Carrie Oser

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  • Endowed DiSilvestro Professor of Sociology
  • Associate Department Chair
  • Associate Director, Center for Health Equity Transformation
  • Health, Society and Populations
  • Sociology
1531 Patterson Office Tower
859-257-6890, 859-323-3792
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

Ph.D., University of Georgia


Dr. Carrie Oser is Endowed DiSilvestro Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Sociology, Associate Director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET), and Associate Director of the Office of the Vice President for Research’s Substance Use Priority Research Area at the University of Kentucky. She formerly served as the Interim Associate Dean for Research in the College of Arts & Sciences and was the inaugural Co-Director of the Health, Society, & Populations Program, a novel interdisciplinary social science undergraduate major. Dr. Oser is passionate about conducting rigorous high-impact research to improve the lives of individuals with substance use disorders, especially among underrepresented populations. She has been continuously funded as a Principal Investigator for over a decade by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on six awards totaling more than $6 million examining addiction health services, health disparities, HIV interventions, social networks, implementation science, as well as substance use among rural, African American, and/or criminal justice populations. She regularly collaborates on interdisciplinary substance use research projects and has served as a Co-Investigator on 13 other NIH studies. Currently, Dr. Oser is leading an NIH R01 project examining how social networks influence a person’s decision to initiate medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder in prison and post-release in rural versus urban counties. She is also a site PI a multisite project with North Carolina and Florida exploring knowledge, attitudes, and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among parolees.  Dr. Oser is a co-investigator on the largest research grant received by UK, the HEALing Communities Study, overseeing partnerships between community coalitions and criminal justice agencies to deploy evidence based practices and contributing to UK’s implementation science, communication, and administrative cores. Dr. Oser has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and received numerous awards for her mentorship of more than 50 graduate students and junior faculty.


Teaching & Mentoring

Dr. Oser teaches a variety of criminology courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  She co-developed a course based on the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program pedagogy (  This course brings together 16 UK undergraduate students (i.e., “outside students) with 16 persons who are incarcerated (i.e., “inside students”) to study as peers in a college class behind prison walls. The goal of this course is to examine the use and misuse of drugs through the lens of sociological analysis with a specific focus on policy and treatment. In addition, she has served as a mentor to numerous graduate students, post-doctoral candidates, and junior faculty members, several of which have been supported on NIH fellowships. Dr. Oser was the receipent of the Outsanding Graduate Student Mentoring Award from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2016, the Mentor Recognition Award from the CCTS in 2015, and the Women in Science & Medicine Mentorship Award in 2018. 

Selected Publications: 

Perry, B., *Cheng Yang, K., *Kaminski, P., Odabas, M., Park, J., Martel, M., Oser, C., Freeman, P., Ahn, Y., & Talbert, J. (2019).  Co-prescription network reveals social dynamics of opioid doctor prescribing. Plus One, 1-16.  http://doi.10.1371/journal/pone/022389. PMID:31652266.


Oser, C., Harp, K. Pullen, E., *Bunting, A., Stevens-Watkins, D., & Staton, M.  (2018). African American women’s tobacco and marijuana use: The effects of social context, substance use beliefs, and risk perceptions.  Substance Use & Misuse, 54(6), 873-884. NIHMSID994639.


Oser, C., Pullen, E., Stevens-Watkins, D., Perry, B., Staton-Tindall, M., Havens, J., & Leukefeld, C.  (2017).  African American women and sexually transmitted infections: The perception of the contextual influence of unbalanced sex ratios and individual risk behaviors.  Journal of Drug Issues, 47(4), 54-561.


Oser, C., Bunting, A., Pullen, E., & Stevens-Watkins, D.  (2016).  African American female offender’s use of alternative and traditional health services after re-entry: Examining the behavioral model for vulnerable populations. Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, 27, 120-148. PMC4855295. 


Oser, C., & Harp, K.L.H.  (2015). Treatment outcomes for prescription drug misusers: The negative effect of client residence and treatment location geographic discordance. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 48(1), 1-18. PMID25200740.


Belenko, S., Dembo, R., Copenhaver, M., Hiller, M., Swan, H., Albizu-Garcia, C., O’Connell, D., Oser, C., Pearson, F., & Pankow, J. (2016).  HIV stigma in prisons and jails: Results from a staff survey. AIDS and Behavior, 20(1), 71-84.  PMID 26036464.


Luke, D., & Oser, C. (2015). Ebony and Ivory?: Interracial dating intentions and behaviors of African American women.  Social Science Research, 53, 338-350. PMC4509521.


Staton-Tindall, M., Harp, K.L.H., Minieri, A., Oser, C.B., Webster, J.M., Havens, J.R., & Leukefeld, C.G.  (2015). An exploratory study of mental health and HIV risk behavior among drug-using rural women in jail.  Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 38(1), 45-54. PMID25799305.


Pullen, E., & Oser, C. (2014).  Barriers to substance abuse treatment in rural and urban communities: A counselor perspectives. Substance Use & Misuse, 49(7), 891-901. PMC3995852.


Knudsen, H., Staton-Tindall, M., Oser, C., Havens, J., & Leukefeld, C.  (2014). Reducing risky relationships: A multi-site trial of a prison-based intervention for reducing HIV sexual risk behaviors among women with a history of drug use. AIDS Care, 26(9), 1071-1079. PMC4065193.


Pullen, E., Perry, B., & Oser, C. (2014).  African American women's preventative care usage: The role of social support and racial experiences and attitudes.  Sociology of Health and Illness, 36(7), 1037-1053.  PMC4146693.


Oser, C., Pullen, E., Biebel, E., & Harp, K.  (2013).  Causes, consequences, and prevention of burnout among substance abuse treatment counselors: A rural versus urban comparison. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 45(1), 17-27. PMC3652635.


Havens, J., Lofwall, M., Frost, S., Oser, C., Crosby, R., & Leukefeld, C.  (2013).  Factors associated with prevalent Hepatitis C infection among rural Appalachian injection drug users.  American Journal of Public Health, 103(1), 44-52. PMC3518360.


Jonas, A., Young, A., Oser, C., Leukefeld, C., & Havens, J (2012).  OxyContin® as currency: OxyContin® use and increased social capital among rural Appalachian drug users.  Social Science & Medicine, 74(10), 1602-1609.  PMC3331592.


Stevens-Watkins, D., Perry, B., Harp, K., & Oser, C.  (2012). Racism and illicit drug use among African American women: The protective effects of ethnic identity, affirmation, and behavior.  Journal of Black Psychology, 38(4), 471-496. PMC3904443.


Oser, C., Harp, K., O’Connell, D., Martin, S., & Leukefeld, C.  (2012).  Correlates of participation in self-help groups as well as voluntary and mandated substance abuse treatment among rural and urban probationers.  Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 42(1), 95-101. PMC3218255.


Havens, J., Oser, C., Knudsen, H., Lofwall, M., Stoops, W., Walsh, S., Leukefeld, C., & Kral, A. (2011).  Individual and network factors associated with non-fatal overdose among rural Appalachian drug users.  Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 115(1-2), 107-112. PMC3056907.


Oser, C., Leukefeld, C., Staton-Tindall, M., *Duvall, J., Garrity, T., Stoops, W., Falck, R., Wang, J., Carlson, R., Sexton, R., Wright, P., & Booth, B.  (2011).  Criminality among rural stimulant users in the United States.  Crime and Delinquency, 57(4), 600-621. PMC3115620. 


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