Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior Faculty

The Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center takes a highly collaborative approach that continually leads to new discoveries, conceptual models and strategies to reduce the burden of cancer. Moffitt’s diverse HOB faculty members collaborate extensively with each other, basic and clinical scientists at Moffitt, researchers throughout the world, and community partners. Faculty research interests and expertise span the cancer continuum from cancer prevention and early detection to cancer treatment and survivorship.

Primary Faculty

Thomas BrandonThomas H. Brandon, PhDSenior Member and Department Chair

Dr. Brandon's research at Moffitt's Tobacco Research and Intervention Program (TRIP) aims to understand the nature of tobacco dependence and to design novel interventions to treat it. The research ranges from basic human behavioral studies through large, national clinical trials. Recent research has expanded to include electronic cigarettes.

Research Themes: Tobacco, smoking cessation, addiction

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Margaret ByrneMargaret Byrne, PhD – Associate Member

The Byrne Lab research focuses on development of interventions to improve patient decision-making in health care situations where the optimal decision is preference sensitive. Preference sensitive decisions are those where there is no one "right" decision for all individuals.In addition, we collaborate with both clinical and community research projects to assess resource utilization, costs, and cost effectiveness of treatments and interventions.

Research Themes: Decision making, cancer screening, health economics

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Shannon ChristyShannon Christy, PhD – Assistant Member

Dr. Christy's lab aims to foster health equity and promote cancer prevention and early detection behaviors in order to reduce cancer incidence and mortality. Dr. Christy's research examines the associations between psychosocial factors, health beliefs, affect, healthcare access, patient-provider communication, and engagement in cancer preventive and early detection behaviors. Much of her research also involves evaluating the efficacy of behavioral interventions aimed at promoting cancer preventive and early detection behaviors.

Research Themes: Cancer screening and early detection, cancer disparities, decision-making

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David DrobesDavid J. Drobes, PhD – Senior Member

The Drobes lab uses human laboratory paradigms and behavioral methods to understand and treat tobacco use and addiction.

Research Themes: Behavioral psychology, nicotine psychopharmacology, cue reactivity

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Brian Gonzalez

Brian D. Gonzalez, PhD - Associate Member

Improving sleep and quality of life in minority and underserved cancer survivors, using mobile health and wearable sensor technology to improve quality of life, identifying patients at greatest risk of impairments in quality of life.

Research Themes: Sleep, quality of life, mHealth and wearable sensors

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Clement GwedeClement Gwede, PhD - Senior Member

Eliminating cancer disparities through community-based, culturally appropriate interventions for high-risk, underserved populations is a national priority.

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Heather JimHeather Jim, PhD – Senior Member

The Jim lab focuses on the psychological and physical effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment as assessed by patient-reported outcomes and wearable sensors.

Research Themes: Patient-reported outcomes, quality of life, cancer survivorship

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Cathy MeadeCathy Meade, PhD, RN, FAAN - Senior Member

In response to our nation’s call to address the crossroads of cancer, culture, and literacy, Dr. Meade has developed many training and education programs.

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Laura OswaldLaura Oswald, PhD - Assistant Member

Dr. Oswald’s research focuses on understanding and optimizing quality of life among diverse cancer populations by examining the effects of behavioral interventions on patient-reported outcomes and assessing mechanisms through which interventions affect psychological and biological outcomes. In addition, Dr. Oswald’s work aims to expand the reach of evidence-based resources for enhancing coping and promoting quality of life via eHealth and mHealth platforms.

Research Themes: Cancer survivorship, quality of life, behavioral interventions

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Maija Reblin

Maija Reblin, PhD – Assistant Member

Dr. Reblin studies how the social context impacts the psychological and physical health of cancer family caregivers. Specifically, her lab is interested in how relationship quality, communication, and social support impact the cancer caregiving experience, especially in real-world settings.

Research Themes: Caregiving; communication; interpersonal relationships

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Vani SimmonsVani Nath Simmons, PhD – Senior Member

Dr. Simmons' lab focuses on the development of smoking cessation and relapse-prevention interventions for special populations (at-risk/vulnerable groups) including cancer patients and ethnic minorities.

Research Themes: Smoking cessation interventions, special populations, randomized controlled trials

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Kea TurnerKea Turner, PhD, MPH, MA - Assistant Member

Dr. Turner's research aims to improve the quality of cancer care delivery by evaluating implementation of evidence-based interventions and policies and assessing whether effective implementation improves patient outcomes. Her work has especially focused on the implementation of telemedicine, medication management, and fall prevention interventions.

