Caroline G Dorsen headshot

Caroline G Dorsen


Assistant Professor

1 212 998 5170

433 First Avenue
Room 746
New York, NY 10010
United States

Accepting PhD students

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Professional overview

Caroline G. Dorsen, PhD, FNP-BC, is an assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is a nurse scholar, nurse educator, and family nurse practitioner whose passion is the interface between health and social justice. Dorsen’s research focuses on health promotion, disease prevention, and reduction of healthcare disparities among underserved populations, including new immigrants, the homeless, drug users, and sexual and gender minorities (LGBTQ+). Her current research project looks at the impact of gender affirmation on risk and resilience among transgender and gender-diverse people.

Dorsen has been a primary care provider at numerous community health centers. In her current clinical practice, she provides primary and GYN care to homeless adolescents and adults. Dorsen is vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Community Healthcare Network, the nursing chair of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ + Equality, and a senior associate editor of Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health. She is also the nursing lead for SARET, an NIH-funded (R25) interprofessional substance use training program housed at the NYU School of Medicine.

An adjunct professor of nursing at NYU since 2003, Dorsen joined the faculty full-time in 2005 as the coordinator of the Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program. In 2012 she became the inaugural director of NYU’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program, and in 2015 she became an assistant professor and affiliated investigator with the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research. She was a founding member of the NYU College of Nursing Faculty Practice.

Dorsen received her PhD from NYU, MSN from Yale, BS in nursing from NYU, and BA in anthropology from UC Berkeley. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical and translational science at NYU School of Medicine.


Post-Doctoral Fellow - Center for Translational and Clinical Science Institute, NYU School of Medicine (2017)
PhD, Nursing Research and Theory Development - NYU College of Nursing (2014)
MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner - Yale University (Magna Cum Laude, 2001)
BS, Professional Nursing - NYU (Magna Cum Laude, 1997)
BA, Anthropology - University of California, Berkeley (Magna Cum Laude, 1991)


Underserved populations
Vulnerable & marginalized populations
Substance use
Primary care
Community/population health

Professional membership

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
Eastern Nursing Research Society
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ + Equality
National League of Nursing
National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty
Sigma Theta Tau International
World Professionals Advancing Transgender Health

Honors and awards

Faculty Honors Awards

Paulette Goddard Award, New York University (2018)
Outstanding Dissertation Award, NYU College of Nursing (2014)
Book of the Year (Gerontological category), American Journal of Nursing (2010)
Agnes and Rosemary Ludden Award for Innovative Nursing Practice, NYU College of Nursing (2010)
Vernice Fergueson Faculty Scholar Award, NYU College of Nursing (2007)
Milton and Anne Sidney Prize, Yale University School of Nursing (2001)
Baccalaureate Student Achievement Award, NYU Division of Nursing (1997)
Founder’s Day Award, New York University (1997)
Ursula Springer Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Writing, Ursula Springer, Inc (1997)
Spirit of Nursing Award, National Student Nurse Association (1997)
Helene Fuld Distinguished Scholar, Helene Fuld Trust (1997)
Helene Fuld Nursing Fellow, Helene Fuld Trust (1996)



Dysbiosis of the Gut Microbiome: A Concept Analysis

Perez, N. B., Dorsen, C., & Squires, A. (2019). Journal of Holistic Nursing. 10.1177/0898010119879527

Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Sexual Minority Women (18-59 Years Old): Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2012)

Caceres, B. A., Brody, A. A., Halkitis, P. N., Dorsen, C., Yu, G., & Chyun, D. A. (2018). Women’s Health Issues. 10.1016/j.whi.2018.03.004
Objective: Sexual minority women (lesbian and bisexual) experience significant stigma, which may increase their cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of modifiable risk factors for CVD (including mental distress, health behaviors, blood pressure, glycosylated hemoglobin, and total cholesterol) and CVD in sexual minority women compared with their heterosexual peers. Materials and Methods: A secondary analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2012) was conducted. Multiple imputation with chained equations was performed. Logistic regression models adjusted for relevant covariates were run. Self-report (medical history and medication use) and biomarkers for hypertension, diabetes, and high total cholesterol were examined. Results: The final analytic sample consisted of 7,503 that included 346 sexual minority women (4.6%). Sexual minority women were more likely to be younger, single, have a lower income, and lack health insurance. After covariate adjustment, sexual minority women exhibited excess CVD risk related to higher rates of frequent mental distress (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45–2.88), current tobacco use (AOR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.53–2.91), and binge drinking (AOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.17–2.34). Sexual minority women were more likely to be obese (AOR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.23–2.33) and have glycosylated hemoglobin consistent with prediabetes (AOR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.04–2.34). No differences were observed for other outcomes. Conclusions: Sexual minority women demonstrated increased modifiable risk factors for CVD, but no difference in CVD diagnoses. Several emerging areas of research are highlighted, in particular, the need for CVD prevention efforts that target modifiable CVD risk in sexual minority women.

