Jonas V Veterans Healthcare Scholar

Karen Sheffield, MSN, CNM

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
PhD Student

I am a registered nurse, certified nurse-midwife, and a PhD student in the School of Nursing at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). My research focuses on the utilization of holistic, integrative, multi-sector strategies to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being for individuals and communities. I received a BA in physics from Connecticut College and an MSN from Yale University. My unique background in the health and physical sciences has shaped my research and clinical interests. I have worked as a clinical faculty member at Yale University and UNC-CH. My clinical and academic experiences influenced my decision to pursue education in research science, social theories, and health policy. I aim to develop innovative methods for improving population health outcomes, particularly the reduction of long-term health effects of psychological trauma, anxiety, and depression on women’s health and birth outcomes. I am dedicated to investigating (1) the bio-psycho-social benefits of self-compassion, mindfulness, and other mind-body therapies as adjuncts to conventional interventions and (2) strategies to improve communication between women and their healthcare providers to address psychological distress and its health-related sequelae. I completed training at the Summer Research Institute, Advanced Methods in Population-Based Health Disparities Research, hosted by the Center for Health Equity Research at UPenn’s School of Nursing. I have received a number of awards and recognitions including the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research Pre-doctoral Fellowship (T32), the James M. Johnston Graduate Nursing Scholarship, and induction into Sigma Theta Tau, the international nursing honor society.