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Neil MacKinnon, PhD - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

Neil MacKinnon, PhD

Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs | Augusta University


Dr. Neil MacKinnon is a senior university administrator, academic health leader and an expert in population health and public health.



Neil MacKinnon, PhD Publication Neil MacKinnon, PhD Publication



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Dr. Neil MacKinnon - Augusta University Provost Augusta University Core Values with Provost Dr. Neil MacKinnon




Dr. Neil MacKinnon is Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. In that capacity, he serves as the Chief Academic Officer of the university, overseeing its 11 colleges and schools, as well as Augusta University Online, enrollment and student affairs, faculty affairs, institutional access, success, and belonging, institutional effectiveness, instruction and innovation, the libraries, and the research enterprise.

Prior to his current position, he was dean of the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati. He was director of the State Office of Rural Health for Arizona and a professor at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. He was also professor and associate director for research at the College of Pharmacy at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

A native of Nova Scotia, MacKinnon completed an undergraduate degree in pharmacy at Dalhousie University, a master's degree in hospital pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, an administrative hospital pharmacy residency at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, and a PhD and fellowship at the University of Florida. He completed a midcareer Harkness Fellowship in international health care policy with the Commonwealth Fund under the direction of Dr. Stephen Soumerai, professor at Harvard Medical School. He completed the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

As a pharmacist, MacKinnon has practiced in both the community and hospital settings. He is a fellow and a past president of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists. In 2010, he co-authored a national bestselling book in Canada with a primary care physician called "Take As Directed." In 2018, he was inducted into the National Academies of Practice. As provost, he maintains an active research program in health policy with over 190 publications and 300 presentations to date. His fourth book, on the opioid crisis, will be published in late 2021.

Areas of Expertise (14)

Opioid agonist maintenance treatment (i.e. addictions treatment via Methadone and Suboxone)

Opioid Abuse

Rural Health Care Access & Delivery

Rural Health

Medication Error

Health Care Error


Public Health

Population Health

Healthcare Management

Health Policy

Patient Safety

Rural Health Care Access

Opioid Addiction & Recovery

Education (3)

University of Florida: Ph.D., Pharmacy Health Care Administration 1999

University of Wisconsin - Madison: M.S.C., Pharmacy 1995

Dalhousie University: B.S.C., Phamacy 1993

Media Appearances (11)

Augusta University receives national recognition for the third time

WJBF  tv


Augusta University’s affordability is a BIG draw for many students. The school is being recognized as a top 10 university for best return on student investment. BestColleges website ranked AU at number 5, along with Georgia Tech and Stanford University- meaning students get a good education at an affordable price. “If you’re spending years of your life trying to get a degree, whether it’s an undergraduate, a graduate or a professional degree, at the end of the day, it’s about what was that investment worth?” said Dr. Neil MacKinnon, Provost at AU.

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Dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic in urban and rural areas in the United States

ScienceDirect  online


There is a growing concern about the COVID-19 epidemic intensifying in rural areas in the United States (U.S.). In this study, we described the dynamics of COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural and urban counties in the U.S.

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Do You Live in a U.S. Opioid OD Hotspot?

Health Day  online


The new findings could help policymakers and health care providers by identifying individual and community-level factors associated with an increased risk, according to co-author Neil MacKinnon...

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Researchers Find Opiate Overdoses May Lead to Poor Health

ANI  online


Co-author Neil MacKinnon, former dean of UC's James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, said the analysis could help health policymakers and clinicians by identifying individual and community-level factors associated with an increased risk of death due to substance use disorder...

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Opiate overdoses linked to poor mental health

EurekAlert!  online


Co-author Neil MacKinnon, former dean of UC's James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, said the analysis could help health policymakers and clinicians by identifying individual and community-level factors associated with an increased risk of death due to substance use disorder. He is provost now at Augusta University, Georgia. "We hope the risk factors we identified in this analysis will be used by agencies like RecoveryOhio to plan proactive strategies and allocate resources to address this epidemic," MacKinnon said...

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In many rural areas, delta variant COVID-19 surge infected double the number of people

Augusta Chronicle  print


As the delta variant took off last summer across the U.S., it was the rural areas with low vaccination rates that were hit the hardest, researchers at Augusta University said. More than 82% of those counties were rural, which likely compounds the problem, said Dr. Neil J. MacKinnon, AU's provost. "Vaccination rates are lower in rural America. And on top of that they also have reduced capacity to deal with it," he said, in terms of health care resources.

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Augusta University to establish new School of Public Health

Augusta Chronicle  print


Augusta University is forming a School of Public Health to better focus the school's myriad efforts in healthful living throughout Georgia. That's actually the focus of the field: improving health in communities and preventing or limiting disease outbreaks. “When I interviewed at Augusta University in the fall of 2020, it struck me very odd that we are Georgia’s only public academic health center, and we don’t have a school of public health,” said Dr. Neil J. MacKinnon, AU's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This school will be a tremendous addition to Augusta University.”

