Dr. Karen Patricia Williams

February 13, 2021

Meet this trail-blazer, visionary, and thought-leader.


Dr. Karen Patricia Williams is a Nursing Distinguished Professor of women’s health at The Ohio State University College of Nursing and director of the Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth. She is also a member of the Cancer Control Program at the OSUCCC – James, where her research focuses on cancer prevention and control within cancer disparities. 

The Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth at The Ohio State University College of Nursing is internationally renowned for the discovery of new knowledge and its translation into real world settings to optimize health and wellness outcomes in infants, children, adolescents and women through health promotion and risk reduction. 

In her role as director, Dr. Williams is charged with thought leadership within and outside of the Center. This includes faculty recruitment, development and management, education, research, and expanding the Center’s footprint throughout the community engagement. Her goal is to help foster the Center’s vision to align with the College of Nursing as well as the goals of the university.  

In addition to leading the Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Youth, and Children, Dr. Williams is deeply involved in her own research that she has passionately pursued over several decades; The Kin Keeper which focuses on breast and cervical cancer prevention and control. 

With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Williams developed the Kin Keeper Cancer Prevention Intervention to address, in part, the continuous cancer burden carried by disenfranchised women of color and women with limited resources. Targeting breast and cervical cancers, the Kin Keeper Intervention has been implemented and tested with Black, Latina and Arab women. Her area of expertise is in community-based participatory research and women’s health policy. She has been involved in the evolution of women’s health research from fragmentation to the transition of bench to bedside to barrio (community) with mixed methodology, quantitative and qualitative to address health disparities.

Currently, Dr. Williams and her team are workingto identify factors and cofactors in the mechanistic and multilevel pathways of resilience and allostatic load that serve as protective and/or predictive factors of cardiovascular disease risk among Black women across the lifespan. Additionally, they are investigating the intersection of female cancers and cardiovascular disease risk in Black women.

Dr. Williams is a fierce advocate of women being seated at the table. She works tirelessly to expand the voices of women and our community in the boardroom. She believes that representation in various sectors will help drive corporate decisions that will empower leadership roles at the C-Suite level. Dr. Williamsserves in leadership roles in several national civic organizations that specifically focus on meeting the needs of women — Delta Sigma Theta, The Links Incorporated, Michigan Women’s Foundation, the YWCA, and others. Fueled by her faith, “To much is given, much is required,” is embedded in her mission to pay it forward and give back to various scholarships and endeavors that empower women and girls. Her advocacy for women, especially women of color, has been recognized by several organizations.

A graduate of Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) and Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), Dr. Williams’ work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Contemporary Clinical TrialsStatistics in MedicineWomen’s HealthJournal of Cancer and Journal of Urban Health. A former journalist, Dr. Williams has been featured in several national publications including Huffington PostInside the OfficeMSU TodayStar TribuneWalker’s Legacy, and  Circulation to name a few. As a trailblazer and a visionary thought leader, she is a sought-after conference speaker and media spokesperson.

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