The American Academy of Health Behavior

2016 Mentorship Awardee



Dr. E. Lisako J. McKyer, MPH

Texas A & M University


Dr. E. Lisako Jones McKyer is an Associate Professor with a primary appointment in the Department of Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health, and secondary appointments in the Department of Health & Kinesiology – College of Education & Human Development, and Department of Humanities in Medicine, College of Medicine – all at Texas A&M University.  She serves as director of research development for the Center for Community Health Development, and Associate Director for the Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research, Texas A&M University.  Lisako completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge, and her masters and doctoral degrees at Indiana University under the mentorship of AAHB Founding co-father and former president Dr. Mohammad R. Torabi. 

Her research interests and expertise include socioecological determinants of child health, health disparities and cultural competence. She has been a member of AAHB since January, 2008. As a researcher, Dr. McKyer has published 63 peer-reviewed journal articles, has 150+ presentations. She has secured as part of research teams, over $20 million in grants/contracts since 2006, of which over $3.5 million as PI or co-PI.  

Dr. McKyer considers mentoring one of the best parts of her job. She has chaired/co-chaired 20 doctoral degree recipients to completion, with 4 more in the pipeline.  Among the degree recipients, 80% are first generation college students, 80% went on to research/academic positions, 85% are women and 85% are racial/ethnic minorities.

Her mentees become involved with AAHB. They include 2013 Judy K. Black Awardee Dr. Matthew L. Smith, Dr. Andrea McDonald who was responsible for initiating AAHB Doctoral Student-level Membership, and Dr. Wenhua Lu – current Diversity & Equity Council member who nominated Dr. McKyer for the award.  Dr. Lu wrote:

She is indeed an embodiment of what it means to be a good mentor in every sense of the definition. She guides and advises while challenging students to aim high and reach beyond their imaginations, which is evidences in her students’ success and good placements after their studies with her.

In 2014, Dr. McKyer received the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement award for Graduate Mentoring, bestowed “to recognize superior faculty mentors of graduate students—those faculty who go well beyond advising by bringing their skills and commitment to a student’s learning and professional development as future teachers, practitioners, researchers, and scholars through mentoring.”

What does it mean to receive this award:

"I love research. I also enjoy mentoring the next generation of researchers; it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. But those of us who do this – we’re intrinsically motivated.  Mentoring is like parenting . . . we don’t know how well a job we’ve done until years after your mentee has left your nest. Thus, to be recognized by the American Academy of Health Behavior - - THE premier health research entity – for my mentoring activities means the world to me. It’s the ultimate validation of my efforts.  I am humbled and deeply touched by the honor."

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