2023 Tillman Scholar

Kristin MacDonald

Military Spouse
Virginia Commonwealth University
Ph.D., Health Services Organization and Research

“As a health professions educator and researcher, I am instilling a sense of purpose and wonder in the next generation of healthcare leaders, and answering the call to compassionate inquiry.”

Kristin was born and raised in East Northport, N.Y. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in nutritional sciences in 2008. Launching into a healthcare career, Kristin began to pursue her lifelong dream to serve others. She completed an M.S. in healthcare policy and management and became a dietitian in 2009. After working shortly in this role, Kristin entered long-term care administration where she developed a heart for older adults and the direct care workforce caring for them.

 In 2011 Kristin began traveling around the country with her husband, an officer in the Army JAG Corps. Throughout different locations Kristin worked in nursing home administration, dialysis, private practice, and community nutrition. She has always felt called to serve both patients and fellow healthcare providers, honoring the compassionate bonds that develop between these people. In 2017, following the birth of her twins, Kristin had the opportunity to teach in the health administration program at Methodist University. Getting a taste for health professions education, Kristin returned to school to pursue a Ph.D. in health services organization and research at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2018. 

Kristin is currently a doctoral candidate working on her dissertation, “Experienced compassion at work and nursing home certified nursing assistants’ well-being and turnover intentions.” She also teaches courses on person-centered care and service learning to undergraduate students. Kristin continually asks herself, “How can I increase my impact?” She hopes to touch many lives through her research, and inspiring the next generation of healthcare leaders.