Karen Byrd headshot photo

Pronouns: she/her

Phone: 765-496-3085


Marriott Hall, Room 255
900 Mitch Daniels Blvd.

Curriculum Vitae Selected Publications Back to Directory

Karen Byrd

Assistant Professor, White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Areas of Expertise

  • Consumer health and well-being related to foodservice
  • Food safety
  • Foodservice procurement

HHS Signature Research Area(s)

  • Healthy Lifestyles and Vital Longevity
  • Sustainable Organizations and Thriving Communities


Dr. Karen Byrd is an Assistant Professor in the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Purdue University, where she also received her Ph.D. She has an MBA from Xavier University and a BA in Dietetics from Ball State University. She is credentialed as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), ServSafe® Certified Instructor and Registered Proctor, ManageFirst® Approved Instructor and Proctor, and certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®.

Dr. Byrd’s research focuses on consumer health and well-being risks in hospitality, specifically in the areas of COVID-19, food safety, and healthy eating. While hospitality services can promote positive health outcomes by providing social engagement, enjoyment, and relaxation, the industry also poses health risks to consumers. Dr. Byrd’s work focuses on how consumers’ health risk (mis)perceptions and health-related interventions influence their decisions in hospitality businesses and how foodservice policies and industry initiatives can impact consumer health.

Dr. Byrd teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in foodservice procurement, food safety, foodservice research, and management of senior living communities. She embraces exposing students to real-life experiences by including industry technology, guest speakers, and industry examples. She uses a research-based pedagogical approach and embraces technology-based learning platforms to facilitate student engagement and learning.

Dr. Byrd is engaged with service externally and within Purdue University. She serves on the Executive Committee for the Management in Food and Nutrition Systems Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the faculty advisor of the Association of Healthcare Foodservice – Purdue student organization. She has also worked with Purdue Extension in 4-H project development and judging. For the School of HTM, she serves on the  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Avery Center, and Alumni Events committees.

Dr. Byrd’s industry experience has been primarily in healthcare and senior living. Before her academic appointments, she was Senior Director of Food and Nutrition at Kindred Healthcare, a national, multi-facility healthcare organization. In this role, she was responsible for strategic planning and oversight of foodservice and medical nutrition therapy for 200+ facilities; menu development and nutritional analysis; and contract negotiation and execution for a $45+ million foodservice supply budget.


  • PhD, 2017, Purdue University, Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • MBA, 1995, Xavier University, Business Administration
  • BA, 1987, Ball State University, Dietetics


Social Media Accounts

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • Member of the STHM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Current Courses

  • HTM 311 - Procurement Management for Foodservice
  • HTM 399 - Management of Senior Living Communities
  • HTM 591 - Research Issues in Food Service Management

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Arnold I. Cohen Faculty Development Endowment Award - Fall 2021
  • Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation (IMPACT) - Spring 2020
  • Purdue University HHS Rapid Response Grant - Spring 2020

Professional Affiliations

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Association of Healthcare Foodservice
  • International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE)
  • Foodservice Systems Management Education Council
  • Project Management Institute