avatar for Karen Davison

Karen Davison

University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Fulbright Canada Research Chair

As the first Canadian registered dietitian to be awarded a Fulbright Canada Research Chair, Dr. Davison is currently a scholar at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa and visiting scholar with the Center for Global Health’s Mental Health Thematic Group. Her current research focuses on comparing U.S. and Canadian programs and policies related to mental health, nutrition, and food insecurity. She is a recent alumna of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Intersections of Mental Health Perspectives in Addictions Research Training (IMPART) program where she conducted investigations about eating issues, mental health, addictions, and settlement of immigrants in Canada; led the development of the Dietitians of Canada (DC) role papers about nutrition and mental health; and collaborated in the development of a national nutrition and mental health research agenda. For her work with IMPART she received a DC Peer Recognition Award and Popular Science’s Magazine Clinical Leader Recognition.


As a current research affiliate with the Social Justice Centre and Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, as well as faculty member in the health science and nursing programs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University she is engaged in applied research that examines the dimensions of wellness and lifestyle practices of emerging adults, peer health coaching for individuals with mental health issues, and community food insecurity. Currently, she is the principal investigator of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, CIHR, BCcampus and Katalyst funded projects related to personalized nutrition, the use of virtual environments, and mental health.


As a researcher, educator, and nutrition practitioner Dr. Davison is strongly committed to fostering social justice and health equity. Throughout her career, she has been awarded in excess of $3 million in funding, including from all Canadian tri-council agencies and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, as a principal applicant or collaborator, and has authored more than 100 scientific journal articles, books and book chapters, technical reports, and professional resources.