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Karen A. Kemper, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Public Health Sciences, Graduate Program Coordinator

Karen Kemper picDept of Public Health Sciences
Edwards 533
Tel. (864) 656-5490 

Download Karen Kemper's CV

Dr. Kemper has worked in health promotion since 1985 and has been a faculty member in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University since 1992. She has certifications in Health and Fitness (ACSM 2000) and Fitness in Aging Populations (ACE 2004) as well as training in yoga (Yoga Fit 2004), life coaching (Life Coaching Institute 2005), Girls on the Run coaching (Girls on the Run 2008) and Girls Circle facilitation (Youth Learning Institute, 2009). Dr. Kemper completed a fellowship program in 2002 with the USC Research Prevention Center and CDC Physical Activity and Public Health Research program and has served as a Board Member (2002-2005) and President (2003-2004) of the SC Coalition to Promote Physical Activity. Dr. Kemper enjoys teaching and including students in her research and finds this to be the most rewarding aspect of her work.  Her favorite hobbies are kayaking, hiking, and walking her dog. Dr. Kemper was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called scleroderma in 1992 and recently co-authored a book titled “If you have to wear an ugly dress, learn to accessorize: Guidance, inspiration, and hope for women living with lupus and scleroderma.”

Ph.D.- Health Promotion and Education, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina 
MSPH - Health Promotion and Education, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina  
B.S. - Biology, College of Math and Science,  University of South Carolina

Dr. Kemper’s research interests include the promotion of physical activity and the prevention of obesity. Her research has addressed attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to physical activity, nutrition and body image. The majority of her work has been with youth and college aged populations as well as minority populations. Recent research projects have involved the use of pedometers and accelerometers with college students and children, submaximal  treadmill tests of young children, and environmental assessments of preschool and afterschool program physical activity and nutrition practices. She is interested in exploring a new area of research looking at physical activity among individuals with autoimmune diseases.


  • Kemper, K. Sargent, R., Drane, W., Valois, R., Hussey, J. Perception of Social Norms for  Female Body Size in Black and White Adolescent Females. Obesity Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, March 1994.
  • Kemper, K., Spitler, H., Williams, E., Rainey, C. Youth Service Agencies: Promoting Success for At-Risk African-American. Youth. Family & Community Health, Vol. 22, No. 2, July 1999.  
  • Kemper, K., Rainey, C. Sherrill, W., Mayo, R. Guidelines for Public Health Practitioners Serving as Student Preceptors. Health Promotion Practice. 5(2):160-73, April  2004
  • Kemper, Karen and Ferguson Meghan. Contraindicated Exercises Revisited: Does the research justify completely banning certain exercises from your client's program? International Dance and Exercise Association.  Fitness Journal, May 2007 pp. 34-37.
  • Kemper, K. Welsh, R.  Physical Activity Behaviors of Students of a Rural Historically Black College, Journal of American College Health, 2010, Vol. 58, No. 4
  • Kemper, K. NHLBI Weight Guidelines: Stratifying patients for weight loss counseling. The Nurse Practitioner: The American Journal of Primary Health Care, Vol. 35, No. 8, August 2010. 
  • Kemper, Karen A. Vitamin D Levels within Southern, Rural Hispanic Community.  e-Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association, Vol. 1-7, Supplement I, pp. 17-20, 2011.


  • HLTH 402: Applied Principles of Health Fitness      
  • HLTH 415:  Public Health Issues in Obesity and Eating Disorders    
  • HLTH  497: Creative Inquiry – Physical Activity Promotion and Research
  • MHA 717: Special Topics – The Business of Obesity   



  • American Public Health Association – Health Communication Working Group 10 Year Anniversary Award 2008   
  • Clemson University - Phil and Mary Bradley Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry 200
  • Clemson University – President’s Commission on the Status of Women at Clemson University – Outstanding Faculty Award 2009