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Erica Crosley

Erica Crosley

2019 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Fellow

Emory School of Medicine
Study Title: Understanding Latino Lupus Patients’ Education Needs via Mixed-Methods Analysis of the Spanish-speaking Facebook Page “Hablemos de Lupus” (“Let’s talk about Lupus”)
Mentor: Christina Drenkard, MD., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Division of Rheumatology, Emory School of Medicine

About the Researcher

Erica Crosley is currently in her last year as a medical student and master of public health candidate at Emory University School of Medicine. She will be starting her residency in internal medicine the summer of 2020. Prior to medical school, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and Spanish from New York University and also worked for a NGO in Nicaragua leading community development projects.

How will your Lupus Foundation of America Grant help advance your research career?

“My overarching career goal is to be a physician at an academic institution contributing to patient care, teaching, and research. I would like to continue working at an institution that values the underserved and supports research that will benefit patients from all over the world. This grant is a big step for me to further my experience in academic medicine because it gives me the opportunity to design and implement a research project from beginning to end under the guidance of a knowledgeable research mentor. I'm able to use research skills I learned during my M.D./M.P.H. training and further demonstrate my commitment to academic medicine. Finally, it will allow me to apply my interest in global health to a research project, which is an important academic skill given our hyper-connected world.”

Summary from Crosley’s Research Proposal 

Systemic lupus erythematous, a chronic autoimmune disease with a wide spectrum of symptoms, affects over 5 million people. It is a complicated condition that leaves many patients and those close to them confused about what to expect after diagnosis and how to maintain their health. Lupus disproportionately affects minority populations, including the Latin community. Patients who are non-English speakers have trouble finding culturally-relevant lupus education materials. The Facebook page "Hablemos de Lupus" was created in 2017 to address a lack of resources for Latin Americans living with lupus, and it now has over 74,000 followers. The page provides a unique opportunity to understand more about Latin Americans with lupus and give insight into what they know and perceive regarding their lupus. What a patient understands and perceives about their disease may affect their self-management practices and, ultimately, impact their long-term outcomes. Our research aims to identify illness-perceptions, self-management needs and knowledge priorities of Latinos with lupus so that future education may better serve their needs.

Our research will recruit Latin-American persons with lupus to participate in an online survey through the Facebook page, and this survey will identify what they want to know. It will also allow us to study if educational needs differ based on certain things like how long a patient has been living with lupus. After the survey is complete, we will study user comments under "Hablemos de Lupus" posts in order to understand and contextualize what we learned in the survey. This type of study is called a “mixed-methods” study because it uses numerical data (survey answers) and non-numerical data (users’ written comments). The two approaches complement one another and allow for a deeper understanding of our question. We will share results in a video on the "Hablemos de Lupus" page and publicize our findings to physicians who care for Latino lupus patients.

Meet the Researcher

Learn more about research funded by the Lupus Foundation of America


For more information on Lupus Foundation on America’s granted research, please contact Ashley Marion at marion@lupus.org.