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Gilbertson-White Secures Additional Funding for Cancer Research

Stephanie Gilbertson-White

Professor Stephanie Gilbertson-White, PhD, APRN-BC, was recently awarded a University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC)/American Cancer Society (ACS) seed grant for junior faculty. The funding will be applied toward her research project, which is titled “A Symptom Self-Management Website for Rural Cancer Patients: Feasibility Testing to Determine Usability and Acceptability by Patients.”  

The purpose of this ACS pilot project is to develop a stand-alone, web-based symptom self-management intervention for patients living in rural areas who receive treatment for advanced cancer. In addition to this new ACS grant, Dr. Gilbertson-White has received funding from the Iowa Cancer Consortium and via a Jr. Faculty Career Development Award from the National Palliative Care Research Center.

“These grants have been helping me build my research in the area of symptom management for patients with advanced cancer living in rural areas. With the Iowa Cancer Consortium grant, I conducted interviews with patients and clinicians to better understand what problems they were experiencing with regards to symptom management. I was also interested in learning their views of using the internet to help with symptoms,” said Dr. Gilbertson-White. “Based on the results of this work, I created OASIS (Oncology Associated Symptoms and Individualized Strategies), a web-based intervention to help patients in rural areas get better control of their cancer symptoms through education, symptom tracking, and weekly meetings with a study nurse.”

The following excerpt is from the project's abstract:

“Patients with advanced cancers report multiple distressing symptoms that can impact function, quality of life, and health care utilization. Rural residents are more likely to have late-stage cancers at the time of diagnoses and are more likely to die from cancer than their urban counterparts. OASIS was developed to provide tailored cancer symptom self-management support and address the symptom management needs of patients living in rural areas.”

For more than two years, Dr. Gilbertson-White has correlated cancer-related research with a telehealth component, including the collection of stakeholder input for web-based nurse coaching programs that help patients manage their cancer-related symptoms.

“Based on feedback from my research nurses and some of our first participants, it’s clear that the website needs refinements,” she explained. “In addition, it’s not known if a website alone intervention would work as well as the website plus nurse approach.”

Dr. Gilbertson-White stated that the intent of this project is to focus on making the website robust enough to be a stand-alone intervention.

“Once OASIS 2.0 is complete we will evaluate the feasibility of a website only version with a small group of patients. All of this work is building toward a large, randomized control trial of OASIS to evaluate how efficacious the intervention is in decreasing the severity of cancer symptoms as well as decreasing the interference symptoms can have on daily life,” she added.

Co-Investigators include Praveen Vikas, MD, visiting assistant professor, University of Iowa College of Medicine; and, Todd Papke, PhD, technology innovations scientist, University of Iowa College of Nursing. 

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Posted On: 
Oct 18th, 2017