New Faculty Focus: Mandy Jackson

Q&A with Mandy Jackson, MD, MPH, visiting associate professor, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Mandy JacksonHometown: Lodi and Madison, Wisconsin

Educational/professional background: I’m a graduate of Madison’s East High School. I earned a BA from Emory University, an MD from Morehouse School of Medicine, and an MPH from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. I completed a pediatric residency at University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. I worked as a general pediatrician at Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas in California from 2005 to 2014, and later as a general pediatrician at Soledad Medical Clinic in Soledad, California.

Previous position (title, institution): General pediatrician and pediatric department chair, Soledad Medical Clinic, Soledad, California

How would you describe your work to a 5-year-old? I am lucky that I get to see children all day long, listen to them, check them, and help them get better if they are sick.

What is your field of research or area of clinical care, and how did you get into it? My field is general pediatrics and adolescent medicine as well as prevention. I was heavily influenced by my experience in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa, when I was in my 20s, and a class called Health as Social Justice guided my medical practice values.

What attracted you to UW–Madison? Wanting to come home to Madison to be near family.

What is your favorite thing to do in Madison? Besides hanging out with my family, my favorite thing is to bicycle. I cannot believe how many more bicycle paths there are in town than there were when I graduated from East High School! Awesome! I also love walking along the water any time of the year and enjoying the fall color changes.

What’s one thing you hope trainees will learn from you and your work? To openly listen to patients and their caregivers/parents.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. As a child of two educators, education was a way of being during my childhood and life. Education is empowerment and economic opportunity. Pushing patients to complete their educational goals is important and part of their personal as well as public health. Facilitating education of parents and caregivers is essential for children to achieve their health. Teaching medical learners is the essence of our future as a medical society.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter during video chats and parties? As some think of health care as health, health care is only one aspect of health. One definition of health I have appreciated and adapted in health care practice includes addressing a hierarchy of needs:

  • Physiological (advocating for fair/adequate/uncrowded housing, clean/non-toxic water, clean air, access to health care)
  • Safety (advocating for children and adults to protect themselves from abuse, access to mental health services)
  • Love and belonging (promote healthy family relationships and extra-curricular opportunities for us to grow and mature in a well-rounded way)
  • Esteem (advocating for global human rights, social justice, and preventing structural violence including institutional racism)
  • Self-actualization (advocating for all of us to reach our greatest potential)

Gratefully, even as a new employee at UW Health, I have observed that General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine is definitely honoring most aspects of health in terms of this hierarchy of needs.

What are some of your hobbies and other interests? Family, Mexican food and culture, nature, music, and sports.