Jannette Berkley-Patton, M.A., Ph.D.

Department(s) of Biomedical and Health Informatics
UMKC School of Medicine
Education and Background

B.S. - Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Kansas
M.A. - Human Development and Family Life, University of Kansas
Ph.D. - Child and Developmental Psychology, University of Kansas

Meet Jannette Berkley-Patton
Your mother is from Jamaica. Did you ever visit Jamaica while growing up?

My mom immigrated from Jamaica, but we went there as kids about every summer. I kind of grew up in a little of both cultures. We would visit my family's homestead in the countryside. They had no running water, no electricity. Everything that you ate was off the land. That was very different from growing up in the inner city. It was a very, very different experience.

Why did you change careers from electrical engineer to behavioral psychology and research?

I so enjoyed the time I was spending on the weekends doing community service, working with adolescents, adolescent development and youth programs and tutoring and doing those kinds of things. I thought, this would be a great time in my life to go back to school and do something that I really feel called to do.

What do you enjoy about the research you do now?

I love what I do because it's in the very community I grew up in, particularly a faith-based setting. Growing up in inner-city Kansas City for the most part, if you were in an African-American family, then you must go to church on Sunday; you must go to Sunday school. That ability to have a positive impact on the community that I grew up in is really fulfilling to me.


Dr. Berkley-Patton is a professor in the UMKC School of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical and Health informatics. She received both her master’s degree in human development and family life, and a doctorate in developmental psychology HIV/AIDS at the University of Kansas. She joined the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2005 in a postdoctoral fellowship position founded by the National Institute of Mental Health in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Berkley-Patton received a tenure as an associate professor in the UMKC Department of Psychology, where she still remains as an adjunct. She leads the unconquered path of African American and community health research for the UMKC School of Medicine faculty. One of her noted research projects, Taking It to the Pews, was funded with a $3.2 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to assess HIV testing. She is the director of the UMKC Community Health Research Group, which supports collaborative community research, and provides doctoral and undergraduate training in community participatory research.

Dr. Berkley-Patton has been awarded many honors and professional memberships, including the Heartland Health Network and the National institute of Minority Health and health Disparities. She is a reviewer for both the University of Missouri Research Board and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she helps improve public health practices through translational research.

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Community based, Behavior, Health outcomes

Research Focus

Using community-based participatory research methods, Berkley-Patton focuses on health education, prevention, screening, and care support in African American churches and Jamaica.

Research Summary

Dr. Berkley-Patton interests include helping improve the health of African Americans, where she used collaborative, community-based approaches to allow her to launch new innovative research studies in several settings. She has led and contributed to several community-based intervention trials using a range of intervention strategies from individual behavior change for improving health behavior in large community-based studies, including studies focused on HIV/STDs, HIV medication adherence, diabetes and heart disease/stroke. She uses community based participatory research approaches, in conducting increased HIV screening rates in African American churches.