I am a pediatric psychologist and researcher whose work focuses on promoting health behavior change, including medication adherence, among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer.
For many adolescents and young adults with cancer, treatment includes a variety of complex health behaviors, such as taking multiple medications at varied dosing schedules. Following treatment recommendations can be difficult, but it can result in better health outcomes. The goal of my research is to develop and test new interventions to help make it easier for adolescents and young adults with cancer to adhere to their treatment recommendations, or take their medications as prescribed.
I first became interested in this line of research as a psychology doctoral student, when I volunteered at a camp for teens with type 1 diabetes. I watched teens balance their day-to-day activities, such as hiking, sports and spending time with friends, with the tasks required for self-management — things like checking their blood sugar and administering insulin. As I gained an appreciation of the challenges of managing a medical condition as an adolescent or young adult, I began to consider how I could contribute to adherence science.
To prepare me for a career in adherence science, I obtained specialized training in this field, including a National Institutes of Health T32 postdoctoral fellowship. In 2014, I started my faculty position at Cincinnati Children’s and since then, I have developed a research career focused on finding solutions that will help make it easier for adolescents and young adults with cancer adhere to treatment recommendations.
I’m proud to have been invited to speak about my work at national and international forums including: The 2019 Texas AYA Conference, Fort Worth, Texas; The 2019 Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario Multi-Disciplinary Symposium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Pediatric Grand Rounds at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Indianapolis, Indiana.
In my spare time, I enjoy being with my wonderful husband and amazing son. We particularly like spending time together exploring the outdoors. I’m also a triathlete and have completed multiple Ironman distance events.