faculty profile

Sharon M. Karp   PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC

Professor of Nursing

Current Research/Scholarly Interests

  • The prevention of childhood obesity through the promotion of early healthy feeding practices.
  • 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 preterm births and at-risk parenting.


Perspectives of African American Women on Breastfeeding Support from Pediatric Providers. Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research & in-kind. (Role: Co-PI with Lutenbacher, M.) 2013-2014

Investigating Maternal Health, Infant Feeding Practices and Infant Weight Trajectory. Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research & Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. (Role: PI). 2010-2012

Reducing Preterm Births through Tennessee Connections for Better Birth Outcomes. BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee Health Foundation. (Role: Co-PI with Lutenbacher, M., Gabbe-Temple, P., Walsh, W., Dietrich, M, Carpenter, L., & Garrison, E.) 2006-2012

Representative Publications


Lutenbacher, M., Gabbe, P.T., Karp, S.M., Dietrich, M.S, Narrigan, D., Carpenter, L., Walsh, W. (in press). Does additional prenatal care in the home improve birth outcomes for women with a prior preterm delivery? A randomized clinical trial.Maternal and Child Health Journal. DOI 10.1007/s10995-013-1344-4.

Karp, S., Howe-Heyman, Abby, Dietrich, M., Lutenbacher, M. (2013). Breastfeeding initiation in the context of a home intervention to promote better birth outcomes. Breastfeeding Medicine, 8 (4): 381-387. DOI:10.1089/bfm.2012.0151

Lutenbacher, M., Karp, S., Dietrich, M., Sullivan, J. (2013). Are services to Tennessee children with special health care needs comparable with national achievement of MCHB Objectives? Public Health Nursing, 30 (1): 7-17. DOI: 10.1111/phn.12000.

Gesell, S. B. & Karp, S.M. (2013). The Role of families and providers in preventing childhood obesity when we take a systems approach to ending the epidemic. Reviews in Health Care, 4 (1), 3-9.

Karp, S.M., Barry, K.M, Gesell, S.B. Poe, E.K., Dietrich, M.S., & Barkin, S.L. (in press)Parental Feeding Patterns and Child Weight Status for Latino Preschoolers. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.DOI:10.1016.j.orcp.2012.08.193. 

Karp. S.M. & Lutenbacher, M. (2011). Infant feeding practices of young, first-time mothers. MCN The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. 36(2), March/April: 98-103

Coenen, K., Karp, S.M., Gesell, S. B., Dietrich, M.S., Morgan, T. M., & Barkin, S.L. (2011).  Genetic risk score does not correlated with body mass index of Latina women in a clinical trial.  Clinical and Translational Science, 4 (5), 323-327DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-8062.2011.00314.x

Karp, S.M., Lutenbacher, M., & Dietrich, M. (2010). The associations of psychosocial factors and infant feeding beliefs and practices of young, first time, low income mothers. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing. 33(4):268-87.

Lutenbacher, M., Karp, S., Ajero, G., Howe, D., & Williams, M. (2005). Crossing community sectors: Challenges faced by families of children with special health care needs. Journal of Family Nursing, 11 (2), 162-182

Professional Organizations

  • Southern Nursing Research Society
  • Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
  • Sigma Theta Tau, Iota and Omicron Omicron Chapters
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners
  • Obesity Society
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Society of Pediatric Nurses
  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Affiliate