Karen H. Kim Yeary, PhD


Karen Kim YearyDr. Yeary is an Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is nationally known for her work in community-based participatory research (CBPR), and has collaborated with underserved communities to promote health equity through the translation of evidence-based chronic disease prevention interventions for the last decade. As part of her work, Dr. Yeary has engaged grass-roots community-based organizations in public health promotion through including community partners in public health research, serves as an Associate Editor for Progress in Community Health Partnerships, and is the Chair for a Special Interest Group for the Society of Behavior Medicine. She has also published numerous articles and book chapters focusing on using participatory approaches to change health behaviors. Dr. Yeary’s work has also been featured in the press and media, such as Fitness Magazine and Good Housekeeping. 

Dr. Yeary has been a member of APHA since 2002. She has predominantly served the Association through the Community-based Public Health Caucus. Most recently, she served as the Program Planner from 2014-2016 and as a member of the Caucus’ Steering Committee, which develops policies, directs membership functions, manages the Caucus, and approves of leadership appointments within the Caucus. Additionally, she has promoted the community’s active involvement in APHA through facilitating community-leader led presentations and networking opportunities between community leaders to increase their capacity to advance the health of the communities they serve.

Her passion for community-engagement in public health is also reflected in her teaching and mentoring of public health masters and doctoral students. She developed a community-based participatory section that is included in a core course for health behavior masters students and a doctoral-level course whereby community leaders are paired with students to apply what is learned through the course to create tangible products for the community. 

Candidate Statement

I am honored to be selected as a candidate for the APHA Executive Board. I am passionate about eliminating health inequities and have dedicated the last decade of my career advocating for communities that bear a disproportionate burden of poor health outcomes in the U.S. I firmly believe that a collaborative approach that is inclusive of all members of our society, particularly the marginalized, is necessary for health advancement. If I am given the privilege to serve as an APHA Executive Board member, I would foster the Association’s vision in two main ways:

  1. Build upon current efforts to recruit and engage a diverse APHA membership. I value diversity and believe involving persons with different perspectives is important to advance public health. My expertise in working with diverse partners (e.g. clinics, communities, academics) for the purpose of adapting and implementing evidence-based behavioral strategies would be an asset in promoting the engagement of a diverse membership. I would aim to bring together various groups together to contribute to the process of developing and implementing sustainable strategies to promote health for all groups, particularly the underserved. I would also draw from my experience as a community-based participatory researcher and organizer to encourage creative strategies to ensure diversity in Association boards and committees.
  2. Promote research, practice, and policy that build upon the current evidence-base for public health. A key component of APHA vision and mission is the provision of a science-based voice in public health. As a scientist, I strongly believe that the Association needs to maintain its grounding in evidence-based research. I will draw from my extensive experience as a researcher to critically examine potential practices, policies, and strategies and promote those that are most supported with the data we have available. I will also utilize my expertise in public health research to promote program content that will advance the state of the science.

Curriculum Vitae