Alana Cole is the Program Associate of Portfolio Management for the Public and Patient Engagement team (PPE) at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She supports the Engagement Officers, researches how to make engagement strategies more effective and meaningful, and serves as a bridge between PPE and Science.
Cole is a qualitative researcher by training, experienced in data analysis, database building, and content production. Before joining PCORI, she worked at the Massachusetts Medical Society Foundation. There, she built an electronic grants management system and database to assess past and current impact while simplifying the grant-giving process. As an undergraduate, she worked at the Dreamcatcher Foundation, a Chicago-based organization that uses harm reduction strategies to support victims of domestic human trafficking.
She is particularly interested in how medical biases function and perpetuate themselves at a systems level and how to incorporate the lived experiences of marginalized communities into medical research and education. Her past work has looked at invisible chronic illnesses in women, medical education strategies to counteract stigma, and participatory action research.
Cole received her a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago, where she focused on the social construction of medicine and science as well as gender and sexuality studies. She went on to receive a master of science in pain research, education, and policy from Tufts University. Her graduate thesis investigated the persistent relationship between fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and hysteria.