Marlaine Figueroa Gray, PhD

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“Listening to patient experiences of health, illness, and medical care is a privilege, and my most important work.”

Marlaine Figueroa Gray, PhD

Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Biography

Marlaine Figueroa Gray, PhD, is a medical anthropologist with a passion for eliciting illness narratives and health care experiences from patients, family members, and medical professionals. She has researched how the intersection of creative practices and medical care provide insight into understanding the logic of biomedical care, what counts as evidence that a creative activity "works," and how arts activities can serve as a model of how to provide better, more patient- and family-centered care. She is particularly interested in how we attend to patient suffering, and in what types of care are possible when no medical treatments are available.

Her previous work includes examining education policy in sub-Saharan Africa and developing curricula for health education, specifically HIV/AIDS education in Kenya and Mozambique.

Dr. Figueroa Gray has extensive experience designing qualitative studies and analyzing qualitative data. At Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), she uses this expertise to examine how patients, family members, and physicians make medical decisions when outcomes are uncertain and stakes are high, such as deciding whether or not to participate in an immunotherapy trial, or choosing which treatments to pursue as an adolescent or young adult with advanced cancer. She founded the KPWHRI Qualitative Research Interest Group, which supports outstanding qualitative research at the institute.

RESEARCH INTERESTS AND EXPERIENCE

  • Integrative Medicine and Arts in Healing Programs

    Participant experience; benefits; values and funding; legacy projects
  • Medical Education

    Use of the arts in medical education; history of medical education; medical school curriculum development
     
  • Global Health

    HIV/AIDS education; maternal and child health; sub-Saharan Africa

Recent publications

Gray M. Health and education in Merrueshi, Kenya. Presentation: Kenya Research Group, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle.

Gray M. 1930s: education lost in translation. A history of education in the United States. Online publication, January 2011.

Gray M. Resilience strategies of young women activists in Mozambique. Paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Gray M. Educating students to be culturally competent global citizens. Paper presnted at the Lilly-East Conference, University of Delaware, April 2008.

Gray M, Lam M. Building bridges through personal exploration and global competency. Paper presented in the Peace Education Special Interest Group at the Comparative and International Education Society, New York.

 

VOICE STUDY

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Understanding young adults’ experiences with cancer

The VOICE study aims to improve the health and health care of people who had cancer as adolescents and young adults.

clare project study

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Young adults with cancer speak about balancing hope and risk

The first Clare Project study asked about values and care preferences. Project leaders are now building on that foundation.