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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Sociology & Criminology

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Karen Albright

Karen Albright photo

Karen Albright

Associate Professor 
Phone: 303-871-2062
Email: [email protected]
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areas of expertise/research interests

Social determinants of mental and physical health; health behaviors among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations; dis/trust of health care systems; dissemination and implementation of social science; integration of social, behavioral, and clinical sciences; healthcare workplace culture and systems dynamics; qualitative and mixed methodologies; psychosocial and community effects of trauma; intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status   

professional biography

Karen Albright is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology & Criminology and Affiliated Faculty in the Graduate School of Social Work. Her research explores the intersection of social inequality and health. After earning a PhD in Sociology from New York University, Dr. Albright received postdoctoral training in social scientific health research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley, and as a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow at the Center for Culture and Health at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Prior to coming to DU, Dr. Albright served for several years at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where she was an Assistant Professor in the Colorado School of Public Health's Department of Community and Behavioral Health and directed the Qualitative Research Core in the Adult and Child Center for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, a Center within the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Children's Hospital Research Institute.

Dr. Albright's primary research interests focus on health behaviors among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and on the barriers to their care. She is particularly interested in how disadvantaged populations interact with the U.S. health care system in both the private and public health domains. Much of her work has been concerned with exploring not only individuals' experiences with the health care system, but also potential solutions for improving care. Dr. Albright's work also includes research on the transmission of socioeconomic status, which she has investigated through several studies of intergenerational family dynamics and education policies, and on the psychosocial and cultural consequences of community trauma, particularly the aftermath of September 11, 2001 in New York City and, more recently, hydraulic fracturing in Western Colorado.

Dr. Albright believes strongly in, and is actively engaged with, the dissemination and implementation of social scientific methods, theory, and practice. She is actively involved with the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology, an international organization dedicated to advancing sociological application and practice both within and beyond academia; she has served on the Board of Directors since 2012 and was also previously Vice President. Dr. Albright is currently President-Elect. Dr. Albright is also the Co-Director of the Qualitative Research Consortium at the University of Denver and previously directed the Qualitative Research Methods Forum, an inter-institutional forum for health researchers in Colorado and beyond. She has extensive experience with a variety of qualitative research methods as well as expertise in mixed methodological research design, and has directed qualitative data collection and analysis on multiple implementation studies. Her favorite method of dissemination, however, is teaching. Dr. Albright's courses at DU include Sociology of Health; Qualitative Research Methods; and Understanding Social Life.    


PhD   Sociology, New York University
MSW  Clinical Social Work, University of Denver
MA    Sociology, New York University
BS     Sociology, James Madison University



Karen Albright, Laura P. Hurley, Steven Lockhart, Dennis Gurfinkel, Brenda Beaty, L. Miriam Dickinson, Anne Libby, Allison Kempe. 2017. “Attitudes about Adult Vaccines and Reminder/Recall in a Safety Net Population.” Vaccine. 35(52):7292-7296. 

Karen Albright, Juliana Barnard, Sean O'Leary, Steven Lockhart, Andrea Jimenez-Zambrano, Michelle Lee, Deidre Kile, Shannon Stokley, Amanda Dempsey, and Allison Kempe. 2017. “Reasons for Non-Initiation and Non-Completion of the HPV Vaccine Series Among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged English- and Spanish-Speaking Parents of Adolescent Girls.” Academic Pediatrics. 17(7):778-784.

Karen Albright, Juliana Barnard, Sean O’Leary, Steve Federico, Alison Saville, Steven Lockhart, Michelle Lee, Darren Eblovi, Miriam Dickinson, Deidre Kile, and Allison Kempe. 2016. “School-Based Health Centers as Medical Homes: Parents’ and Adolescents’ Perspectives.” Academic Pediatrics 16(4): 381-386.

Karen Albright, Tarik Walker, Susan Baird, Linda Eres, Tara Farnsworth, Kaitlin Fier, Dolly Kervitsky, Marjorie Korn, David J. Lederer, Mark McCormick, John F. Steiner, Thomas Vierzba, Frederick S. Wamboldt, and Jeffrey J. Swigris. 2016. “Seeking and Sharing: Why the Pulmonary Fibrosis Community Engages the Web 2.0 Environment.” BMC Pulmonary Medicine 16(1): 4-10.

Karen Albright, Nancy Hood, Ming Ma, and Arnold Levinson. 2016. “Smoking and (Not) Voting: The Negative Relationship Between a Health-Risk Behavior and Political Participation in Colorado.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research 18(3):371-6.

Karen Albright, Mori Krantz, Paige Backlund, Lauren Dealleaume, Stephanie Coronel-Mockler, and Raymond Estacio. 2015. “Health Promotion Text Messaging Preferences and Acceptability among the Medically Underserved.” Health Promotion Practice 16(4):523-532. 

Karen Albright, Matthew F. Daley, Allison Kempe, Jennifer Pyrzanowski, Andrew Jimenez-Zambrano, Elizabeth J. Campagna, and Judith C. Shlay. 2014. “Parent Attitudes about Adolescent School-Located Vaccination and Billing.” Journal of Adolescent Health 55(5): 665-71.