Professor Emerita of Nursing

While working as one of the first pediatric nurse practitioners in the Philadelphia region in the mid-1970s, Barbara Medoff-Cooper encountered the patients who became her life’s study: high-risk, premature infants who weighed 1000 grams or less, the equivalent of 2.2 pounds.

To support preemies and their families, Dr. Medoff-Cooper first studied infant developmental outcomes, looking to match brain metabolism markers with clinical indicators in preemies through MRI studies during her Post-doctoral Fellowship at Penn Nursing. Dr. Medoff-Cooper then followed the encouragement of her post-doc mentor and began to look at feeding behaviors in high-risk preemies, another marker for infant health, growth, and development. She discovered that insufficient feeding and an inability to feed at proper strength helped explain why premature babies stay in the hospital longer and struggle to thrive at home. She was determined to find a way to improve the simple task of newborn feeding.

“Our research on premature infants and feeding behaviors makes a difference in people’s lives. I am proud to help prepare the next generation of researchers.”


  • PhD, Temple University, 1984
  • MS, University of Maryland, 1972
  • BSN, Trenton State College, 1970