Grantee: Erin L. Van Blarigan, ScD

Erin L. Van Blarigan

Erin L. Van Blarigan, ScD

Public Health Scientist/Researcher
  • University of California - San Francisco

Dr. Van Blarigan is an epidemiologist whose research focuses on the relation between behavioral factors, including diet and physical activity, and cancer morbidity and mortality. Her long-term goal is to provide evidence for lifestyle guidelines and interventions to improve cancer survivorship care.

Strong evidence from her work and others suggests behavioral factors after diagnosis impact cancer survival. For example, in 2018, Dr. Van Blarigan's team reported that a lifestyle consistent with the American Cancer Society Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors was associated with ~40% lower risk of mortality in people with stage III colon cancer. The data from these studies directly led to her current research project to use the innovative Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) framework to identify an optimized intervention to increase physical activity and improve diet and body weight in people after colorectal cancer diagnosis and treatment. This research is critically needed to increase intervention effectiveness and efficiency, and, ultimately, to identify an impactful, scalable, and sustainable lifestyle intervention to reduce cancer mortality.

Dr. Van Blarigan became interested in nutritional epidemiology as a senior in college, where she first learned about public health. The field was a perfect fit for her, as it combined her passion for healthy food and exercise with the goal of improving population health and preventing chronic disease morbidity and mortality.

Cancer survivors' experiences and perspectives have a profound influence on my program of research.”

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