An Internet-based Cancer Symptom Management Study


Research Team

Principal Investigator

Dr. Heidi S. Donovan
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Project Director

Howard Stein, MS
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Participant Coordinator

Judith Knapp, PhD, LCSW
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Research Nurses

Mary Roberge, BSN, RN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing  
 
more]

Sara Klein, MSHA, BSN, RN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
 
[more]

Renee Ingel,  MSN, RN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Sue Hughes, MS, RN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Co-Investigators &GOG Study Co-Chairs

Sandra Ward, PhD, RN, FAAN
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing
[more]

Susan Sereika, PhD, RN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Lari Wenzel, PhD
University Of California, Irvine
[more]

Paula Sherwood, PhD, CNRN, RN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

[more]

Robert Edwards, MD
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Magee Gynecologic Cancer Program

[more]

Michael Method, MD
Michigan Hematology Oncology, PA
[more]

Catherine Bender, PhD, RN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Michael Spring, PhD
University of Pittsburgh School of Information Science
[more]

GOG Nurse Contact
      
Susan Nolte, PhD, RN
Abington Memorial Hospital
[more]

GOG Statistician

Helen Huang, MS
Gynecologic Oncology Group
[more]

Tech Support

James Obringer, BS
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Web/database Designers

Rajesh Venkataswamy Baburajendran, MS
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Blair Powell, MS
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

Arun  Karthick Manoharan, MS
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
[more]

University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Patient Login



Heidi Donovan PhD, RN, Principal Investigator of the WRITE symptoms study is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.  She began her nursing career 20 years ago as an oncology nurse in Eugene, OR. In 1996, she enrolled at University of Wisconsin where she obtained a Master’s and PhD in nursing. Her research focuses on improving symptom management and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. She is also a member of the National Medical Advisory Board and of the Pittsburgh Division of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Working with survivors and family members on local education and advocacy projects is a source of constant inspiration.
 

At home, she has a wonderful husband and a creative 14 year-old daughter, Caley (and faithful dog, Lucky). All of them ensure that work doesn’t overwhelm life. As a “Colorado Girl”, she loves the mountains, hiking, and tennis.[Top]







Howard Stein, MS, project director for the WRITE symptoms study, has been working in the research environment for over 15 years. His research experience is comprised of rewarding interactions with people of all ages. For example, one of his first research studies focused on toddlers and their behaviors and one of his last studies focused on adults in a mental health care setting. He has been interested in working in the research field since 1992 when he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology. One of his most memorable moments working in research was using research data collected to help an eight year old boy get over his fear of heights. Howard’s role on this project is to oversee the day-to-day operations. At home, he has two cats, two dogs, two fish, two kids and a wife. He likes to work on cars, watch football, and participate in family activities. [Top]








Judy Knapp, PhD, LCSW, project specialist for the WRITE symptoms study, has been an oncology social worker for over 25 years.  Most of that time, she worked in gynecologic oncology at Magee Women’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, both on an inpatient unit and in the practice of gynecologic oncologists at the hospital.   One of the most meaningful experiences of her work has been the Ovarian Cancer Support Group, which she helped to lead for several years.  In addition to her time on this research study, she maintains a private psychotherapy practice and is involved with a local community-based cancer support agency that offers support groups throughout western Pennsylvania.  Judy’s role on this project is to oversee day-to-day operations.  She is grateful for all of these opportunities to keep her hand and heart in cancer care.

At home, she has two cats and one husband, and gets to enjoy the dogs in the neighborhood.  Most weekends, she can be found at her little country getaway near a state park and not much else!  She likes to hike, read, refinish furniture, cook and, most of all, eat.[Top]






Mary Roberge, RN, BSN,  is a nurse interventionist for the Write Symptoms study. She has been an RN for 31 years. After receiving her BSN from Villanova University and working in various clinical specialties, she entered the field of nursing research 5 years ago. Working as a nurse interventionist for the past 5 years in the area of medication adherence management in a chronic disease population, has both enriched her role and expanded her horizons as a nurse.

Personally, she is happily married with 2 children, a son (age 21) and a daughter (age 17) and is fortunate to have her graciously aging 86 year old father in her care, as well. She loves to read and cook and has enjoyed the opportunity to co-author an award-winning cookbook. [Top]




Sara Klein, MSHA, BSN, RN, nurse interventionist for the WRITE Symptoms study, has been a registered nurse for over 20 years. Sara received her BSN from Carlow University in Pittsburgh and her Master’s degree from the University of St. Francis. She worked at West Penn Hospital for many years and also worked as a clinical instructor in the school of nursing. Most recently she worked as a nurse interventionist on a managing medications study.

