Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Megan Elizabeth Tesch, M.D.

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Available: 12/13/23, Expires: 12/31/24

In 2019, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) published guidelines regarding the use of respectful language for patients and families. These include recommendations to avoid language that could make patients feel as though they are being blamed for their disease (e.g., "the patient progressed" instead of "the disease progressed") or dehumanized (e.g., "BRCA mutants" instead of "patients whose tumors had BRCA mutations"). However, awareness regarding these guidelines may be lacking, with the potential for detrimental impacts on patient quality of care. The role of the student in this project would to conduct an audit of recent oncology clinical trials published in relevant scientific journals to assess for use of disrespectful patient language that is discordant with ASCO guidelines. Specific project tasks may include development of a data entry form, literature search, data collection, statistical analysis, data interpretation, and preparation of a scientific abstract and/or manuscript. The goal of this project is to raise awareness among oncology healthcare professionals regarding the importance of using respectful language for patients and families and improve the quality of care being delivered to patients with cancer.

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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.