Mary Jane Esplen, RN, PhD
Keywords: group therapy, psychosocial oncology, cancer genetics, psychotherapy interventions, instrument development |
Psychosocial Oncology: Studies of Psychological, Social and Quality of Life Impacts of Having Cancer or Being at Risk for Cancer
The main focus of Dr. Esplen's research is to investigate the psychosocial impact of having a cancer diagnosis or being at risk for cancer due to a strong family history or genetic mutation. The research program focuses on the design, standardization and testing of psychosocial and psychotherapy interventions for individuals and families dealing with a cancer diagnosis or with a genetic predisposition to cancer.
A particular line of research is geared towards examining the impact of genetic testing and genetic predisposition on psychosocial functioning, health and lifestyle behaviours, particularly in the areas of breast, ovarian, pancreatic and colorectal cancers. Several studies focus on the impact of having a genetic mutation on self concept, among individuals with breast, colorectal cancer gene mutations. Dr. Esplen's research has produced new tools and instruments to measure the impact of genetic testing on self concept and new psychological risk screening tools to identify those individuals who require additional psychological support throughout the genetic testing process.
Dr. Esplen also has a strong interest in women's mental health and women-centered psychotherapies. Other areas of interest include psycho-oncology, guided imagery techniques, mindfulness-based stress reduction and group therapy modalities among various populations, such as pain populations, HIV risk and medical populations. Studies include interventions to address body image and sexual functioning issues among women with breast cancer and different models of group psychotherapies to facilitate coping and adjustment to cancer.
Areas of completed research have involved following areas of expertise: psychosocial and psychotherapy interventions, coping with mental illness, eating disorders, women and mental health, group psychotherapy, and genetic testing.
Dr. Esplen is a recent past President of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and past chair of the Psychosocial Subcommittee, Ontario Provincial Advisory Board for New Technologies in Genetics. She continues to work with the Ministry of Health as a member of the Advisory Committee for New Genetics Services, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. In 2011, Dr. Esplen received a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) for her contributions to the field of psychosocial oncology.
- Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
- Past NCIC Scientist / CIHR Scientist Awards
- Affiliate Scientist, Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Totono
- Professor, Cross-Appointments to Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
- Affiliate Scientist, The Centre for Research In Women's Health, Women's College Hospital Research Institute
- Head, Program of Psychosocial and Psychotherapy Research in Cancer Genetics, UHN
Toronto General Hospital
Behavioural Sciences & Health Research Division
9th Floor Rm 9E-242A
200 Elizabeth St.
Canada M5G 2C4
|Noorulain Malik |