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

Magaela Bethune

Assistant Professor of African American Studies | Loyola Marymount University


Dr. Magaela Bethune is an expert on adolescent socialization, behavior, health, & development at intersections of race, gender, & sexuality.





Headshot of Magaela Bethune, PhD - Assistant Professor of African American Studies loading image Dr. Magaela Bethune, Assistant Professor in African American Studies loading image




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 research looks at adolescent media and technology use and its impact on socialization, behavior, health, and development at various intersections of race, gender, and sexuality.

While at Vanderbilt, she 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. Another thread of her research examines racial and gender disparities within the Christian church.

Her teaching and research interests lie in the following areas: race & health; race, gender, & sexuality; Black studies; digital media & technology; health policy & policy studies; and social justice. As a social justice-oriented educator, she emphasizes cultivating, facilitating, and partaking in a co-teaching and learning community that is nurtured through knowledge exchange, reflexive praxis, and real-world applications. With Dr. Venus Evans-Winters, she co-authored an edited volume, entitled (Re)Teaching Trayvon: Education for Racial Justice and Human Freedom.

Education (4)

Vanderbilt University: Ph.D., Community Research and Action 2020

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

Georgia Southern University: M.P.A., Public Administration 2011

Georgia Southern University: B.A., Biology 2008


Areas of Expertise (7)

Black Adolescence

African American Studies

Race & Health

Gender & Sexuality

Health Policy & Policy Studies



Industry Expertise (2)

Writing and Editing


Media Appearances (1)

(Re)Teaching Trayvon: Education for Racial Justice and Human Freedom

Sense Publishing  print


The authors bring you in this edited volume a collection of essays that address the relationship between racial violence, media, the criminal justice system, and education. This book is unique in that it brings together the perspectives of university professors, artists, poets, community activists, classroom teachers, and legal experts. With the Trayvon Martin murder and legal proceedings at the center of reflection and analysis, authors poignantly provide insight into how racial violence is institutionalized and consumed by the mass public. Authors borrow from educational theory, history, gender studies, sociology, cultural studies, the arts, legal scholarship, and personal reflection to begin the dialogue on how to move toward education for racial and social justice. The book is recommended for secondary educators, community organizers, undergraduate and graduate social science and education courses.

(Re)Teaching Trayvon: Education for Racial Justice and Human Freedom book cover

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Articles (3)

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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