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Darcell P. Scharff, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus; Behavioral Science and Health Equity
College for Public Health and Social Justice

Courses Taught

Mission and Practice of Global Public Health, Translating Theory and Evidence to Community Practice, Foundations of Maternal Child Health I


Ph.D., Saint Louis University
R.N., Charity Hospital School of Nursing, New Orleans
M.Ed., University of New Orleans
B.S.N., Louisiana State University

Research Interests

Public Health Practice, Cultural competence, Health Disparities, Maternal-Child Health, Workforce Preparedness.

Publications and Media Placements

  1. Scharff, DP, Jupka, K, Gulley, L, Kasper, K. Barnidge, E. An Unexpected, Yet Welcomed Outcome of the St. Louis Healthy Start Program. Maternal Child Health Journal. 2018, 22: 1693-1697.
  2. Howard, S, Scharff, D., Loux, T. Flipping Classrooms in a School of Public Health. Frontiers in Public Health. 12 April 2017.
  3. Steigerwald, D, Nolan, C, Loux, T, Baskin, CR, Scharff, DP. Improving public health competencies through required practice experience: Public Health 07/2016; DOI:10.1016/j.puhe.2016.07.001
  4. Rotter B, Elliot M, Recktenwald A, Scharff, DP. The effect of dose of the St. Louis Healthy Start Program and prenatal care adequacy on birth outcomes. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice. 2016, 6(2).
  5. Yarber L, Brownson CA, Jacob RR, Baker EA, Jones E, Baumann C, Deshpande AD, Gillespie KN, Scharff DP, and Brownson RC. Evaluating a train-the-trainer approach for improving capacity for evidenced-based decision making in public health. BMC Health Services Research. 2015, 15:547.
  6. Kelly CM, LaRose, J, Scharff, DP. A Method for Building Evaluation Competency Among Community-based Organizations. Health Promotion Practice. DOI: 10.1177/1524839913496427, August, 2014. This paper won the SOPHE Health Promotion Practice Journal paper of the year.
  7. Kelly, CM. Scharff DP. LaRose, J. Dougherty, NL. Hessel, AS. and Brownson, RC. A tool for rating chronic disease prevention and public health interventions. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2013; 10. DOI: 10.5888/pcd10.130173.
  8. Rozier M and Scharff D. The value of liberal arts and practice in an undergraduate degree curriculum. Public Health Reports, From the Schools of Public Health, On Academics. Vol 128. September/October, 2013.
Find Darcell Scharff on ResearchGate.

Honors and Awards

  • Terry Leet Research Award - 2017
  • SOPHE Trophy - 2015
  • Health Promotion Practice Paper of the Year - 2014
    • Kelly CM, LaRose, J, Scharff, DP. A Method for Building Evaluation Competency Among Community-based Organizations. Health Promotion Practice. DOI: 10.1177/1524839913496427, August, 2013. 
  • Local Hero - 2011
    • Bank of America for developing the Mother to Mother program. 
  • SLU Woman of the Year - 2009
  • Doctoral Student Alumni Award - 2009

Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Public Health Association, member
  • Society of Public Health Education, member
  • Association for Schools and Programs of Public Health, member
  • Council on Education for Public Health, Accreditation sit visitor and chair. 
  • Reviewer: 
    • Pedagogy in Health Promotion
    • Frontiers in Public Health 
    • Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved

Community Work and Service

Dr. Scharff has spent the majority of her academic public health career working with and in the community to help support their work in improving public health. She works with several local public health organizations to support them in organizational management and public health actions, including strategic planning, board development, grant reviews, assessment, planning, and evaluation. She directs the Office of Public Health Practice that assures that students and faculty have opportunities to work with and in the community on public health practice and practice-based research.

She currently works with Generate Health, a non-profit organization with a goal of eliminating disparities in infant mortality, serving on committees and reviewing grants. Dr. Scharff has worked with Generate Health for over 25 years. In addition, she supports Nurses for Newborns, an agency that provides home visitation for pregnant and postpartum women, by evaluating their program and serving on the research advisory board. Finally, she is a co-developer of the St. Louis City and County health departments on a jointly formed academic health department that assures collaboration between the organizations in areas of research, policy, workforce development, and student training with the goal of improving the public health infrastructure.