Dr. Harris is a licensed speech-language pathologist and has provided clinical services in medical, educational and community settings for more than 20 years. Her clinical interests include the effects of pediatric chronic disease on developmental and educational outcomes, sickle cell disease, asthma, health disparities, school-based chronic disease management, and the implementation of academic supports for youth with chronic disease.
Dr. Harris’ research agenda seeks to understand how systemic racism and specifically efforts to support and resist equity in health and educational settings operate to limit achievement and opportunity for youth. She leads the Health Equity, Opportunity and Education Research Lab and is particularly interested in disrupting patterns of systemic injustice by (1) understanding the interdependence of chronic disease, child development, and educational outcomes for youth in urban and suburban contexts, and (2) addressing the complications of chronic diseases and the unidentified impacts these conditions have on everyday life for youth in community and educational settings.
Dr. Harris is specifically interested in the impacts of sickle cell disease and asthma on academic achievement and attainment for youth, school-based chronic disease management, and the use of dissemination and implementation science to improve health and educational equity for youth living with chronic diseases. She is an NIH/NCATS KL2-funded mixed methods researcher with expertise in quantitative and geospatial analysis, and qualitative methods particularly in youth-serving institutions and with adolescents. Her current research projects include (1) an examination of the relationship between early child health and school readiness, (2) examining the spatial relationships between contextual factors, healthcare utilization, and education in asthma and sickle cell disease, (3) partnerships with local schools to collaboratively develop and implement supports for students with asthma and other chronic conditions, and (4) an examination of the impact of chronic diseases on occupation and participation for youth. She is also a co-investigator a study examining the implementation of COVID-19 testing in K-12 schools.
As a health and social scientist and St. Louis native, Dr. Harris believes it is critical that we bring our full selves into our work. To this end, she seeks to bring her full lived and learned experience into her efforts to advance health and educational equity and opportunity for African American communities. To ensure justice-oriented approaches in her work she uses mixed methods to prioritize the engagement and inclusion of families and communities to guide all stages of her research. Dr. Harris is also passionate about mentorship and supporting students at all levels in her work (high school, undergraduate, and graduate), and believes it is critical to build the diversity, inclusion, and representativeness of the research workforce to adequately support our communities and advance health and educational equity.
Dr. Harris teaches courses on social inequality, health disparities and education including the American School; Social Inequality, Development and Early Childhood Education, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: Inequality and Childhood in America. She also co-facilitates the Rehabilitation and Participation Science Doctoral Seminar, and lectures on health disparities, social determinants of health and educational equity among youth with chronic diseases.
2022-2023: Fellow; Fellow, Research Institute for Implementation Science in Education (RIISE), University of Washington, Seattle, WA
2020-2023: KL2 Career Development Award Scholar, Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
2020-2022: Scholar, NIH-NIDDK Institute for Implementation Science Scholars (IS-2)
2019-2020: Scholar, NIH-NHLBI, PRIDE Functional and Translational Genomics of Blood Disorders
2017 – 2019: Postdoctoral fellow, Child Health and Education Laboratory (Allison King MD, PhD), Washington University School of Medicine
2017: Graduate certificate in American culture studies, Washington University in St. Louis
2017: PhD in education, Washington University in St. Louis
2001: MA in speech-language pathology, Northwestern University
2000: BA in speech-language and hearing sciences, University of Kansas
Dr. Harris is a health and social scientist with a background in education, public health and speech, language and hearing sciences. Dr. Harris earned her bachelor’s degree in speech, language and hearing sciences from the University of Kansas and her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Northwestern University. She worked as a clinical speech-language pathologist for several years and provided services in both medical and educational settings. Dr. Harris earned her PhD in education from Washington University in St. Louis with concentrations in the social context of urban education, public health and child development. During her doctoral studies, Dr. Harris also received a Lynne Cooper Harvey fellowship, a graduate certificate in American culture studies and an Excellence in Educational Research award.
