Personal Statement

In my first job as a nurse, I cared for cancer patients with advanced disease enrolled in Phase I and Phase II drug trials. While I found this work incredibly rewarding and inspiring, I became increasingly distressed by the high burden of pain and other symptoms I witnessed. I also struggled with whether patients and family caregivers really understood the benefit and burden of their treatment. These experiences prompted me to become an oncology palliative care nurse practitioner, which led to later work with the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research. Working globally exposed me to the realities of cancer care in resource-limited settings and the issue of opioid availability as a critical global health problem. My clinical background, combined with my global health collaborations, serves as the catalyst for me to pursue research aimed to improve cancer pain management and the delivery of palliative care from a systems and policy perspective.


The majority of Virginia's nursing career has been focused in adult oncology palliative care. She has practiced clinically as a medical oncology staff nurse and palliative care nurse practitioner, and since 2004 has been involved with global palliative care and cancer control efforts (primarily in India and Nepal).

Her research aims to optimize safe and effective cancer pain management.  Virginia is interested in exploring this issue in both domestic and international contexts, and particularly for vulnerable and underserved populations who are coping with advanced stage cancer. Her research draws upon principles and theories of community based participatory research, implementation science, ethnography/medical anthropology, and utilizes a Social Ecological Model as a primary conceptual framework.

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Cancer Center, 2015
  • PhD, University of Utah College of Nursing, 2013
  • MS, University of Maryland School of Nursing, 2002
  • BSN, University of Virginia School of Nursing, 1996

Honors and Awards

  • Fulbright Fellow (India)2011-2012
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP), 2011
  • American Cancer Society (ACS) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship2009-2013

Research Focus

Cancer pain management; opioid policy; palliative care and pain relief in low resource settings; leveraging Smart Health to improve cancer care

Recent Grants

  • Using mHealth to support patients and caregivers in managing cancer pain, Principal Investigator, Pilot and Exploratory Projects in Palliative Care, American Cancer Society (7/1/19 - 6/30/21)
  • Exploring mHealth to improve the delivery of palliative care and cancer pain management in Nepal, Principal Investigator, R21 - National Institutes of Health/Fogarty International Center (8/15/18 - 4/30/20)
  • Examining end-user design feedback to optimize a home based wireless sensing system to improve cancer pain management for patients and family caregivers,
    Principal Investigator, Engineering in Medicine Seed Pilot Program (2/1/18 - 6/30/19)
  • Improving cancer control by seeking a balanced approach to pain relief for patients with cancer in rural Southwest Virginia, Principal Investigator, UVA Cancer Center, Cancer Control & Population Health Research Program, Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (4/1/16 - 5/31/18)

Clinical Focus

Adult oncology palliative care

Teaching Focus

Population and Public Health Nursing Perspectives; Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan; Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods


  • International Society for Nurses in Cancer Care, Policy and Advocacy Committee
  • Pain & Policy Studies Group, World Health Organization Collaborating Center, International Mentor
  • Oncology Nursing Forum, Associate Editor
  • Oncology Nursing News, Blog Contributor

News and TV

  • NBC 29 - "UVA researchers receive American Cancer Society grants" (4-18-19)
  • Cavalier Daily - UVA mentors Nepali research teams and collaborates on pain management app" (2-4-19)
  • UVA Connect, UVA SON - "Cancer pain? There's an app for that" (11-20-18)
  • UVA Today - "UVA researchers develop new technology to manage cancer pain" (5-29-18)
  • UVA Today - "Better managing cancer pain" (5-1-2018)
  • UVA Today - "Engineers + Caregivers: Innovations that help patients and advance menedine (3-6-18)
  • UVA Today - "Using opioids safely" (9-1-17)
  • WVTF/NPR - UVA Nursing prof fears limits on opioid use may leave cancer patients in pain" (8-30-16)
  • Daily Progress - "UVA researcher examining impact of opioid restrictions" (8-6-16) 
  • UVA Today - "Nurses' work seeks to shed light on need for - and abuse of - pain medication" (7-29-16)


Journal Articles

LeBaron, V. (2018). LeBaron, V. What is the rural cultural perspective? Oncology Nursing Forum, 45(6), 683-685.

Croson, E., Keim-Malpass, J., Bohnenkamp, S., & LeBaron, V. (2018). The medical-surgical nurse's guide to understanding palliative care and hospice. MedSurg Nursing, 27(4), 215-222.

Vyas, M. B., LeBaron, V. T., & Gilson, A. M. (2018). The use of cannabis in response to the opioid crisis: A review of the literature. Nursing Outlook, 66(1), 56-65. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2017.08.012

Yao, N., Rose, K., LeBaron, V., Camacho, F, & Boling, P. (2017). Increasing role of nurse practitioners in home based care. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(4), 847-852.

Nguyen, L., Annoussamy, L., & LeBaron, V. T. (2017). Challenges encountered by Vietnamese nurses when caring for patients with cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 44(2), 147-151.

