Syracuse University Falk College
444E White Hall
Syracuse, New York  13244




Ph.D., Community and Prevention Research Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2006

M.A., Community and Prevention Research Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2003

B.S. with Distinction, Human Development, Family Studies & French Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1998


Community Psychology, Disability Studies, Program Evaluation, Community-Based Participatory Research, Research Ethics Disparities including health disparities, participation disparities and economic/work disparities


HTW 669 - Disabilities and Health

Katherine McDonald


Faculty Fellow, Burton Blatt Institute

Dr. Katherine (Katie) McDonald is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and a Faculty Fellow at the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Dr. McDonald received her B.S. 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. In 2013, Dr. McDonald was named a Fellow to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). Prior to joining the faculty at Syracuse University, Dr. McDonald was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Portland State University (Portland, Oregon).

Dr. McDonald’s work, research and service use ecological theory and social action research to understand and promote the community integration of individuals with disabilities. Her current research spans two core areas of inquiry. (1) Respectful, Inclusive Research with Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Dr. McDonald has several projects involving the empirical study of human research ethics, with an emphasis on the research participation of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her long-term goal is to contribute an empirical perspective to respective, inclusive research practices for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To date, these studies have focused on instrument development and the isolation of important variables from the perspectives of three critical stakeholder groups: adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, researchers, and IRB members. Dr. McDonald is currently working on a NIH-funded project to extent this work to include people who provide informal and formal support to adults with intellectual disabilities. (2) Participatory Action Research Addressing Disparities: Dr. McDonald conducts collaborative research with community-based organizations and community members on health, education, community and employment disparities experienced by individuals with disabilities. One long-standing collaboration is the Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE; ). AASPIRE conducts research on the needs of autistic adults through academic-autistic partnerships, including studies on access to quality healthcare (funded by NIMH) and the online autistic community. With several ADA Centers ( ) and universities, Dr. McDonald conducts research on community participation among adults with disabilities (funded by NIDRR). In another project, Dr. McDonald is evaluating the use of participatory research with adults with developmental disabilities (funded by CDC/AUCD). Dr. McDonald’s past projects include collaborations with government and business partners to address the employment of individuals with disabilities and program evaluation capacity building with social service agencies serving ethnic and racial minorities with disabilities. Dr. McDonald is also involved in the teaching and practice of program evaluation and previously lived in community with individuals with and without intellectual disabilities in a community of L’Arche.

Dr. McDonald received the 2008 Stevens-Shapiro Fellowship from the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID), the 2012 Early Career Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), with her graduate student the 2012 Tosinvest-San Raffaele Group Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities Scholar’s Award from the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID), and was an International Visiting Fellow at the University of Western Sydney in Australia. Dr. McDonald is the past Chair of the Disability Action Group for the Society for Community Research and Action, division 27 of the American Psychological Association. She has also served on the Boards of Directors for L’Arche Nehalem, l’Arche Chicago, and the Arc of Multnomah-Clackamas County as well as on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Portland State University.

More information, including links to Dr. McDonald’s publications: