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Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services

  • Cantor Center nurses

    Mary Cooley, PhD, APRN, Donna L. Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, and Meghan Underhill-Blazey, PhD, RN, AOCNS, conduct a variety of clinical trials.

  • The mission of the Cantor Center is to reduce the burden of cancer through scholarly inquiry and rigorous research. The focus of the Center's research is the patient/family experience of living with a predisposition to or diagnosis of cancer, as well as survivorship issues post-treatment.

    A focused mission

    The Cantor Center's efforts focus on three major areas:

    1. conducting innovative research on quality of life and quality of care for cancer patients and families;
    2. engaging nurses and other Dana-Farber patient care staff in research; and
    3. promoting the use of research evidence to ensure that patient care is of the highest standards.

    Research themes

    Meghan Underhill-Blazey, PhD, APRN, AOCNS, along with Mary Cooley, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, and Donna L. Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, conduct a variety of clinical trials. The three nurse-scientists engage direct care nurses, post-doctoral fellows, and students at Dana-Farber and other collaborating institutions in research relevant to their fields of expertise, thereby creating a direct link between science and practice.

    Underhill-Blazey's research focuses on understanding and improving the experience of individuals at high risk for cancer due to personal or familial factors. She is leading work to promote health and wellness in individuals with risk for breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer, as well as Hodgkin Lymphoma.

    Cooley is leading the development of a decision support system related to enhancing adequate management of pain within a home care hospice setting. She is also studying implementation of a systems-level tobacco treatment intervention into a thoracic oncology practice setting.

    Berry, director of the Cantor Center from 2008-2018, leads research on improving cancer symptom management by enhancing self-care, patient-clinician communication, and cancer treatment decision making. In her current role she is mentoring post-doctoral fellows focused on symptom science.


    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a Magnet institution, is part of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, the country's largest NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As such, the abundant resources of this research-intensive, state-of-the-art oncology care facility are available to the successful applicant. Formal networking and joint appointments with schools of nursing in the area promote a community of cancer nursing scholars with opportunities for collaboration.

    The Cantor Center also supports the training of two Post-Doctoral Fellows:

    The UMass Boston - Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center U54 Cancer Research Partnership
    2017-2019 Fellow Olga Ehrlich, PhD, RN, CHPN

    Mittelman Integrative Therapies Post-doctoral Research Fellowship
    2017-2019 Fellow Robert Knoerl, PhD, RN