Since his appointment in 2008 as the first Robert H. and Anna B. Culton Endowed Professor, Dr. Carlson’s expertise has been invaluable to the  University of Kentucky’s Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW).  His talents range from administration, to instruction, to research, to consultation, to service. As a member of the executive team for the CRVAW he has been instrumental as one of the five faculty to help UK implement CATS, a major initiative concerning campus safety that was intended to provide foundational information guiding programs and policies of the University. Dr. Carlson has also played important administrative and clinical roles at UK as the previous Chair of the Psychology Department, in the role of the Director of the University of Kentucky Doctoral Internship Consortium in Clinical Psychology, and as the Director of Behavioral Medicine and Research at the Orofacial Pain Center in UK’s College of Dentistry. Dr. Carlson was recently named Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, which is a fitting testament to his performance at UK across the range of skills demanded of faculty.  This Distinguished Professor Award is given to one faculty member in the entire College and is accompanied by a release from teaching in order to focus on research.  Further, he received a College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award in 2016. Most recently he was selected as a Clinical Scholar by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  We have appreciated his role at the center for many years and are so sorry that when he retires at the end of June we will lose him as a faculty member at the Center. For these reasons and many more I am pleased to introduce the interviewee and subject of our personnel spotlight for this edition of our newsletter, my colleague and friend, Dr. Charley Carlson.

Introduction by Diane Follingstad

How did you first get involved with CRVAW and why?

  My first contact with the Center was as the Chair for the Department of Psychology. After several years of working with Center, the Director of the Center, Carol Jordan, approached me regarding joining the Center as an Endowed Professor when she discovered my long-standing interest in how head and neck pain are linked to exposure to interpersonal violence. The professorship was endowed by Robert and Anna Culton who generously funded the position that I now hold.    Over time, I extended my work on self-regulation with pain patients to develop a research program examining the links between religiosity and underage drinking as well as a program designed to help women handle stressful life circumstances such as potential interpersonal violence.


What have you seen happen over the years?

 I have seen the Center become established as a key national player in researching the scope of problems faced by this country and abroad when it comes to the issue of violence against women.   We have assembled a cohort of nationally-recognized scholars and developed a series of strategies to help shape the research initiatives that are needed to guide changes associated with the culture of violence in this country.


What has been your favorite or main reason for identifying with CRVAW?

Working with professors from a range of disciplines to address violence against women has been a unique opportunity that demonstrates we need the collective wisdom of all of us to address this issue in effective ways.  


What do you hope for the Center in the future?   

Continued progress towards developing strategies to ameliorate the consequences of violence against women and importantly, to develop initiatives focused on prevention through changing attitudes and behaviors that foster the continuance of such violence.


Where is your research taking you now?

I am working on how religiosity affects alcohol use in underage college students because such usage often results in untoward outcomes with enduring consequences, such as sexual assault or intimate partner violence.    I also continue to explore how self-regulation skills training can alter the physiological outcomes often set in motion by exposure to violence.

This interview was originally published in the April 2020 CRVAW Newsletter.