Photo of Karen E. Adams, M.D.

Karen E. Adams M.D.

    • Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology School of Medicine
    • Vice-Chair of Education Obstetrics and Gynecology School of Medicine

Dr. Adams has an office-based obstetrics and gynecology practice focused on two patient groups: healthy pregnant women, and women over 45.  She created the CWH Over-40 Clinic in 2010 to provide focused, specialized care to perimenopausal and menopausal women.  She works collaboratively with each woman to address both her current symptoms and her long-term health concerns. 

Menopausal medicine is a rapidly-changing area of women’s health care, and Dr. Adams stays up to date as a member of the North American Menopause Society and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. She gives a popular lecture called 51 is Getting Younger all the Time which provides updates to both patients and other health professionals on the science of menopause management. Although she no longer performs gynecologic surgery, Dr. Adams enjoys meeting new obstetrical patients and delivering babies. The best part of her job is welcoming back women she has cared for over 27 years of practice, and even providing OB/GYN care for young women she delivered!

After growing up in a small town outside of Houston, Texas and attending medical school in Houston, Dr. Adams came to OHSU for residency and never looked back. In her spare time, Dr. Adams stays active with yoga, Zumba and biking. On weekends and days off she can be found testing cupcake recipes for Prescription Cupcake, her dream bakery that she plans to sink all her retirement savings into. Traveling to semi-exotic locales also ranks high on her list.

From adolescence through perimenopause and menopause, Dr. Adams is passionate about helping her patients reach their health goals at any age.

Pregnancy and childbirth philosophy

"During childbirth, I try to stay out of the way as much as possible and allow the birth to proceed unhindered. But when I need it, I am grateful for the top-notch training, technology, and support at OHSU that allows us to deliver babies in a safe and healthy way."

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  • M.D., University of Texas at Houston, Houston Texas 1988
  • Residency:

    • Obstetrics and gynecology, Oregon Health & Sciences University, 1992
  • Certifications:

    • American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1996

Memberships and associations

  • American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology


  • "Mandatory parental notification" Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)  2004
  • "The Impact of Perceived Gender Bias on Obstetrics and Gynecology Skills Acquisition by Third-Year Medical Students" Academic Medicine April 2004
  • "Gestational surrogacy for a human immunodeficiency virus seropositive sperm donor" Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)  2003
  • "Ethics surrounding the impoverished patient." Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)  2004
  • "How resident unprofessional behavior is identified and managed" American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology June 2008
  • "Ethical considerations of complementary and alternative medical therapies in conventional medical settings" Annals of Internal Medicine October 15 2002
  • "Moral diversity among physicians and conscientious refusal of care in the provision of abortion services." Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)  2003
  • "The genetic revolution" Best Practice and Research in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology October 2002
  • "Ethical issues in gynecology" Current Women's Health Reports December 2002
  • "Ethics and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (multiple letters)" Annals of Internal Medicine June 3 2003
  • "Ethical considerations of applications of preimplantation genetic diagnosis in the United States" Medicine and Law  2003
  • "Physician reentry" Obstetrics and Gynecology May 2008
  • "What's "normal"" Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)  2004
  • "Effect of Balint training on resident professionalism" American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology November 2006
  • "Patient choice of provider gender." Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1972)  2003
  • "Applying to subspecialty fellowship" American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology February 1 2016
  • "Reproductive rights" AMA journal of ethics January 1 2004

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