Jennifer D. Roberts
Assistant Professor, Kinesiology
Faculty Affiliate, UMD Population Research Center and Prevention Research Center; Faculty Affiliate, UMD Maryland Transportation Institute; Faculty Affiliate, UMD Consortium on Race, Gender & Ethnicity; Co-Leader, NatureRx@UMD
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
Jennifer D. Roberts' Professional Website
CV / Resume
PDF icon Curriculum Vitae - Jennifer D. Roberts - 6.1.2020.pdf

Dr. Roberts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology.  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 Purple Line Impact on Neighborhood, Health and Transit (PLIGHT) 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, Baltimore, MD, 2004
  • M.P.H., Environmental and Occupational Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2000
  • A.B., Health and Society, Brown University, Providence, RI, 1996

Course Instruction

  • Kinesiology 401: Zip Code - Its Prediction on Physical Activity and Public Helth
  • Kinesiology 497: Built Environment, Physical Activity and Public Hea;th
  • Kinesiology 600: Kinesiology in Public Health
  • Kinesiology 601: Epidemiology of Physical Activity

Letters of Recommendation

  • Please request Dr. Roberts' Letters of Recommendation Policy 
Honors and Awards

Research Grants

  • Maryland Transportation Institute Seed Grant Award, 2019
  • Harvard University JPB Environmental Health Fellowship, 2018
  • National Science Foundation Grant Award, 2018
  • University of Maryland Faculty Incentive (Tier I) Seed Grant Award, 2017
  • Global Partnerships Faculty Travel Grant Award, 2017
  • Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity, 2017

Honors and Awards

  • Muriel R. Sloan Communitarian Award, 2019
  • Dean Nominated Honoree of Inaugural Maryland Research Excellence Celebration, 2019 
  • Featured Faculty in UMD Terp Magazine - "These Commutes are Made for Walking - Professor Explores How Built Environments Affect Health", 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., Ada M., and Jette SL.  (Accepted). NatureRx.@.UMD: A Review for Pursuing Green Space as a Health and Wellness Resource for the Body, Mind and Soul. American Journal of Health Promotion.

Stone EA. and Roberts JD. (2020). Park Spaces and the User Experience: Reconsidering the Body in Park Analysis Tools. Journal of Nature and Culture, 15(2).

Patrick P., Wang N., Hu M. and Roberts JD. (2020). Editorial – Sustainable, Healthy Buildings and Communities. Building and Environment, 174.

Hu M. and Roberts JD. (2020). Connections and Divergence between Public Health and Built Environment Design – A Review. Urban Science, 4(1). 

Tehrani SO., Wu SJ., Roberts JD.. (2019). The Color of Health: Residential Segregation, Light Rail Transit Developments, and Gentrification in the United States. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(19). doi: 10.3390/ ijerph16193683.​

Roberts JD, Mandic S, Fryer CS, Brachman ML, Ray R. (2019). Between privilege and oppression: An intersectional analysis of active transportation experiences among Washington DC area youth. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(8). doi:10.3390/ijerph16081313.

Puett R, Huang D, Montresor-López, Ray R, Roberts JD. (2019). Relationship of sociodemographic factors with indoor and outdoor physical activity environments among Washington DC area children. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 16(7). doi: 10.1123/jpah.2019-0142.

Roberts JD, Hu, M, Saksvig BI, Brachman ML, Durand CP. (2018). Examining the influence of a new light rail line on the health of a demographically diverse and understudied population within the Washington, DC metropolitan area: A protocol for a natural experiment study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(2). doi:10.3390/ijerph15020333.

Roberts JD, Rodkey L, Ray R. Saelens B. (2018). Don’t forget about public transportation: Analysis of the association of active transportation to school among Washington DC area children with parental perceived built environment measures. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 15(7). doi: 10.1123/jpah.2017-0266​.

Roberts JD, Rodkey L, Grisham C, Ray R. (2017). 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, 14(11). doi:10.3390/ijerph14111398.

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, 42(5). 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, 6. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.02.021.

Roberts JD, Knight B, Ray R, Saelens. (2016). Parental perceived built environment measures and active play in Washington DC Metropolitan children. Preventive Medicine Reports, 3. 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.