Sara is married and has three children, two teenage sons and a 2 year old daughter. She enjoys spending time with her family, attending her children’s sporting events and reading. [Top]





Renee Ingel, RN, MSN, nurse interventionist for the WRITE Symptoms study has been a registered nurse for 18 years.  She has worked in various aspects of nursing and wellness education throughout her career.  Renee earned her BSN at the University of Pittsburgh in 1991 and her MSN at Carlow University in 2005.  She currently teaches nursing at Carlow and is a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Renee is a personal trainer and teaches fitness and spinning classes.   Renee is married with 2 daughters,  aged 14 and 10.   Renee's ongoing goal is to help others appreciate that strength comes from within.[Top]


Sue Hughes, MS, RN, a nurse interventionist for the WRITE symptoms study, and has been a registered nurse since the mid 1970’s. After receiving her BSN from the University of New Mexico, she worked for 8 years as an oncology nurse in Oregon. She earned a MSN from Northern Illinois University in 1986 and was employed in nursing research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since that time. For the past decade Sue worked with Sandy Ward (co-PI) on psycho-educational studies for the management of cancer-related pain. During that time she had the opportunity to talk with many women and men with cancer who were learning to manage their pain.

At home, she lives with her husband, Steve, who is also a nurse, and Gretta, a 7 year old pointer-retriever mix. They have 2 kids, Aaron, a civil engineer in Minneapolis, and Laura, a junior at the University of Minnesota. She loves to garden while in Madison but she and Steve spend every free minute at their place “UpNorth”, in far northern Wisconsin, remodeling an old cabin, canoeing, and loving the wildlife. [Top]










Sandra Ward, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a Helen Denne Schulte Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing.  She has been conducting research for over 20 years on how adults cope with cancer. She has had a special emphasis on pain and symptom management, developing educational programs to change patients' negative ideas about using pain medicine, with the ultimate goal of improving pain control for individuals with cancer. She is also the Director of the UW Center for Patient-Centered Interventions, a center that provides support for pre and postdoctoral training for talented young investigators, and support for developing and testing innovative patient-centered interventions.

At home, she is married to Patrick McDonnell with whom she shares love for an elderly but still frisky cat, a daughter who lives in Seattle, and the process of restoring an old home (while living in it).  Other hobbies include reading (especially mysteries), cooking, and hiking. [Top]





Susan Sereika, PhD is an associate professor of Nursing, Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. She is a co-Investigator and statistician on this project and is responsible for directing and overseeing the data-analytic phase of the study. [Top]








Lari Wenzel, PhD has successfully conducted work in ovarian cancer survivorship, QOL assessment in ovarian cancer survivors, and evaluation of gynecologic cancer QOL interventions. Dr. Wenzel is a Professor at the Center for Health Policy Research in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. She has substantial experience developing and supervising the implementation of telephone counseling and telephone survey studies specifically addressing concepts of cancer survivorship, cancer screening, and center genetic testing distress. [Top]








Paula Sherwood, RN, PhD, CNRN, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and has a secondary appointment in the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine.  She has worked as a neuroscience/neuro-oncology nurse for over 17 years in a variety of settings, including Honolulu, Hawaii, Iowa City, Iowa, and Flint, Michigan. 

Paula received her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Iowa and her PhD from Michigan State University and has functioned in a variety of nursing roles, including staff nurse, supervisor, and clinical nurse specialist.  She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh and has remained in Pittsburgh to pursue her research interests, helping families of persons with cancer.  Paula is dedicated to identifying biological and behavioral markers of distress in family caregivers and planning and implementing interventions to improve the lives of family members and persons with cancer.

