Marylyn M. McEwen, PhD, PHCNS-BC, FAAN, professor and the Gladys E. Sorensen Endowed Professor for Diabetes Research and Education at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, has been honored with the Ruth B. Freeman Award from the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) for her distinguished career in public health education and research.
For more than 20 years, Dr. McEwen has promoted health in Mexican-Americans who reside in the U.S.-Mexico border region through community-based interventions and participatory research, including studies of Mexican immigrant women and their binational health practices, health-illness transitions and risk perceptions related to undocumented border crossing.
To advance her work in the border region—where type 2 diabetes exceeds the U.S. national rates for Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites—in 2011, Dr. McEwen was awarded a $1.8 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, to study how capitalizing on familismo (the strong cultural value of family) can strengthen how Mexican-American adults manage their type 2 diabetes.
“Marylyn is a voice for public health nursing in border health and binational health care,” wrote one of her nominators. “Her career has been characterized by outstanding efforts and accomplishments in public health nursing for the betterment of people’s lives.”
As the co-principal investigator for an Interdisciplinary Rural Health Training Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for 12 years, Dr. McEwen has an exceptional record of mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in nursing, medicine, social work, nutrition, pharmacy and other disciplines to provide culturally relevant interventions in the Arizona-Sonora border region.
Dr. McEwen is a three-time graduate of the UA College of Nursing (BSN ’76, MSN ’87, PhD ’03) and joined the faculty in 2003. She holds a joint appointment in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and teaches courses about health and health disparities along the U.S.-Mexico border and how to conduct community-based interventions to decrease health inequities among vulnerable populations.
A passionate advocate for health equity, since 2003, Dr. McEwen has served as the president of Chapter 18 of the Arizona Nurses Association, known as Enfermera de Salud Fronteriza (Border Health Nurses). She has published and spoken extensively about the impact of immigration, type 2 diabetes and disease self-management, as well as rural, urban and workforce issues. She has been an active member of APHA for 22 years, and previously served as section chair and chair of the Awards and Policy Committees. In 2006, she was honored by APHA with the Public Health Nursing Creative Achievement Award.