Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE
My research program seeks to elucidate the complex relationships among the social environment, health care use, and health outcomes, particularly focusing on issues of critical policy importance in cancer control. This research is defining a new field of health services research that builds upon and integrates the disciplines of social epidemiology and health economics. I have investigated the impact of genetic information on insurance outcomes (demonstrating that insurance discrimination concerns affect testing uptake but genetic information has little incremental impact on actuarial predictions), the effectiveness of risk communication (demonstrating that testing uptake is driven by baseline breast cancer risk perception but the impact of genetic risk information is limited by cognitive and affective factors) and the social factors that influence the uptake of genetic susceptibility testing (demonstrating large racial disparities in the use of BRCA1/2 counseling and investigating the pathways leading to this disparity). This work has led to my current focus racial disparities in cancer control and outcomes, where I study of the role of health care distrust in adoption of novel cancer technologies and the complex relationship among health care distrust, social environment and cancer care and outcomes.