LeBaron, V. T., Palat, G., Sinha, S., Chinta Kumari, S., Jamina, B. J., Pilla, U. L., . . . & Beck, S. L. (2017). Recommendations to support nurses and improve the delivery of oncology and palliative care in India. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(2), 188-198. doi:10.4103/ijpc.ijpc_153_16

Tan, X., Camacho, F., LeBaron, V., Blackhall, L., & Balkrishnan, R. (2017). Opioid use among female breast cancer patients using different adjuvant endocrine therapy regimens. Breast Cancer Treatment & Research, 165(2), 455-465. doi:10.1007/s10549-017-4348-8

Galassi, A., Pradhan, R., Palat, G. & LeBaron, V. (2017). Global oncology volunteering: Making an effective contribution. Oncology Nursing Forum, 44(5), 530-533. doi:10.1188/17.onf.530-533

Yao, N., Rose, K., LeBaron, V., Camacho, F, & Boling, P. (2016). Increasing role of nurse practitioners in house call programs. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(4), 847-852. doi:10.1111/jgs.14698

LeBaron, V. T., Smith, P.T., Quinones, R., Nibecker, C., Sanders, J.J., Timms, R.M., Shields, A.E., Balboni, T.A., & Balboni, M.J. (2016). How community clergy provide spiritual care: Toward a conceptual framework for clergy end-of-life education. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 51(4), 673-681. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.11.016

LeBaron, V.T. (2016). Global cancer disparities and the need for new initiatives. Oncology Nursing Forum, 43(1), 118-120. doi:10.1188/16.onf.118-120

LeBaron, V.T., Cooke, A., Garinther, A., Chow, V., Quiñones, R., Noveroske, S., Baccari, A., Smith, P., Peteet, J., Balboni, T., & Balboni, M. (2015). Clergy views on a good versus poor death: Ministry to the terminally ill. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 18(12), 1000-1007. doi:10.1089/jpm.2015.0176

LeBaron, V. T., Blonquist, T. M., Hong, F., Halpenny, B., & Berry, D. L. (2015). Screening for pain in the ambulatory cancer setting: Is 0-10 enough? Journal of Oncology Practice, 11(6), 435-441. doi:10.1200/JOP.2015.004077

LeBaron, V., Iribarren, S., Perri, S. & Beck, S. (2015). A practical field guide to conducting nursing research in low and middle-income countries. Nursing Outlook, 63(4), 462-73. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2015.02.003

LeBaron, V., Beck, S., Black, F., Maurer, M. & Palat, G. (2014). An ethnographic study of barriers to cancer pain management and opioid availability in India. The Oncologist, 19(5), 515-522. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2013-0435

LeBaron, V., Beck, S., Black, F., & Palat, G. (2014). Nurse moral distress and cancer pain management: An ethnography of oncology nurses in India. Cancer Nursing, 37(5), 331-344. doi:10.1097/NCC.0000000000000136

Gilson, A., Maurer, M., LeBaron, V., Ryan, K., & Cleary, J. (2013). Multivariate analysis of countries’ government and healthcare system influences on opioid availability for cancer pain relief and palliative care: More than a function of human development. Palliative Medicine, 27(2), 105-114. doi:10.1177/0269216312461973

LeBaron, V., Bohnenkamp, S. & Reed, P. (2011). A community partnership approach to building and empowering a palliative care resource nurse team. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 13(1), 31-40. doi:10.1097/NJH.0b013e3181ff0bf8

LeBaron, V., Brody, J., Lee, E., Hardin, C., & Snyder, L. (2011). Pain and practicalities: The experience of transitioning a cancer patient from high-dose intravenous hydromorphone to intravenous methadone. Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 25(4), 356-361. doi:10.3109/15360288.2011.620688

Badger, T., LeBaron, V., & McCorkle, R. (2010). Screening for emotional distress in older patients with lung cancer. ONCOLOGY Nurse Edition, 24(4), 25-37.

Bohnenkamp, S., LeBaron, V., & Yoder, L. (2007). The Medical Surgical Nurse’s Guide to Ovarian Cancer: PartII. MedSurg Nursing: The Journal of Adult Health, vol. 16(5), 323-331.

Bohnenkamp, S., LeBaron, V., & Yoder, L. (2007). The Medical Surgical Nurse’s Guide to Ovarian Cancer: Part I. MedSurg Nursing: The Journal of Adult Health, vol. 16(4), 259-267.

Brown, S., Black, F., Vaidya, P., Shrestha, S., Ennals, D., & LeBaron, V. (2007). Palliative care development: The Nepal model. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 33(5), 573-577.


Black, F., Brown, S., Ennals, D., Harris, J., LeBaron, V., & Love, R. (2008). Clinical Guidelines for Palliative Care. International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (4th Edition). Brussels: Belgium.

Book Sections

LeBaron, V. & Galassi, A. (2019). Global palliative care. In B. Ferrell & J. Paice (Eds), Oxford textbook of palliative care nursing (5th ed) (pp. 868-876). New York: Oxford University Press

LeBaron, V., & Galassi, A. (2018). Global palliative care. In B. Ferrell & J. Paice (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care Nursing, 5th Edition (pp. ). Oxford: Oxford University Press