Karen E. Lasser, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Medicinelasserkaren11


MD, Cornell University Medical School, New York, NY
MPH, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

General field of research:

Health Disparities

Affiliations other than medicine:

Section of General Internal Medicine

Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School

Contact information:

801 Massachusetts Avenue, Crosstown #2091, Boston, MA 02118

Phone: (617)-414 6688

Fax: (617)-638 8026



Disparities; Patient navigation.

Summary of research interest:

Dr. Karen Lasser is a primary care physician-researcher in the Section of General Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Lasser has worked as a primary care physician in community health centers and safety-net hospital clinics since 1995. With an overarching interest in quality of care in primary care for underserved populations, she has published in the areas of cancer prevention (mammography rates in women with mental illness, barriers to colorectal cancer screening in patients served by community health centers), tobacco control (smoking rates in persons with mental illness), and access to care.

Dr. Lasser has served as the P.I. on grants from the American Heart Association, the Harvard Medical School Center for Excellence in Women’s Health, AHRQ, Partners Information Systems, and the Harvard Risk Management Foundation. She also is the recipient of a mentored research scientist award from the American Cancer Society to support her work exploring barriers to colorectal cancer detection in community health centers. She is currently conducting a randomized controlled trial of a primary care-based patient navigation to promote smoking cessation treatment.

Recent publications:

Lasser KE, Kronman AC, Cabral H, Samet JH. Emergency department use by primary care patients at a safety-net hospital. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Feb 13;172(3):278-80. PMID: 22332165.

Hanchate AD, Lasser KE, Kapoor A, Rosen J, McCormick D, D’Amore MM, Kressin NR. Massachusetts reform and disparities in inpatient care utilization.  Med Care. 2012 Jul;50(7):569-77. PMID: 22683590.

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.

Yu, T, Seger DL, Lasser KE, Karson AS, Fiskio JM, Seger AC, Bates DW. Impact of Implementing Alerts about Medication Black-box Warnings in Electronic Health Records. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 2011;20(2):192-202.

Lasser KE, Murillo J, Lisboa S, Casimir AN, Valley-Shah L, Emmons KE, Fletcher RH, Ayanian JZ.  Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Ethnically Diverse, Low-Income Patients: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011; May 23; 171 (10): 906-12.

Vimalananda V, Rosenzweig J, Cabral H, David MM, Lasser KE.  Comparison of Diabetes Control Among Haitians, African Americans, and Non-Hispanic Whites in an Urban Safety-Net Hospital. Diabetes Care 2011;34(1):58-60.

Zallman L, Ma J, Xiao L, Lasser KE. Quality of US Primary Care Delivered by Resident and Staff Physicians.  Journal of General Internal Medicine 2010; 25(11):1193-7.

Wilper AP, Woolhandler S, Lasser KE, McCormick D, Bor DH, Himmelstein DU. Hypertension, Diabetes, and Elevated Cholesterol Among Insured and Uninsured US Adults. Health Affairs 2009; 28(6):w1151-9.

Lasser KE, Murillo J, Medlin E, Lisboa S, Valley-Shah L, Fletcher RH, Emmons KE, Ayanian JZ. A Multilevel Intervention to Promote Colorectal Cancer Screening among Community Health Center Patients: Results of a Pilot Study. BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:37.

Wilper AP, Woolhandler SJ, Boyd JW, Lasser KE, McCormick D, Bor DH, Himmelstein DU. The Health and Health Care Of U.S. Prisoners: A Nationwide Survey. American Journal of Public Health 2009; 99(4):666-72.

Wilper AP, Woolhandler SJ, Boyd JW, Lasser KE, McCormick D, Bor DH, Himmelstein DU. Health Insurance and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health. 2009; 99(12):2289-2295.

Lasser KE, Maier J, Bandel K et al. Discussions about Preventive Services: a Qualitative Study. BMC Family Practice 2008, 9:48.

Lasser KE, Woolhandler SJ, Himmelstein DU. Sources of Physician Income in the U.S:  The Contribution of Public Funding to the Specialist-Generalist Income Gap. Journal of General Internal Medicine 2008; 23(9):1477-1481.

Lasser KE, Ayanian JZ, Fletcher RH, Good MD.   Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening in Community Health Centers: a Qualitative Study. BMC Family Practice 2008, 9:15.

PubMed link to Dr. Lasser’s publications