Caroline G Dorsen headshot

Caroline G Dorsen


Assistant Professor

1 212 998 5300

433 First Avenue
Room 528
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Caroline Dorsen is a Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) with over two decades of experience as a health educator, RN and NP. She received a BA from UC Berkeley in anthropology, a BS in nursing from NYU, a MSN from Yale, all magna cum laude, and a PhD from NYU. Her dissertation was on Nurse Practitioner’s attitudes towards, and experiences working with, lesbian, gay and bisexual patients: a grounded theory. An adjunct professor of nursing at NYU since 2003, she joined the faculty full-time in 2005 as the Coordinator of the Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. In 2012 she became the inaugural coordinator of NYU’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program and in 2015, she transferred to the tenure track as an Assistant Professor and Affiliated Investigator with the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR). Caroline’s research focuses on the health promotion, disease prevention and reduction of healthcare disparities for underserved populations including new immigrants, the homeless and LGBT persons. She has been a primary care provider at numerous community health centers and was a founding member of the NYU College of Nursing Faculty Practice. In her current clinical practice she provides full scope primary care to homeless adolescents and adults.


2017 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Translational and Clinical Science Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
5/2014 PhD Nursing Research and Theory Development, New York University College of Nursing, New York, NY
5/2001 MSN Family Nurse Practicioner, Yale University, New Haven, CT Magna Cum Laude
5/1997 BS Professional Nursing, New York University, New York, NY Magna Cum Laude
12/1991 BA Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA Magna Cum Laude

Honors and awards

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


Underserved populations
Substance use
Primary care

Professional membership

Eastern Nursing Research Society,
Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI),
National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF),
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners,
National League of Nursing



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. G. (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.

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.

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

Dorsen, C., & Van Devanter, N. (2016). Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25(23), 3716-3727. 10.1111/jocn.13464
Aims and Objectives: To explore nurse-practitioner's attitudes towards working with lesbian, gay and bisexual patients. Background: Literature suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals have significant health disparities compared to heterosexuals. Although the reasons are multifactorial, research suggests that attitudes of healthcare providers (HCPs) may be a contributing factor in both accessing and receiving care. There is currently no literature exploring the attitudes of the approximately 300,000 nurse-practitioners in the United States. Thus, nurse-practitioners strengths and challenges in providing care to sexual minorities are unknown. Design: As part of a larger study, Corbin & Strauss’ grounded theory methodology was used to explore the attitudes towards lesbian, gay and bisexual patients among primary care nurse-practitioners in NYC. Methods: Data were collected via individual semi-structured interviews with nurse-practitioners currently in practice in primary or outpatient care in NYC (n = 19). Data were evaluated using the three-step constant comparison method. Results: Nurse-practitioners in this study had varied, often overlapping and sometimes conflicting, attitudes about working with lesbian, gay and bisexual patients. The main theme identified was ‘open arms, conflicted hearts’ with three major subthemes – feeling at home, struggling to maintain professionalism and finding comfort under the umbrella of diversity. Conclusions: Nurse-practitioner participants in this study had varied attitudes about working with lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, ranging from open, confident and comfortable to ambivalent, cautious and unsure about working with lesbian, gay and bisexual patients generally and specifically regarding the health needs of this population. Relevance to clinical practice: This study highlights the inadequate didactic and clinical preparation most nurse-practitioners feel they have to care for lesbian, gay and bisexual patients. There is a need for increased education for registered nurses and nurse-practitioners regarding lesbian, gay and bisexual culture, their unique healthcare needs, as well as the role of stigma and marginalisation in caring for vulnerable populations.

Haber et al. respond

Haber, J., Hartnett, E., Allen, K., Hallas, D., Dorsen, C., Lange-Kessler, J., Lloyd, M., Thomas, E., & Wholihan, D. (2015). American Journal of Public Health, 105(5), e3-e4. 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302648

Putting the mouth back in the head: HEENT to HEENOT

Haber, J., Hartnett, E., Allen, K., Hallas, D., Dorsen, C., Lange-Kessler, J., Lloyd, M., Thomas, E., & Wholihan, D. (2015). American Journal of Public Health, 105(3), 437-441. 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302495
Improving oral health is a leading population health goal; however, curricula preparing health professionals have a dearth of oral health content and clinical experiences.We detail an educational and clinical innovation transitioning the traditional head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat (HEENT) examination to the addition of the teeth, gums, mucosa, tongue, and palate examination (HEENOT) for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of oral-systemic health. Many New York University nursing, dental, and medical faculty and students have been exposed to interprofessional oral health HEENOT classroom, simulation, and clinical experiences. This was associated with increased dental-primary care referrals.This innovation has potential to build interprofessional oral health workforce capacity that addresses a significant public health issue, increases oral health care access, and improves oral-systemic health across the lifespan.

Cardiac biomarkers in persons with HIV infection: A review of the literature

Chandler, C., & Dorsen, C. (2014). The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care : JANAC, 25(1), 83-91. 10.1016/j.jana.2012.11.007

Improving heart failure self-care through a community-based skill-building intervention: A study protocol

Dickson, V. V., Melkus, G. D., Dorsen, C., Katz, S., & Riegel, B. (2014). Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000161
BACKGROUND: Self-care is the cornerstone of heart failure (HF) management. Numerous approaches to improving HF self-care, which involves adherence to the treatment plan, routine symptom monitoring, and the response to symptoms when they occur, have been developed with little impact on HF outcomes. On the basis of HF practice recommendations that patients receive education and counseling that emphasizes self-care and targets skill building of critical target behaviors, we are conducting a clinical trial designed to improve self-care among community-dwelling older adults using an innovative group-based, skill-building approach led by a trained health educator. OBJECTIVE: This article describes the study design and research methods used to implement and evaluate the intervention. METHODS: The study uses a staggered randomized controlled design to assess feasibility of providing an HF self-care intervention in a community group setting to improve HF self-care, knowledge, and health-related quality of life at 1 and 3 months. A community engagement approach is used to partner with the community throughout all phases of the project. Seventy-five older adults with HF are randomly assigned to the intervention consisting of six to eight 60-minute sessions held in community senior centers or to the wait-list control group. Focus groups are used to elicit feedback on the participants' experience in the program. RESULTS: Preliminary study participation data (n = 60; women, 48%; black, 27%; Hispanic, 32%; mean [SD] age, 70 [10] years) and focus group feedback suggest that the delivery approach is feasible and acceptable, and the participants are very satisfied with the program. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of a community-based HF self-care intervention delivered in partnership with established community-based centers is an innovative approach to intervention. If efficacy is demonstrated, this intervention has far-reaching implications for helping the growing population of HF patients in ethnically diverse communities.