Karen Albright has dedicated her career to building connections across silos in an effort to bridge the research-practice divide. After earning a PhD in sociology from New York University and completing post-doctoral fellowships in health research at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-Los Angeles, Karen embarked on a career as a health services researcher that has allowed her to span the fields of health, behavioral, and social sciences for the past 17 years. Currently an Associate Professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Associate Director of the Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation, Karen not only applies sociological methods, insights, and theories to issues affecting the health care system, but works to translate and demonstrate sociology’s value to those outside the discipline.
Since 2012, Karen’s efforts to expand disciplinary recognition and impact have also taken the form of leadership positions in organizations dedicated to applied sociology, including roles as Chair of the Sociological Practice and Public Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (2020-2021) and President of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (2019-2020). In these roles Karen’s focus has been on building stronger pathways between the discipline and opportunities outside academia, particularly for younger sociologists (e.g., freshly minted sociology PhDs) facing a highly constrained academic job market.
After receiving her PhD in sociology at Emory University in 2012, Dr. Scardaville decided to pursue the non-academic job market only to discover how many fulfilling careers exist for sociologists outside of the academy. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Scardaville has investigated a wide range of social phenomena including community resilience after natural disasters, substance misuse in Alaska Native/Native American communities, organizational dynamics at non-profit social service agencies, guidelines for juvenile drug courts, and individual-level drivers that elucidate why people do not response to federal surveys. She has a particular interest in violence prevention and co-wrote Intimate Coercion: Recognition and Recovery with Dr. Marti Loring. Dr. Scardaville has also provided quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation training to undergraduate and graduate students as well as federal clients.
Currently, Dr. Scardaville is a Senior Researcher at American Institutes for Research where she is responsible for directing innovative social science projects for diverse stakeholders. Most recently, she has worked with the Department of Defense to educate its workforce on the public health approach to violence prevention. She has worked with numerous organizations including the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology and the American Sociological Association to connect sociologists with meaningful work in noncollegiate settings.