Karen Hacker

Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Other Affiliations

Executive Director, Institute for Community Health

Senior Medical Director, Public and Community Health for Cambridge Health Alliance


Yale University BA Antrhropology 1977

Northwestern University School of Medicine 1982

Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency, Boston City Hospital 1985

Fellowship in Adolescent Medicine, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles 1987

Boston University School of Publilc Health 2000


Dr. Karen Hacker, MD MPH is the Executive Director of the Institute for Community Health (ICH), a community research organization dedicated to improving the health of communities;www.icommunityhealth.org. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and the Senior Medical Director for Public and Community Health at Cambridge Health Alliance. She has extensive experience working with diverse populations as a public health leader, health care administrator, primary care physician and community based participatory researcher. Throughout her career, she has worked with community partners to catalyze change in both practice and research environments. She previously served as interim Chief Public Officer for the City of Cambridge and the Division Director for Child and Adolescent Health at the Boston Public Health Commission. She is now leading the population health agenda for the Cambridge Health Alliance.

Dr Hacker’s research interests have been community responsive and have focused on adolescent risk and resiliency, child mental health and the social determinants of immigrant health  She has led efforts to incorporate behavioral health screening into pediatric primary care and worked with communities on issues of substance abuse and overdose prevention and youth suicide. More recently, she has been involved in the evaluation of the transformation of safety net institutions into accountable care organizations and is developing research infrastructure in local community health centers.

Recent Publications

Hacker K, Penfold, R, Zhang F, Soumerai S.  Impact of Electronic Health Record Transition on Behavioral Health Screening. Psychiatric Services. 2012;63(3):256-61

Hacker K,Chu J, Arsenault L, Marlin R.P. Provider’s Perspectives on the Impact of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Activity on Immigrant Health. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 2012;23(2):651-665

De Las NuecesD, Hacker K, DiGirolamo A, Hicks L. A Systematic Review of Community-Based Participatory Research to Enhance Clinical Trials in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups. Health Services Research. 2012; 47(3):1363-1386

Dryden D, Hardin J, McDonald J, Taveras E, Hacker K. Provider Perspectives on Electronic Decision Supports for Obesity Prevention. Clinical Pediatrics. 2012;51(5):490-497

DiGirolamo A, Geller A, Tendulkar S, Patil P, Hacker K Community-based Participatory Research Skills and Training Needs in a Sample of Academic Researchers from a Clinical and Translational Science Center in the Northeast. In press Clinical and Translational Science 2/2012

Hacker K, Tendulkar S, Rideout C, Bhuiya N, Trinh-Shevrin C, Savage CP, Grullon M, Strelnick H, Leung C, DiGirolamo A. Community Capacity Building and Sustainability: Outcomes of CBPR  In Press Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action.  4/2012

Hacker K, Yoon Choi S, Trebino L, Hicks L, Friedman E, Blanchfield B, Gazelle S. Exploring the Impact of Language Services on Utilization and Clinical Outcomes for Diabetics. 2012 PLoS ONE 7(6): e38507. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038507

Chomitz VR, McDonald J, Aske DB, Arsenault L Rioles, N, Brukilacchio L Hacker KA, Cabral H Evaluation results from an active living intervention inSomerville,MA. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In Press 6/2012

Leung C, Sprague-Martinez L, Chu J, Hacker K, Brugge D, Pirie A, Allukian N, Leslie L. Community engaged pedagogy: A strengths-based approach to involving diverse stakeholders in research partnerships. In Press Progress in community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. 6/2012

Fried L, Williams S, Cabral H, Hacker K. Differences in Risk Factors for Suicide Attempts Among Ninth and Eleventh Grade Youth: A Longitudinal Perspective In press 8/2012 The Journal of School Nursing