Jana Peterson-Besse

Assistant Professor
UC Box 
Carnegie Hall 211 (Forest Grove)

Course information

At Pacific University, all faculty teach a variety of different courses. Typically, we do not use graduate teaching assistants, which means that your classes will be taught by professors and that you will have plenty of opportunities to get to know the faculty in your discipline.

Below I have listed some of the courses that I teach. We are always developing and trying out new classes, so the list may change now and then.
PH 310 | Social Foundations of Population Health
PH 352 | Program Development & Evaluation 
PH 380 | Public Health Practicum 
PH 491/492 | Public Health Practicum and Capstone
Special topics courses in Disability & Health

Areas of Research & Specialization

I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in disability and health at Oregon Health & Science University.

My research focuses on health promotion and access to care for people with disabilities, and health disparities experienced by members of this population. I am passionate about the creation of environments that promote and support health and the pursuit of social justice for all populations, including people with disabilities.


Ph.D. in Community and Behavioral Health, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa in 2007

Master of Public Health, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa in 2002

Bachelor of Science in Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa in 1999

Why I study Public Health

When I was in college, I didn’t know much about public health.  I wanted to work in a health field, and I wanted to be of service to others, so I entered medical school after graduation. In medical school, I became frustrated. I learned a lot about treating disease but little about promoting health, and I saw a health care system that did treat all people equally. A professional in the medical school administration suggested that I pursue public health. I enrolled in courses and was instantly hooked. Public health seeks to promote health and wellness, not only for individuals, but for communities and for the world, through creation of healthy environments and policies. Public health also seeks social justice through the elimination of health disparities and pursuit of access to health care. I am passionate about all of these topics and about the field of public health, and I love to ignite a similar passion in students who are excited about promoting health and justice.

Published works (selected)

Peterson-Besse, J. J., Knoll, J.*, and Horner-Johnson, W. (2019). Availability and use of internet social networks for women with physical disabilities during pregnancy. Disability and Health Journal, 12(4), 722-726.

Jenson, R. J., Peterson-Besse, J. J., Fleming, L., Blumel, A., & Day, A. (2015). Accessibility and Responsiveness Review Tool: Community Agency Capacity to Respond to Survivors with Disabilities.   Family and Community Health, 38(3), 207-216.

Peterson-Besse, J. J., Horner-Johnson, W., Walsh, E., Goode, T., & Wheeler, B. (2014). Barriers to Health Care Access at the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Disability: A Scoping Review of the Literature. Medical Care, 52, S51-S63.

Peterson-Besse, J. J., O’Brien, M. S., Walsh, E. S., Monroe-Gulick, A., White, G., Drum, C. E., & The Expert Panel on Disability and Health Disparities. (2014). Clinical preventive service use disparities among subgroups of people with disabilities: A scoping review. Disability and Health Journal, 7(4), 373–393.

Krahn, G.L., Horner-Johnson, W., Hall, T., Roid, G., Andresen, E., Fujiura, G., Nosek, M.A., Cardinal, B., Drum, C.E., Suzuki, R., & Peterson-Besse, J.J. (2014). Development and psychometric assessment of the Function-Neutral Health-Related Quality of Life measure. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 93(1), 56-74.

Walsh, E. S., Peterson-Besse, J. J., Judkins, D. Z., & The Expert Panel on Disability and Health Disparities (2014). Searching for Disability in Electronic Databases of Published Literature. Disability and Health Journal, 7, 114-118.

Andresen, E. M., Peterson-Besse, J. J., Krahn, G. L., Walsh, E. S., Horner-Johnson, W., & Iezzoni, L. I. (2013). Clinical preventive screening utilization among women with disabilities: A systematic review women's health issues. Women’s Health Issues.

Suzuki, R., Krahn, G., Small, E., & Peterson-Besse, J. J. (2013). Multi-level barriers to obtaining mammograms for women with mobility limitations: Post workshop evaluation. American Journal of Health Behavior.

Cuesta-Vargas, A. I., Paz-Lourido, B., Lee, M., Peterson-Besse, J. J. (2013). Adaptation and validation of a physical activity self-efficacy and social support scale for people with intellectual disabilities (SE/SS-AID) in a Spanish sample. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 38(2), 172-176

Peterson, J. J., Suzuki, R., Walsh, E. S., Buckley, D., & Krahn, G. L. (2012). Improving Cancer Screening Among Women with Mobility Impairments: Trial of a Participatory Workshop Intervention. American Journal of Health Promotion, 26(4), 212-216.

Suzuki, R., Peterson, J. J., Weatherby, A., Buckley, D., Walsh, E. S., Kailes, J. I., & Krahn, G. L. (2010). Using Intervention Mapping to promote the receipt of clinical preventive services among women with physical disabilities. Health Promotion Practice.  Published on-line: doi: 10.1177/1524839910382624

Lee, M., Peterson, J. J., & Dixon, A. (2010). Rasch-calibration: Self-efficacy and social support scale of persons with intellectual disabilities.  Research in Developmental Disabilities, 31, 903-913.

Horner-Johnson, W., Krahn, G. L., Suzuki, R., Peterson, J. J. Roid, G., Hall, T., & The Expert Panel on Disability and Health Measurement (2010). Differential performance of SF-36 in items in healthy adults with and without functional limitations. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91, 570-575.

Peterson, J. J., Hammond, L., & Culley, C. (2009). Concepts of health and health promotion for people living with disabilities. In C. E. Drum, G. L. Krahn, & H. Bersani, Jr. (Eds.), Disability in Public Health.Washington, DC: American Public Health Association & American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Peterson, J. J., Peterson, N. A., Lowe, J. B., & Nothwehr, F. N. (2009). Promoting leisure physical activity participation among adults with intellectual disabilities: Validation of self-efficacy and social support scales. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 22, 487-497.

Drum, C. E., Peterson, J. J., Culley, C., Krahn, G. L., Heller, T., Kimpton, T., McCubbin, J., Rimmer, J., Seekins, T., Suzuki, R., & White, G. W. (2009). Guidelines and criteria for the implementation of community-based health promotion programs for individuals with disabilities. American Journal of Health Promotion, 24(2), 93-101.

Peterson, J. J., Lowe, J. B., Peterson, N. A., Nothwehr, F. K., Janz, K. F., & Lobas, J. G. (2008). Paths to leisure physical activity among adults with intellectual disabilities: Self-efficacy and social support. American Journal of Health Promotion, 23(1):35-42.

Peterson, J. J., Janz, K. F., & Lowe, J. B. (2008). Physical activity among adults with intellectual disabilities living in community settings. Preventive Medicine, 47, 101–106.