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Marlaine Figueroa Gray

Assistant Investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, University of Washington

Marlaine Figueroa Gray, PhD, is a medical anthropologist with a passion for eliciting illness narratives and health care experiences from patients, family members, and medical professionals. She has researched how the intersection of creative practices and medical care provide insight into understanding the logic of biomedical care, what counts as evidence that a creative activity "works," and how arts activities can serve as a model of how to provide better, more patient- and family-centered care. She is particularly interested in how we attend to patient suffering, and in what types of care are possible when no medical treatments are available.

Her previous work includes examining education policy in sub-Saharan Africa and developing curricula for health education, specifically HIV/AIDS education in Kenya and Mozambique.

Dr. Figueroa Gray has extensive experience designing qualitative studies and analyzing qualitative data. At Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), she uses this expertise to examine how patients, family members, and physicians make medical decisions when outcomes are uncertain and stakes are high, such as deciding whether or not to participate in an immunotherapy trial, or choosing which treatments to pursue as an adolescent or young adult with advanced cancer. She founded the KPWHRI Qualitative Research Interest Group, which supports outstanding qualitative research at the institute.


  • 2014–present
    Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente WashingtonHealth Research Institute
  • 2012–2015
    Instructor, University of Washington


  • 2015 
    University of Washington , PhD Medical Anthropology
  • 2008 
    University of Maryland , MA
  • 2002 
    Colorado College, BA

Professional Memberships

  • Society for Medical Anthropology
  • Society for Applied Anthropology