Karen Chan Osilla

Photo of Karen Osilla
Senior Behavioral Scientist; Faculty Member, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in clinical psychology, University of Washington; B.S. in psychology, University of California, San Diego

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Karen Chan Osilla is a senior behavioral scientist and clinical psychologist at the RAND Corporation and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. She has been involved in over a dozen clinical trials evaluating cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing (web and in-person) for mental health and substance use disorders among youth, adult, military, and other underserved populations. She has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles on this research and trains across the country on cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing approaches to prevent and reduce the harms associated with substance use. She recently completed a trial evaluating a web-based program for military spouses concerned about their service member's drinking (Partners Connect). Currently, she is leading a trial evaluating a web-based program to prevent impaired driving among teens (web-CHAT), and another large study testing whether involving a patient’s family member/support person into opioid use disorder treatment can improve outcomes (INSPIRE). Osilla received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Washington.

Recent Projects

  • Delivering Treatment in DUI Programs to Reduce Alcohol-Related Disparities
  • Enhancing Housing First Programs with a Social Network Substance Use Intervention
  • Integrated Collaborative Care for Substance Use Disorders
  • Integrating Support Persons into Recovery (INSPIRE)
  • A Pilot Trial to Prevent Intoxicated and Impaired Driving Among Adolescents

Selected Publications

Osilla, K. C., Paddock, S., Leininger, T. J., D’Amico, E. J., Ewing, B. A., & Watkins, K. E., "A pilot study comparing in-person and web-based motivational interviewing among adults with a first-time DUI offense," Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 10, 2015

Osilla, K.C., Ortiz, J.A., Miles, J.N., Pedersen, E.R., Houck, J.M., & D’Amico, E.J., "How group factors affect adolescent change talk and substance use outcomes: Implications for motivational interviewing training," Journal of Counseling Psychology, 62(1), 2015

Osilla, K. C., Pedersen, E. R., Ewing, B. A., Miles, J. N. V., Ramchand, R., & D'Amico, E. J., "The effects of purchasing alcohol and marijuana among adolescents at-risk for future substance use," Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy, 9, 2014

Osilla, K. C., Watkins, K. E., D’Amico, E. J., McCullough, C. M., & Ober, A. J., "Effects of motivational interviewing fidelity on substance use treatment engagement in primary care," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 87, 2018

Smart, R., Osilla, K. C., Jonsson, L., & Paddock, S. M., "Differences in alcohol cognitions, consumption, and consequences among first-time DUI offenders who co-use alcohol and marijuana," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 191, 2018

, "Efficacy of a Web‐based Intervention for Concerned Spouses of Service Members and Veterans with Alcohol Misuse," Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, (44), 2018

Osilla, K.C., Paddock, S.M., McCullough, C.M., Jonsson, L., & Watkins, K.E , "Randomized Clinical Trial Examining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Individuals with a First-Time DUI Offense," Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2019

Osilla, K. C., Seelam, R., Parast, L., & D’Amico, E. J. , "Associations between driving under the influence or riding with an impaired driver and future substance use among adolescents," Traffic Injury Prevention, 2019


  • Young man drinking vodka

    Tools for Coping with a Military Spouse's Drinking

    A new research study and web program, Partners Connect, was launched in September to help military spouses concerned about a loved one's drinking.

    Oct 5, 2015 SpouseBUZZ

  • young woman smoking and drinking coffee

    Teen Employment May Not Always Be a Boon for At-Risk Youth

    For all teens, and especially those who have already experienced problems related to alcohol and drug use, it is essential to monitor the quality of work experiences and keep in mind that some work environments might increase risk for substance use.

    Dec 18, 2012