Public Health faculty member earns fellowship role to improve long-term care for West Virginia cancer survivors
Friday, May 27, 2022
West Virginia University School of Public Health Research Assistant Professor Nicole Stout, DPT, FAPTA has been named a Bridge Faculty Fellow for 2022, bringing her one step closer to improving long-term care and support for West Virginia’s cancer survivors.
Offered under the WVU Bridge Initiative for Science and Technology Policy, Leadership, and Communications, the Bridge Faculty Fellows program chooses a select few WVU faculty members each year. Chosen fellows have access to education, mentorship, funding and guidance to increase the impact of their research and translate it into informed, groundbreaking policy.
For Stout, this means using her years of research in cancer survivorship to support the development of community-based models of care for cancer survivors.
“More people are surviving cancer than ever before,” said Stout. “But just because they’re finished with treatment doesn’t mean the treatments are finished with them.”
Starting her career as a physical therapist, Stout recalls helping cancer survivors rehabilitate their bodies after chemotherapy, disease-fighting drugs and other aggressive treatments. It was there, she said, she saw firsthand the gaps in care for cancer survivors and set her sights on finding a solution.
“If we had intervened years before, we could’ve helped prevent some of the physical disabilities these patients were experiencing,” said Stout. “Beating cancer is only one part of the equation—we need to establish a support network for those who experience disability, job loss, social withdrawal and financial difficulties long after treatment is finished.”
Through various professional research and policy roles, she piloted studies on early detection and management of functional morbidity for individuals with cancer, led cancer research clinical trials, and used her research as a catalyst for new models of cancer rehabilitation care delivery.
Now through a dual appointment with the WVU School of Medicine and the WVU School of Public Health, and through membership with West Virginia University Cancer Institute (WVUCI) and West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WV CTSI), she’s established a line of research that extends from the cancer care delivery system into the broader communities of West Virginia.
And as a recently named Bridge Faculty Fellow, Stout is ready to put her research into action.
“My vision is to establish a supportive, accessible model of cancer survivorship care right here in our rural communities,” said Stout. “We need health workers, social workers, mental health workers, physical therapists and individuals from other specialties to come together and help these survivors migrate from treatment to post-treatment management—and we need new, informed policy to make it happen.”
To learn more about the WVU Bridge Initiative, visit https://scitechpolicy.wvu.edu.