Dr. Karen Chartier MSW ’95, Ph.D. ’07 Awarded 5-Year National Institutes of Health Grant

In September 2012, Karen G. Chartier, Ph.D., M.S.W., was awarded a 5-year K01 career development grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for Ethnicity and Alcohol Dependence: Phenotypes, Genes, and the Social Environment. The aim of this project is to understand the interrelationships between the genetic, social, and neighborhood factors that contribute to risks for alcohol consequences in ethnic minority groups. Karen G. Chariter, MSW ’95, PhD ’07 The study will test the association of gene variants for alcohol metabolism to phenotypes relevant to alcohol dependence for blacks and Hispanics and investigate the modifying effect of the social environment on genetic risks for alcohol dependence severity. Understanding the interplay between the social environment and genetic liabilities is important for explaining how alcohol-related health disparities occur and for identifying important targets for intervention.

Upon hearing of Karen’s 5-year grant, Alex Gitterman, Zachs Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program remarked, “Karen is an outstanding graduate of our program.  When she graduated, I informed her that I would like to purchase stock in her career.  I still do.”

Karen currently lives in Plano, Texas with her husband and daughter. She works at the University of Texas School of Public Health at the Dallas Regional Campus, where she has been on the research faculty for the past 3 years. Her research examines ethnic group differences in drinking, alcohol use disorders, treatment utilization, and problems related alcohol use. Karen also works with the Texas Node of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Clinical Trials Network (CTN) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She is the Principal Investigator for the Dallas site of the CTN’s trial on buspirone for relapse prevention in cocaine dependent adults, and represents the Texas Node on the CTN’s Minority Interest Group.