Research Themes: implementation science, health informatics, patient safety and medication management

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Christine Vinci, PhD – Assistant MemberChristine Vinci

Dr. Vinci's lab is focused on alleviating stress and promoting well-being among various populations. Our research primarily focuses on aiding individuals in reducing cancer-risk behaviors, such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol use, particularly among underserved populations, through the development of novel behavioral interventions (e.g., mindfulness; mhealth). A second line of research includes determining whether mindfulness-based strategies can aid cancer caregivers in reducing stress.

Research Themes: Smoking cessation, alcohol use, mindfulness

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Damon VidrineDamon Vidrine, PhD, MS - Senior Member

Dr. Vidrine’s research program is focused on tobacco use in special and underserved populations, including community-based low socioeconomic status populations, safety net clinic-based populations, people living with HIV, and cancer patients. This work has focused on the identification of the unique risks of tobacco use in these underserved populations, as well as the development and evaluation of mHealth interventions.

Research Themes: Tobacco cessation; health disparities; mHealth

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Jenny VidrineJenny Vidrine, PhD, MS - Senior Member

Dr. Vidrine’s research program focuses on eliminating health disparities through evaluating the impact of tailored health risk communications, examining potential mechanisms underlying changes in risk perceptions over time in the natural environment, disseminating evidence-based tobacco cessation interventions to underserved populations, smoking cessation interventions for vulnerable and underserved smokers, and implementing and evaluating health care systems-level tobacco treatment interventions. Her research program has been continuously supported over the past 16 years by grants from the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. 

Research Themes: Tobacco cessation interventions for underserved populations; healthcare systems level changes to facilitate tobacco treatment; health communications

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Secondary Faculty


Dr. Daniel AnayaDaniel Anaya, MD - Senior Member

Dr. Anaya is focused on evaluating outcomes and health systems to improve quality of cancer care.  

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Dr. Kristine DonovanKristine A. Donovan, PhD, MBA - Associate Member

Dr. Donovan’s research focuses on the etiology and management of side effects of cancer treatment and the identification of appropriate interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life in survivorship.

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Martine Extermann, MD, PhD - Senior Member

Dr. Martine ExtermannDr. Extermann’s main research interest is understanding how the health of the older patient, which can vary greatly, interacts with the choice of cancer treatment.

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Dr. Scott GilbertScott Gilbert, MD - Associate Member

Dr. Gilbert's research interests are in Health Services and Outcomes Research among patients with urologic malignancies.

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B. Lee GreenB. Lee Green, PhD – Senior Member

Dr. Green's work is focused around the reduction and elimination of cancer health disparities and work in health equity in general. This work is conducted through research efforts, interventions, community outreach, education, and policy efforts. Philosophy is around collaboration across the various research domains in order to have the most potential to impact cancer disparities.

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Dr. Peter JohnstonePeter Johnstone, MD

Dr. Johnstone's recent focus has been divided between process analyses and survivorship issues: identification of the impact of cancer or its therapy on patients' quality of life, and then intervening palliate toxicity.

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Dr. Kedar KirtaneKedar Kirtane, MD - Assistant Member

Dr. Kirtane is interested in working to help increase access to cancer care for racial/ethnic minorities with cancer. His research interests include the development of innovative cellular therapies for HPV-related malignancies.

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Ronica NandaRonica Nanda, MD

Dr. Nanda’s primary research interests are on late effects of radiation therapy and cancer treatment. 

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Dr. Michael NiederMichael Nieder, MD

Dr. Nieder’s research interests include toxicity reduction and supportive care improvements for patients undergoing transplantation.

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Julian SanchezJulian Sanchez, MD - Associate Member

Dr. Sanchez's research interests are focused on anal cancer and colorectal cancer prevention. He has a special interest in minority health including Latino and gay populations.

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Susan VadaparampilSusan Vadaparampil, PhD, MPH – Senior Member

The Vadaparampil Lab focuses on applying behavioral science, epidemiology, health services, and clinical perspectives to improve utilization of cancer prevention and control innovations across the cancer continuum. Her work has been influenced by transdisciplinary collaboration, focused on health disparities, and contributed to both the scientific literature and clinical practice. Current areas of interest include genetic risk for common cancers, genetic service delivery, HPV vaccination, and HCV screening.

Research Themes: Cancer prevention and control, health disparities, behavioral interventions

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Michael Yu, MDDr. Michael Yu

Dr. Yu's research interests focus on improving therapeutic outcomes using advanced radiation techniques including stereotactic radiosurgery and hypofractionated radiotherapy for brain and spine tumors.

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