faculty profile

Sharon M. Karp   PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, FAANP

Chair - Acute and Chronic Care Community


Dr. Sharon Karp is a Professor and Chair of the Acute and Chronic Care Community. She completed her MSN and PhD in Nursing Science at VUSN, joining the faculty in 2008. She teaches within the MSN and DNP, and mentors doctoral students. In addition, she maintains an active clinical practice as a PNP within the Division of General Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, providing primary care and specialty care through the pediatric weight management services.

Her research and scholarship focuses on improving maternal-child health outcomes, with a primary focus on obesity prevention in early childhood. She currently serves as Chair of the Research committee for the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and is past chair (elected) of the Childhood Obesity SIG for six years. She is also actively involved in the Obesity Medicine Association, serving on the Continuing Medical Education Committee.


  • PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nursing Science
  • MSN, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • BSN, Xavier University School of Nursing, Ohio
  • ASN, Xavier University School of Nursing, Ohio

Current Research/Scholarly Interests

  • The prevention of childhood obesity through the identification and manipulation of factors contributing to the obesity process and cycle.
  • The relationship of maternal psychosocial factors (depressive symptoms, stress, self-esteem) and parenting practices.
  • Community and home-based interventions to prevent or reduce known risks associated with at-risk parenting.

Representative Publications


Graf, M. D., Wasser, H., Lynn, M. R., Karp, S. M., Lutenbacher, M., & Hodges, E. A. (2023). Adaptation and psychometric testing of the infant food choice questionnaire. Appetite, 106548-106548. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2023.106548

Williams, D. R., Chaves, E., Karp, S.M., & Browne, N. T. (2023). Clinical review: Implementation of trauma informed care to optimally impact the treatment of childhood obesity. Obesity Pillars, 100052. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obpill.2022.100052

Graf, M. D. Lutenbacher, M., Wasser, H., Dietrich, M. S., Karp, S.M. (2022). Choking, Allergic Reactions, and Pickiness: A Qualitative Study of Maternal Fears and Risk Avoidance Strategies during Complementary Feeding. Appetite, 171, 105914. https://doi-org.p /10.1016/j.appet.2022.105914

Graf, M. D., Karp, S. M., Lutenbacher, M., Wasser, H., Bushaw, A., & Dietrich, M.S. (2021). Clinical strategies for addressing obesity in infants and toddlers. The Nurse Practitioner, 46(2), 28-33.

Myers, L., Karp, S.M., Dietrich, M.S., Looman, W.S., Lutenbacher, M. (2021) Family-centered care: How close do we get when talking to parents of children undergoing diagnosis for autism spectrum disorders? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51, 3073-3084. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04765-0. PMID: 33140145.

NAPNAP. (2021). NAPNAP position statement on the prevention and identification of overweight and obesity in the pediatric population. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 35(4):425-427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2021.03.001

Bushaw, A., Lutenbacher, M., Karp, S.M., Dietrich, M.S, & Graf, M. (2020). Infant feeding beliefs and practices: Effects of maternal personal characteristics. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, e12294.

LeCroy, M. N., Truesdale, K. P., Matheson, D. M., Karp, S. M., Moore, S. M., Robinson, T. N., ... Thomas, A. J. (2019). Snacking characteristics and patterns and their associations with diet quality and BMI in the Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Research Consortium. Public Health Nutrition, 22(17), 3189-3199. doi:10.1017/S1368980019000958

Higginbotham, K., Crutcher, T. & Karp, S.M. (2019). Screening for social determinants of health at well-child appointments: A quality improvement project. Nursing Clinics of North America, 54, 141-148.

Yeager, L. J., Karp, S.M., & Leming-Lee, T. (2019). Barriers to the implementation of pediatric overweight and obesity guidelines in a school-based health center. Nursing Clinics of North America, 54. 159-168.

Squiers, A., Lutenbacher, M., Kaufman, M. R., & Karp, S. M. (2017). Transitioning to an adult healthcare system: Barriers and opportunities for youth with spina bifida. Pediatric Nursing, 43(6), 289-298.

Phillippi, J.C., Holley, S.L., Payne, K., Schorn, M.N., Karp, S.M. (2016). Facilitators of prenatal care in an exemplar urban clinic. Women and Birth.29 (2). 160-167. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2015.09.007.

Lutenbacher, M., Karp, S.M., & Moore, E. R. (2016). Reflections of black women who choose to breastfeed: Influences, challenges and supports. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 20(2): 231-239. DOI: 10.1007/s10995-015-1822-4

Arinze, N.V., Karp, S.M., & Gesell, S.B. (2016). Evaluating provider advice and women's beliefs on total weight gain during pregnancy. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 18, 282-286. DOI: 10.1007/s10903-015-0162-8

Karp, S.M., Lutenbacher, M., & Wallston, K.A. (2015). Evaluation of the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale in mothers of infants. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24 (11), 3474-3481 . Doi: 10.1007/s10826-015-0149-z

Karp, S.M. & Gesell, S. B. (2015). Obesity prevention and treatment in school-aged children, adolescents, and young adults-where do we go from here? Primary Prevention Insights, 5, 1-4. Doi: 10.4137/PPRI.S12291.

NAPNAP (2015). NAPNAP position statement on the prevention and identification of overweight and obesity in the pediatric population. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 29(4), A13-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2015.04.014 

Professional Organizations

  • The Obesity Medicine Association 
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)
  • The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • American Nurses Association & Tennessee Nurses Association
  • Obesity Society
  • Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
  • Southern Nursing Research Society