Margaret D. Whitley

Margaret D. Whitley
Associate Policy Researcher


Ph.D. in public health, University of California, Irvine; M.P.H. in community health sciences, UCLA; B.A. in social welfare, University of California, Berkeley


Margaret Whitley (she/her) is an associate policy researcher at RAND. Her work is centered on health equity within topical areas like occupational health, complementary and integrative health (CIH), and maternal and child health. She uses both quantitative and qualitative methods. Whitley has addressed a variety of topics within her work at RAND, including the role of CIH providers within the public health workforce, occupational and socioeconomic drivers of health behaviors, mobile health promotion interventions, and management of chronic pain.

Previously, Whitley was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, where she studied the contribution of working conditions to population health inequities. Prior to that, she completed a doctoral degree in public health at the University of California, Irvine; her dissertation focused on the occupational determinants of breastfeeding behaviors. She also completed an M.P.H. in community health at UCLA, and a B.A. in social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.

Selected Publications

Whitley MD, Burgard S, "Working conditions and racial and ethnic disparities in self-rated health," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 65(7), 2023

Whitley MD, Ro A, Choi B, "Low job control and racial disparities in breastfeeding," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 64(8), 2022

Coulter, Ian D., Margaret D. Whitley, Raheleh Khorsan, and Patricia M. Herman, Incorporating Complementary and Integrative Health Providers in the Public Health Pandemic Response: Lessons from COVID-19 and Recommendations for the Future from a Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, RAND Corporation (RR-A1836-1), 2022

Whitley MD, Herman PM, Aliyev G, Sherbourne C, Ryan GW, Coulter ID, "Income as a predictor of self-efficacy for managing pain and for coping with symptoms among patients with chronic low back pain," Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 44(6), 2021

Whitley MD, Ro A, Choi B, "Workplace breastfeeding support and job satisfaction among working mothers in the United States," American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 62(8), 2019

Whitley MD, Payán D, Williams M, Flórez K, Wong E, Branch C, Derose KP, "Feasibility and acceptability of a healthy living messaging program within a church-based intervention to promote healthy weight among African Americans and Latinos," Health Informatics Journal, 26(2), 2019

Herman PM, Whitley MD, Ryan GW, Hurwitz EL, Coulter ID, "The impact of patient preferences and costs on the appropriateness of spinal manipulation and mobilization for chronic low back pain and chronic neck pain," BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 20(1), 2019

Acosta, Joie D., Margaret D. Whitley, Linnea Warren May, Tamara Dubowitz, Malcolm V. Williams, and Anita Chandra, Stakeholder Perspectives on a Culture of Health: Key Findings, RAND Corporation (RR-1274-RWJ), 2016