PhD, CRNP-C, AOCNP, FAAN
Distinguished Service Professor of Nursing
Professor of Medicine
Oncology Nursing Society Research Scholar in Residence
Acute & Tertiary Care
Our team’s research is focused on the factors that ensure that all women with breast cancer receive timely diagnoses, treatment, and support. Our research, education, and outreach initiatives are directed toward Black women with breast cancer, women with metastatic breast cancer, and community engagement to address racial and economic breast cancer survival disparity. In addition, we lead a national initiative in training advanced practice oncology providers. Our team is well-published, with over 130 publications and multiple national and international presentations disseminating the results of our research.
The Symptom Experience, Management, and Outcomes According to Race and Social Determinants of Health during breast cancer chemotherapy (SEMOARS) study is a multi-site R01-funded study comparing the symptom incidence and distress, symptom reporting methods and outcomes, including the ability to receive the full dose of prescribed chemotherapy between African American and White women as they proceed through chemotherapy. Genetics, epigenetics, and pharmacogenomics are areas of further exploration.
With the support of the Genentech Health Equity Grant (2020-2022), we led an initiative in advanced-stage lung cancer as a canvas for all researchers to collaborate in basic and behavioral research to better understand the influence of neighborhood deprivation, discrimination, and lifetime allostasis, measured through telomere length, allostatic load, and immune markers on cancer outcomes. This initiative, Exploring Allostasis, Cellular Aging, and Cancer Outcomes, was renewed for an additional three years (2023- 2025) and is now incorporating all regional patients with cancers in which survival disparities are present.
Our DOULA-AC Project, Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh) Project - End-of-life Dignity, Doulas, for Black women with metastatic breast cancer living in the Pittsburgh Area has offered support, legacy building, practical assistance, and family support to women and their families with the help of University of Pitt CTSI, and the End-of-Life Doula Association. Due to the pilot project's success, we are now funded through the Pittsburgh Foundation to expand this project through the Ubuntu Project.
In collaboration with Magee Womens Hospital, our team leads the Support, Education, and Advocacy Program for Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC/SEA Program). We developed and maintained a database of 2000 women with metastatic breast cancer. These findings informed the development of a successful nurse-led primary palliative care intervention for all patients with metastatic breast cancer seen at Magee Womens Hospital.
We are partners and leaders in the Allegheny County Breast Consortium, a community outreach program that seeks to assist women in underserved communities to access existing breast cancer resources. Plans are to reinvigorate ACBC by utilizing students from the School of Public Health and senior-level student nurses to offer education and support in a structured Community Health clinical.
My teaching focuses primarily on ethics, equity, and oncology care for nursing students across all curricular levels. Through various educational initiatives directed towards students and clinicians across the health sciences, I teach strategies to improve patient-healthcare provider communication skills, particularly in advanced illness and palliative care. My teaching now includes cancer and communication content for nurse practitioner students. Most recently, my teaching responsibilities include coordinating the undergraduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion seminar to ensure content consistency across the sections while utilizing innovative teaching strategies to support a thoughtful and meaningful classroom experience.
I maintain a weekly clinical practice as a nurse practitioner for women with breast cancer at the HCC/ Magee Womens Hospital. This position informs my scholarship and community outreach.
I have maintained leadership in several professional organizations. I was a key member and national coordinator of the Nurse Practitioner Special Interest Group for several years in the Oncology Nursing Society. In 2018/19 I co-chaired the Oncology Nursing Society Research Mentorship task force, creating and publishing a developmental approach to supporting oncology nursing scholarship. I recently assumed the Oncology Nursing Society’s Scholar in Residence position to guide and develop oncology nursing scholarship.
I am a long-time member of the American Nurses Association, former practice chair for the Pennsylvania State Nursing Association (2015-2016) and hold long-term memberships to numerous other relevant professional associations and societies. I am the statewide co-chair of the Cancer Equity Committee through the PA Cancer Control Plan and a member of the Western PA American Cancer Society Board of Directors. I am also active within the community through Big Brothers/Big Sisters.