Patricia O’Brien-Richardson
Patricia O’Brien-Richardson

Urban Health & Urban Education Policy


Work Position
Interim CEO for Rutgers Community Health Center and Instructor


Patti O’Brien-Richardson is a former doctoral candidate in the Urban Health program at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. She received her PhD in May 2017. Her career in health began in sub-Saharan Africa where she lived for over a decade managing inter-continental humanitarian mission projects for cities, communities and villages from Zambia to Madagascar. Her research focuses on cultural hair practices and physical activity among urban African-American girls. She recently started an afterschool program based on this research called GLAMM (Girls Leading and Moving More) that combines hair-health education, physical activity and leadership skills.

Patti is the creator of several multicultural physical activity and obesity prevention interventions for women and girls of color at risk for obesity including Roots-n-Riddims, a Caribbean/African cardiovascular workout and Thick Girls Move, a body-positive walking campaign to encourage women of all shapes and sizes to enter the world of health through walking. She is also the founder of Move it Nation, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower youth to move their minds, bodies and souls and the creator of Move it-n- Groove it”, a childhood obesity prevention fitness curriculum and video series that has been used in over twenty-five schools, serving over 1,000 children in New York City and Boston, MA.  Move it Nation also supports an orphanage in South Africa for children affected by HIV/AIDS and provides support for South African youth to attend summer camp and university.

Patti also teaches a senior seminar course she helped develop entitled “Hair: Culture, Politics and Technology” at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and is the author of “Purge it with Patti” a clean eating recipe book designed to address co-morbidities of obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  She is currently the interim CEO of the Rutgers Community Health Center, the only nurse-managed federally qualified health center in the state of New Jersey where she oversees the work of several clinical sites throughout the City of Newark.  Patti can be reached at:




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