Virginia LeBaron, the Kluge-Schakat Professor for Compassionate Care, and an NIH-funded nurse scientist, has been named the AcademyHealth/National Cancer Institute (NCI) Visiting Scholar for 2023-2024, only the fourth academic ever to be so honored. The fellowship began in October.
Over the course of the yearlong fellowship, LeBaron will work with mentors both in person and virtually to mutually advance strategic research priorities of the NCI. LeBaron’s primary mentor, Dr. Sandra Mitchell, is a senior Scientist and program director in the outcomes research branch of the NCI's healthcare delivery research program and will work with LeBaron to analyze unique NCI datasets to better understand disparities related to cancer pain and symptom management and their potential relationship to key opioid policies.
LeBaron, a palliative care nurse practitioner who’s practiced in both rural and global settings, also earned a $3.4 million NIH grant in 2021 to develop, deploy, and test an in-home health sensing system to help patients with cancer and their caregivers monitor, assess, and, ultimately, predict pain episodes in the home so interventions are personalized, and pain is well-controlled.
She is a Betty Irene Moore Foundation Fellow and has been developing a novel communication assessment tool for clinicians called "CommSense" that aims to improve patient-provider communication and pain management.