Portrait of Kris Barnekow

Kris Barnekow, PhD, OTR/L, IMH-E®

  • Associate Professor Emerita, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation


Ph D Therapeutic Science University of Wisconsin-Madison 2003
MS Human Learning and Development University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 1995
BS Occupational Therapy University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 1986

Speaker Topics

  • Early intervention
  • Health literacy
  • Social-emotional screening for parents and children with special health care needs
  • Infant mental health.

Interests & Expertise

Dr. Barnekow’s interests in interprofessional education have resulted in involvement in MCH training and leadership grants. Her personal experiences in MCH training programs and clinical experiences as a pediatric occupational therapist have shaped her research, teaching, and service.

As a clinician who provided occupational therapy services in programs for children between the ages of birth to three, Dr. Barnekow became acutely aware of significant issues facing families who reside in the urban area of Milwaukee. Significantly influenced by community-based clinical practice, Dr. Barnekow’s research, mentoring, and service interests evolved into four primary areas including: 1) promotion of co-occupational engagement or shared participation between caregivers and children, 2) early identification of developmental disorders in children and social emotional disorders in mothers of children with special needs, 3) identification of health literacy barriers that inhibit parents’ ability to engage care for their children, and most recently 4) enhancement of fatherhood participation through health literacy strategies to decrease infant mortality in the African American community.

Selected Publications

Chodron, G., Pizur-Barnekow, K., Viehweg, S., Puk-Ament, A., & Barger, B. (2019, June). Childcare providers’ attitudes, knowledge, and practice related to developmental monitoring to promote early identification and referral. Early Child Development and Care, 1-15.
Barnekow, K. (2019, June). Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A personalized approach to understanding fatty liver disease. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition., 68(6), 777-781.
Stoffel, A., Ramsdel, K., & Pizur-Barnekow, K. A. (2016). Occupational Therapy and the primary service provider model in early intervention. OT Practice a Publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association, 21(6), CE 1-8.
Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., Nash, J., Wendel, S., & Chopper, M. (2015). A case study in infant mental health. Cahill, S., & Boyer, P. (Eds.). Thoroughfare, NJ/Slack: Cases in pediatric occupational therapy: Assessment and intervention.
Muhlenhaupt, M., Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., Schefkind, S., Chandler, B., & Harvison, N. (2015). Occupational Therapy Contributions in Early Intervention: Implications for Personnel Preparation and Interprofessional Practice. Infants and Young Children, 28(1), 123-132.
Wilson, L., Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., & Schefkind, S. (2014). An online survey examining practitioners' perceived preparedness in the early identification of autism. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, e13-e20.
Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., Doering, J. J., Willett, M., Ruminski, C., & Spring, M. (2014). Birth-related post-traumatic stress disorder: Implications for early intervention services. Zero to Three, 34, 41-45.
Rizk, S., Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., & Darragh, A. (2014). Quality of life in caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Patel, V. B., Preedy, V. R., & Martin, C. R. (Eds.). , 223-246. New York/Springer: Comprehensive guide to autism.
Haertlein Sells, C. A., Barnekow, K. A., & Plach, H. (2014, April (2nd Quarter/Spring)). Occupational Science and Technology Annual Newsletter.
Hildebrand, K., Lewis, J. J., Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., Shefkind, S., Stankey, R., Stoffel, A., & Wilson, L. S. (2013, December). FAQ: How can occupational therapy strive towards culturally sensitive practices?.
Rhyner, P. M., Guenther, K. L., Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., Cashin, S. E., & Chavie, A. L. (2013). Effects of context on child caregivers’ contingent responsiveness behaviors during interactions with toddlers within three day care contexts. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 34(4), 232-241.
Poskey, G., Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., & Hersch, G. (2013). Parent response to infant crying: Contributing factors of the reciprocal interaction. Journal of Occupational Science.
Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., Kamp, K., & Cashin, S. E. (2012). An investigation of maternal play styles used during the co-occupation of maternal-infant play. Journal of Occupational Science.
Pizur-Barnekow, K. A., Muusz, M., Karpinski, K., O'Connor, E., & Cutler, A. (2012). Service coordinators’ perceptions of autism-specific screening and referral practices in early intervention. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 33(3), 153-161.

Recent Funded Grants

Academic Partner/Consultant
Submission date: October, 2012. Status: Awarded 2/28/2013
Title: Engaging African-American Fathers to Reduce Infant Mortality by Improving their Health Literacy.
Community Partner: Planning Council of Health and Human Services and the Medical Society of Milwaukee County.

Wisconsin LEND: Milwaukee Link Site Project Coordinator – Wisconsin LEND: Milwaukee Link.
Status: Awarded 5/01/2013
Title: Specialized interdisciplinary training for graduate students in Maternal and Child Health. Subcontract.
Program Director: Anne Harris, Waisman Center. Clinic director: Bonnie Klein-Tasman.

Discipline Coordinator – UW-Milwaukee Pipeline Training Initiative.
Status: Awarded 6/5/2011
Title: Training grant supporting interdisciplinary pre-service training in Maternal and Child Health.

Research Partners

  • David Pate, Associate Professor, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare
  • Katie Pritchard, President and CEO, Planning Council for Health and Human Services
  • Dr. George Morris, Medical Society of Milwaukee County

Honors & Awards

Act Early Ambassador for Wisconsin (2019, March) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
AOTA service commendation (2011) American Occupational Therapy Association.