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Karen Rose

Rose and her dog, Trapper, a 15 year old Bassett-beagle mix walk in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, where she grew up.

Rose and her dog Trapper, a 15-year-old basset-beagle mix, walk in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where Rose grew up.

Karen Rose, a professor in the College of Nursing, specializes in gerontology, the study of aging. Her research focuses mainly on family caregiving and Alzheimer’s disease, finding ways to support family caregivers so they can care for their loved one at home as long as possible.

Rose has taught in the college’s graduate program since 2016. During her time at UT, she has been involved with starting new gerontology courses, garnering more funding for the college, and collaborating with the Pat Summitt Clinic at UT Medical Center.

Why this field?

Rose’s love for family fuels her passion for nursing. It’s a sentiment that has been with her since she was a child: in first grade, she received an award through a PBS station for an essay she wrote about what her family meant to her.

Rose earned her bachelor’s degree at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, and her master’s degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.

She started her career as a clinical nurse working in acute and critical care, most often with older adults.

After 20 years of nursing, she became the director of an Alzheimer’s association. There she interacted with many family caregivers and found she could relate to them because her own grandfather had the disease. As she listened to their challenges and struggles with the health care system, Rose was inspired to go back to school and get her doctorate at the University of Virginia so she could help find solutions for family caregivers.

“If you conduct research that’s meaningful, you can affect hundreds, thousands, millions of patients,” she said. “That’s what motivates me.”

Outside interests

Rose enjoys taking in the natural beauty of East Tennessee. She loves to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains—particularly on her favorite trail, Abrams Falls.

Rose also loves sports, reading, going to the theater, and visiting a wide variety of local eateries.

Due to her work and research, Rose travels a lot. She’s visited China, Australia, the United Kingdom, and 46 states.

Still on the bucket list

An avid baseball fan, Rose would love to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game—perhaps for her favorite team, the Washington Nationals.

If she didn’t do this . . .

She’d be a coach of some kind.

Rose said she is fascinated by the way teams work together in many of the same  ways families interact.

Pat Summitt was one of her greatest inspirations.

“Maybe someday I’ll ask Holly Warlick or Jeremy Pruitt if they need someone to step in for them,” she joked.

Favorite spot on campus

The view from Rose’s office window overlooks Peyton Manning Pass, right in front of Neyland Stadium. She loves watching graduates in their caps and gowns coming to take photos on the picturesque orange-and-white checkerboard crosswalks.

“I feel like I have the best view of the campus right here.”