Ceremonial ‘Plant Medicine’ use and its relationship to recreational drug use: an exploratory study

Dorsen, C., Palamar, J., & Shedlin, M. (2018). Addiction Research and Theory, 1-8. 10.1080/16066359.2018.1455187
Background: The ceremonial use of psychoactive/hallucinogenic plant based drugs, such as ayahuasca, psilocybin and others, is a growing trend in the United States (US) and globally. To date, there has been little research documenting how many people are using psychoactive substances in this context, who the users are, what benefits/risks exist in the use of these drugs and the relationship between ceremonial drug use and recreational drug use. In this paper we describe a cohort of plant medicine facilitators in the US and explore how they differentiate plant medicine use from recreational drug use. Methods: Using modified ethnography, individual interviews were conducted in 2016 with 15 participants who are currently facilitating plant medicine ceremonies in the US. Descriptive content analysis was performed to discover themes and to inform a larger mixed-method study. Results: Ceremonial drug use was seen by participants as a natural healing and treatment modality used in the context of community and ritual. Three main themes were identified relating to participants’ differentiation between ceremonial plant medicine use and recreational drug use: (1) participants see a clear delineation between plant medicine use and recreational drug use; (2) plant medicine is seen as a potential treatment for addiction, but concerns exist regarding potential interference with recovery; and (3) plant medicine use may influence recreational use. Conclusions: More research is needed on who is using plant medicine, motivators for use, perceived and real risks and benefits of plant medicine use and harm reduction techniques regarding safe ingestion.

Prevalence of Obesity, Prediabetes, and Diabetes in Sexual Minority Men: Results From the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Newlin Lew, K., Dorsen, C., & Long, T. (2018). Diabetes Educator, 44(1), 83-93. 10.1177/0145721717749943
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence and related odds ratios for obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes in sexual minority men (SMM) in relation to straight men. Methods: A secondary analysis of 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 19 states (n = 53 542) was conducted. Weighted means and standard errors were computed to estimate prevalence rates of obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes across male sexual orientation groups, respectively. Unadjusted and adjusted (demographics, depression, and health care access factors) weighted logistic regression models were developed. Results: Obesity prevalence was lower in gay men relative to straight men with logistic regression modeling indicating gay men were significantly less likely to be obese, relative to their straight counterparts, in the unadjusted and adjusted models. In terms of prediabetes, rates were low across all sexual orientation groups with no significant differences observed. Yet bisexual men, relative to straight men, had higher rates of diabetes with significantly increased odds for the disease in both the unadjusted and adjusted models. Conclusion: Findings indicate gay men have reduced risk for obesity while bisexual men may have increased diabetes burden. Across all male sexual orientation groups, prediabetes prevalence was low, suggesting the need for more aggressive prediabetes screening. Additional research is necessary to confirm the findings.

Prevalence of Obesity, Prediabetes, and Diabetes in Sexual Minority Women of Diverse Races/Ethnicities: Findings From the 2014-2015 BRFSS Surveys

Newlin Lew, K., Dorsen, C., D’Eramo Melkus, G., & Maclean, M. (2018). Diabetes Educator. 10.1177/0145721718776599
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to assess the weighted prevalence and odds ratios of obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes by (1) female sexual orientation (lesbian, bisexual, and straight) with racial/ethnic (Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white) groups combined and (2) across and within racial/ethnic groups by sexual orientation. Methods: A secondary analysis of pooled 2014-2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 28 states (N = 136 878) was conducted. Rao-Scott chi-square test statistics were computed and logistic regression models were developed to assess weighted prevalence and odds ratios of obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes with adjustments for demographics (age, income, and education), depression, and health care access factors. Results: With racial/ethnic groups combined, lesbian and bisexual women, relative to straight women, had a significantly increased likelihood for obesity when controlling for demographics. Bisexual women were found to have significantly reduced odds for diabetes, compared with straight women, with adjustments for demographics, depression, and health care access factors. Compared with their non-Hispanic white counterparts, Hispanic lesbian women had significantly increased odds for obesity and diabetes, while non-Hispanic black bisexual women had a significantly greater likelihood for obesity, holding demographics, depression, and health care access factors constant. Non-Hispanic white lesbian women had an increased likelihood for obesity relative to their straight, ethnic/racial counterparts. Prediabetes subsample analysis revealed the prevalence was low across all female sexual orientation groups. Conclusion: Sexual minority women, particularly those of color, may be at increased risk for obesity and diabetes. Research is needed to confirm the findings.

