LAS CRUCES – A public health professional whose research has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo News, and several other major media outlets, is the newest faculty member at New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services.
Jagdish Khubchandani joined the Department of Public Health Sciences at NMSU as a professor in August – just in time for the start of the 2020 fall semester.
Khubchandani, who most recently served as a faculty member in the Department of Nutrition and Health Science at Ball State University in Indiana, brings nearly 20 years of medical and higher education experience to NMSU, where he currently teaches public health assessment.
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His areas of expertise include clinical and social epidemiology, global health, and violence and injury prevention. He has published more than 125 research articles, received research grants from various agencies, and his work has been cited more than 30,000 times. He previously won a Service Learning Award from the Indiana Governor and was a director of the World Association of Medical Editors.
Khubchandani started his career in India. As a resident doctor working for a government hospital in New Delhi, he routinely treated patients for chronic illnesses such as depression and anxiety and saw direct links between their health – or lack thereof – and their social circumstances. That sparked an interest that led him on a different career path.
“Somebody told me that if you are interested in looking at people’s health as a group rather than a person, you should get training in public health and the social side of health,” he recalls. “Then I moved to the US for my public health degree because I’ve always felt that medicine is more than just dealing with people one-on-one.”
Khubchandani received a Masters in Public Health from Western Kentucky University in 2007 and a PhD in Health Education and Epidemiology in 2010 from the University of Toledo. He arrives at NMSU amid a global pandemic that has increased interest in public health sciences, and he plans to adjust his research efforts accordingly.
In the coming months, he will publish studies on face mask behavior, stress and food insecurity, and gun buying habits during the pandemic, he said.
“I think researchers, practitioners and educators should look at the future of our society from a pandemic perspective because I don’t see an imminent end,” he said. “So in everything I do now – from mental health problems to violence – I focus on society in a new form. My focus will be on issues facing the local community and how the pandemic is changing lives. “
Khubchandani’s work and comments on topics related to COVID-19 – including social distancing, staying healthy during lockdown, data-driven approaches to reopening economies, and the dangers of counterfeit face masks – have been published in the Huffington Post, Healthline, the Wall Street Journal and other outlets since March.
Before arriving at the NMSU, Khubchandani examined the role of job insecurity and harassment in the US, noting that Americans who identified themselves as insecure at work or were bullied at work were unhealthy compared to their peers and also had problems with Insomnia and mental health had and were least affected by it productively.
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He continued researching sleep habits and found that over the past decade, insomnia has increased among adult Americans, especially among those with careers in healthcare and law enforcement. WebMD, US News and World Report, USA Today and NPR unveiled the Sleep Problems Study, which raises the awareness of insomnia in America.
For his doctoral thesis, Khubchandani started the first series of studies that examined the role of school staff in preventing and responding to violence in teen dating. He interviewed hundreds of school principals, school nurses, and school counselors across the United States to investigate school practices for preventing violence in teen dating.
He found that more than half of school principals, nurses and counselors had encountered a victim of dating violence, but the vast majority said they had not received training on how to deal with such matters. A majority of school principals, 78 percent, also reported that their schools did not have protocols for responding to dating violence. The New York Times quoted this study in a story published earlier this year.
Carlos Andres López is a writer for communications and marketing at New Mexico State University and can be reached at 575-646-1955 or by email at email@example.com.
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