I am an Assistant Attending Behavioral Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I received my doctorate in Communication from Rutgers University in 2005. I work in the area of health communication where my research foci explore the role of persuasion in mitigating cancer risk behaviors such as messages to decrease tanning bed use or interventions for tobacco (including smokeless tobacco and cigarettes) prevention. Other key areas of research interest are in media literacy, media effects, and adolescent risk-taking behaviors. I have published 51 peer-reviewed papers, primarily in the area of cancer prevention, with topics ranging from social, psychological and behavioral issues associated with tobacco use, analysis of tobacco-related messages in media, and efficacy of narrative health messages for risk prevention behaviors. My research has been supported by peer-reviewed grants from the NCI, NIDA, the Arnold and Arlene Goldstein Foundation, and other philanthropic funds, and has been presented at national and international conferences in communication and health fields.
Besides experience in cancer prevention research, I am also an experienced educator. Since my MSKCC faculty appointment in 2010, I have been a member of the Communication Skills (Comskil) Training and Research Laboratory. I have served as an educator and collaborative investigator supporting the Comskil Training Program, an intensive didactic and experiential training effort for MSKCC residents, fellows, nurses, and attending physicians focusing on common challenges faced in communication with cancer patients and their families. I have played an instrumental role in developing and adapting new communication skills modules to high priority clinician-patient challenges. Supported in part by a Cancer Education Grant (R25) from the National Cancer Institute, I am integrally involved in evaluating the effectiveness of the MSKCC Comskil Training Program on oncology clinicians’ uptake and utilization of communication skills in clinical consultations, and on patient outcomes. In summary, I have a demonstrated record of successful and productive research projects in the area of health communication and cancer risk reduction, and my specific experience in teaching communication skills to oncology professionals provide a strong foundation for my collaboration on the current research project.