Keith  Pearson
Assistant Professor
School of Public Health
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
1608 CHS Building 1

Keith Pearson received his undergraduate education in dietetics in his home state of West Virginia before moving to Birmingham to complete all of his graduate training at UAB. His doctoral research focused on the role of dietary patterns in the development of cognitive decline in adults. Prior to Samford, Keith worked clinically as a dietitian at the Birmingham VA Medical Center and also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Alabama and a freelance nutrition writer at Healthline. Coming to Samford has allowed Keith to combine two of his strongest passions: the field of nutrition and the education of future health professionals. Outside of work, Keith enjoys cooking and eating all types of ethnic cuisine, spending time outdoors, following NBA basketball and serving his local church. He and his wife Kandice, a speech-language pathologist, have a one-year-old daughter named Karis.

Degrees and Certifications 

  • PhD, nutrition sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • MS, nutrition sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Dietetic Internship, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • BS, dietetics, Marshall University


  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Alabama Dietetic Association
  • Birmingham District Dietetic Association

Awards and Honors

  • Early Investigator Travel Award, American Heart Association Epidemiology/Lifestyle Scientific Sessions, 2015
  • First Place Overall Poster, ALDA Annual Meeting, 2015
  • First Place Oral Presentation, Public Health Section, Graduate Research Day at UAB, 2014
  • Outstanding Dietetic Student Award in a DPD Program for the state of West Virginia, 2012

Recent Publications

  • Pearson, K.E., Wadley, V.G., McClure, L.A., Shikany, J.M., Unverzagt, F.W., & Judd, S.E. (2016) Dietary patterns are associated with cognitive function in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort. Journal of Nutritional Science, 5 (e38).
  • Nahab, F., Pearson, K., Frankel, M.R., Ard, J., Safford, M.M., Kleindorfer, D., Howard, V.J., & Judd, S. (2016) Dietary fried fish intake increases risk of CVD: the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Public Health Nutrition, 19 (18), 3327-3336.
  • Kell, K.P., Judd, S.E., Pearson, K.E., Shikany, J.M., & Fernández, J.R. (2015) Associations between socio-economic status and dietary patterns in US black and white adults. British Journal of Nutrition, 113 (11), 1792-1799.
  • Fernández, J.R., Pearson, K.E., Kell, K.P., & Bohan Brown, M.M. (2013) Genetic admixture and obesity: recent perspectives and future applications. Human Heredity, 75 (2-4), 98-105.

Research Areas

  • The role of dietary patterns in the development of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline
  • The relationship between socioeconomic status, race, diet quality, and health outcomes