Karen J Derefinko, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine
Dr. Derefinko is an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Addiction Science, and Toxicology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). Her primary research activities target the prevention and treatment of substance use and other conduct problems. She has designed, executed, and managed numerous research protocols that examine the contributions of mental health, stigma, and other proximal mechanisms to substance use and other externalizing outcomes. Based upon findings from this work, Dr. Derefinko has developed seven treatment manuals and completed fourteen treatment outcome studies which have been published in peer-reviewed journals. She received her pre-doctoral training through the University of Kentucky where she also served as a project manager for a longitudinal substance use study conducted through the Center for Drug Abuse Research Translation (CDART), a center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Derefinko received additional training in treatment outcome research through her experience at the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University and worked with school systems to develop drug use policies and train educators in substance use and violence prevention. She is now translating her knowledge of risk and maintenance of substance use into tailored interventions for diverse, hard-to-treat populations as a PI or Site PI on four large-scale treatment outcome studies of opioid use disorder treatment or tobacco cessation (R61/R33AT010604-01; 3R61AT010604-01S1; 1R01CA193245-01A1; 1R01DK107747-01A1), and she is exploring the development of substance use in a longitudinal study of childhood health outcomes (UH3OD023271-01).