Dr. Karina Walters


Director and Principal Investigator of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the University of Washington

Karina L. Walters, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is the Associate Dean for Research, the Katherine Hall Chambers Scholar, and the director and principal investigator of the University-wide, interdisciplinary Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) at the University of Washington. IWRI is one of 16 National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities Comprehensive Centers of Excellence, and one of two devoted to American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) research in the country.

Dr. Walters has over 20 years of experience in social epidemiological research on the historical, social and cultural determinants of health among AIAN populations as well as chronic disease prevention research. She has presented at over 320+ national and interational conferences; was an invited speaker for Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) at NIH; and was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Dr. Walters has served as Principal Investigator or Co-I on over 37 NIH grants (13 as PI) from diverse NIH Institutes; has mentored over 90 scholars from historically underrepresented populations including 35 AIAN scholars; and has participated in 14 national research training programs for underrepresented ethnic minority scholars.

Dr. Walters earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, her Masters in Social Work and Ph.D., all from the University of California, Los Angelos. After serving on faculty as an assistant and associate professor at Columbia University School of Social Work, she joined the University of Washington faculty and later became Full Professor. Prior to her career in academia, Dr. Walters was a community-based psychotherapist and served as Commissioner for the Los Angeles County American Indian Commission.

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