Sharon Elizabeth Ross
Associate Professor

Dr. Sharon Ross is an Associate Professor of Health and Human Development and director of the Latino Family Health Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. She holds a dual appointment as assistant professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences in the Graduate School of Public Health. Prior to her time at Pitt, Dr. Ross was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Children’s Physical Activity Research Group in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She completed her PhD in Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University.

She has published in peer-reviewed journals including BMC Public Health, the Journal of Nutrition, Education, and Behavior, and Health Promotion Practice. Dr. Ross has served as an ad hoc reviewer for nearly 25 academic journals, including the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Pediatrics, Chlidhood Obesity, and the International Journal of Environmental Research in Public Health.

As primary or co-investigator, Dr. Ross’s research has received more than $0.5 million in grant funding from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She is a member of professional organizations including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Public Health Association. She serves as a member on ACSM’s Strategic Health Initiative for Health Equity committee and the Exercise is Medicine Pediatrics committee.

Dr. Ross teaches several courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, including topics related to the social determinants of health and health equity and health promotion program design, implementation and evaluation. Her teaching is informed by her community-engaged research and commitment to equity and justice in health and human development.

Instructional Interests

  • Social Justice & Diversity
  • Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities
  • Evidence-based Lifestyle Program Design and Evaluation
  • Health Promotion Policy and Program Implementation

Scholarly Interests

  • Physical activity promotion and obesity prevention in children and adolescents
  • Sociocultural influences on health behaviors in Latinx children of immigrants
  • Family- and community-based interventions to prevent obesity in Latinx children
  • Community-based participatory research, mixed-methods research

Selected Grants

  • Primary Investigator, “Testing the Feasibility and Acceptability of the Physical Activity Portion of a Promotora-led, Home-based Lifestyle Intervention in Latino Children of Immigrants”; Healthy Lifestyle Institute, University of Pittsburgh. ($20,000)

  • Co-Investigator, “Disrespecting the Border: A Latinx Community-Based Mural in Pittsburgh”; Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh. ($5,000)

  • Primary Investigator, “Effectiveness of a promotores network to improve health behaviors and outcomes in members of an Emerging Latino community”; DHHS/CMS. ($215,000)

  • Primary Investigator, “Development and Maintenance of Healthy Physical Activity Habits in Latino Children Following Immigration to the U.S.” Central Research Development Fund, University of Pittsburgh. ($16,000)

  • Primary Investigator, “A Promotora-mediated, Family-based Intervention to Prevent Obesity in Latino Preschool Children”; NIH/NHLBI. ($250,000)

Featured Publications

  • Taverno Ross SE, *Liang HW, *Cheng J, Fox AF, Documét PI. Effectiveness of a promotores network to improve health behaviors and outcomes in members of an emerging Latino community. Health Educ Behav. 2022 Apr 26:10901981221090161.
  • Bantham A, Taverno Ross SE, Sebastião E, Hall G. Overcoming barriers to physical activity in underserved populations. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2021 Jan-Feb;64:64-71.
  • Taverno Ross SE, Smith Tapia I, Saunders RP, Documet PI, Pate RR. Implementation Monitoring of a Promotora-Led, Home-Based Obesity Prevention Pilot Study With Latino Preschool Children and Their Mothers. Int Q Community Health Educ. 2021;41(4):411-418.
  • Documet PI, Louth W, Smith-Tapia I, Jaime MC, Miller E, Taverno Ross SE. Pedagogic Tailoring of a Human Research Ethics Training for Community-Engaged Research With Latinos. Health Promot Pract. 2020; doi:10.1177/1524839920954122
  • Taverno Ross, S.E., Macia, L., Documet, P.I., Sanchez, I., Escribano, C. Mirzakazemi, T. Latino parents’ perceptions of physical activity and healthy eating: at the intersection of culture, family, and health. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2018 Nov-Dec;50(10):968-976.
  • Taverno Ross, S.E. Interventions to promote physical activity in Latino preschool children: A scoping review. Kines Rev. 2018 May;7(2):151-162.
  • Taverno Ross, S.E., Documet, P.I., Pate, R.R., Saunders, R.P., McIver, K.L., Barone Gibbs, B. ANDALE Pittsburgh: results of a promotora-led, home-based intervention to promote a healthy weight in Latino preschool children. BMC Public Health. 2018 Mar 16;18(1):360.

Awards & Honors

  • Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine (2022)
  • Faculty Fellow, Extended Diversity Experience, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh (2019-2020)

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

  • Member, Strategic Health Initiative for Health Equity Committee, American College of Sports Medicine.

  • Member, Exercise is Medicine (EIM) Pediatrics Committee, American College of Sports Medicine.

  • Member, Recess Advocacy Team, Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Member, Let’s Move Pittsburgh Executive Committee, Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Member, Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB), Center for Health Equity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Core Faculty Member, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
Sharon Elizabeth Ross


211 Oak Hill

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