Seeking Better Connection

For it to be — and do — any good, the relationship between a health-care provider and a patient must be built on trust. So, when Dr. Coretta Jenerette noticed that patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) — 98 percent of whom are African-American — were being stigmatized as drug-seeking when looking for relief from their chronic pain, she took action.

Through her research and advocacy, she has become a champion for this often overlooked population, combating racial stereotypes in health care and developing practical tools for better communication between SCD sufferers and those who provide them care. Through an innovative iPhone app, Dr. Jenerette is transforming care for individuals and families touched by SCD by empowering them to clearly communicate their needs to health-care providers.

Dr. Jenerette advocates for more SCD experts in North Carolina, and has received multiple honors, awards and grants for her pioneering role in the field. And her research illustrates the importance of diversity in the nursing workforce, as unsatisfactory care all too often stems more from a lack of understanding than a lack of ability. Dr. Jenerette lives out Carolina Nursing’s core belief that every person deserves to feel understood by those caring for them.

Coretta Jenerette is a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar whose project focuses on improving the health outcomes of people living with and managing sickle cell disease. As a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar, she participates in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance her engaged scholarship. She also receives a stipend to advance that research.

This is story number 175 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

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