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Sarah M. Belcher

Assistant Professor
Health & Community Systems


Dr. Belcher’s program of research is dedicated to improving health outcomes among patients with cancer who are experiencing the cumulative effects of cancer and cancer treatment, particularly among socioeconomically disadvantaged and underserved populations. She has led studies focus on predictors of poor health outcomes among adults with multiple primary cancer diagnoses and is investigating relationships among financial hardship, symptoms, and quality of life among patients with advanced and high symptom burden cancers. Her recent line of inquiry has evolved to include prospective assessment of how oral anticancer medication adherence influences pain and quality of life and how financial hardship influences these relationships among patients with multiple myeloma. She has also collaborated on cancer family caregiver studies. Her research and training have been funded in part by the American Cancer Society (DSCN-17-077-01-SCN), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars program, the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania, the Center for Nursing Excellence in Palliative Care (NEPC-2018-01) at Emory University, the Alpha Epsilon Atlanta chapter of Sigma, and internal mechanisms at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Dr. Belcher received her BSN at The Ohio State University and was an Oncology Nursing Intern at Duke University Medical Center. She earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing with a focus in cancer survivorship. Her postdoctoral training was in Biobehavioral Oncology at Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Dr. Belcher has been a clinical instructor and clinical faculty member for undergraduate students in acute care, community, simulation, and laboratory settings. Based on a student’s nomination, she received the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of Oncology Nursing Society’s Exemplar Award for practice that has made a difference in the life of a cancer patient. An oncology certified nurse (OCN®) who has practice expertise across the cancer care continuum, she has provided numerous oncology-focused lectures at the University of Pittsburgh and Emory University and was an invited speaker on cancer-related financial hardship for Metro Atlanta chapter members of Oncology Nursing Society. She has mentored nursing students in research through Pitt’s URMP program and the Woodruff Scholar program at Emory. She currently teaches NUR 2010, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention in Culturally Diverse Populations.

Dr. Belcher is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society. She is a member of the Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group, the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Biobehavioral Cancer Control Program, Sigma, and American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Clinical Emphasis


Scholarly Emphasis

  • Cancer survivorship
  • Cancer and cancer therapy outcomes with a special focus on financial hardship
  • Health equity
  • Symptom science
  • Family caregivers



NUR 2010:  Health Promotion & Disease Prevention in Culturally Diverse Populations.