I have been a SBS faculty member since 2010. I took a very circuitous path to a public health career. I moved to Boston in 1973 and worked for years as a day care worker, steelworker, and then obtained my nursing degree in 1984. I worked on a surgical oncology floor and through caring for many patients with preventable but late-stage cancers, I began to see first hand the strong and compelling need for cancer screening and prevention research.
My current projects are varied and challenging with strong interests in cancer disparities, cancer screening, and community-based and home/family interventions. My primary research is aimed at reducing the disproportionate burden of melanoma mortality for persons of lower SES and middle-aged and older men. We have tried to accomplish this through public awareness, national and international screening programs, training, and exploring patient and physician communication patterns. We also have a number of Federal grants for tobacco cessation and elimination of second-hand smoke exposure in multiple venues, including public housing developments. I am very excited about participating in a randomized trial for smoking cessation that was recently conducted at Children’s Hospital to reach parents of hospitalized children. I am also the PI for a new NIH RO1 entitled Reducing Risks of Skin Cancer among Childhood Cancer Survivors. For the past three years, I have taught a class entitled ‘Successes and Challenges in Health Behavior Change’ where we look at some of the more successful comprehensive public health initiatives such as tobacco campaigns to see what lessons we can learn for modern-day epidemics such as those for tanning beds and obesity.
Comparative Effectiveness Research
a) Randomized trial to improve tobacco cessation teaching at US medical schools. NIH grant. Students at 5 schools will receive web-based curriculum, enhanced role plays, academic detailing and booster education.
b) Randomized trial to improve tobacco cessation in Boston public housing. 20 Boston Housing Authority sites are randomized to controls and intervention. Intervention sites receive coaching by tobacco treatment advocates using motivational interviewing techniques with as many as 7 to 9 home visits. Funded by the NCI.
c) Randomized trial to improve skin cancer examination teaching at US medical schools. 2 schools will receive standard education, 3 schools will receive an integrated skin exam video, and 3 schools will receive the video and a booster in the third year of medical school. Funded by the Harry Lloyd Charitable Foundation.
d) Pre-test, post-test design using a web-based curriculum to improve early detection practices by primary care physicians at two large national HMOs. Funded by the Melanoma Research Alliance.
e) Randomized study to improve tobacco cessation counseling for parents of children hospitalized at Children's Hospital Boston. Parents in the deluxe group receive Motivational Interviewing, a prescription for NRT, and a pro-active referral to the Smoker's Quitline. Parents in other groups receive educational materials. Funded by the Flight Attendant's Medical Research Institute.
Also writing a proposal to improve early detection of skin cancer practices among childhood cancer survivors.
Does an educational brochure boost post-screening practice of AAD skin cancer screening participants?
Okhovat JP, Davine JA, Hawryluk EB, Geller AC.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Dec 19. PMID: 33352272
Does one's geographic location influence their use of sun protection? A survey of 3,185 U.S. Residents.
Bolick NL, Huang L, Geller AC.
Prev Med Rep. 2020 Dec. 20:101265. PMID: 33318888
Sociopolitical stress and acute cardiovascular disease hospitalizations around the 2016 presidential election.
Mefford MT, Mittleman MA, Li BH, Qian LX, Reynolds K, Zhou H, Harrison TN, Geller AC, Sidney S, Sloan RP, Mostofsky E, Williams DR.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 10 27. 117(43):27054-27058. PMID: 33046627
Barriers and facilitators of adherence to social distancing recommendations during COVID-19 among a large international sample of adults.
Coroiu A, Moran C, Campbell T, Geller AC.
PLoS One. 2020. 15(10):e0239795. PMID: 33027281
Inequalities in the patterns of dermoscopy use and training across Europe: conclusions of the Eurodermoscopy pan-European survey.
Forsea AM, Tschandl P, Zalaudek I, Del Marmol V, Soyer HP, Argenziano G, Geller AC, Arenbergerova M, Azenha A, Blum A, Bowling JC, Braun RP, Bylaite-Bucinskiene M, Abrijan LC, Dobrev H, Helppikangas H, Karls R, Krumkachou U, Kukutsch N, Mccormack I, Mekokishvili L, Nathansohn N, Nielsen K, Olah J, Özdemir F, Puig S, Rubegni P, Planinsek Rucigaj T, Schopf TR, Sergeev V, Stratigos A, Thomas L, Tiodorovic D, Vahlberg A, Zafirovik Z.
Eur J Dermatol. 2020 10 01. 30(5):524-531. PMID: 33052101
Gogebakan KC, Berry EG, Geller AC, Sonmez K, Leachman SA, Etzioni R.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 Dec. 29(12):2599-2607. PMID: 32958498
Technology-enabled activation of skin cancer screening for hematopoietic cell transplantation survivors and their primary care providers (TEACH).
Armenian SH, Lindenfeld L, Iukuridze A, Echevarria M, Bebel S, Coleman C, Nakamura R, Abdullah F, Modi B, Oeffinger KC, Emmons KM, Marghoob AA, Geller AC.
BMC Cancer. 2020 Aug 03. 20(1):721. PMID: 32746799
Gordon ML, Rodriguez VM, Balk SJ, Chitkara M, Halpern A, Geller AC, Hay JL.
Psychooncology. 2020 08. 29(8):1363-1365. PMID: 32419200
With COVID-19 becoming a leading cause of death in the U.S., experts say an "unprecedented" national response is needed to contain the pandemic.
Use of a face-aging app that demonstrates the long-term effects of sun damage improved skin-protecting behavior in teenagers.
March 27—Deaths from melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, have fallen sharply in recent years, according to new research co-authored by Alan Geller, senior lecturer on social and behavioral sciences, and published in the American Journal of…
We cannot treat our way out of the rising trend in cancer cases. The only solution is a full-scale defense, so that nobody suffers the disease in the first place.
Sunscreen alone likely doesn’t provide enough protection for people with pale skin who are sensitive to the sun, according to a new study led by the National Cancer Institute. Analyzing national survey data, the study found that sun-sensitive…