Meet the Dean

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Meet the Dean

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Dr. Karen Kim

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Karen Kim, MD, MS, was named dean at Penn State College of Medicine in 2023. As the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Rural Health Research, Kim leads the College of Medicine’s education, research and clinical missions, culture of innovation, and will focus on enhancing team-based interdisciplinary collaboration across the College of Medicine, Penn State Health, the University at large  and across commonwealth campuses. As Physician in Chief, Kim plays a critical role in shaping the academic health system.

In addition to dean, Kim is a nationally recognized leader in health disparities research,  curricular innovation and public policy. Her research focuses on the rigorous development and evaluation of multi-level strategies to advance cancer health equity among marginalized and vulnerable populations. As founder and director of the Center for Asian Health Equity-a community-academic partnership, Kim is a national leader on public policies for the inclusion of Asian-Americans and underserved populations in research.

Prior to joining Penn State, Kim served as the Vice Provost for Research and Senior Research Officer at the University of Chicago,  the Sara and Harold Lincoln Thompson Chair and Professor of Medicine, and Associate Director of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. During her tenure as Vice Provost for Research, Dr. Kim collaborated with divisions, schools, centers and institutes across the University and national laboratories to establish strategic research priorities, significantly increase interdisciplinary research and funding success and to enhance broader impact through inclusive innovation.

With extensive expertise in community-based participatory research (CBPR), dissemination and implementation science, intervention and minority health research, Kim is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Minority Health and the National Institutes of Health. Kim leads the State of Illinois’ colorectal cancer control program across urban and rural regions and has focused on developing innovative technology-based solutions to address gaps in health care services among federally qualified community and rural health centers.

In addition to her research, Kim is deeply committed to civic engagement and has dedicated significant time to advancing health through service to numerous nonprofit organizations and national boards. Kim has been nationally recognized for her advocacy and policy work and received the International Women’s Leadership Award, the Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award and the Cancer Prevention Laurel for Increasing Health Equity.

She is a member of the American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, and the American Medical Association, American Association for Cancer Research and the American Public Health Association.

She is the College’s first female dean and the only current Korean American woman to hold such a title nationally.

Dr. Karen Kim, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, sites in a wooden chair in a courtyard with the Nittany Lion statue behind her