Hoyt, CR, Housten, AJ, Harris, KM, Millsap, M, Pearson, AC, Taft, SD, Connor, LT. Open Space Technology: A Novel Strategy to Build an Inclusive Environment and Attract a More Diverse Workforce. Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity. [in press]
Dorner, LM, Harris, KM, Willoughby, B. Policy Enactment During a Pandemic: How One School Responded to COVID-19 in Negotiation with a Non-profit Partner. AERA Open. [in press]
Harris, KM, Marcucci, O. The Promise of Private Education: A Case Study of Racialized, Gendered, and Socioeconomic Disparities in Achievement in One Private School. Teachers College Record. 2021: 123 (6).
Harris, KM. Mapping Inequality: Childhood Asthma and Environmental Inequality in a Case Study of St. Louis, Missouri. Social Science and Medicine. 2019: 230: 91-110. doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.03.040.
Harris, KM, Dadekian, JN, Abel, RA, Jones, B., Housten, A., Ddamulira, B., Chadwick-Mansker, K., & King, A.A. Increasing Educational Attainment in Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease. Journal of Health and Social Policy. 2019. doi: 10.1080/19371918.2019.1629142.
Purnell, JQ, Goodman, M, Tate, WF, Harris, KM, Hudson, DL, Jones, BD, Fields, R, Camberos, G, Elder, K, Drake, B, Gilbert, K. For the Sake of All: Civic education on the social determinants of health and health disparities in St. Louis. Urban Education. 2017: 53(6):711-743. doi:10.1177/0042085916682574
Jones, BD, Harris, KM, & Tate, WF. Ferguson and Beyond: A Descriptive Epidemiological Study Using Geospatial Analysis. Journal of Negro Education. 2015: 84(3),:231-253. doi:10.7709/jnegroeducation.84.3.0231.
Connor, L.T., Taff, S. D., Millsap, M., Hoyt, C.R., Housten, A.J., Harris, K.M., Pearson, A.C. (2021). Fostering dialogue on diversity, equity and inclusion through open space technology meetings. OT Practice, June 2021.
Dorner, LM, Harris, KM, Crawford, E, Song, K, Bonney, E. “It Limits our Ability to do Everything” – The Family-School Relationship. Missouri Elementary School Principal Magazine. [in press].
Harris, K. M., Jones, B.D., & Tate, W.F. (2020). Race, Space, and Education Research: Revisiting Tobler’s First Law of Geography. In A.D. Dixson, G. J. Ladson-Billings, J. D. Anderson, W. Trent, & C.E. Suarez (Eds.), Condition or a Process? Researching Race in Education. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Jones, BD, Harris, KM, & Tate, WF. Health & Education. In K. Lomotey (Ed.), Contemporary Issues for People of Color: Surviving and Thriving in the U.S. Today. 2016. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Tate, WF, Harris, KM & Jones, BD. Education and health: A foundation for well-being. In JQ Purnell, G Camberos, & R Fields (Eds.), For the sake of All: A report on the health and well-being of African Americans in St. Louis and why it matters for everyone. 2014. St. Louis, Missouri: Missouri Foundation for Health. Retrieved from https://forthesakeofall.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/for-the-sake-of-all-report.pdf
2020-2022: Washington University, Institute for Implementation Science Scholars
2019 – 2020: NIH-NHLBI, PRIDE Functional and Translational Genomics of Blood Disorders
2018: NIH-NHLBI, CTRIS Saunders-Watkins Leadership Workshop Participant
2017: Washington University, Excellence in Educational Research Award
2012-2017: Washington University, Lynne Cooper Harvey Fellowship Award
2001: Northwestern University, Mark Driscoll Book Award
1999: University of Kansas, Leadershape Institute Award
1996: University of Kansas, Black Faculty and Staff Academic Award
Harris, Kelly, PhD, CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Surgery (Public Health Sciences)
Health Equity, Opportunity and Education Laboratory
Ranked as the Number Three OT Program in the Nation
We welcome inquiries from prospective students, potential collaborators, community partners, alumni and others who want to connect with us. Please complete the form below to begin the conversation.
Current, future and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit us in person or virtually. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Faculty member Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, opens our virtual visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a chat with a current student. In person visit sessions are by request only; please contact Dr. Kniepmann to schedule.
Upcoming virtual visit sessions*:
*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.
Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610 or Mikayla Williams at (314) 286-1655.