Sarah M. Belcher

Assistant Professor
Health & Community Systems


Dr. Belcher’s research focuses on understanding and improving health outcomes among patients with cancer, particularly among patients with high cost and advanced cancers and among socioeconomically disadvantaged and historically excluded populations. Her research and training have been supported 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 chapter of Sigma, the National Institute of Nursing Research and intramural awards at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the recipient of Loan Repayment Awards from the National Cancer Institute (L30CA263713). Her career development award (K23NR019296) is investigating how adherence to oral anticancer medications affects pain and quality of life and how financial hardship influences these relationships over time among patients with multiple myeloma. Her prior research identified predictors of poor health outcomes among adults with multiple primary cancers and relationships between financial hardship and quality of life among patients with advanced and high symptom burden cancers. She has also collaborated on cancer family caregiver studies. 

Dr. Belcher received her BSN from The Ohio State University. She completed an oncology nursing internship 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 fellowship was in biobehavioral oncology at Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. She earned a graduate Health Equity Certificate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

MyNCBI Bibliography

Scholarly Emphasis

  • Cancer treatment adherence
  • Health equity, financial hardship, and social determinants of health
  • Cancer and cancer therapy outcomes
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Symptom science



Dr. Belcher teaches Health Promotion and Disease Prevention among Culturally Diverse Populations; the Cancer Survivorship doctoral seminar; and Intro to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. An Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN®) with experience in nursing management and expertise in cancer care across the disease trajectory, she was previously a clinical instructor in foundational, acute care, and community health nursing courses. She guest lectures on career development, mentorship, and numerous aspects of oncology nursing and has mentored nursing and interdisciplinary students across levels of training.


Dr. Belcher is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society and was the nurse lead on a national panel that developed the 2022 ONS Guidelinesä to Support Patient Adherence to Oral Anticancer Medications. She served on a study section for the National Institutes of Health’s Risk, Prevention, and Health Behaviors Integrated Review Group. She is a member of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Biobehavioral Cancer Control Program, core faculty in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Palliative Research Center (PaRC), and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing in the School of Medicine and the Center for Health Equity in the School of Public Health. Within the School of Nursing, Dr. Belcher serves as chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. She has provided numerous community-based presentations on oncology topics and scientific careers to oncology nurses and to school-age children in local public schools.