Faculty Directory

Kirsten Davison

Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Chair

Associate Dean for Research

Profile

Kirsten K. Davison, MS, PhD, is the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Chair and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Social Work at Boston College. Following the completion of her PhD in Human Development and Families Studies at Penn State University, Dr. Davison held faculty appointments at SUNY Albany (2003–2011) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2011–2019) before joining the faculty at Boston College in July 2019. Dr. Davison leads an extramurally-funded research program focused on parenting and child health outcomes, with a particular focus on underserved families in a domestic setting. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, current studies include a randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a childhood obesity preventive intervention for low-income families implemented in Head Start, a cohort study examining links between sleep and growth in children from birth to 2 years, and a national study examining the role of fathers in childhood obesity prevention. Beyond her research, Dr. Davison has led transdisciplinary postgraduate training programs including the Public Health Nutrition doctoral program and the Cancer Prevention and Control fellowship program at Harvard and has an extensive history mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students.

Selected Grants

08/12/19-04/31/24 (R01HD098421)
Paternal Effects on Child Weight Outcomes
Sponsor: NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Role: co-PI (multi-PI with Jess Haines)

09/01/198/31/24  (T32 CA057711)
Harvard Education Program in Cancer Prevention Control
Sponsor: NIH, National Cancer Institute
Role: co-PI (multi-PI with Karen Emmons)

09/25/15-07/31/20 (R01DK108200 )
Empowerment  as a Mechanism for Change in Childhood Obesity Prevention
Sponsor: NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Role: PI

09/30/15-07/31/20 (R01DK107972)
Infant Sleep Patterns and Accelerated Growth Trajectories from Birth to 24 months
Sponsor: NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Role: co-PI (multi-PI with Elsie Taveras and Susan Redline)

09/01/14-08/31/19 (R25CA057711)
Harvard Education Program in Cancer Prevention Control
Sponsor: NIH, National Cancer Institute
Role: PI

6/10/13-5/31/16    (R21HD074554)   
Snacking in Young Children: Parental Definitions, Goals and Feeding Practices
Sponsor: NIH, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Role: co-PI (multi-PI with Jennifer Fisher)   

9/21/09 - 8/31/11 (R24MD004865)   
A Childhood Obesity Prevention Program Designed by Families for Families
Sponsor: NIH, National Center for Minority Health Disparities
Role: co-PI (multi-PI with Janine Jurkowski)   

5/01/04 - 4/01/08 (R01HD046567)   
Predictors of Adolescent Girls’ Physical Activity 
Sponsor: NIH, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Role: PI

Selected Appointments & Awards

2019  Donahue and DiFelice Professorship, Boston College

2017  Alice Hamilton Award, Harvard School of Public Health

2017  Leadership Institute, Society for Behavioral Medicine

2011  Donald and Sue Pritzker Professorship, Harvard School of Public Health

Research Projects

Rise & SHINE (Sleep Health in Infancy & Early Childhood)
Rise & SHINE is a longitudinal cohort study that examines infants’ sleep patterns between birth and 2 years, familial and environmental determinants of these patterns and their effect on accelerated weight gain over the first two years of life.

Communities for Healthy Living (CHL)
The CHL program is a family-centered obesity prevention program for low income families enrolled in Head Start. Grounded in family and empowerment theories and developed in collaboration with Head Start staff and low-income parents using community-based participatory research, CHL engages parents as co-leaders and addresses life challenges beyond those typically targeted in obesity interventions.