Karina M. Shreffler Selected as 2024 NCFR Annual Conference Program Chair

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA — The National Council on Family Relations’ (NCFR) Board of Directors has appointed Karina M. Shreffler, Ph.D., to be program chair for the 2024 NCFR Annual Conference, scheduled to be held Nov. 20-23, 2024, in Bellevue, Washington. The program chair’s primary duties are to select the theme, identify the plenary speakers, and prepare the call for abstracts for a particular year’s conference.

Dr. Shreffler is the Cyndy Ellis-Purgason endowed chair and professor of nursing at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is trained as a sociologist and demographer, having received both her master’s and doctoral degrees from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Shreffler’s research focuses broadly on the areas of maternal and child health, with a primary focus on reproductive and perinatal health and well-being.

Dr. Shreffler is an accomplished and award-winning scholar. She has been awarded over $2 million in extramural funding for her work and her findings have been used in widespread clinical applications and featured in local and national popular press outlets. Her work has resulted in five invited book chapters and 66 peer-reviewed journal articles published in key research journals in Family Science, health, demography, and social science.

Since 2019, she has served as a visiting scholar at the Vienna Institute of Demography, received the Oklahoma State University Teaching Fellow Award, and the Oklahoma State University Regents Distinguished Research Award. She also recently participated as a Faculty Fellow at the HERS Institute, one of the premier leadership development programs for women in higher education in the United States.

Dr. Shreffler is an established leader at NCFR, having held elected positions for over a decade. Most notably, she provided leadership to the Family and Health Section as secretary/treasurer, vice-chair, and then section chair. She also serves on the Conference Improvement Committee and was co-chair of the Administration and Leadership Focus Group. This high level of involvement demonstrates her colleagues’ confidence in her leadership abilities and reflects her familiarity with NCFR and its goals.

Dr. Shreffler has proposed the 2024 conference theme Building Resilience among Individuals, Families, and Communities, to focus on healing from lasting implications of the pandemic and societal division—particularly given the timing of the 2024 conference following a Presidential election. The conference will aim to bring together expert researchers and practitioners to explore how to foster resilience among families and within communities during a time when most of the world’s population will be looking for ways to heal from the challenges the pandemic has posed.

Dr. Shreffler’s proposed conference sessions and plenary speakers will highlight the lasting impact of the pandemic on children and families, exploring how healing can buffer the long-term impact of the adversities faced during this global event. Using an equity lens, sessions will highlight community-based solutions that are successfully promoting family and community well-being and explore how macro level political events impact the lived experiences of families and communities.

The NCFR Elections Council was impressed with the timely nature of Dr. Shreffler’s conference theme and her experience in translating her own academic work into evidence-based interventions. In their recommendation of Dr. Shreffler, the council wrote that she will “build a conference that will be thought-provoking, engaging, and inclusive of various perspectives.”


The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, visit the NCFR website at ncfr.org.