Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, DrPH, MPH

(Choctaw)

Professor of Medicine
Director

Dr. Jernigan is the Director of the Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy and a Professor of Medicine and Rural Health at the Center for Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University. She has been the principal investigator for more than a dozen research studies focused on improving Indigenous food systems through policy and environmental interventions. She also directs the Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity, an academic-community partnership with Indigenous peoples to restore traditional foods and food practices to promote healthy diets and reduce chronic disease.

In 2011, Dr. Jernigan became the inaugural chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Intervention Research to Improve Native Health initiative, a collaboration of NIH-funded investigators conducting intervention science research. She is a member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research College of Reviewers, the American Public Health Association, the American Society for Nutrition, the Society for Public Health Educators, and the Society for Prevention Research. She is an editorial board member for the scientific journals Health Promotion Practice and Progress in Community Health Partnerships.

Dr. Jernigan is a member of the CDC Fries Prize Award Jury, a member of the 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Unequal Treatment in Healthcare Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Jernigan received her Dr.PH. from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease risk reduction at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. She is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State University Profile