Patricia O’Brien-Richardson, Ph.D.

Associate Teaching Professor

Ph.D. Urban Systems, Rutgers University-Newark;  MS. Ed Urban Education, City University of New York at Brooklyn College; B.A. Psychology, State University of New York, College at Old Westbury
Teaching and research Interests
  • Urban public health disparities
  • Education policy
  • Social justice
  • Race, class, and gender policies

Dr. Patricia O’Brien-Richardson is an Associate Professor of Teaching at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. For the past ten years, she has been the CEO and Founder of Move it Nation, Inc., a public health non-profit organization whose mission is to empower youth to move their bodies and minds. She is also the author of a clean-eating book for busy professionals and students. Previously, she spent ten years living in sub-Saharan Africa supervising faith-based humanitarian projects in eight countries including South Africa, Zambia, Madagascar, Botswana, and Mozambique.

Dr. O’Brien-Richardson’s work focuses on health disparities and socio-cultural determinants of health among youth, in particular adolescent girls and women of African descent. She is the creator of multicultural and well-being programs and curriculum which has been included in the Boston Public Schools, the Newark Public Schools, the New York City Department of Education, and several schools and organizations across the northeast region of the United States.

Her research explores social, cultural, and structural factors that influence the health of women and girls of African descent, such as hair, and has been featured in, NJTV News, and presented widely contributing to the growing body of literature addressing the need for public policies on hair discrimination including The CROWN Act in California and the expansion of the New York City Human Rights Law to protect the rights of New Yorkers to maintain natural hair and hairstyles.

View all course offerings and related syllabi
  • Leadership Seminar

Selected Publications

Refereed Original Articles in Journals

Books, Monographs and Chapters

  • O’Brien-Richardson, P. Resume and Reboot Journal. (2019). Available on Amazon.
  • O’Brien-Richardson, P. Purge it with Patti – 28-Day Body Reset for Busy Professionals and Students. (2016). Available on Amazon.

Curriculum and Educational Tools

  • Curls on The Move. (2019). A culturally sensitive hair and health curriculum created to address the sociocultural influence of hair on the decision of adolescent girls of African descent to participate in physical activity. Approved by National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
  • Move Ya Mind. (2019). Mindfulness, Meditation, and Resilience training and instructor certification course for educators and student development professionals addressing toxic stress and latent trauma among students.
  • Roots-n-Riddims. (2018). Culturally relevant, cardio-respiratory fitness curriculum and instructor certification course addressing obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity among Caribbean and African-American women approved by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).
  • Move it-n-Groove it. (2009). Elementary school fitness curriculum and video series created to address socioeconomic health disparities and childhood obesity in urban schools.

Areas of Expertise: Gender and Family PolicyHealth PolicyPublic HealthSocial Policy/Inequality and Disparities