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Navy blue background has diamonds and starbursts. A spotlight icon shines on a circular image of Bianka Reese. A label reads "In the spotlight." Below the label is the text "Bianka Reese."

by Abby Arcuri

At CHER, we always enjoy welcoming a new team member and learning about their experiences. One of the newest members is Bianka Reese.

As Bianka performs evaluations on CHER’s programs, she is also motivated by her sister to advocate for donating stem cells.

Read about how Bianka assists with and develops CHER’s evaluation projects.

Tell us about your role at CHER. What’s your position and focus?

My role at CHER is in Abacus Evaluation, where I work with NC TraCS program managers to develop evaluation plans, implement mixed methods evaluation activities, conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis, and draft reports to support the NC TraCS evaluation activities.

What do you like best about working at CHER?

So far, my favorite part about working at CHER is having opportunities for professional development.

In just a short time, I’ve had the chance to attend a handful of conferences, presentations and workshops that enhance my understanding of health equity and ways to effect change.

What’s the most important thing for people to understand about what you do?

The most important thing for people to understand about what I do is that it is all in an effort to advance health equity.

In order to improve population health, we have to focus on improving the systems that produce health inequities.

I support efforts that work with communities using a strengths-based approach, where we focus on the strengths that communities have, instead of deficits, and apply these strengths to leverage equity in the social determinants of health–things like housing, education, income, employment and access to healthcare.

What are some challenges you face?

NC TraCS provides numerous services and support for projects in clinical and translational science.

One of the challenges I’ll face in my work is moving beyond measuring the outcomes of these projects for things like research efficiency and productivity, including IRB, contracts and publications, to also assessing the societal impact of the projects for advancing health equity and improving population health.

There are several evaluation frameworks that we can draw from, but the challenge lies in determining the most relevant indicators and methods for collecting the data that will best allow us to assess the potential systems-level impact resulting from all this great work.

This is an exciting challenge that we are working together to tackle!

What’s a fun fact about you?

After donating my stem cells to help save my sister’s life, I have been an advocate for everyone, especially BIPOC individuals, to join the Bone Marrow Registry!