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Karen D. Lincoln, Ph.D., MSW, M.A.

Founder and Chair

​Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Director, Hartford Academic Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work

Senior Scientist, Roybal Institute on Aging

University of Southern California


An honors graduate from UC Berkeley where she received a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in African American studies and a graduate from the University of Michigan where she earned a MSW, a M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Sociology, Dr. Lincoln is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, Director of the Hartford Academic Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work and Senior Scientist at the Roybal Institute on Aging at the University of Southern California. As a researcher, Dr. Lincoln grapples with issues that are locally, nationally and internationally meaningful. Her research lies in improving clinical and community-based treatment of persons with mental health disorders and chronic health conditions and is supported by a number of different agencies within the National Institutes of Health. The goal of her research is to identify intervention points and strategies for the restoration and promotion of health and the amelioration of health and mental health disparities among Black Americans. Dr. Lincoln is actively engaged in African American communities. She translates culturally-based understandings of wellness and health processes to the community and the mental health services arena and her work is often praised by African Americans for giving voice to their lived experience, validating community concerns, and most importantly, for appropriately contextualizing African American health experiences and providing new narratives from which healing and healthful behavior can emerge. Dr. Lincoln has served on over a dozen community boards, and was appointed by Mayor Gregory Nickels to serve as Chair of the Mayor’s Council on African American Elders (Seattle, King County), where Dr. Lincoln helped establish the African American Elders Program, a culturally sensitive social service agency serving frail, homebound, low-income African American older adults in Seattle. Dr. Lincoln is a member of several associations, the recipient of many honors and also contributes to a blog where she fuses social commentary with her vast knowledge of health and mental health about African American communities; posing questions such as “Is Being Black Bad for Your Health?” and sharing her inspiration for a “Healthy Black America.”

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