Cristina Drenkard, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Emory School of Medicine
Cristina Drenkard, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor at the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Emory University. She also has a joint appointment at the Department of Epidemiology in the Emory Rollins School of Public Health. She earned her MD degree in the School of Medicine, National University of Rosario, Argentina. She underwent postgraduate training in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. In 1987, she undertook additional training in Clinical Epidemiology in Mexico City at the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Dr. Salvador Zubirán. Mentored by Dr. Donato Alarcon-Segovia, she focused her research on the clinical description and outcomes of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and antiphospholipid syndrome in Latin American patients. In 1993, she became a faculty member in the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology of the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Dr. Salvador Zubirán until 1997, when she returned to Argentina and joined the Division of Rheumatology in the National Hospital of Córdoba. In 2002, she earned a Ph.D. in Medicine from the National University of Cordoba, Argentina.
For the past 20 years, she has focused her research on lupus health disparities, emphasizing patient-centered outcomes and behavioral interventions. Her interest areas are (i) SLE and cutaneous lupus in minority populations; (ii) impact of social determinants of health and psychosocial factors on patient-centered outcomes; (iii) lupus self-management interventions; (iv) patient and provider education to reduce the gaps in minorities with lupus.
She is currently the Principal Investigator of the Women Empowered to Live with Lupus (WELL) Study, an NIH-R01 funded behavioral trial to examine the effectiveness of a community-based self-management intervention in Black women with SLE. Since 2004, she has served as the Co-PI of two CDC-funded projects, the Georgia Lupus Registry (GLR) and the Georgians Organized Against Lupus (GOAL) Cohort. She is a collaborator of SELF, an online program lead by the LFA to improve self-management in people with lupus.
In 2017, she founded an online-health education program in Spanish and Portuguese called “Let’s Talk about Lupus,” which targets Latin American people with lupus and their caregivers. She is the Director of a social media-based program called “Is I Lupus?”, aiming to raise awareness and educate Latin American primary care providers about lupus with the overarching goal of early diagnosis. She has served as scientific advisor for multiple organizations, including the American College of Rheumatology, to develop and implement self-management education for SLE and lupus nephritis.