Karen Butler DNP, RN
Associate Professor, Assistant Dean of Academic Operations

Dr. Karen M. Butler was awarded her BSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MSN from the University of Kentucky, where she also received the Graduate Faculty Award for Academic Achievement. In May 2006, she earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, also from UK, and upon graduation received the inaugural Sebastian-Stanhope Award, now presented annually to an exemplary DNP student. Dr. Butler is an Associate Professor with tenure and Assistant Dean of Academic Operations in the UK College of Nursing. She teaches in the DNP Program. She is also a Faculty Associate in the BREATHE Program (Bridging Research Efforts and Advocacy Toward Healthy Environments) and the Tobacco Research Policy Program. Dr. Butler has won awards for her work in both scholarship and education, including the Louise Zegeer Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2008. Dr. Butler has clinical and research interests in adult health promotion, including tobacco dependence prevention and treatment. She has worked with community partners to reduce the health and economic burden of tobacco use in rural populations, specifically Appalachian Kentucky, using community engagement strategies with local health department personnel, cooperative extension agents and other community members to develop evidence-based interventions to motivate smokers to consider quitting. Specific research projects include an RO1 grant aimed at preventing lung cancer through use of a tailored intervention to reduce exposure to radon and secondhand smoke in the home; an institutional project to develop, implement and evaluate curriculum for nursing students to assist patients with tobacco dependence treatment using the Rx For Change model;  and a community based participatory research project working with county extension agents to develop, pilot and evaluate a population-based intervention designed to examine fidelity, acceptability, practicality, effectiveness and reach of culturally sensitive interventions to motivate smokers in rural Kentucky to seek tobacco dependence treatment. She has also led multiple projects aimed at reducing college student risk related to meningococcal meningitis and tobacco and alcohol use. For several years she participated in a CDC-funded grant though the Kentucky Department of Public Health to address tobacco prevention and cessation issues. Her scholarly work has been peer-reviewed and presented in local, state, national and international venues, as well as published in many professional journals. Dr. Butler actively contributes to the nursing profession and community. She is a member of five professional organizations and serves on multiple manuscript review panels. She actively participates in community endeavors at both local and state levels, volunteering her time and talents to improve the health of Kentuckians.

Contact Information

Phone: (859) 323-5684

Fax: (859) 323-1057




DNP, University of Kentucky, 2006
MSN, University of Kentucky, 1990
BSN, University of North Carolina, 1977


Tobacco dependence prevention and treatment, health promotion, leadership in nursing, nursing education


Dr. Karen Butler's CV


Ickes, M. J. Butler, K. M. Rayens, M. K. Noland, M. Wiggins, A. Hahn, E. J. Tips from former smokers campus campaign: effects on college students. (2016), Health Education Research 47 (5), 324-331.

Noland, M. Ickes, M. J. Rayens, M. K. Butler, K. M. Social Influences on Use of Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes and Hookah in College Students. (2016), Journal of American College Health, in progress 64 (4), 319-328.

Rayens, M. K. Butler, K. M. Wiggins, A. T. Kostygina, G. Langley, R. E. Hahn, E. J. (in press) Recall and effectiveness of messages promoting smoke-free policies in rural communities. (2016), Nicotine & Tobacco Research 18 (5), 1340-1347.

Okoli, C. T. Rayens, M. K. Wiggins, A. T. Ickes, M. J. Butler, K. M. Hahn, E. J. (in press) Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure and susceptibility to smoking, perceived addiction, and psychobehavioral symptoms among college students . (2016), Journal of American College Health 64 (2), 96-103.

Noland, M. Ickes, M. J. Rayens, M. K. Butler, K. M. Social influences on use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and hookah by college students. (2016), journal of American College Health 64 (4), 319-328.


Rayens, M. K., Ickes, M. J., Butler, K. M., Wiggins, A. T., Anderson, D. G., Hahn, E. J. 2016, November. University students perceived risk of and intention to use hookah and e-cigarettes. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting , Denver, CO United States.

Welsh, J., Grubbs, A., Walmsley, L. A., Butler, K. M., Burkhart, P. V. 2016, May. Design and outcome measurements for a MedVet to BSN educational option. . 12th Annual Nursing Faculty Development Workshop: Teaching to Transform for the New Reality of Nursing Practice, UK College of Nursing, .

Butler, K. M., Heath, J. E., Anderson, J., Barone, C., Andrews, J. 2016, March. Relationship of Pharmacotherapy Options and Standards of Nursing Practice. 2016 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, Chicago, IL .

Hahn, E. J., Fallin, A., Ashford, K. B., Okoli, C. T., Butler, K. M., Heath, J. E. 2016, . Sampling, recruitment, and retention with "hard to reach" populations. Southern Nursing Research Society, Williamsburg, VA United States.

Ashford, K. B., Barnett, J., Wiggins, A. T., Gomez, M., Butler, K. M., Rayens, M. K., Hahn, E. J. 2016, . E-cigarette use among pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Southern Nursing Research Society, Williamsburg, VA United States.