A photo of Kristen Copeland.

Director, NRSA General Pediatrics Research Fellowship

Attending Physician, Division of General and Community Pediatrics

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Board Certified

My Biography & Research


Kristen A. Copeland, MD, is a general pediatrician and a child health researcher. Her research interests are in early education settings—how the child care environment affects children’s health. In the past she has focused on child care illness policies and the temporary exclusion of children from child care settings due to illness. She studied how exclusion decisions are influenced by personal beliefs and whether they comply with national guidelines. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed literature and covered extensively by the press, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Parents Magazine.

More recently, Dr. Copeland has become interested in the opportunities child care settings offer for disease prevention and health promotion, in particular for preventing childhood obesity. Her research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will identify the key aspects of the child care center environment—such as physical activity policies, amount and design of playground facilities, menu content, and staff attitudes and behavior that effectively promote children’s physical activity and a balanced dietary intake. The goal of her research is to produce new knowledge than can inform the development of evidence-based policies and practices for child care centers that promote active play, improve children’s diets and foster the development of lifelong healthy habits.

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Dr. Copeland attained her bachelor’s degree in Houston, Texas at Rice University, double majoring in French and the social studies of science, technology, and medicine. She earned her MD from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She completed a pediatrics residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2002 and pursued further training in public health and health services research as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. She returned to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2004 as a faculty member in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics within the UC Department of Pediatrics.

Research Interests

Health of children in child care; child care illness exclusions; physical activity and obesity prevention in child care settings

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Divisions

General and Community Pediatrics, Primary Care

Research Divisions

General and Community Pediatrics

Blog Posts

Preschool: A Child’s First Step to Health and Success

BlogChild Development and BehaviorChild Development and Behavior

Preschool: A Child’s First Step to Health and Success

By Dr. Kristen Copeland10/17/2016

My Locations

My Education

MD: University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, 1999.

Residency: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2002.

Fellowship: Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 2004.

Certification: Pediatrics, 2002.

My Publications

Selected Publication

Attainment of '5-2-1-0' obesity recommendations in preschool-aged children. Khalsa, AS; Kharofa, R; Ollberding, NJ; Bishop, L; Copeland, KA. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2017; 8:79-87.

Association of childcare arrangement with overweight and obesity in preschool-aged children: a narrative review of literature. Swyden, K; Sisson, SB; Lora, K; Castle, S; Copeland, KA. International Journal of Obesity. 2017; 41:1-12.

Child Care Center Characteristics Associated With Preschoolers' Physical Activity. Copeland, KA; Khoury, JC; Kalkwarf, HJ. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2016; 50:470-479.

Giving "prescriptions " for paediatric weight management follow-up in primary care. Kharofa, RY; Khalsa, AS; Zeller, MH; Modi, AC; Ollberding, NJ; Copeland, KA. Clinical obesity. 2021; 11.

Longitudinal examination of weight-for-length and developmental screening results in infancy and toddlerhood. Odar Stough, C; Garr, K; Singh Khalsa, A; Combs, A; Copeland, KA. Children's Health Care. 2021; 50:1-12.

Factors Associated With Residential Relocation and Effects on Early Childhood Development in a Low-Income Home Visitation Population. Parsons, AA; Ollberding, NJ; Copeland, KA; Phelan, KJ. Journal of Primary Prevention. 2021; 42:125-141.

Maternal Body Dissatisfaction and Accuracy of Infant Weight Perception in Families From Low-Income Backgrounds. Khalsa, AS; Copeland, KA; Misik, L; Brown, CL; Kharofa, RY; Ollberding, NJ. Ambulatory Pediatrics. 2020; 20:793-800.

Child diet and health outcomes of the simple suppers program: a 10-week, 2-group quasi-experimental family meals trial. Gunther, C; Rogers, C; Holloman, C; Hopkins, LC; Anderson, SE; Miller, CK; Copeland, KA; Dollahite, JS; Pratt, KJ; Webster, A; et al. BMC Public Health. 2019; 19.

Factor structure of the Intuitive Eating Scale-2 among a low-income and racial minority population. Khalsa, AS; Stough, CO; Garr, K; Copeland, KA; Kharofa, RY; Woo, JG. Appetite. 2019; 142.

The Relationship Between Feeding Styles and BMI Z-score in Infants (P11-014-19). Khalsa, A; Copeland, K; Kharofa, R; Geraghty, S; DeWitt, T; Woo, J. Current Developments in Nutrition. 2019; 3.