Assistant Professor, Kinesiology
Faculty Associate, University of Maryland Population Research Center and Prevention Research Center
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 2136
Phone: (301) 405-7748 |
Laboratory Website: 
Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment (PHOEBE) Laboratory
CV / Resume
PDF icon Jennifer D. Roberts - Curriculum Vitea - UMD Form - 11.15.2017.pdf

Dr. Roberts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and a Faculty Associate at the Maryland Population Research Center.  Her research and teaching interests focus on the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in addition to its impact on obesity and other public health outcomes.  More specifically, much of her research has explored the dynamic relationship between environmental, social and cultural determinants of physical activity and using empirical evidence of this relationship to infer complex health outcome patterns.  Future and ongoing research, such as her Built Environment and Active Play (BEAP) and Physical Environment and Active Transportation (PEAT) studies will also incorporate state of the art techniques, such as spatial analysis and geographic information system modeling in order to objectively capture the role and relationship of these determinants on physical activity.  Finally, crosscutting issues including exposure (e.g. recreational deserts) and outcome (e.g. childhood obesity) health disparities will also be addressed in both her research and teaching physical activity and public health programs.

Education and Training

Dr.PH., Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, 2004

M.P.H., Environmental and Occupational Health, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, 2000

A.B., Health and Society, Brown University,                                                                                      Providence, RI, 1996


Kinesiology 600: Kinesiology in Public Health

This course provides students with a broad introduction to the core principles and goals of public health from a kinesiological perspective. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of both kinesiology and public health as fields of inquiry (with a particular focus on the competing ontological, epistemological, methodological, and axiological dimensions within and between each), students will explore the integrative relationships and possibilities within kinesiology as well as to domains of inquiry within public health. Central to the course will be an exploration of the challenges faced and opportunities presented as each attempts to forge an interdisciplinary approach to societal health issues. 

Kinesiology 601: Epidemiology of Physical Activity

This course exposes students to epidemiological methods that are relevant to the study of physical activity. Basic epidemiological study design and methods and issues pertinent to the study of physical activity are presented early in the course.  The classes are then structured to provide opportunity for in-depth analysis and discussion on how epidemiological methods are used in studying physical activity behavior.  Relationships between physical activity and physical and mental health outcomes will be examined. The goal of the course is for students to be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills regarding applying epidemiological methods to the study of physical activity.



Honors and Awards

Featured Faculty in UMD Terp Magazine - "These Commutes are Made for Walking - Professor Explores How Built Environments Affect Health", 2017 

University of Maryland Faculty Incentive (Tier I) Seed Grant Award, 2017

Global Partnerships Faculty Travel Grant Award, 2017

Yancey and Darlene Edgley Fellowship for Health Promotion, Physical Fitness and Community Health Education Conference Travel Award, 2017

Inducted to Gamma Zeta Chapter of Delta Omega National Honorary Society for Public Health, 2016

National Research Mentoring Network Academic and Professional Development Conference Travel Award, 2015

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Seventh Annual Symposium Travel Award, 2013

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Research and Coaching Clinic Travel Award, 2012

“The Daily Record's” Very Important Professionals Successful By 40 Award, 2012

U.S. Environmental Protections Agency Appreciation Award, Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC), 2011

Malcolm X University, Second Annual Science Careers Seminar Series Honoree, 2010

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 5 Women’s Program, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Honoree, 2010








Selected Publications

Roberts JD, Rodkey L, Grisham CRay R.. (Accepted). The influence of family dog ownership and parental perceived built environment measures on childrens' physical activity within the Washington DC area. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Ray R, Sewell AA, Gilbert KL, Roberts JD. (2017). Missed opportunity? Leveraging mobile technology to reduce racial health disparities. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. doi: 10.1215/03616878-3940477 

Roberts JD, Rodkey L, Ray R, Knight B, Saelens B. (2017). Electronic media time and sedentary behaviors in children: Findings from the Built Environment and Active Play Study in the Washington DC Area. Preventive Medicine Reports. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.02.021.

Roberts JD, Knight B, Ray R, Saelens . Parental perceived built environment measures and active play in Washington DC Metropolitan children. Preventive Medicine Reports. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.04.001.

Roberts JD, Ray R, Biles A, Knight B, Saelens B. (2015). Built environment and active play among D.C. Metropolitan children: A protocol for a cross-sectional study. Archives of Public Health. 73(22). doi:10.1186/s13690-015-0070-3.

Roberts JD, Voss JD, Knight B. (2014). Physical inactivity, ambient air pollution and obesity in the United States. PLoS ONE. 9(3). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090143.

Roberts JD, Roberts MA. (2013). Wind turbines: Is there a human health risk? J of Environmental Health. 75(8).

Roberts JD. (2009). Have “green” U.S. automobile drivers made an impact on greenhouse gases? Natural Resources and Environment. 24(2).