Karen E. Steinhauser
Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Steinhauser's primary interests are end-of-life care, medical sociology and patient-provider relationships. Specifically, she investigates the composition and measurement of the quality of life for patients and their families at the end of life. Dr. Steinhauser is a Health Scientist with the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, VA Medical Center, Durham; Assistant Research Professor, Department of Medicine; Senior Fellow with the Duke University Center for Aging; Associate Faculty Scholar with the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life; and Associate Director of the Program on the Medical Encounter and Palliative Care, Duke and VA Medical Centers.

Dr. Steinhauser received her doctoral training in sociology at Duke where she specialized in the study of medical sociology and aging. Her dissertation examined the organizational evolution of hospice care. Particular attention centered on the influence of public funding, via Medicare, on a private sector volunteer organization. Following her graduate training, she completed post-doctoral research in Health Services Research and Development at the Durham VA Medical Center. Her post-doctoral research focused on identifying what patients, families and health care providers value at the end of life. The qualitative and quantitative results of that study served as the foundation in the design of a clinical instrument to assess the quality of dying (the QUAL-E). Dr. Steinhauser is the Principal Investigator of the study to longitudinally validate that instrument. She is also Principal Investigator of a study to develop a twenty-year longitudinal database of hospice care in North Carolina.

Area of expertise: Health Measurement

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