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Principal Associate, Digital and Data Services

Dr. Karen Stein is a lead survey methodologist with more than 15 years of research experience designing and pretesting surveys, conducting qualitative studies, and managing projects and programs. She has overseen teams designing and implementing methodologies, including 1:1 interviews, usability testing, and data analysis. She has made recommendations to major clients such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Census Bureau, Food and Nutrition Service, Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Department of Justice (DOJ).

Stein serves as the lead survey and data collection methodologist for multiple Abt projects. She is focusing particularly on the equity aspects of data collection, from ensuring the messaging to participants is culturally appropriate to aligning how we conduct the survey to the technologies participants use (e.g., telephone, in-person, web, smartphone, etc.). Her goal is to do everything we can to reduce bias in the results reported.

Before coming to Abt, Stein was senior study director at Westat. She led or contributed to more than 30 studies on topics ranging from prescription drug labeling and opioid misuse to e-cigarette use. She orchestrated a rapid message testing project to evaluate FDA messaging for consumers and healthcare professionals and led evaluation tasks for communications materials for the Census Bureau. 

Stein also organized focus groups to evaluate the messaging effectiveness of a public health campaign on skin cancer in Black and Hispanic populations. She managed operations for large- and small-scale client surveys. Stein conducted literature reviews, including one for a national study of health messaging, advertising, and eye-tracking technology. She also performed cognitive and usability testing of the National Crime Victimization Survey for the DOJ.


  • Survey development and design
  • Evaluations and recommendations
  • Program and project management
  • Qualitative study design and analysis
  • In-depth and cognitive interviewing

Key Projects:

  • Rapid Message Testing with Consumer Panels (FDA)
  • Assessing Changes to Prescription Drug Labeling for Pregnant and Lactating Women (FDA)
  • Cognitive Testing of the National Crime Victimization Survey Redesign (DOJ)
  • Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (FDA/National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • National Survey of Prescription Drug Promotion (FDA)


  • Stein, Karen. 2019. Getting Away From It All: Vacations & Identity. Philadelphia, PA, Temple University Press
  • Aikin KJ, Sullivan HW, Berktold J, Stein KL, Hoverman VJ. Consumers' experience with and attitudes toward direct-to-consumer prescription drug promotion: a nationally representative survey. Health Mark Q. 2021 Jan-Mar;38(1):1-11.
  • Buchanan Lunsford, N., Berktold, J., Holman, D. M., Stein, K., Prempeh, A., & Yerkes, A. (2018). Skin cancer knowledge, awareness, beliefs, and preventive behaviors among Black and Hispanic men and women. Preventive medicine reports, 12, 203–209
  • Sullivan, H. W., Aikin, K. J., Berktold, J., Stein, K. L., & Hoverman, V. J. (2020). Direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising and patient-provider interactions. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 33(2), 279-283.
Karen Stein