Interim Director

Ann Coker, Ph.D.

Interim Director
Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

On June 1, 2021 I assumed the role of Interim Executive Director of the Center for Research on Violence Against Women. As CRVAW’s incoming Interim Executive Director, I’d like to briefly introduce myself and provide my goals for this role.

I was recruited to UK in 2007 as the inaugural Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair (Verizon Wireless) in the Center for Research on Violence Against Women then under Directorship of Carol Jordan. I am trained as an epidemiologist (PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and have focused my externally funded research in the area of intimate partner and sexual violence, mental and physical health effects of this violence, and approaches to mitigate these health effects. While at UK most of my research has been funded by NIH or CDC and has shifted to finding and evaluating novel violence prevention approaches.

My tenure as Interim Director follows Dr. Diane Follingstad’s service as CRVAW Executive Director from 2014- 2021.  Under her leadership the Center for Research on Violence Against Women was asked by UK’s President Capilouto to conduct the Campus Attitudes Towards Safety survey over several years here at UK. This project has resulted in multiple publications and national presentations by CRVAW faculty and staff. Our biannual Campus Responses to Sexual Misconduct Conference was a direct result of UK funding and Dr. Follingstad’s leadership as Executive Director. Dr. Follingstad remains the Women’s Circle Endowed Chair and Professor within the Center as she prepares for her well-deserved retirement next June 2022 from University of Kentucky in the Department of Psychiatry, within the College of Medicine.

My goals as Interim Director are:

  1.  To build our research capacity and portfolio by focusing on externally funded grants to address violence intervention or prevention;
  2.  Expanding the reach of CRVAW by increasing the number of Endowed positions and Faculty Associates;
  3.  Building strong partnerships with existing UK Centers to facilitate research within UK’s research priority areas by addressing the unique vulnerabilities of those experiencing violence; and  
  4.  Recruitment our next Executive Director.