Karen Lasser, MD, MPH

Lasser FullCARE Unit Faculty

Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health


Crosstown Center, 801 Massachusetts Ave., 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02118


Dr. Lasser is a primary care internist, certified by the American Boards of Internal Medicine, and a health services researcher.

Her primary areas of expertise and research are quality of care, health disparities, health policy, smoking cessation, and primary care practice-based research to reduce prescription drug abuse.

She is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed publications, and was the former Director of Ambulatory Quality Improvement for the Department of Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School.  Her research has been supported by NIDA, NHLBI, AHRQ, CDC, and the American Cancer Society.

Boston University faculty appointment: 2009

Areas of Specialization

  • Quality of care
  • Health disparities
  • Health policy
  • Smoking cessation
  • Prescription drug abuse

Education and Training

General Internal Medicine, Harvard Medical Scho0l, Boston, MA 1999-2001

Resident (Primary Care/Internal Medicine), Boston City Hospital, Boston, MA, 1995-1998

MD, Cornell University, New York, NY
MPH (Clinical Effectiveness), Harvard University, Boston, MA
AB (History and Literature), Harvard College, Boston, MA

Honors and Awards

  • Honorable Mention for Research Achievement in Health Services and Outcomes Research, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2010
  • Best Oral Presentation, Society of General Internal Medicine’s distinguished, 2010
  • Honorable Mention for Best Poster, Evans Department of Medicine Research Days, Boston University School of Medicine,  2009
  • Daniel Ford Award for Research Achievement in Health Services and Outcomes Research, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2009
  • Scholars in Medicine Award, Harvard Medical School, 2004
  • Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals, 2003-2012
  • Who’s Who in Health Care and Medicine, 2003-2012
  • HRSA Institutional National Research Service Award, Harvard Medical School, 1998-2001
  • R. Knight Steele Award for Excellence in Geriatric Clinical Medicine, Boston Medical Center, 1998
  • Milton A. Rosenbluth International Medicine Fellowship, Cornell University Medical College, 1995
  • American Medical Student Association International Medicine Fellowship, 1995

Key Publications

Lasser KE, Boyd JW, Woolhandler S, Himmelstein DU, McCormick D, Bor DH.  Smoking and Mental Illness: a Population-based Prevalence Study.  JAMA. 2000; 284: 2606-2610.

Lasser KE, Kim TW, Alford DP, Cabral H, Saitz R, Samet JH.  Is unhealthy substance use associated with failure to receive cancer screening and flu vaccination?  A retrospective cross-sectional study.  BMJ Open. 2011 Jan 1; 1(1): e000046.  Epub 2011 Apr 7.

Lasser KE, Kenst K, Quintiliani L, Wiener R, Murillo J, Bowen D.  “Patient Navigation to Promote Smoking Cessation in Primary Care: Baseline Results from a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.” Proceedings of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine; Orlando, Florida; poster presentation.

Lasser KE.  Update in Smoking and Mental Illness: a Primary Care Perspective. Dual Diagnosis 2009; 5(2):191.

Lasser KE, Boyd JW. Varenicline and Smokers with Mental Illness. Lancet 2008,  372:1218.

Publications and NIH Grant Support