Meagen Rosenthal, an accomplished researcher and leader in community well-being and engagement, has been named the inaugural interim executive director of the William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing at the University of Mississippi.
“We are fortunate to have a leader of Dr. Rosenthal’s caliber on campus to lead us through development of a plan build an institute focused on improving, if not saving, lives,” said Natasha Jeter, UM assistant vice chancellor for wellness and student success. “Engaging with stakeholders, including alumni, students, faculty, staff and professionals in well-being fields is the backbone of this work, and Dr. Rosenthal is uniquely qualified.”
Created in 2019, the Magee Institute is dedicated to being a national leader for alcohol and other drug prevention, intervention, support and research. The university’s existing William Magee Center for Wellness Education, with its primary focus on preventing substance abuse and providing resources to students seeking help, will be moved under the institute’s umbrella.
The Magee Institute and Center are tributes to William Magee, an alumnus of the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Croft Institute for International Studies and a track team member named to the SEC academic honor roll. He lost his life to an overdose in 2013. More than $4.2 million in private support has been received to fund this initiative, and the resources came from 815 separate gift commitments.
The Magee Center will continue to focus on Ole Miss students, while the broader Magee Institute will work beyond campus, with stakeholders from around the state and nation to research and create solutions for students and families.
Rosenthal brings more than 15 years of experience collaborating with communities to connect them with research data or researchers to meet specific goals and needs. In 2019, Rosenthal co-led UM’s Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation Initiative and later co-created the Community First Research Center for Wellbeing and Creative Achievement with Annie Cafer.
Rosenthal and Cafer work with community stakeholders including Parents for Public Schools and the Marks Project to create, access, analyze and apply knowledge and data to improve community well-being and local and regional decision-making. Their efforts include leading the Triplett Visioning Series, a months-long process of stakeholder engagement and research to establish a five-year plan for the Magee Institute.
“We are fortunate to be building on the foundation established by the William Magee Center for Wellness Education,” Rosenthal said. “We are also incredibly excited to think and dream big as we develop partnerships across the campus community as well as across our state and region.
“Together we can create new knowledge that can be quickly applied and integrated into practice to serve not only our students, but the people of Mississippi and beyond.
“The William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing will become a place where our communities can gather to have difficult conversations about what is limiting our well-being, create and define solutions, and then engage in the hard work needed to make those solutions realities.”
Rosenthal earned a master’s degree in sociology and completed a doctorate in experimental medicine, both at the University of Alberta in Canada. She joined the UM faculty in the School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Administration in 2014 and was promoted to associate professor in 2020.
Her teaching responsibilities include primary data collection research methods classes for both pharmacy professional and graduate students, as well as the new Rural and Population Health class for professional students. Rosenthal has acted as principal investigator or co-PI on externally funded projects that total nearly $750,000 and has received both teaching and research awards from the School of Pharmacy.
In 2019, she was elected by her peers to serve as chair of the UM Faculty Senate for the 2019-21 term. In this role, she helped lead efforts to ensure that the academic mission of the university could continue as the faculty responded to the challenges of teaching during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the community, Rosenthal was instrumental in establishing the PaRTICIpate (patient-centered research to improve community involvement), a diabetes self-management research collaborative which partners with three north Mississippi communities to investigate patient-developed research questions to improve diabetes outcomes. She also helped create the Food Rx Program in Charleston, Mississippi, which provides a novel and sustainable way to address food insecurity.
For more information on supporting the Magee Institute and Center, contact Brett Barefoot, senior director of development for parents and family leadership, at email@example.com or 662-915-2711.
By David Magee/UM Development