RISE Scholars

Crystal Cene, MD, MPH
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
RISE Cohort 4


My interest in implementation science research to address health equity stems from my personal and professional experiences as a primary care physician and family caregiver for adults with serious chronic medical conditions. I was introduced to chronic illnesses and their sometimes fatal consequences by witnessing their effects on my own and other families for whom I have had the privilege to provide care. My experience as a family member, without any other “official” designation, trying to communicate with physicians on behalf of my family members was could be could be characterized by the phrase “access denied.” Yet, me, as a family member who could also be identified as a physician, allowed me “open access.” Unfortunately, for many racial/ethnic minorities or other vulnerable groups, they do not have family members, who are also physicians, who can bridge this gap between those who need care and their health care providers. This double standard ignited my passion to pursue a research agenda which examines the impact of family member involvement in clinical care and decision-making on processes and outcomes of care, particularly for racial/ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups. My goal is to develop pragmatic interventions which can be implemented in “real world” clinical practices to enhance the provision of patient- and family-centered and improve health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities, using a health equity framework.