Urmeka T. Jefferson, PhD, RN


Assistant Professor

E-mail: jeffersonu@missouri.edu
Phone: 573.882.0273

S416 Sinclair School of Nursing
Columbia, MO 65211

Nursing Specialty

Maternal-child health and Community-Based Participatory Research

Interest Area(s)

Intervention research to reduce disparities in breastfeeding behavior and improve health outcomes for vulnerable infants.


  • PhD, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
  • MSN, Union University, Germantown, TN
  • BSN, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

Bio and Professional Experience

Urmeka Jefferson joined the school in August 2012 after completing her doctoral degree in nursing at Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, MO. She has 16 years experience working in the NICU, WBN and postpartum as well as 5 years teaching experience in undergraduate programs. Dr. Jefferson’s research area of interest is infant mortality. As a NICU nurse, she is particularly interested in the impact infant feeding methods has on infant mortality. Her dissertation explored the beliefs of African-American college students regarding infant feeding methods. Her program of research will focus on infant mortality and breastfeeding interventions among African-American women. 

Teaching Responsibilities

  • N4470 Nursing of Women and Newborns
  • N3750 Nursing of Childbearing Family
  • N4970 Nursing in Communities

Selected Publications

  • Goodman, L. R., Majee, W., Olsberg, J. E., & Jefferson, U. T. (in-press). Breastfeeding barriers and support in a rural setting. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing
  • Jefferson, U. T. (2015). Predictors of breastfeeding attitudes among college-educated African Americans. Research and Theory for Nursing Practice, 29(3), 189-199.
  • Conn, V., Zerwic, J., Jefferson, U., Anderson, C. M., Killion, C. M., Smith, C. E., Cohen, M Z., Fahrenwald, N. L., Herrick, L., Topp, R., Benefield, L. E., & Loya J.  (2015). Normalizing rejection. Western Journal of Nursing Research,[Epub ahead of print] PMID:26041785 
  • Conn, V., Topp, R., Dunn, S., Hopp, L., Jadack, R., Jansen, D., Jefferson, U., & Moch, S. (2015). Science on a shoestring: building nursing knowledge with limited funding. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 37(10), 1256-1268.
  • Jefferson, U. T. (2014). Looking beyond skin color: Addressing heterogeneity in health disparities research [editorial].Western Journal of Nursing Research, 36(10), 1307-1308.
  • Jefferson, U. T. (2014). A review of literature regarding determinants of breastfeeding among black women in the United States. The Journal of the National Black Nurses Association, 25(2), 55-64.
  • Jefferson, U. (2012). Attitudes, subjective norms, and intentions regarding infant feeding methods among black college students. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 34(8), 1064.
  • Jefferson, U. T. (2006). Pilot study to prevent early-onset group b streptococcal disease in newborns. Advances in Neonatal Care, 6, 208-219.

Presentations and Lectures

  • Jefferson, U. T. (2015, October). Infant Feeding Decisions of African American Women (poster presentation). Caribbean Exploratory Research Center Annual Health Disparities Institute. St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
  • Jefferson, U. T. (2014, March). A Systematic Review of Factors Associated with Breastfeeding Decisions among Black Women (paper presentation). Midwest Nursing Research Society Annual Research Conference. Saint Louis, MO.
  • Jefferson, U.T. (2013, October). Contribution of Breastfeeding Exposure and Attitudes to Breastfeeding Intentions of Black College Students (paper presentation). National Association of Neonatal Nursing Annual Educational Conference. Nashville, TN.  
  • Jefferson, U. T. (2013, September). Breastfeeding among African-American Women. Grand Rounds, University of Missouri Women’s & Children’s Hospital. Columbia, MO.
  • Jefferson, U. T. (2013, February). Recruiting Black Men Attending College in Infant Feeding Research (poster presentation). Southern Nursing Research Society Annual Research Conference. Little Rock, AR.
  • 2012, April. Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS) 36th Annual Research Conference – Dearborn, MI. Attitudes, Subjective Norms, and Intentions Regarding Infant Feeding Methods Among Black College Students. (Poster).
  • 2007, September. The NICU and Beyond Conference – Germantown, TN. Group B Streptococcal Disease in Newborns
  • 2006, October. Nursing Grand Rounds – Methodist Healthcare – Germantown, TN. Cultural Competence in the Care of Childbearing Families and Assessment of Risk in the Term Newborn.
  • 2006, May. The NICU and Beyond Conference – Germantown, TN. Discharge Planning and Transition Home for the NICU Infant
  • 2005, September. Nursing Grand Rounds – Henry County Medical Center – Paris, TN. A Day of Prematurity

Honors and Awards

  • HRSA Faculty Loan Repayment Award
  • University of Missouri Faculty Scholar
  • Research Abstract Award – NANN 29th Educational Conference
  • First Place PhD Student Poster Award – MNRS 36th Annual Research Conference
  • Methodist Healthcare Nursing Stars 
  • Celebrate Nursing Top 100 Nurses in Shelby County


  • Columbia Breastfeeding Coalition
  • Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition
  • Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses
  • Sigma Theta Tau
  • Midwest Nursing Research Society