Harris, Kelly, PhD, CCC-SLP

Clinical Interests

Effects of pediatric chronic disease on developmental and educational outcomes, sickle cell disease, asthma, health disparities, school based chronic disease management, implementation of academic supports for youth with chronic disease

Research Interests

Dr. Harris’ research examines the interdependence of chronic disease, child development, educational outcomes for youth in urban and suburban contexts and the use of dissemination and implementation science to improve health and educational equity. Specifically, she is interested in the impacts of sickle cell disease and asthma on academic achievement and attainment for youth, school based chronic disease management, school-based health centers and the implementation of educational supports for youth living with chronic diseases. Dr. Harris is interested in the complications of sickle cell disease and the unidentified impacts the disease has on everyday functioning for youth in community and educational contexts. Dr. Harris uses quantitative and geospatial measures to examine health-care access and utilization, family and neighborhood vulnerability, and educational outcomes among populations with sickle cell disease and asthma. She also uses geospatial methods to explore the ways in which health disparities, race, income, social processes and in- and out-of-school factors operate differentially across space to impact student achievement.

Teaching Roles

Dr. Harris currently co-facilitates the RAPS Doctoral Seminar (M01.OT.770.01). She also teaches courses on social inequality, health disparities and education, including Social Inequality, Development and Early Childhood Education and From Neurons to Neighborhoods: Inequality and Childhood in America. She has also taught Contradictions and Controversies in School Choice and lectured on health disparities, social determinants of health and educational equity among vulnerable populations.


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.

Dr. Harris joined the Program in Occupational Therapy as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Allison King’s lab and joined the Program's faculty in 2019. She continues to work with the lab on projects examining the educational impacts of sickle cell disease. She is currently conducting a regional analysis of health-care utilization patterns using geospatial and quantitative methods, interrogating a large state population-based dataset combining medical and educational data for youth with sickle cell disease in Missouri, and conducting an assessment of barriers and facilitators of school-based chronic disease management in collaboration with local school districts and health service providers.

Dr. Harris’ prior work has employed rigorous geographic and statistical analysis to explore the importance of geography in the dialogue regarding health and education and examining issues of environmental justice locally among youth with asthma; identifying non-stationary relationships between social processes, health disparities, in-school factors and academic achievement regionally; and examining the impact of chronic disease, health-care access and neighborhood characteristics on school readiness in large scale national datasets.

Selected Publications

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.

Book Chapters and Other

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

Awards and Honors

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

Harris, Kelly, PhD, CCC-SLP

Instructor in Occupational Therapy and Surgery (Public Health Sciences)

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Phone: 314-273-3242
Fax: 314-286-0631

Research Laboratory

Chronic Disease, Development and Educational Outcomes Research Laboratory

Ranked as the Number Three OT Program in the Nation

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