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Lisette T. Jacobson, Ph.D., MPA, M.A.

Lisette Jacobson portrait
Associate Professor, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Population Health

Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Professional Background

Dr. Lisette Jacobson is an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. She has a secondary appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology-Wichita. She holds two master’s degrees (one in public administration and one in psychology) and a Ph.D. in community psychology. After receiving her Ph.D., she completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Women's Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.

Dr. Jacobson’s research interests include translational and behavioral research in women’s health focusing on diabetes, nutrition, pre- and post-natal health, and health equity. She is the recipient of several grants and contracts including the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), March of Dimes, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment leading to peer-reviewed publications and presentations; she is also the principal investigator on several ongoing clinical trials. Dr. Jacobson is a co-investigator on SPeCTr 2.0, the Kansas chapter of NIH's Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN). The ISPCTN's primary aim is to bring cutting-edge, innovative clinical trials to rural and underserved children and their families across 18 states in the network including the state of Kansas.

Dr. Jacobson teaches in the Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree program. She has taught various graduate and undergraduate courses and chaired multiple student thesis projects to successful completion. She has served as chair of the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s Research Committee and MPH Admissions Committee and continues serving on the KU School of Medicine’s Faculty Council. She has also served in leadership positions with the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition and the Wichita Area Breastfeeding Coalition. Prior to her career in academia, Dr. Jacobson was a human resources and public finance manager in the public and private sectors for more than 10 years. She has travelled around the world and has lived in places such as the Netherlands and Japan. Her prior career and experiences have taught her skills in communication, collaboration and optimizing relationships between researchers and community partners that underlie her research focus and style.

Education and Training
  • PhD, Psychology, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Public Health/Women's Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Licensure, Accreditations & Certifications
  • Diabetes Prevention Program Certified Lifestyle Coach, Emory University



As a public health-based community psychologist, Dr. Jacobson blends biomedical and psychosocial approaches to improve population health in rural and urban areas. Her research focuses on women’s health including diabetes education and prevention, maternal-child nutrition, pre- and post-natal health, and health equity using a life course approach. To this effect, she has studied risk and protective factors during the reproductive years and their impact on women’s cardiovascular health including diabetes, breastfeeding, diet, physical activity, and maternal weight. She has investigated health inequities in breastfeeding and smoking behaviors among at-risk populations in rural and urban locations, the relationship between breastfeeding and stroke risk, and pregnancy and birth outcomes among underserved rural women. Dr. Jacobson and her team have designed, implemented and evaluated online public health programs targeting at-risk underserved pregnant women in rural locations.

Dr. Jacobson’s most significant contribution to the literature was her first-authored publication titled “Breastfeeding history and risk of stroke among parous postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative.” Her findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and received international, national and local recognition. Study results showed that breastfeeding was associated with a lower risk of stroke among postmenopausal women after adjustment for multiple stroke risk factors and lifestyle variables; this association was strongest among non-Hispanic black women.

Dr. Jacobson is also the principal investigator on an NIDDK-funded grant that includes a pilot randomized controlled trial named “electronic Monitoring Of Mom’s Schedule (eMOMSTM). eMOMSTM is based on the national Diabetes Prevention Program coupled with an evidence-based breastfeeding curriculum to determine its efficacy in a cohort of pregnant, high BMI women. Program objectives at six months postpartum are to improve weight loss, hemoglobin A1C and blood pressure, and increase breastfeeding. This cutting-edge research will help reproductive age women with a high body mass index reduce maternal risk for metabolic disease, impede the cycle of obesity as a familial diabetes risk factor and eliminate chronic disease disparities.