Paula spends most of her time outside the office trying to keep up with her two sons, Reese (6 years old) and Gabe (1 year old).  The other portion of her time is trying to calm her 81 pound “puppy”, Wolverine (a result of her husband’s obsession with University of Michigan football, hiking and gardening. [Top]

 

Robert Edwards, MD,  is a Professor and Vice Chair, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, UPMC, and the Principal Investigator of the Magee-Women’s Research Institute. He is board certified Gynecologic Oncologist with the expertise in all malignancies of the female genital tract and breast. He has special interest in ovarian cancer, early detection, prevention, and combining biologic and immunologic therapies with traditional therapies in the treatment of women’s cancer, and; intra-peritoneal therapy. [Top]




Michael Method, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., F.A.C.O.G., is a native of Chicago, Illinois, earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He received his medical degree and a Masters in Public Health from Northwestern University. Dr. Method served his residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at David Grant USAF Medical Center in affiliation with the University of California School of Medicine at Travis AFB, California. He served his fellowship in the gynecologic oncology division of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida and was the Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Division at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi. He has published more than 70 professional articles and abstracts, is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACOS), a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is board certified in gynecologic oncology by the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ABOG) and participates in the Gynecology Oncology Group (GOG) research consortium. Dr. Method serves as vice-chair, member of the board of trustees, and sub-investigator in the Northern Indiana Cancer Research Consortium (NICRC). Currently, Dr. Method is on the Board of Trustees of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, a patient advocacy group dedicated to early detection, care and management of ovarian cancer patients. [Top]



Catherine Bender, PhD, RN is an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Akron and her Masters and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. Her entire nursing career has been in the area of oncology care. Dr. Bender has an extensive background in oncology research with a focus on cognitive function during and after treatment for cancer.  She is now developing an intervention to help people compensate for the changes in cognitive function they experience with cancer treatment. She is a co-investigator and symptom management consultant for the study.

She has a wonderful daughter and lives in a 120 year old house.  She grows roses, loves to read and enjoys movies. [Top]








Michael Spring, PhD is an Associate Professor of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. His research involves the application of technology to the workplace with particular attention large scale electronic document processing and visualization, intelligent agents, and interface design.


He received his Bachelor's in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, and his Ph.D. from the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. For more than a decade prior to joining the Department of Information Science, Dr. Spring served as Associate Director and then Director of the University External Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. [Top]

Susan Nolte, CRNP, PhD is a nurse practitioner and Director of Clinical Research, Gynecologic Oncology Institute at Abington Memorial Hospital, Rosenfeld Cancer Center in Abington, PA. She has more than 20 years experience in women’s health with a focus in gynecology oncology, including colposcopy and management of women with gynecological cancer. She has written extensively on gynecologic cancer including screening and prevention of gyn malignancies. Dr. Nolte received her MSN in women’s health from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in nursing from there as well. Her area of research is in predictive correlates of prophylactic oophrectomy in genetic high-risk women.[Top]


 

 

 







James Obringer is a System Analyst whose main duties include supporting computer hardware, software, network security, and connectivity issues for the study members and participants. He received his Associate's degree from Community College Allegheny as a Computer Specialist. In 1999, he received a Bachelor's degree in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. He's worked at Pitt for 15 years in various IT positions recently joining the Write Symptoms Study. 

Jim has four children, as well as, five grandchildren. He enjoys his time with family and friends.  His personal interests include gardening, music, and nature. [Top]





Rajesh Venkataswamy Baburajendran is a graduate student in Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. He works as a software designer and developer for the WRITE project. An Indian national, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology (2007) from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India. After that he had worked for MindTree Ltd, as an Engineer in R&D services before starting on his Masters. He feels that he is blessed to direct his work towards learning and developing systems for ovarian cancer research and always motivated by this determined WRITE team. Back home in India, he has caring, loving Mom and Dad, while his friendly brother is working for a Networking company in Raleigh, NC. He loves skating and rifle shooting. [Top]




 

 

Blair Powell is a data manager and software designer in the Center for Research & Evaluation in the School of Nursing.  Blair has worked closely with Raj and Arun to develop the study website. Blair is the database administrator and manages the schools Oracle web application environment. In his spare time, Blair plays base guitar in a Rock-a-Billy band. He also enjoys classic automobiles. [Top]




Arun Karthick is a graduate student in Telecommunications and Networking at the University of Pittsburgh. He is assisting Rajesh in developing web pages for the Write project. He is responsible for managing the Oracle Application and Database Servers. He is a specialist in computer network and security! He worked as a Software Analyst at Infosys Technologies Limited in Telecom Domain before joining University Of Pittsburgh for pursuing his higher studies. He loves travelling,  hiking in mountains West Virginia and driving on scenic highways. [Top]