Grantee: Susan Eggly

Susan Eggly

Susan Eggly

Communication Scientist and Health Behavior Researcher
  • Wayne State University

I am a communication scientist and health behavior researcher at the Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University. My research and teaching are focused on better understanding and improving patient-physician communication as a way to improve physical and psychosocial health outcomes for patients and their families. As Principal Investigator or co-investigator on several NIH-, foundation-, and internally funded grants, I have conducted this research in several medical settings, including adult oncology, adult primary care, pediatrics, and end-of-life care. My research is characterized by mixed methods and multidisciplinary collaborations. The hallmark of my work is the analysis of video recorded patient-physician interactions. Most of my work focuses on two areas—the effect of patient-physician communication on patient enrollment in clinical trials, and the effect of patient race on the quality of clinical interactions, and, in turn, patient outcomes. My research has led to the development of a theoretical model derived from social psychology and communication science. This model posits that patient and physician individual characteristics and attitudes influence the way they communicate during clinical interactions; in turn, their communication affects the treatments that physicians recommend and that patients accept. This model underlies my recent work in which I collaborated with a multidisciplinary team of researchers and community members to conduct a randomized clinical trial of a communication tool (a Question Prompt List) designed to improve communication during racially discordant oncology interactions. The model also underlies my research, recently funded by the National Cancer Institute (1R01CA200718-01), which is a complex, multilevel communication intervention designed to improve minority accrual to clinical trials by focusing on African American and White men with prostate cancer, their medical oncologists, and the clinical interactions in which these men may be offered a clinical trial.

I have always been passionate about better understanding how interpersonal communication, especially between people from different social groups, affects how people think and behave. This passion drives my work to better understand and improve patient-physician communication and healthcare in the context of racial disparities and cancer treatment.”

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