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Alva Ferdinand

Alva O. Ferdinand,DrPH, JD

Director, Southwest Rural Health Research Center

Associate Professor


School of Public Health


health policy, population health, health disparities, health ethics, research integrity, state and federal legislation, texting and driving, health laws

About Alva O. Ferdinand

Alva Ferdinand, DrPH, JD, is the assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Her research interests are health laws and ethics, disparities in health outcomes, research integrity, state and federal regulation in health care delivery and effectiveness at laws aimed at improving public health.

Dr. Ferdinand is the director of the nationally-recognized Southwest Rural Health Research Center. The center, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, focuses on policy relevant research on meeting the needs of rural populations, minority populations and health disparities (including border health). Her ground-breaking research has influenced life-saving health policies, particularly Texas’ texting while driving ban.

In one case, Ferdinand used a panel study design that examined the effects of different types of texting bans on motor vehicular fatalities. She and her co-researchers used the Fatality Analysis Reporting System—a nationwide census providing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Congress, and the public with data regarding fatal injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. A difference-in-differences empirical approach was used to examine the incidence of fatal crashes between 2000 through 2010 in 48 U.S. states with and without texting bans.

Dr. Ferdinand's research has been recognized in several national media outlets, including CNN, US News and World Report, the Associated Press and The Washington Post. She has had multiple works featured in publications, including her research about the impact of texting bans on motor vehicle crash-related hospitalizations that was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Dr. Ferdinand received her Bachelor of Arts in international studies from Oakwood University and Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health in health care organization and policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.