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Pronouns: she/her

Phone: 765-494-4023


Johnson Hall of Nursing
502 N. University Street, Room 234
Lafayette, IN 47907

Curriculum Vitae Selected Publications Back to Directory

Karen J. Foli

Professor, School of Nursing

Areas of Expertise

  • Mixed and multiple methods studies; qualitative methods; survey construction; theoretical models

HHS Signature Research Area(s)

  • Developmental Health and Wellness
  • Healthy Lifestyles and Vital Longevity

School of Nursing Research Area(s)

  • Family, Maternal and Child Health
  • Nursing Education
  • Mental Health


Dr. Karen Foli’s work is bound together by the lens of psychological trauma. With this theme, she has received funding to support investigations surrounding trauma-informed parenting for kinship parents, relationships between trauma and substance use in nurses, and nurses’ trauma and cognitive control. Sponsors include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

As a nurse theorist, Dr. Foli conceptualized and disseminated a Middle Range Theory of Nurses’ Psychological Trauma. Through Dr. Foli’s active research, she has revealed a new type of nurse-specific trauma, insufficient resource trauma, which calls for efforts at the organizational level. She is also the recipient of numerous research and teaching awards and is co-author of The Influence of Psychological Trauma in Nursing (2019). This book received two first place Wolters Kluwer, Health, and the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards 2019 for psychiatric/mental health nursing and nursing education.

An active mentor, she guides both students and faculty to reach their professional goals. She won the Purdue University Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Midcareer Research and Scholarship in 2020 and was inducted into the Purdue University Book of Great Teachers in 2018. Dr. Foli is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and in the Academy of Nursing Education.


  • PhD, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Indiana University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Indiana State University
  • Associate Degree in Nursing, Indiana State University

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • Safe Zone Training

Current Courses

  • NUR 69050: Implementing Theory in Healthcare Research - NUR 50000: Theoretical Constructs in Nursing

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Purdue University School of Nursing - Graduate Level Excellence in Mentoring Award, 2022
  • National League for Nursing - Fellow, Academy of Nursing Education, 2021
  • Purdue University - Trailblazer Award, 2020
  • Purdue University - Inducted into Book of Great Teachers, 2018
  • American Academy of Nursing - Fellow, Inducted 2016

Selected Grants

  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Center for Regulatory Excellence Grant Nurses in Recovery: A Grounded Theory Study Amount: $234,728 Dates: April 4, 2022 to March 31, 2024 Role: Principal Investigator; Co-I Nicole Adams;
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Nurses’ Substance Use Education Through a Massive Open Online Course (NSUE-MOOC) Amount: $200,000 Dates: October 2020 to September 2022 Role: Principal Investigator/Project Director
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Center for Regulatory Excellence Grant Study 1: Nurse Anesthetists and Substance Use: Gathering Critical Information for Targeted Interventions Study 2: Student Nurse Anesthetists and Substance Use: Gathering Critical Information for Prevention Strategies Amount: $162,706 Dates: April 1, 2020 through May 31, 2022 Role: Principal Investigator; Co-I: Lingsong Zhang

Professional Affiliations

  • American Nurses Association
  • National League for Nursing
  • American Academy of Nursing