Originally from the Boston area, I received my undergraduate degree from Vassar College, and my Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kansas, with a Health & Rehabilitation emphasis. It is here that I was began my path in psycho-oncology -- the study and practice of the biobehavioral, psychosocial, and existential aspects of cancer survivorship, from diagnosis through the end of life. I was drawn to the richness of the work, the ability to address everything from symptom management, psychosocial adjustment, identity & existential crisis, to spiritual resilience. I had found my calling.
I came to the University of Florida (UF), Department of Clinical & Health Psychology to complete my internship in Medical Psychology, and spent two years working with patients and families especially those undergoing solid organ and blood and marrow transplant, in both the hospital and outpatient settings. Unexpectedly, Gainesville Florida became home!
I spent the first half of my career in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at UF, first as a post-doctoral fellow and then as a Research Assistant Professor, focusing on cancer survivorship, quality of life, and caregiving, particularly in the context of blood & marrow transplantation. I was involved in the largest study to date (at that time) of the long term quality of life of BMT survivors and spouse-caregivers, and received my own grants to conduct qualitative and quantitative research to better understand the experience of those survivors. I developed and pilot tested a self-care intervention for family caregivers to maximize their coping, resilience, and self-care in the face of their loved-one's cancer and transplant, and collaborated with BeTheMatch to create their Caregiver Companion program.
As rich and rewarding as those endeavors were, I greatly missed working with patients directly, which had always been my primary passion. In 2009, I transitioned to private practice to focus on direct clinical care of cancer patients, survivors, and family caregivers. I have had the privilege to work with adults of all ages and backgrounds who are coping and adjusting to different types of cancers and treatments, as well as other acute and chronic illnesses. I enjoy productive collaborative relationships with medical and allied health professionals at both cancer and other medical centers in Gainesville and am fortunate to share office space with 8 excellent clinicians (with whom we cross refer) who have become supportive friends. I also have been fortunate to be able to continue my connection with the BMT world, through continued collaborations with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, nBMTLink, and BMTInfoNet.