Hear from our faculty about their research into the disparities of disease, medicine and health care, and learn about what they've found.
Camille Frazier-Mills, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine (Cardiology), came to Duke as an internal medicine resident in 1999. The first time she visited Duke, she met the members of the Minority Recruitment and Retention Committee (MRRC) and felt at home right away. Today she is the associate chair of the MRRC, focusing on alumni affairs. “The MRRC is like family,” she says
Emily O’Brien, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (Clinical Pharmacology and the Duke Clinical Research Institute), uses the tools of epidemiology to try to improve clinical care of patients with chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. “My research is mostly at the intersection between clinical research and epidemiological research,” she says. “I love focusing on large-scale problems and using data from many people to come up with actionable strategies for improving health.”
Susan Gurley, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine (nephrology), says her job is the best in the world. “I get to work with the most talented folks and engage in challenging and important biomedical research. Furthermore, I get to complement my research interests with patient care, using what I have learned in the lab to help patients. Being a scientist definitely makes me a better doctor, and vice versa.”
The diabetes patients of Susan Spratt, MD, assistant professor of medicine (Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition), don’t always come to see her. Sometimes she goes to see them. “Although there have been numerous therapeutic advances in diabetes treatment, there remain huge disparities in outcome,” she says. “I want to be a voice and advocate for patients with high-risk diabetes.”
Clarissa Jonas Diamantidis, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine (General Internal Medicine and Nephrology), started her residency at Duke focused on cardiology. “My father was a Black-Hispanic cardiologist with an interest in health disparities and access to care,” she says, “and I was intent on following in his footsteps.”
Steven Patierno, PhD, professor of medicine (Medical Oncology) and deputy director of the Duke Cancer Institute, studies the biological underpinnings of disparities in prostate cancer among African American and Caucasian men. "The biggest question is not who’s going to get prostate cancer—just about every man over 80 years is going to have it—the biggest question is who’s going to die from it?"
Kimberly Johnson, MD is creating a new research program on health disparities in palliative care among underserved populations. “I have always been deeply moved by the experiences of patients who are near the end of life,” Dr. Johnson said. “At some point, it became clear to me that this experience was different for African Americans.”
Bryan C. Batch, MD has a particular interest in racial disparities related to overweight, obesity, and diabetes. “My interest grew as I spent more time taking care of patients and witnessed racial disparities in morbidity and mortality related to chronic illness like type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Batch.
Leonor Corsino, MD is the associate chair for the Minority Recruitment and Retention Committee as well as the leader for the Department of Medicine Latino Initiative.“This initiative aims to increase the presence of Latinos at all levels in the Department,” she said. “This year we had a very successful match with a total of three categorical Latino residents and one preliminary resident. We are so excited to welcome them to our Duke family!”