Karen Farris received her BS in pharmacy from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and her doctorate from U-M, with training in pharmacy, social psychology, and health behavior. Her research and teaching focus on social theories to examine how individuals manage medications and how pharmacists in primary care settings influence medication use. She studies individuals’ medication adherence, reasons for non-adherence, including concern and necessity beliefs, and self-reporting adverse effects. She has quantified the impact of pharmacists’ care on medication adherence and health outcomes.

Farris has served on NIH study sections for Small Business Innovation Research; Risk, Prevention and Health Behavior Review; and Healthcare Delivery and Methodologies. She is an active member in the American Pharmacists Association, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, and Pharmacy Quality Alliance. She was named Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor in Biological and Life Sciences at the University of Iowa, in 2007, and an APhA Fellow in 2006.

Research Interests

  • Beliefs about medications and their impact on adherence (e.g., among older adults experiencing an adverse effect or among women using adjuvant chemotherapy)

  • Using reinforcement learning to improve medication use

  • Pharmacists’ roles in improving medication use and health outcomes

  • Pharmacists’ roles in public health (e.g., reducing unintended pregnancy)


  • 2020 2020 Awardees for IPE Innovation and Excellence (given to IPE 101 Task Force, of which I have been a member since its inception), Center for IPE
  • 2016 MICHR Distinguished Clinical & Translational Research Mentor Award, Michigan Institute for Clincial and Health Research
  • 2016 Univ of Michigan IPE Leadership Fellow, University of Michigan

Selected Publications

  • Jill Robertson*, Karen B. Farris, Susan Schultz, Ryan M. Carnahan, Brian Gryzlak, Elizabeth A. Chrischilles. Older adults’ views about ‘Managing Your Medications’ booklet. J Applied Geront 2013, DOI: 10.1177/0733464811421910. (*corresponding author)

  • Hae-Mi Choe, Karen B. Farris, James G. Stevenson, Kevin Townsend, Heidi L. Diez, Tami Remington, Stu Rockafellow, Leslie A. Shimp, Annie Sy, Trisha Wells, Connie J. Standiford. Patient Centered Medical Home: Developing, expanding and sustaining roles for pharmacists. Am J Health-Sys Pharm 2012;69:1063-71. PMID: 22644984. (*corresponding author)

  • Elizabeth John Unni, Karen B. Farris. Determinants of different types of medication non-adherence in cholesterol lowering and asthma maintenance medications: a theoretical approach. Pat Educ Counsel 2011; doi:10.1016/j.pec.2011.02.017. PMID: 21454030