Center for Behavioral Oncology

The Center for Behavioral Oncology focuses on applying behavioral techniques, in an empathic, patient-centered manner, to improve patients’ experiences of cancer and its treatment – from diagnosis and screening, through survivorship, and through palliative care.

Cancer is one of the most important health challenges of our time. Research is vital in preventing cancer, reducing the burden of cancer, and improving treatment outcomes and the quality of life of people living with cancer. In 2018, the Department of Population Health Science and Policy recognized the importance of researching behavioral solutions to oncology challenges, and created the Center for Behavioral Oncology.

The center’s faculty members are leaders in behavioral oncology research on symptom management, health behaviors, quality of life, cancer health disparities, outreach, and dissemination of psychosocial and community-based interventions via professional education, mHealth, and eHealth. The group comprises experts in psychology (clinical, community, developmental) and sociology, with expertise in quantitative and qualitative research approaches. Over the years, our group’s research and discoveries have broken new ground in cancer prevention and control, with life-changing and life-enhancing consequences. For example, we have effectively reduced emotional distress, pain, nausea, and fatigue in patients facing cancer and its treatment, we have contributed to increased cancer screening rates in East Harlem, and we are disseminating our work to providers throughout the country through cutting-edge professional training programs.

Our group’s focus is on developing and testing person-centered interventions, always with an eye towards preventing cancer when we can, and helping to ease patients’ experiences with cancer when it strikes. Our group is guided by a scientist-practitioner model; we believe that clinical experiences should inform and inspire research questions, while empirical research should inform and guide clinical practice. Our research topics are informed by the needs of those at risk from or living with cancer in our community, and our research projects end with an eye towards disseminating this research to guide future clinical cancer care. We are also guided by recognition of the powerful mind-body connection, wherein how we think and feel affects our health and physical well-being.

Consistent with this model, the Center is not only a research enterprise, but also supports clinical and community programs including the Center for Psychological Services at the Dubin Breast Center and Cancer Community Outreach.

We invite you to explore the website and learn more about who we are and what we do! Feel free to reach out to us to discuss future research collaborations, to gain input on behavioral approaches to meeting clinical cancer needs, or to learn more about our clinical and community programs. We look forward to hearing from you!