Bouchard, Karen

Dr. Bouchard is an Associate Scientist and Director of the Cardiovascular Health Promotion, Education, and Social Determinants Laboratory (the "CARES Lab") at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Her research program involves three intersecting priorities:

  1. advancing research on family-centric cardiovascular outcomes and care;
  2. improving education on the social determinants of health within cardiovascular medicine; and
  3. enhancing the rigor, impact, and training in qualitative methodologies in the cardiovascular sciences.

Dr. Bouchard leverages her background in Education and postdoctoral training in social relationships and health to understand and promote cardiovascular health in patients and their family members.


Dr. Bouchard received a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, and Master of Education from Queen’s University and a PhD in Education at the University of Ottawa. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow in social relationships and health at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, under the supervision of Dr. Heather Tulloch. She is a member of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance, the Patient Partnership Council, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Heart Team, and the ORACLE Brain and Heart Innovation Hub.

Dr. Bouchard has published widely in leading journals spanning the social, psychological, and cardiovascular sciences, including: Circulation, Health Psychology, the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, and the Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Dr. Bouchard was recognized as a “Rising Star” by the Association of Psychological Sciences – an award that globally recognizes 40 “top tier early career researchers” in Psychology. She was also recognized as the 2023 Ottawa Region Cardiovascular Trainee of the Year. Throughout her training, she has held continuous salary funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Doctoral award; Postdoctoral award – ranked 1st in the competition). Dr. Bouchard is the nominated principal investigator on a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, ORACLE Innovation Grant (UOHI), and a CIHR Catalyst Grant, in collaboration with Dr. Tulloch. Her research has been disseminated at local, national, and international conferences, including the European Society of Cardiology – Preventive Cardiology Congress, European Health Psychology Society, the American Psychosomatic Society.

Research and clinical interests

Dr. Bouchard’s research program broadly aims to identify, understand, and leverage social determinants to promote cardiovascular health and improve cardiovascular disease prognoses. She has a particular interest in the role of families in cardiovascular health and the ways in which other microsystem and broader macrosystem factors influence cardiovascular disease prevention and rehabilitation. In her research and knowledge translation activities, she integrates perspectives stemming from the social sciences (primarily psychology, sociology, and education) and emphasizes participatory approaches. Dr. Bouchard primarily uses qualitative and mixed methodologies in her research.


Selected publications:

  • Bouchard, K., Gareau, A., Sztajerowka¸ K., Greenman, P.S., Lalande, K., & Tulloch, H. (2022). Better together: Relationship quality and mental health among cardiac patients and spouses. Family Process. 
  • Bouchard, K., Dans, M., Quinlan, B., Higdon, G., & Tulloch, H. (2022). Caregiver distress and coronary artery disease: Prevalence, risk, outcomes, and management. Current Cardiology Reports. 
  • Bouchard, K., Liu, P., & Tulloch, H. (2022). The social robots are coming: Preparing for a new wave of virtual care in cardiovascular medicine. Circulation. 
  • Bouchard, K., Gareau, A., Gallant, N., Greenman, P. S., Sztajerowka, K., Lalande, K., & Tulloch, H. (2021). Dyadic effects of anxiety and depression on quality of life among couples facing cardiovascular disease. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 149, 110601.
  • Bouchard, K., Gareau, A., McGee, K., Lalande, K., Greenman, P. S., & Tulloch, H. (2021). Dyadic patterns of mental health and quality of life change in partners and patients during 3 months of cardiac rehabilitation. Journal of Family Psychology, 
  • Bouchard, K., Coutinho, T., Reed, J., Lalande, K., Tarannum, C. N., So, D., Saw, J., Mulvagh, S., & Tulloch, H. (2021). Recovering from Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: Patient-reported challenges and rehabilitative intervention needs. Health Psychology, 40(7), 472-479.
  • Bouchard, K., Tarannum, C. N., Coutinho, T., So, D., & Tulloch, H. (2020). Caring for patients post Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: A qualitative analysis of healthcare providers’ perspectives. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 36(7), 1156-1160.
  • Bouchard, K., Brownrigg, J., Quinlan, B., Bilodeau, J., Higdon, G., & Tulloch, H. (2020). Supporting the health and wellness of cardiac caregivers: Co-design in practice at a leading cardiac care centre. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 35(3), 268-272.
  • Bouchard, K., & Tulloch, H. T. (2019). Reducing caregiver distress and cardiovascular risk: A focus on caregiver-patient relationship quality. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 35(10), 1409-1411. 
  • Bouchard, K. L., & Tulloch, H. T.  (2019). Strengthening behavioral clinical trials through online qualitative research methods. Journal of Health Psychology. 
Karen Bouchard, PhD, Fellow, Clinical/Bio-behavioural Science

Bouchard, Karen

Bouchard, Karen

BEd, MEd, PhD, OCT
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Appointments and affiliations

Associate Scientist 
Director, CV Health Promotion, Education, and Social Determinants Laboratory
Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation
ORACLE Brain and Heart Innovation Hub

Assistant Professor
School of Epidemiology and Public Health
Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa