I am a clinical health psychologist who joined the faculty at MGH and HMS, where I provide clinical care, conduct research, and supervise trainees. I was recruited to serve as the behavioral scientist for the MGH Department of Medicine’s Tobacco Research and Treatment Center (TRTC). With experience developing and integrating tobacco treatment programs into primary care settings, I accepted the opportunity to promote TRTC’s mission of integrating and assessing tobacco treatment services into medical clinics. This provided a unique opportunity to build bridges with the Departments of Psychiatry and Oncology.
Area of Excellence: Investigation. Since 2001 my research has focused on designing and testing behavioral interventions for medical populations, especially on integrating brief systems-based behavioral interventions into oncology and primary care settings. I also have expertise in developing and analyzing qualitative research exploring cancer preventive perceptions and behaviors, cancer treatment decisions, and the influence of race and ethnicity on cancer preventive behaviors and treatment decisions. My contributions are reflected in my 180 peer-reviewed publications, national and international presentations, external funding (NIH, American Cancer Society, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Livestrong), and collaborations.
In my smoking cessation research, I have led investigations of smoking cessation interventions among childhood cancer survivors, lung cancer patients, patients undergoing lung screening, and obstetric patients. With NCI funding, I conducted an NCI R03-funded pilot study at MGH to assess the feasibility and efficacy of a behavioral and pharmacological smoking cessation intervention for early stage lung cancer patients; due to its promising results, I received an NCI R01 to conduct a multi-site randomized controlled trial, partnering with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to examine integration of tobacco treatment into cancer care. With successful results, I have just received an R01 to implement this treatment into NCI-affiliated community-based cancer settings nationwide. An American Cancer Society (ACS) training grant supported my research examining risk perceptions of individuals undergoing lung cancer screening. Based on trial results, I received NCI funding to conduct an efficacy-implementation R01 trial a Partners systems-wide smoking cessation intervention treatment delivery.
My work on tobacco and health promotion treatment for cancer patients has led to numerous national positions. In 2009 I served on the Steering Committee for Smoking Cessation Initiatives at NCI Cancer Centers. I reviewed the American Association for Cancer Research Policy Statement Assessing Tobacco Use by Cancer Patients and Facilitating Cessation. I served as the behavioral expert manuscript reviewer for American College of Radiology Publications Committee ACRIN and on the Associate Board of Editors for Tobacco Regulatory Science. I recently served on an NCI panel to develop a grant supplement mechanism to promote cancer center’s development of systems-based identification of tobacco treatment. I am a member of the NCCN’s Guidelines for Smoking Cessation for cancer patients and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Tobacco Taskforce. I serve on the American Cancer Society’s National Lung Cancer Round Table as a Task Group member of the Provider Outreach and Tobacco Task Groups. I serve as co-chair the ECOG-ACRIN Health Promotion Subcommittee within the Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee, to advance a program of health promotion research within the community-based oncology clinics in the National Clinical Trials Network. I have delivered grand rounds, spoken at national and international academic meetings and been an invited presenter at national meetings of the NCI, IOM, the NCCN, and the Department of Health and Human Services. I was the standing Chair of the American Cancer Society’s national peer review Psychosocial and Behavioral research committee and have served as an ad hoc reviewer for NIH review committees as well as for various foundations.
Clinical Expertise. Trained in clinical health psychology and behavioral medicine programs, I have seen cancer survivors patients and survivors for brief cognitive-behavioral/mind-body treatments since 2011. For over the past decade, I have co-led weekly clinical group supervision for the MGH behavioral medicine interns and postdoctoral fellows.
I have developed clinical motivational protocols and treatment manuals for 8 clinical trials and am the primary author on the MGH Benson Henry Institute’s treatment protocol- the Stress Management and Resiliency Training- Relaxation Response (SMART-3RP) program, which is the basis of the Institute’s clinical program, national training program, and nationally funded clinical trials. I am particularly proud that I have transformed and translated my clinical research into clinical programs at MGH. Over the past several years I have developed three clinical/clinical research programs at MGH: a cancer survivorship resiliency program at 3 MGH Cancer Center sites, the MGH Cancer Center Smoking Cessation Service, and the MGH Division of Clinical Research’s Qualitative Research Unit.
Teaching. I provide ongoing clinical research supervision to MGH trainees across diverse disciplines. I serve as a mentor for training and research grants awarded to MGH junior faculty in many medical disciplines. I have mentored MGH Psychology trainees to win student presentations at national medicine conferences, external funding awards, and NIH Loan Repayment Program awards. For my mentoring work I have been recognized nationally, receiving an NCI mid-level mentor award to promote patient-oriented research. Recently, I have been nominated for the HMS John J. Potts, Jr. M.D. Mentoring Award and was a 2017 honoree for the MGH Cancer Center’s The One Hundred.