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Magaela Bethune - Loyola Marymount University. Los Angeles, CA, US

Magaela Bethune Magaela Bethune

Assistant Professor of African American Studies | Loyola Marymount University


Magaela C. Bethune is an expert in the areas of race and health, race, gender, sexuality, Black studies and social justice.





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Magaela C. Bethune, Ph.D. (she/hers) is an author, researcher, and assistant professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. She received her Ph.D. in Community Research and Action from Vanderbilt University. Magaela earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, a minor in Africana Studies, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia Southern University. Her dissertation research looks at various intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality at the role of adolescent media use and engagement in the sexual socialization, behaviors, and health of youth and young adults.

While at Vanderbilt, she has coordinated or collaborated on several research projects, including the Pathways to African American Success preventive intervention program with Vanderbilt’s Center for Research on Rural Families and Communities, which promotes parent-child communication to reduce sexual risk engagement in rural African American youth. In 2013, she joined the American Psychological Association – Black Entertainment (APA-BET) Research Collaborative to explore the health communication preferences among African American youth for receiving HIV/STI prevention and sexual health information. She also worked as the study coordinator in the Center for Health Services Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, evaluating the usability of a web-delivered, medication adherence promotion intervention for type-2 diabetes patients. More recently she worked with Centerstone Research Institute and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, to design and implement a community-based research project examining the barriers, challenges and strategies for Tennessee youth and young adults to navigate mental health in their communities. She has served as the entrepreneurial lead on a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (i-Corps) project, exploring the viability for commercialization of an online networking platform for K12 social emotional learning.

Magaela’s teaching and research interests lie in the following areas: race & health; race, gender, & sexuality; Black studies; digital media & technology; health policy & policy studies; human development & society; and social justice.

Education (3)

Vanderbilt University: Ph.D., Community Research and Actino

Vanderbilt University: M.S., Community Research and ACtion 2014

Georgia Southern University: B.A., Africana Studies 2008


Areas of Expertise (6)

Health Policy & Policy Studies


Black Studies

Gender & Sexuality

Race & Health

African American Studies

Industry Expertise (2)

Writing and Editing


Articles (4)

The Usability of Diabetes MAP: A Web-delivered Intervention for Improving Medication Adherence JMIR Publications

2016 Web-delivered interventions are a feasible approach to health promotion. However, if a website is poorly designed, difficult to navigate, and has technical bugs, it will not be used as intended. Usability testing prior to evaluating a website’s benefits can identify barriers to user engagement and maximize future use.

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Rural African American Adolescents’ Development: A Critical Review of Empirical Studies and Preventive Intervention Programs Rural Ethnic Minority Youth and Families in the United States

2016 For many African American adolescents, growing up in the rural south increases the likelihood that they will not only be poor but will live in situations characterized as persistent, “deep poverty.” Despite the challenges associated with growing up in often low-resource rural communities, many African American adolescents are able to survive and thrive. How do they overcome the odds and achieve various tasks that this developmental stage presents? The primary purpose of this chapter is to draw attention to and integrate knowledge on contextual factors affecting these youth to enable a more holistic understanding of normative development and adjustment among rural African American adolescents.

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Health Literacy as a Process: Caseworker Perspectives on HIV Health Literacy Social Work in Public Health


Health status and health literacy are interrelated. Previous research suggests that this relationship must be considered when providing services to HIV positive individuals. However, the pathways through which health literacy affects HIV remain unclear. This study seeks to understand the connections between health literacy and HIV from a caseworker perspective. Results suggest that caseworkers reject static definitions of health literacy by conceptualizing it as an emergent process.

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A Cross-Disciplinary, Multi-level Framework for Adolescent Sexual Media Socialization American Public Health Association

2016 In 2010, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion issued Healthy People 2020 objectives, including for the first time “Adolescent Health” among the nation's public health priorities (2015). Sexually transmitted infection (STI) – including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – as well as teen and unplanned pregnancies were among the major public health problems plaguing today's youth.

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