Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Biopsychosocial Oncology Staff

Suzanne Lechner, Ph.D., Shared Resource Director

Dr. Lechner’s research in psycho-oncology focuses on quality of life, positive adaptation to cancer and health disparities among cancer survivors. Dr. Lechner leads biobehavioral clinical trials and performs longitudinal research studies to examine how people adjust to illness and whether psychological, physical and physiological adjustment is modifiable using stress management and breast cancer education. Dr. Lechner’s survivorship laboratory is currently examining the effects of stress management interventions on immunological, endocrine, and psychological outcomes for black women with breast cancer who have recently completed treatment. This research program, dubbed Project CARE, is supported by the National Cancer Institute (NIH). The goal of this line of research is to develop theoretically-driven and empirically-supported psychosocial interventions for underserved women with breast cancer within a community setting.

Other research interests include long-term follow-up of participants who have completed biobehavioral intervention trials, late stage presentation of breast cancer, and adapting psychosocial interventions to meet the needs of minority women.

For more information about Dr. Lechner’s research, please visit the following link:

Michael Antoni, Ph.D, Shared Resource Co-Director

Dr. Antoni’s research interests focus on examining the effects of stressors and stress management interventions on the adjustment to, and physical course of, diseases such as breast cancer, cervical neoplasia, prostate cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. He also has examined some of the psychobiological mechanisms that might explain ways in which stressful events and psychosocial interventions contribute to the adjustment to, and course of, these diseases. Much of this work specifically examines psychological intervening variables (stress appraisal processes, coping behaviors, and social resources) and biological/physiological variables (endocrine and immune system functioning) that may explain the effects of psychosocial interventions on quality of life and health outcomes in cancer patients undergoing medical treatments. The overarching goal of this research program is to develop theoretically-driven and empirically-supported psychosocial interventions to use in the primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of cancer.

For more information about Dr. Antoni’s research, please visit the following link:

Susan Schmitz, M.A., Senior Research Associate

Ms. Schmitz joined the BPSO Shared Resource in August 2010. In this role, Ms. Schmitz provides support for the NIH-funded Cancer Research Choices Project including literature reviews, data coding and analysis, and clinical application. Before joining the Core, Ms. Schmitz worked for five years in disaster preparedness research and training, non-profit program coordination and psychological support/consultation, and University level teaching. She holds a Masters of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in International Disaster Psychology. She is currently working towards her license in mental health counseling.

Andrea S. Vinard, M.S.Ed., Senior Research Associate

Ms. Vinard joined the BPSO Shared Resource in November 2009 and currently provides support for the Cancer Research Choices Project. Ms. Vinard has worked with various populations in the clinical setting and prior to joining BPSO, worked for the Cancer Information Service and a community based organization. She has clinical experience in individual and group therapy. In clinical research settings, she has expertise in conducting interviews, focus groups and data collection, coding and analysis. She holds a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Miami and is currently working towards her license in mental health counseling.

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