Dr. Karen Ingersoll is a clinical health psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. Her work involves motivating people to change behaviors at the intersection of addiction and health. Her team has created and tested psychological interventions such as CARRII, an eHealth intervention to reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancy based on the seminal CHOICES intervention, Pos4Health, an eHealth intervention for the 6 top behavioral problems for people living with HIV, PositiveLinks, an award-winning mHealth platform for retention in HIV care, and bhoos, a mobile app focused on safety for college drinkers. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a foundation of these interventions. With colleagues, she has adapted MI for group therapy and couples. As a clinician, she provides patient care weekly at UVA’s Ryan White clinic. In addition to U.S. work, she conducts research on MI and alcohol-related sexual risks in Limpopo, South Africa.
She is a first generation college student, and earned her B.A. in Psychology from Louisiana State University, making her a lifelong LSU Tigers football fan. While she was earning her subsequent degrees, her Czech immigrant grandfather asked why she had to go to college AGAIN. Despite bewildering her family by never leaving academia, she completed her masters in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Southern Methodist University, her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia’s former Institute of Clinical Psychology, and a post-doctoral fellowship focusing on Addiction Medicine and Health Psychology at the Medical College of Virginia. She was a faculty member in the Departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1993-2005 before joining the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2005.
Dr. Ingersoll grew up in New Orleans and loves to cook its specialty dishes. She has two sons and two stepdaughters, and is overjoyed that she no longer has to oversee any of their daily lives. She is happiest spending time with her family at the beach or skiing. She loves live music and has been known to travel outrageous distances on a work night to see bands. Sadly, her own musical talent is limited to three punk guitar chords and singing in the shower. During the COVID-19 era, she alternates time in the office (feeling lonely despite endless Zoom meetings) with working from home on the rare occasion when the internet signal is strong enough.