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COVID-19 vaccines lag in rural, underdeveloped areas: Study

Big News Network.com  online


Vaccine resistance is just one of the reasons why fewer people have been vaccinated against coronavirus in some parts of the United States. A study in the journal Lancet Regional Health found that wide disparities in healthcare coverage, particularly in rural areas, hampered vaccination efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings point to a hidden divide in America between those with ready geographic and financial access to doctors, hospitals and clinics and those without.

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Enrollment drops could mean cuts at some Georgia colleges; UGA and AU see growth

Augusta Chronicle  print


University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue recently laid out a potentially challenging future for public higher education in Georgia. During a presentation last week to lawmakers considering the state budget, Perdue said education is getting more expensive while enrollment is dropping. Enrollment in the fall across all of USG was down 1.8% over the year prior, and it will likely continue to fall as the number of students coming up through high school is smaller. Even with a nearly 2% decline in enrollment across the system, some institutions bucked the trend, including three of the four research universities. Augusta University has managed to increase its enrollment over the past year by 2.2%, according to USG. University of Georgia grew enrollment by 1.4% and Georgia Tech by 3.3%. Georgia State saw a decline of 0.7%.

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Augusta University researchers release study on health disparities in rural and urban areas

The Augusta Press  online


A research team led by Augusta University Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Neil J. MacKinnon has released a study about health disparities among 11 high-income nations. Among the Augusta University researchers on the team were Vanessa Emery from the Institute of Public and Preventive Health, Jennifer Waller, Ph.D., and MCG researchers Preshit Ambade, Dr.Ph., from the Department of Population Health Sciences and Brittany Ange, Ph.D. Other researchers on the team included Munira Gunja from the New York-based health care nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, which funded the study, and Emma Watson with the NHS Education for Scotland. Drawing from data provided by the 2020 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy (IHP) Survey, the team examined health statuses in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S., comparing between rural and urban areas.

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Augusta University hosts Class of 2027 Freshman Convocation

The Augusta Press  online


After an untraditional start to the school year for many incoming freshman, the result of flood damages to Oak Hall, Augusta University hosted Freshman Convocation in the Christenberry Fieldhouse on Friday, Aug. 25, following the first full week of classes. As Class of 2027 t-shirts, pins and a special “welcome” edition of the student newspaper were distributed, first year students entered the fieldhouse and introduced themselves to several deans and university officials.

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Articles (5)

Dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic in urban and rural areas in the United States

National Library of Medicine


There is a growing concern about the COVID-19 epidemic intensifying in rural areas in the United States (U.S.). In this study, we described the dynamics of COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural and urban counties in the U.S.

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Perceptions of the provision of drug information, pharmaceutical detailing and engagement with non-personal promotion at a large physicians network: a mixed-methods study

National Library of Medicine


Non-personal promotion (NPP) such as digital, print-based marketing, direct promotional visits and free drug samples are means of pharmaceutical marketing. This study described practices of drug information, pharmaceutical detailing and engagement with NPP at an integrated network of providers.

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Challenges and Facilitators of Implementing a Physician-approved Naloxone Protocol: A Mixed-methods Study

Journal of Addiction Medicine

2021 In 2015, the State of Ohio passed legislation to allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone under a physician-approved protocol. The legislation allows all individuals authorized under a physician-approved protocol to personally furnish naloxone without requiring clients to be seen by a licensed prescriber, thus expanding the capacity of Ohio's community distribution programs.

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Analysis of Vaccination Rates and New COVID-19 Infections by US County, July-August 2021

Jama Network

Dr. Phillip Coule, Dr. Neil MacKinnon, Dr. Diego Cuadros, F. DeWolfe Miller, Dr. Susanne Awad


There is substantial variation in the spatial distribution of COVID-19 vaccination rates in the United States. We conducted an ecological data visualization analysis to assess the association of the heterogeneous distribution of vaccination coverage with the dynamics of COVID-19 during the third wave of the pandemic in the US.

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Association Between Vaccination Coverage Disparity and the Dynamics of the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron Waves in the US

Frontiers in Medicine

Neil MacKinnon, Phillip Coule, Diego Cuadros, Claudia M. Moreno, Godfrey Musuka


The US recently suffered the fourth and most severe wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This wave was driven by the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron, a highly transmissible variant that infected even vaccinated people. Vaccination coverage disparities have played an important role in shaping the epidemic dynamics. Analyzing the epidemiological impact of this uneven vaccination coverage is essential to understand local differences in the spread and outcomes of the Omicron wave. Therefore, the objective of this study was to quantify the impact of vaccination coverage disparity in the US in the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic during the third and fourth waves of the pandemic driven by the Delta and Omicron variants.

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