Sarah Kaja

Assistant Professor, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health
Faculty, Department of Pediatrics


Sarah M. Kaja, PhD (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health. Dr. Kaja received her bachelor's degree from the University of Florida, master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology. She also completed a 2-year postdoctoral research fellowship in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health prior to her faculty position.

Dr. Kaja has more than 5 years of experience teaching sport and exercise psychology, research methods, and other courses related to physical activity. In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Kaja enjoys mentoring others researching or working in community physical activity settings, especially those focused on the intersections of sports and equity. She also volunteers with sport and physical activity organizations. Most recently, she has volunteered with Girls on the Run Minnesota and an adaptive skiing program. In her spare time, Dr. Kaja enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, running, Nordic skiing, mountain biking, and reading fiction and memoir.

Research Summary

Dr. Kaja is passionate about getting more young people involved in better sports and physical activity opportunities. She wants to improve access to and quality of such programs, especially for youth facing barriers to participation and health. Her current research—all focused on promoting equity in and through sports and physical activity—includes quantifying disparities in participation rates; identifying links between sport, physical activity, and well-being in diverse populations; and creating and evaluating activity programs.


PhD, University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology, School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
MS, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC
BA,, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Miller, K. K., Hooper, L., & Kaja, S. M. (2024). Move and Thrive: Development of an Adolescent Friendly and Inclusive Online Fitness Resource. Health Promotion Practice.
Espinoza, S. M., Borowsky, I. W., Eisenberg, M. E., Martin, C. L., & McMorris, B. J. (2023). School matters: Physical activity and school-related factors among adolescent Latinas. Journal of Latinos and Education, 22(5), 1778-1789.
Kaja, S. M., & McGuire, J. K. (2024). Gender-Related Disparities in Sport, Physical Activity, and Physical Activity Lessons in Minnesota From 2016 to 2019. Journal of Adolescent Health.



General Pediatrics & Adolescent Health
717 Delaware St SE, 3rd floor
Minneapolis, MN 55414