John M. MacDonald


  • John M. MacDonald (PSC Research Associate) was featured in Penn Today for new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that, compared to children with municipal water, those relying on private wells in the U.S. had a 21% higher risk of being reported for any delinquency and a 38% increased risk of being reported for serious
    delinquency after age 14.

  • John M. MacDonald (PSC Research Associate) was featured in a 6ABC interview about the influence of green spaces in Philadelphia to help curb gun violence. “The built environment of places shapes crime,” he says. “When areas are clean, where there’s less trash, where there’s less physical disorder, residents are more likely to engage with each other.”

  • PSC/PARC Researchers Atheendar VenkataramaniCourtney Boen, and John MacDonald are investigators in a new NIH funded project, which includes an unprecedented $10 million over the course of 5 years, to study the impact of environmental and economic interventions on reducing health disparities in Black Philadelphia neighborhoods. At the community level, the study includes tree planting, vacant lot greening, trash cleanup, and rehabilitation of dilapidated, abandoned houses. For households, the study will help connect participants to local, state, and federal social and economic benefits, including food, unemployment, and prescription drug assistance, provide financial counseling and tax preparation services, and offer emergency cash assistance.
    Read more about this project in Penn Medicine News.

Penny and Robert A. Fox Faculty Director of the Fels Institute
Professor of Criminology
Professor of Sociology

Ph.D., Criminology, University of Maryland, 1999

Research Themes


  • Penn LDI : John M. MacDonald discusses Policing, Race, and Health - Prospects for Reform
  • Penn Arts and Sciences - OMNIA Podcast : John M. Macdonald on policies and programs which change land of places to greening vacant lots can reduce crime and violence in neighborhoods
  • Penn Arts and Sciences 60-Second Lecture: John M. MacDonald on Using Science to Design Safer and Healthier Cities