Honoring University Research Professor Carrie Oser

UKNow is highlighting the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 University Research Professors. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the professorship program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of research, scholarship and creative endeavors at UK. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2022) — Carrie Oser, the DiSilvestro Endowed Professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, has been named one of 14 University Research Professors. 

The 2022-2023 University Research Professorship Awards honor faculty members who have demonstrated excellence that addresses scientific, social, cultural and economic challenges in the Commonwealth, across the region and around the world. 

Individuals who displayed merit in research and scholarly activity within their area of expertise were nominated based on criteria developed by college leadership. Each University Research Professor receives a one-year award of $10,000. 

Oser is the associate director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation and associate director of the Substance Use Priority Research Area within the Office of the Vice President for Research. She also served as the interim associate dean for research in UK Arts and Sciences. Her other administrative roles include service as the associate department chair (2017-2021) and the inaugural co-director of the Health, Society, and Populations program — an interdisciplinary health-focused social science undergraduate major (2014-2017).

As a health criminologist, Oser is passionate about conducting rigorous high-impact research to improve the lives of individuals with substance use disorders (SUD).

“It’s a true honor to be recognized as a University Research Professor,” she said. “Substance use has personally touched my life, as several individuals in my family and friendship circles have SUDs. I’m proud to say most of my loved ones are in recovery or long-term remission, but one person did not get the medical help they needed resulting in a fatal overdose. This was preventable. These factors are the impetus for my career goal of increasing the number of people with SUDs who can live a productive, meaningful life.”

Oser has received numerous accolades and awards for her mentorship of more than 50 graduate students and early career-stage faculty, with a commitment to individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. As an addiction health services scholar, she leads interdisciplinary teams in conducting rigorous high-impact research to improve the lives of individuals with substance use disorders and promote health equity.

Additionally, Oser has been continuously funded as a principal investigator for more than 15 years by the National Institutes of Health on seven awards totaling more than $7 million and as a co-investigator on awards totaling more than $135 million using epidemiological longitudinal cohort, social network, implementation science, community-engaged research and intervention approaches.

Oser has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and her work has been featured in national media outlets. She has also provided congressional testimony and advised policymakers on best practices related to substance use disorder treatment.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.