Urmeka T Jefferson, PhD, RN

Research Committee Co-chair

Dr. Urmeka Jefferson 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 and has over 16 years of clinical experience caring for mothers and critically-ill infants that revealed the impact of implicit bias on the provision of breastfeeding support. Dr. Jefferson seeks to expand best practices in maternal-child health that promote equity and social justice for African American parents.

Dr. Jefferson has advanced the body of knowledge regarding infant feeding attitudes and intentions of college students and illuminated determinants of breastfeeding for African Americans. She has designed a mHealth intervention that combines multiple components to bridge the gap in breastfeeding support from hospital to home. As a 2021 Betty Irene Moore Fellow for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, she is leading breastfeeding research focused on technology that resonates with the cultural and contextual traditions of African American parents. This research centers the voices of African Americans to promote breastfeeding as a positive part of their community, provide access to equitable support services, and empower parents to meet their breastfeeding goals. This mHealth approach to breastfeeding support provides evidence for a vital public health strategy with potential to improve longer durations of breastfeeding that can advance health and reduce mortality.