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Karen Tabb Dina

Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Research Interests

Karen Tabb Dina, PhD, MSW is professor in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work and faculty affiliate at Carle Foundation Hospital, the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies, and the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives. Her research agenda focuses identifying risk factors for morbidity and mortality among perinatal women and clinical factors to improve minority health. Dr. Tabb has authored over 80 publications, including articles in journals such as Ethnicity & Health, General Hospital Psychiatry, The Journal of Affective Disorders and the Journal of Psychosomatic Research. She is an expert collaborator (in the areas of diabetes, mental health, maternal health, and North America) for the Global Burden of Disease Study where she contributes in estimating population morbidity and mortality for 188 countries. She serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers.

Dr. Tabb has received research and training support from several state and federal agencies including the Illinois DHS, the NIH and PCORI.  She has sustained a multi-site PCORI-funded project to engage pregnant and postpartum women as collaborators in perinatal depression research. Currently, she is Principal Investigator (PI) on an Illinois DHS project to improve outcomes in the first 1,000 days of life for 11 counties through systems development efforts.

Her research and commentary have appeared in numerous television, radio and print sources, including TEDx, WILL, WTAX, WCIA, WJBC, WRSP, WBBM, WTTW, InStyle Magazine, and the Washington Post Syndicate to name a few. In 2019, Dr. Tabb received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Thought Leader Award for Leading in Peer-Reviewed Publications, the New Connections Program’s premier honor for early career faculty. 

Karen Tabb Dina received her PhD in Social Welfare and a Certificate in Demographic Methods from the University of Washington in Seattle. She received her Master of Social Work, concentrating in Social Policy and Evaluation, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Eastern Michigan University.


BA, Sociology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti

MSW, Social Policy & Evaluation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

PhD, Social Welfare and Social Demography, University of Washington, Seattle

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, School of Social Work
Professor, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives
Professor, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Professor, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies
Professor, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
Affiliate, Center for Social and Behavioral Science

Recent Publications

Beck, D. C., Tabb, K., Tilea, A., Vance, A. J., Hall, S., Schroeder, A., & Zivin, K. (2024). Diagnosed behavioral health conditions during the perinatal period among a commercially insured population by race/ethnicity, 2008–2020. Frontiers in Public Health, 12, Article 1345442.

Dossett, E. C., Stuebe, A., Dillion, T., & Tabb, K. M. (2024). Perinatal Mental Health: The Need For Broader Understanding And Policies That Meet The Challenges. Health Affairs, 43(4), 462-469.

Hong, J. S., Yan, Y., Espelage, D. L., Tabb, K. M., Caravita, S. C. S., & Voisin, D. R. (2024). Peer Victimization and Adverse Psychosocial Wellbeing of Black/White Biracial Adolescents: Is Ease of Talking With Family a Protective Buffer? School Psychology Review, 53(1), 17-30.

Tabb, K. M., Hsieh, W. J., Ramirez, X. R., & Kopels, S. (2024). State legislation and policies to improve perinatal mental health: a policy review and analysis of the state of Illinois. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 15, Article 1347382.

Zivin, K., Pangori, A., Zhang, X., Tilea, A., Hall, S. V., Vance, A., Dalton, V. K., Schroeder, A., Courant, A., & Tabb, K. M. (2024). Perinatal Mood And Anxiety Disorders Rose Among Privately Insured People, 2008–20. Health Affairs, 43(4), 496-503.

View all publications on Illinois Experts