San Diego, October 26, 2008
— Tracy L. Finlayson, PhD, has won the 2008 Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award for young professionals. She received the award during the American Public Health Association’s (APHA’s) 136th Annual Meeting & Exposition.
The award recognizes a health worker or student, 30 or younger, who has demonstrated potential in the health field by challenging traditional public health policy or practice in a creative and positive way.
Finlayson, an assistant professor in the Division of Health Services Administration at San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health, has worked to bring attention to the “seriously neglected public health issue of oral health disparities,” wrote Kristine Seifert, PhD, MPH, in a letter nominating Finlayson for the Drotman Award. “Dr. Finlayson’s research and advocacy move beyond traditional approaches to this major public health problem to understand and address both individual and systemic risk factors.”
Several papers based on Finlayson’s dissertation research on oral health disparities among black children in Detroit have been published in major public health dental journals, “and she continues to tirelessly investigate and publicize the problem,” Seifert said.
Finlayson, who earned her doctorate degree in health services organization and policy in 2005 from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, authored a dissertation that investigated how low-income black mothers’ behavioral and psychosocial factors affect the oral health and dental practices of their young children. In addition to being awarded a Minority Research Supplement from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research and completing a postdoctoral traineeship with the National Institute of Mental Health, Finlayson received the Walter J. McNerney Award for a study of social identity, social norms and health behaviors.
In 2000, she received the Outstanding Senior Award from the University of California Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in human development. She also was a postdoctoral trainee with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the University of California, Berkeley from 2005–2007.
She is an active oral health advocate, with numerous presentations on such topics as identity-based motivation and smoking among low-income black adults and oral health and access to care.