SPUR 2021: THE IMPACT OF IMMUNOTHERAPY ON PALLIATIVE CARE NEEDS FOR PATIENTS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS

Faculty Name:
Djin Tay

Department:

Faculty College:
Nursing

Email:


Project Description:

**This project is a part of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), which provides undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. SPUR 2021 begins on May 26 and ends on August 5. If you are interested in this project, please review all program information on the SPUR site. If you wish to apply to this project, you must apply using the SPUR 2021 application.**

In recent years, immunotherapies and other targeted therapies have transformed the clinical management of a growing range of cancers, including breast, colon, and lung cancers, and melanoma. In the hopes of a “silver bullet” cure for patients’ cancers, patients and family caregivers may avoid or delay thinking about palliative and hospice care approaches, experience emotional distress if treatment fails, and be underprepared for coping with death. The goal of this study is to better understand the end of life, decision making, and bereavement impact associated with immunotherapy receipt among four common cancer diagnoses–colon, lung, melanoma, and breast cancer. We propose to pilot survey measures to conduct cost-effectiveness analyses, assess for changes in socioeconomic status, and identify unmet supportive care needs among N=300 registered cancer caregivers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. This data would allow us to examine the caregiving and bereavement implications involved in immunotherapy care, to promote timely and appropriate end-of-life care in the changing landscape of cancer treatment.



Opportunity Type:

This is a paid research position


Student Role:

The student will be engaged in multiple phases of the research process, including literature reviews, development of the online survey, coordination and attendance at meetings with the larger research team, survey administration and reminders, data checking, and coordinating participant compensation. The student will be engaged in screening a list of caregivers who are registered in the Huntsman Cancer Institute caregiver registry, contacting them by phone or email, and sending out survey links and reminders. The student will be involved in coordinating compensation of participants. Surveys will be administered on a HIPAA-compliant online survey platform (REDCap), which would not affect the ability of the student to engage in research activities at a distance. Remote Contingency Plan: The College of Nursing is currently operating from a work-from-home policy established by the University. All our work is currently conducted via telecommuting. To plan for a continuation of the work-from-home policy, we will request for a study phone line that the student will be able to make calls with through voice-over IP protocols using business Skype. A study email will be requested to allow for the student to contact participants using an institution email. The student will be trained in CITI and HIPAA training to ensure that participant confidentiality and privacy are maintained in all communications. The College of Nursing has a dedicated IT team that is available Mondays through Fridays to provide technical support and troubleshoot issues. We have Zoom licenses that facilitate online meetings. REDCap is an online platform and can be accessed remotely. A study laptop can be requested if the student needs it provided ample notice to request for equipment. The needed software for the study will be installed on the study laptop.


Student Benefits:

1. At the end of the program, the student will have gained exposure to the development process of a large online caregiver survey 2. At the end of the program, the student will gain skills in conducting literature searches with databases such as PubMed, Cinahl, PsycInfo, and Google Scholar 3. At the end of the program, the student will gain experience in designing an online survey in REDCap and running preliminary reports 4. At the end of the program, the student will gain experience in contacting potential participants and administering an online survey


Project Duration:

35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 26, 2021, and ends August 5, 2021


Minimum Requirements:

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2021 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2021 and not graduating before December 2021; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but might not be able to be compensated. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at megan.shannahan@utah.edu or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at an American institution of higher education and verify with your institution’s international center that your visa allows you to participate in this program, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 26-August 5, 2021). 4) at least 18 years old by May 24, 2021 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing). Please note that no previous college coursework or previous research experience is required.