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Karen Bullock

Professor and Head

School of Social Work

1911 Bldg 217


Karen Bullock, Ph.D. is Professor and Head of the School of Social Work at North Carolina State University, in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She earned a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Work from Boston University, a Master’s degree (M.S.) in Social Work, from Columbia University in New York City, and a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from North Carolina State University. She teaches Introduction to Gerontology. Take a look at how much fun learning about (and with) older adults can be at NC State: This service learning class with students majoring in Engineering, Human Biology, Social Work, Psychology, Education, Design Studies, Business Management, Horticultural Science and more, was also featured in the NC State Alumni Magazine

Dr. Bullock’s research and practice are focused on care for persons with cancer and other serious illnesses. She is a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (IOM) Task Force on Serious Illness Care Executive Committee and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Roundtable Committee on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness; a member of the American Hospital Association (AHA) Circle of Life Award Committee and Board of Trustee member for the John and Wauna Harman Foundation. Most recently, Dr. Bullock was a featured expert on serious illness care for a Patient Power program focused on Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities Affecting MPN Care; in addition to having served as the CAPC 2X4 2020 Keynote: Fixing What’s Broken: How Palliative Care Can Help Achieve Health Equity.

With more than 25 years of clinical practice experience in mental health and aging, expertise in health care disparities, clinical assessments, psychoeducation and clinical interventions, Dr. Bullock consults and serves as a Steering Committee member of the Duke University Center for Research to Advance Health Equity (REACH) as Affiliate Faculty for the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) at the University of Connecticut and is a member of the Association of Palliative & Hospice Care Social Workers Certification (APHSW-C) Board, which ensures the public that certified practitioners have the knowledge and skills to provide safe, high-quality care at an advanced level. She is a John A. Hartford Faculty Scholar and serves on various national boards and committees, including the Social Work National Deans And Directors (NADD) Executive Board as Treasurer; and Dr. Bullock is a Project on Death in America Faculty Scholar, funded by the SORORS Foundation. She is the Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) Chair-elect; and is the immediate past Chair of the American Cancer Society (ACS) Oncology Social Work Research Peer Review Committee.

With more than two decades of dedicated service and commitment to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Dr. Bullock, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) was elected Vice-President of the NASW Connecticut Chapter and subsequently, served as President of the Connecticut Chapter, before going on to become the Chair of the NASW National Committee on Race And Ethnic Diversity (NCORED) and the current Chair of the NASW Mental Health Section Committee. Dr. Bullock’s research focuses on cancer care, serious illness care and health equity. Her article on The Influence of Culture on End-of-Life Decision Making, won the 2012 Best Article Award by the Routledge Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care. She has been a leading force in advancing social work practice, education, and training in gerontology, mental health, hospice and palliative care. She has been quoted in the Washington PostUSA Today and LA Times as an expert in these areas.

Dr. Bullock has published and presented nationally and internationally on these topics. Notably, she was the first Social Worker to be selected and serve as a Visiting Professor of Palliative Care at UCHealth and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Division of General Medicine/ Internal Medicine, in 2019. Prior to this accomplishment, while an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Bullock was selected and served as a Visiting Scholar at the Mailman School of Public Health and the School of Social Work at Columbia University, under the midcareer mentorship of Dr. Victoria H. Raveis and Dr. Denise Burnette, in academic year 2007-2008. Dr. Bullock received a junior faculty award that was funded by NIA, through a collaborative initiative of the University of Michigan and other funded research institutions to support research scholars through the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). As a junior research scholar, Dr. Bullock was also the recipient of a Diversity Supplement Award from NIH that supported her mentored research with Yale University physician/geriatrician Terri R. Fried, MD, investigating racial differences in decision-making about serious illness care. In addition, Dr. Bullock has held clinical and academic appointments at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging, Hartford Hospital, and the Institute of Living Inpatient and Outpatient Geriatric Services in Connecticut, Salem State College and Smith College in Massachusetts, and UNC-Wilmington.