Crystal Piper is an associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences. She is a trained health services researcher, and her interests in health disparities have been shaped over the past 15 years, and are guided by her belief that quality health care is a right and not a privilege. Her research agenda focuses on reducing and eliminating disparities in chronic diseases and disease management across the lifespan in vulnerable populations, particularly African Americans.
She currently has 25 publications and more than half involve chronic disease research. She has successfully obtained funding from both internal and external resources at UNC Charlotte and from the Mecklenburg County N.C. Health Department.
The primary goal of the proposed research study is to examine health outcomes and determine whether cognitive functioning and social support are associated with diabetes self-management in older African Americans. Specifically, she plans to collect primary data using questions from the national Health and Retirement Survey on African American patients in a clinic setting to examine diabetes comorbidities (hypertension, heart disease, and stroke) and health outcomes on diabetes self-management, and determine the degree to which cognitive functioning and social support (e.g. family & friends) are associated with diabetes self-management and diabetes health outcomes.