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Alumni Profile: Byron Kennedy


Byron Kennedy

Byron Kennedy is a Renaissance man in science.

His undergraduate major at Sacramento State was Biological Sciences. But his broad-based course of study ranged from plant biology, ecology, human anatomy and exercise physiology to genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and cell physiology.  

After graduating from Sac State with a bachelor of science, he parlayed his academic prowess into a medical degree, a doctorate and a master’s in public health in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University.

Factor in a 2005 postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford, an internship on family medicine at Georgetown University, a residency at the California Department of Public Health and a California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship this year, and one begins to understand why Dr. Kennedy ranks as one of Sacramento State’s distinguished alums.

The CST fellowship enables Kennedy to work with public officials to develop policies that could have a significant impact on complex scientific and technical problems confronting California. Modeled after a successful national program, CST provides policymakers access to professionals in their field, who present unbiased advice on a variety of matters.

Kennedy is involved with the statewide initiative Healthy Communities and Lifestyles that focuses on medically underserved communities. The program which began last month has been in the planning stages since January when he began his fellowship.

Both Kennedy’s expertise and practical experience make him a valuable member of Assemblyman Sandre Swanson’s advisory staff.  As a medical officer for the California Department of Public Health with a specialty in preventive medicine, his grasp of comprehensive health care dovetails with one of Swanson’s legislative priorities.

An accomplished physician-scientist, Kennedy is mindful of the connection between theory and practice. He’s especially grateful for his comprehensive science education that he received as an undergraduate. “Without a doubt,” he says, “my broad education provided a solid foundation for later training in medical school and graduate school. I am definitely thankful for the dedicated individuals and great experiences I had at Sacramento State.”