Qualitative Research in Nursing and Health Professions Regulation

Squires, A., & Dorsen, C. (2018). Journal of Nursing Regulation, 9(3), 15-26. 10.1016/S2155-8256(18)30150-9
Qualitative research is critical for studies about regulatory issues in nursing and across all health professions. When in-depth stakeholder perspectives are needed, qualitative approaches are often the best methodological choice to ensure their viewpoints and experiences are captured when evaluating the consequences of policy implementation or when informing regulation design. Unlike traditional qualitative health care studies that involve patients or providers in single settings, regulatory studies often have complex challenges related to the available sample sizes, sampling strategies, and data collection approaches. Reporting qualitative findings in ways that are informative, useful, and dialogue provoking about regulatory issues must go beyond inserting long quotes with a single sentence explanation. Artfully capturing the participants’ stories within the regulatory matter under study is vital for understanding potential and actual consequences of regulations. This article provides an overview of common methodological challenges researchers encounter when conducting qualitative research on professional regulation issues and offers solutions to enhance the quality, rigor, and trustworthiness of the findings. The recommendations may prove useful to researchers examining regulatory issues in nursing and other health professions.

Sexual orientation differences in modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease diagnoses in men

Caceres, B. A., Brody, A., Halkitis, P. N., Dorsen, C., Yu, G., & Chyun, D. (2018). LGBT Health, 5(5), 284-294. 10.1089/lgbt.2017.0220
Purpose: Despite higher rates of modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in gay and bisexual men, few studies have examined sexual orientation differences in CVD among men. The purpose of this study was to examine sexual orientation differences in modifiable risk factors for CVD and CVD diagnoses in men. Methods: A secondary analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2012) was conducted. Multiple imputation was performed for missing values. Differences across four distinct groups were analyzed: gay-identified men, bisexual-identified men, heterosexual-identified men who have sex with men (MSM), and heterosexual-identified men who denied same-sex behavior (categorized as exclusively heterosexual). Multiple logistic regression models were run with exclusively heterosexual men as the reference group. Results: The analytic sample consisted of 7731 men. No differences between heterosexual-identified MSM and exclusively heterosexual men were observed. Few differences in health behaviors were noted, except that, compared to exclusively heterosexual men, gay-identified men reported lower binge drinking (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.37-0.85). Bisexual-identified men had higher rates of mental distress (AOR 2.39, 95% CI = 1.46-3.90), obesity (AOR 1.69, 95% CI = 1.02-2.72), elevated blood pressure (AOR 2.30, 95% CI = 1.43-3.70), and glycosylated hemoglobin (AOR 3.01, 95% CI = 1.38-6.59) relative to exclusively heterosexual men. Conclusions: Gay-identified and heterosexual-identified MSM demonstrated similar CVD risk to exclusively heterosexual men, whereas bisexual-identified men had elevations in several risk factors. Future directions for sexual minority health research in this area and the need for CVD and mental health screenings, particularly in bisexual-identified men, are highlighted.

Supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender child or adolescent

Dorsen, C., Harris, M., & Paul, S. (2018). 10.1891/9780826116819.0034
The vast majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children face similar developmental hurdles as their heterosexual and cisgender (non-transgender) peers, and grow up to be happy, healthy, resilient adults. However, research suggests that LGBTQ+ children also face a number of special challenges that may impact self-esteem, social-emotional development, behavioral risk taking, and mental and physical health. This chapter synthesizes available evidence to help identify and intercept issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity among children and adolescents and offers suggestions for caring for this increasingly visible, vulnerable, and wonderful population. LGBTQ+ youth face dual challenges-the expected developmental and social hurdles of childhood and adolescence combined with the struggles inherent in recognizing and accepting one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity, including external and internal experiences of stigma and marginalization.

Pelvic pain in transgender men taking testosterone: Assessing the risk of ovarian cancer

Harris, M., Kondel, L., & Dorsen, C. (2017). Nurse Practitioner, 42(7), 1-5. 10.1097/01.NPR.0000520423.83910.e2
Some guidelines on care for transgender men taking testosterone recommend oophorectomy to prevent ovarian cancer, while others recommend following guidelines for females. A review of the literature finds no strong evidence that transgender men are at increased risk for ovarian cancer. In transgender men taking testosterone without other risk factors, oophorectomy to prevent cancer is unnecessary.

Open arms, conflicted hearts: nurse practitioner's attitudes towards lesbian, gay and bisexual patients

Dorsen, C., & Van Devanter, N. (2016). Journal of Clinical Nursing.