Scientific Research Mentor

Urmeka T Jefferson, PhD, RN

Social Scientist

Urmeka T Jefferson, PhD, RN is an associate professor in the Department of Women, Children, and Family Nursing at Rush University. She received a PhD in nursing from Saint Louis University in 2012 with emphasis on maternal-child research. As a neonatal nurse, Dr. Jefferson witnessed first-hand the traumatic experience of infant mortality which drives her commitment to maternal-child research and interest in working to decrease racial disparities in infant mortality.

She has a special interest in increasing breastfeeding among African American mothers to decrease adverse infant outcomes and advance maternal health. Dr. Jefferson’s research has focused on infant feeding attitudes and exposure, determinants of breastfeeding behavior, and use of technology to improve access to breastfeeding support services.

Select Publications:

  1. Jefferson UT, Reed AE, Rabbitte M. African American Mothers’ Decision to Discontinue Breastfeeding and Switch to Formula. Western Journal of Nursing Research. 2022 Jan;44(1):15-22.
  2. Jefferson UT, Bloom TL, Lewis KR. Infant feeding exposure and personal experiences of African American mothers. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2021 Feb 1;16(2):124-30.
  3. Jefferson UT, Bibb D. A Breastfeeding Algorithm to Guide Bedside Health Care Practice for Term Newborns. Nursing for Women's Health. 2019 Feb 1;23(1):49-58.
  4. Jefferson UT. Breastfeeding exposure, attitudes, and intentions of African American and Caucasian college students. Journal of Human Lactation. 2017 Feb;33(1):149-56.
  5. Jefferson UT, Zachary I, Majee W. Employing a user-centered design to engage mothers in the development of a mhealth breastfeeding application. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing. 2019 Oct 1;37(10):522-31.
  6. Goodman LR, Majee W, Olsberg JE, Jefferson UT. Breastfeeding barriers and support in a rural setting. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing. 2016 Mar 1;41(2):98-103.
  7. Majee W, Jefferson UT, Goodman LR, Olsberg JE. Four years later: rural mothers' and employers' perspectives on breastfeeding barriers following the passage of the affordable care act. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 2016;27(3):1110-25.

Backed by Experts

Bobbie Labs is backed by a team of internal & external scientific experts who enable us to push the status quo of infant feeding through groundbreaking scientific research. Collectively, the published work from our experts has been cited by more than 31,225 peer-reviewed scientific journals and textbooks.

Internal Scientific Experts

Our internal scientific experts deeply understand the complexities of infant feeding. They are passionate about the molecular details of every research project and ensure discoveries are communicated with optimal impact. These thought leaders are at the heart of everything Bobbie Labs.

Anthony Porto, MD, MPH, FAAP
Chief Medical Director
Dina DiMaggio, MD, FAAP
Medical Research Director
Elieke Kearns, PhD, RD
Scientific Affairs Lead
Malathi Vakkalanka, MS
Product Development Lead

Scientific Research Mentors

Our mentors consist of subject matter experts and leading organizations passionate about advancing the field of infant feeding through objective, evidence-based, multidisciplinary research. This group advises Bobbie Labs and assists in the evaluation of proposals. 

Alyssa Whitcraft, PhD
Environmental Scientist
Courtney Jung, PhD
Social Scientist
Cynthia Barber, PhD
Nutrition Scientist
Jaclyn Bowen, MPH, MS
Environmental Scientist
Janine N’jie David, MPP
Data Impact Expert
Jessica Steier, DrPH, PMP
Data Impact Expert
Joshua Anthony, PhD, MBA
Nutrition Scientist
Leanne Redman, PhD, FTOS
Nutrition Scientist
Manisha Shah, PhD
Social Scientist
Molly Millwood, PhD
Social Scientist
Nicole Rakobitsch
Environmental Scientist
Pedro Prieto, PhD, MA, MS
Nutrition Scientist
Riccardo LoCascio, PhD
Nutrition Scientist
Urmeka T Jefferson, PhD, RN
Social Scientist

Organizational Partners

We have partnered with organizations who share our passion of wanting to evolve the field of infant feeding through research. Organizational partners appoint a subject matter expert from their team to serve as a Bobbie Labs Scientific Research Expert.

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