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Karen Tessier, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor

School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
University of Hawaii at Manoa
2528 McCarthy Mall, Webster Hall 408
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Phone: 956-5015
Fax: 808-956-3257

Larger photo of Karen Tessier, PhD, RN


Dr. Tessier’s area of focus is child and family health, particularly child safety and injury prevention. She is particularly interested in the area of child passenger safety, and the use, misuse, and nonuse of child safety restraints (car seats, boosters, and safety belts) in vehicles. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of child injury deaths, and most of these deaths are because the child is not correctly restrained.

Her dissertation research was a randomized clinical trial comparing a hands-on method of teaching parents how to correctly install and use a new child restraint vs. no hands-on teaching. The results showed that the hands-on teaching was significantly more effective. This information can help those working in the field to use the most effective methods to decrease preventable deaths.

Dr. Tessier’s current research is in the area of parent’s perceptions of risk for injury to their child. She is surveying parents of young children to find what they consider to be the most likely and most serious risks facing children. The results can guide efforts to educate parents on protective strategies to help keep their child safe.

She is active in the community in a variety of child health and safety projects, including child abuse prevention and child passenger safety. In 2007, Dr. Tessier was presented with the Champion Award by the Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition/Safe Kids Hawaii.


PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa
MS, University of Hawaii at Manoa
BS, University of Connecticut

Clinical Practice

Pediatrics, Child health and safety in the community.

Teaching Focus

Child Health Nursing, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention, Pain Management, Death and Dying/End of Life/Bereavement, and Complex Nursing Practice.

Research Focus

Child safety and injury prevention.

Recent Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Kataoka-Yahiro, M., Tessier, K., Ratliffe, C., Cohen, Matsumoto-Oi (2001). Learning-Service Community Partnership Model: A Pediatric Program Evaluation. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 16(6).

Non-Refereed Journal Articles

Tessier, K. (2010). Effectiveness of hands-on education for correct child restraint use by parents. ACCIDENT ANALYSIS AND PREVENTION, 42(4), 1041-1047.

Book Chapters

Tessier, K. J. (1998). Death and Dying – Celebrating Life. Clinical Pediatric Physical Therapy: A Guide for the Physical therapy Team. Honolulu: Mosby.

Funded Grants

Parents Perceptions of Risk for Injury to Their Child
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Extramural Associates Research Development Award (EARDA) pilot research project
Funded 2009 for $20,000
Principal Investigator

Infant Passenger Restraint Education Study (Dissertation)
UHM SONDH Office of Faculty Research
Seed grant funded in 2005 for $5,000
Principal Investigator

Infant Passenger Restraint Education Study (Dissertation)
Clinical Research Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa & Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children, Research Centers in Minority Institutions award, P20 RR11091, from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health
Funded in 2002 for $10,145

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