Karen Butler DNP, MSN, RN, FAAN
Professor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Dr. Karen M. Butler was awarded her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Masters’ of Science in Nursing from the University of Kentucky, where she also received the Graduate Faculty Award for Academic Achievement. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from UK and received the inaugural Sebastian-Stanhope Award. Dr. Butler is a tenured Professor and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Nursing. She is an educator in the MSN and DNP Programs and serves as a faculty student advisor as well. Dr. Butler is a Faculty Associate in BREATHE (Bridging Research Efforts and Advocacy Toward Healthy Environments), an interdisciplinary group of researchers focused on cancer prevention. She is the Deputy Director of the Occupational/Environmental Health Nursing Training Program, Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center. In addition, Dr. Butler serves on multiple UK HealthCare and University committees and advisory boards.

Dr. Butler has won awards for her work, including the College of Nursing’s Louise Zegeer Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Excellence in Graduate Teaching Awards, and the UK College of Education's A Teacher Who Made a Difference. She received the UK College of Nursing Outstanding Alumni Award in 2015 and was a finalist for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing Outstanding Alumni Award in 2022. Her peer-reviewed work has been presented in national and international venues, as well as published in many high impact professional journals and two award-winning textbooks. She recently served as Co-Editor for a special edition of the Western Journal of Nursing Research focused on Tobacco and Social Justice.

Dr. Butler is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nursing and actively contributes to the nursing profession through membership in professional organizations, service as a manuscript reviewer, and leadership in national and international organizations. Prior to coming to the College of Nursing, Dr. Butler was a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Markey Cancer Center where she helped to establish the Immunotherapy Program, and served in several key leadership positions at UK HealthCare. The scope of her work is aimed at improving health outcomes for those living in Kentucky and beyond. 

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


Adult health promotion, lung cancer prevention, nursing leadership, nursing education, evidence-based nursing practice, and program planning, implementation and evaluation.


Dr. Karen Butler's CV