Karen Sheffield-Abdullah

Event Speaker

Dr. Sheffield-Abdullah’s research focuses on the utilization of holistic, integrative, multi-sector strategies to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being for individuals and communities. She is particularly interested in developing strategies to reduce the long-term health effects of stress, psychological trauma, anxiety, and depression on women’s health and birth outcomes. Her interests include the bio-psycho-social benefits of self-compassion, mindfulness, and other mind-body therapies as adjuncts to conventional treatment modalities. Her program of research focuses on the development of culturally relevant interventions to reduce disparities in stress-related adverse outcomes during the perinatal period and to provide a platform to guide successful models for women’s health care provision that incorporate stress management and improve wellness across the lifespan.

Notably, she has served as a nurse-abstractor on the North Carolina Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) and has expertise reviewing maternal opioid overdose cases. As a result of her significant contribution to that work, she was invited last year by ACOG and the CDC to serve on a working group to assist in the development of a tool to be used by MMRCs across the country to determine if discrimination, institutional racism, or interpersonal racism contributed to a pregnancy-related death. She has also served as an expert panelist, amongst White House panelists, for the Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance webinar on Maternal Suicide and Overdose. She is currently a co-investigator on several research projects sponsored by AHRQ, AHA, NIMHD and NICHD.

Dr. Sheffield-Abdullah is currently an assistant professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. She has a doctoral degree in nursing from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing and a Master of Science in nursing degree from Yale University. She did her postdoctoral fellowship at The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Program on Integrative Medicine, through an NIH T-32 Fellowship Training Grant for Research in Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Sheffield-Abdullah was also a postdoctoral fellow with the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity. Lastly, Dr. Sheffield-Abdullah is a mindfulness instructor and is currently pursuing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher certification through the Brown University’s Mindfulness Center.