Bachelor of science in nursing cum laude, Florida State University, 1979. Master in Public Health, San Diego State University, 1986. Doctor of Science, Boston University, 2001.
Clinical staff nurse (neonatology, pediatrics, obstetrics) Shands Teaching Hospital, Gainesville, Florida, 1980—1981. Clinical staff nurse (neonatology, pediatrics) University of California San Diego Medical Center, 1981—1986. Maternal and child health outreach coordinator/consultant Chuuk State/Federated States of Micronesia, Weno (Moen), 1986—1990.
Research director The BirthPlace, San Diego, 1991—1999. Lecturer/adjunct professor Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, 1991—2000. Senior researcher School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa, since 2000.
Member Provincial Department of Health, Maternal and Infant Health Advisory Task Force, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa, since 2001. Invited participant Research Related to Early Postpartum Discharge Expert Panel, United States MCHB, Rockville, Maryland, 1996. Invited member Governor's Task Force on Primary Health Care, Weno (Moen), Chuuk State, 1987—1989.
Volunteer March of Dimes, West Palm Beach, Florida, 1975—1992, San Diego, 1975—1992. Member of American Nurses Association, Association for Health Services Research, Society for Pediatrics Epidemiologic Research, Society for Epidemiologic Research, Association of Women's Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses, National Association of Childbearing Centers, Perinatal Priorities Association of South Africa, Public Health Association of South Africa, American Public Health Association (governing council, section secretary, nominating committee), Delta Omega, Phi Kappa Phi.
Daughter of George V and Jean Scott Jackson. Married Mitchell Jay Besser. Children: Samuel Joseph Besser, Maxwell Jacob Besser.