Karen Butler DNP, RN
Associate Professor

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 Assistant Dean of Academic Operations in the UK College of Nursing, where she teaches in the DNP Program. She is also 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 Co-Director of the Radon Policy Division of BREATHE and the Deputy Director of the Occupational/Environmental Health Nursing Training Program, Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center.

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. 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 five 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 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. As an aside, Dr. Butler is an accomplished pianist, and provides music for UK College of Nursing graduation ceremonies.

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


College of Nursing Publications