award recognizes McDonald for her achievements and many contributions to the field of developmental disabilities. She will accept the Award in June at the AAIDD Annual Meeting. AAIDD is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization of professionals and citizens concerned about intellectual and developmental disabilities.

McDonald joined Syracuse University in 2011. Her dual appointment reflects a unique and unprecedented partnership between SU’s colleges and BBI towards infusing disability awareness across disciplines.

McDonald’s current research examines the inclusion of persons with developmental disabilities in research, participation in online communities and its relationship to autistic adults’ social connectedness and well-being, health disparities experienced by autistic adults, and community participation among persons with disabilities.

She received the Stevens-Shapiro Fellowship from the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities and was an international visiting fellow at the University of Western Sydney in Australia. McDonald received her bachelor’s degree with distinction in human development and family studies, with a minor in French from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in community and prevention research psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.