Grantee: Heather Greenlee
Heather Greenlee, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Associate Member, Cancer Prevention Program, Division of Public Health Sciences
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Describe your scientific identity.
I am a translational epidemiologist and a naturopathic physician. My passion is helping cancer survivors understand what they can do in addition to conventional treatment to improve their quality and length of life through diet, physical activity, weight management, and integrative therapies.
What are your research interests?
My research group focuses on two main areas of work. The first is identifying effective methods to help cancer survivors achieve and maintain healthy lifestyle habits, including diet, physical activity, and weight management. The second is creating and disseminating an evidence base on the use of integrative therapies (i.e., acupuncture, dietary supplement, mind-body medicine, etc.) following a cancer diagnosis so that patients and survivors can make informed decisions on what to use and what not to use.
What is the significance of your current research project?
Our current research project, the Mi Vida Saludable (My Healthy Life) trial, is testing a community-based nutrition and physical education program in urban, Latina breast cancer survivors. This study is important because it is testing a potentially scalable in-person and eHealth communication intervention in a group of underserved and under-resourced women who have substantial comorbidities. Our goal is to identify an effective behavioral intervention that can improve quality of life while decreasing risk of breast cancer recurrence and improving risk factors related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What motivated you to work in health behaviors research?
As a clinician, as a family member, and as a friend I frequently encounter cancer patients and survivors who are trying to make sense of conflicting information around diet, physical activity, weight management, and the use of integrative medicine. Wading through this information can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening for people, especially for people with limited resources. I want us to be able to provide clear, actionable, and sustainable recommendations and tools that can effectively improve the quality and length of life of cancer survivors.
Describe something that had a profound influence on your program of research or scientific interests (an "ah-ha!" moment).
A few years ago my research team attended the NCI SPRINT (SPeeding Research-tested INTerventions) training program for behavioral researchers. During that training, we learned and discovered ways to accelerate the pace and reach of our research via scalable interventions. That course profoundly changed the way I think of designing and testing interventions from Day 1 of a new project.
Selected training, awards, and honors:
- N.D., Bastyr University (2001)
- M.P.H., Epidemiology, University of Washington (2003)
- Ph.D., Epidemiology, Columbia University (2008)
- Postdoc in Cancer Prevention, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- Postdoc in Cancer Prevention and Control, Columbia University
My passion is helping cancer survivors understand what they can do in addition to conventional treatment to improve their quality and length of life through diet, physical activity, weight management, and integrative therapies.”