Associate Professor of Practice
Associate Co-Chair Department of Health and Human Development
Kelli’s research interests are focused primarily on physical activity and weight management and the behavioral prevention and treatment of obesity and related chronic diseases. Following her undergraduate education in Biology and Nutrition at Penn State University, Kelli spent time designing and implementing a Weight Management Program for a fitness center. It was from here that she decided to obtain her Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Georgia. It was here where she supervised the University’s Adult Fitness and Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center and worked in the Diabetes Education Department at Athens Regional Medical Center assisting patients with cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and diabetes with exercise management of their disease through individual exercise prescription, educational lectures, and exercise classes.
After completing her Master’s degree, Kelli obtained her Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. This led her to a position at Structure House in North Carolina, a unique residential treatment center for individuals with overweight and obesity interested in behavioral weight loss and lifestyle change. She spent nearly two years teaching, training, and counseling those who struggled with obesity before moving back to Pittsburgh to obtain her PhD.
She now holds her PhD in Exercise Physiology, and teaches courses in behavior change/health coaching, obesity and chronic disease, and clinical exercise physiology. Her research interests include developing and investigating the most effective long-term treatments for obesity and weight control. She is currently working on yoga and mindfulness-based weight loss interventions aimed at improving long-term weight loss maintenance and associated outcomes.
Department of Health and Human Development
Courses taught are centered around three primary areas of expertise: Behavior Change, Obesity and Chronic Disease, and Clinical Exercise Physiology.
- Clinical Exercise Physiology 1
- Clinical Exercise Physiology 2
- Health Coaching & Behavior Change
- Obesity Prevention and Treatment
- Obesity & Chronic Disease
- Behavioral Change Strategies
- Introduction to Exercise Science
- Nutrition and Health
- Physical Activity and Health
- Psychosocial Aspects of Health
- Directed Research Practicum
- Fitness Assessment & Exercise Prescription
My research interests include developing and investigating the most effective long-term treatments for obesity and weight control. I was most recently working on yoga and mindfulness-based weight loss interventions aimed at improving long-term weight loss maintenance and associated outcomes. Ultimately understanding weight management and the roles of behavior, exercise, and diet is my overarching goal and area of interest.
September 2017-August 2020
Integration of Yoga for the Treatment of Obesity in Adults
To examine the feasibility of adding a restorative style of Hatha yoga and Vinyasa yoga within the context of a behavioral weight loss intervention for adults with overweight/obesity. R34 AT009361 (PI: John Jakicic) NIH-NICIH.
December 2014 - October 2019
Cross-Study Analysis of Coordinated Randomized Clinical Trials for Weight Management Among Young Adults. To conduct analyses of data combined from randomized clinical trials to examine behavioral domains that may be associated with successful weight control.
R01 HL122144 (PI: Steve Belle) NIH-NHLBI
September 2009 – November 2016
Enhanced Behavioral Intervention to Improve Long-Term Weight Loss in Young Adults. This study will examine whether the added use of technology (text messaging and wearable technology to estimate energy expenditure) enhances 24 month weight loss in young adults (18-35 years of age) compared to a standard behavioral weight loss program. U01 HL096770 (PI: John Jakicic) NIH-NHLBI
September 2007- June 2013
The Effect of a Stepped Care Approach to Long-Term Weight Loss .This study is examining the effect of a progressive, criterion-based stepped-care approach to modifying weight loss behaviors on long-term weight loss compared to a standard behavioral weight loss intervention. 1 R01 HL084400-01A2 NIH-NHLBI (PI: John Jakicic)
- Davis, Kelliann K. and Forman, D. E. Measurement of Exercise Specific to Older Adults. In: Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults. Ed: Danielle Bouchard. Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL. 2019.
- Anna Peluso Simonson PhD, Kelliann Kathleen Davis PhD, Bethany Barone Gibbs PhD, Elizabeth Mary Venditti,PhD John Michael Jakicic, PhD. Comparison of mindful and slow eating strategies on acute energy intake. First published: 16 July 2020 https://doi.org/10.1002/osp4.441.
- Sara J.Kovacs,Ph.D.Anita P.CourcoulasM.D., M.P.H., Renee J.Rogers,Ph.D, Kelliann K.Davis,Ph.D.,John M.Jakicic, Ph.D. Psychosocial factors associated with physical activity in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery. Received 26 March 2020, Accepted 26 July 2020, Available online 11 August 2020.
- Kariuki, Jacob, Gibbs, Bethany, Davis, Kelliann K., Mecca,Laurel, Hayman, Laura, Burke, L. Recommendations for a Culturally Salient Physical Activity Program for African Americans. Translational Journal of the ACSM. (2019); 4 (2): 8-15.
- Barone Gibbs, B. and Davis, Kelliann K. In Pursuit of the “Something” that is Better than Nothing for Measuring Energy Intake (Commentary). The Journal of Nutrition, 2018; doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy006.
- Spadaro, K., Davis, Kelliann K., Sereika, SM., Gibbs, Bethany B., Jakicic, JM, Cohen, SM. The Impact of Mindfulness Meditation on Eating Behaviors in Overweight and Obese Adults. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. (2017); PMID: 29211681.
Awards and Honors
- 2013 School of Education Salary Award for Teaching Excellence
- 2014 American College of Sports Medicine Fellow Appointment
- 2015 Graduate Faculty Appointment
- 2016 Instructional Technologist of the Month, University of Pittsburgh, School of Education
Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service
- The University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, UG/Grad Professional Training Division Member, 2020
- The University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, Department of Health & Physical Activity Search Committee, 2020
- The University of Pittsburgh, Healthy Lifestyle Institute, Weight Management Programming for faculty/staff, 2020
- The University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, Academic Affairs Committee, 2018-2020
- The University of Pittsburgh, Department of Health and Physical Activity, Associate Chair, September 2017-Present
- The University of Pittsburgh, Department of Health and Physical Activity, Coordinator, Exercise Science and Applied Fitness Minor Programs, July 2017 -Present
- The University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, Focus Group Member for Educational Excellence Subcommittee, 2018
- The University of Pittsburgh, School of Education, Focus Group Member for Recruiting and Retaining Highly Engaged Faculty, 2018
- The University of Pittsburgh, Office of the Provost, Personalized Education Champion Committee, 2017-2018
- The University of Pittsburgh Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies Member