Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, & Internal Medicine
Clinical Psychologist, Psychosocial Oncology
Assistant Professor-Clinical, Psychiatry
Assistant Professor-Clinical, Internal Medicine
Assistant Professor, Psychology
College of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
105c Harding Hospital
1670 Upham Drive
Columbus, OH 43210
360 Martha Morehouse Tower
2050 Kenny Road
Columbus, OH 43221
Dr. Wells-Di Gregorio is a clinical psychologist specializing in outpatient psychosocial oncology and palliative medicine whose research focuses broadly on symptom management and communication for patients and families living with advanced cancer. Her lab's primary goal is to improve methods for screening oncology-related physical symptoms as well as emotional, practical, cognitive and spiritual needs.
Their second goal is to translate what is known about effective interventions for symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, fatigue and pain in the general population into interventions that are accessible and effective for patients with significant illness, limited energy and multiple appointments. This includes training oncology providers to enhance symptom management, communication, and decision-making, particularly for patients at the end of life.
Their final goal is to better understand the mechanisms of symptom clustering for patients with advanced cancer. As such, they are investigating the role of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines as well as endocrine pathways (e.g., cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine) in a specific cluster of symptoms – anxiety-insomnia-depression-fatigue-pain.
Research and Clinical Interests
- Comprehensive cancer need (distress) screening and management
- Psychological/symptom management interventions for patients living with advanced cancer (e.g., insomnia, anxiety depression, pain, fatigue)
- Development of provider interventions to improve patient and family communication and decision-making at the end of life
- Neuroimmunologic mechanisms of symptom clusters
- Psychological measurement
- Psychological and educational interventions
- Ecologic momentary assessment
- Endocrine assay
They recently completed a clinical trial of a cognitive-behavioral and acceptance and commitment therapy intervention to reduce a symptom cluster common in advanced cancer. This three-session, in-person and DVD-based intervention was designed for patients with significant illness who may be unable to attend more time-intensive interventions. They found that this intervention effectively reduces insomnia, worry, uncertainty, depression and fatigue interference.
The next phase of this trial involves translation to a mobile application and telephone-based intervention and analysis of our neuroendocrine and actigraphy data. They have published a validation study of the James Supportive Care Screening (Wells-Di Gregorio, et al., 2013), a measure that will be implemented throughout the James Cancer Hospital to assess and triage patients to supportive care services based on their most distressing symptoms and psychosocial needs.
In terms of provider training, they have also recently published a manuscript outlining a unique communication skills training curriculum for pulmonary and critical care fellows to conduct more effective family meetings in the ICU setting (McCallister, Gustin, Wells-Di Gregorio, Way, & Mastronarde, 2015). Fellows in the intervention group demonstrated significantly improved communication skills compared to controls as indicated by blinded professional raters and self-rating. Fellows in the intervention group also showed significantly improved communication self-confidence scores upon completion of the curriculum.
- Lance Armstrong Foundation Survivorship Center for Excellence
- American Cancer Society Institutional Seed Grant
- Tzagournis Medical Research Endowment Fund
McCallister, J.W., Gustin, J.L., Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M., Way, D.P., & Mastronarde, J.G. (2015). Communication skills training curriculum for pulmonary and critical care fellows. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 12, 520-525.
Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M., Porensky, E., Minotti, M., Brown, S., Snapp, J., Taylor, R., Adolph, M., Everett, S., Lowther, K., Callahan, K., Streva, D., Heinke, V., Leno, D., Flower, C., McVey, A., & Andersen, B. (2013). The James Supportive Care Screening: Integrating science and practice to meet the NCCN guidelines for distress management at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Psycho-Oncology, 22(9), 2001-2008.
Probst, D.R., Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M., &Marks, D. (2013).Suffering compounded: The relationship between abuse history and distress in five palliative care domains. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 16(10), 1242-1248.
Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M., Carpenter, K.M., Dorfman, C.S., Yang, H., Simonelli, L., & Carson, W. (2012). Impact of breast cancer recurrence and cancer-related stress on spouse health and immunity. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity, 26, 228-233.
Taylor, R.M., Gustin, J.L., &Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M. (2010). Improving Do-Not-Resuscitate discussions: A framework for physicians. Journal of Supportive Oncology, 81), 42-44.
Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M. (2008). Family End of Life Decision-Making. In J. Werth & D. Blevins (Eds). Decision-Making Near the End of Life: Recent Developments and Future Directions. Routledge Publishing.
Shelby, R.A., Crespin, T.R., Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M., Lamdan, R.M., Siegel, J.E., &Taylor, K.L. (2008) Optimism, social support, and adjustment in African-American women with breast cancer. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 433-444.
Andersen, B.L., Shapiro, C.L., Farrar, W.B., Crespin, T., &Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M. (2005). Psychological responses to cancer recurrence: A controlled prospective study. Cancer, 104(7), 1540-1547.
Golden-Kreutz, D.G., Thornton, L., Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M., Frierson, G., Jim, H., Carpenter, K., Shelby, R., & Andersen, B.L. (2005). Traumatic stress, perceived global stress, and life events: Prospectively predicting quality of life in breast cancer patients. Health Psychology, 24(3), 288-296.
Staff and Lab Members
Lab Coordinators (present): Alissa Banyasz
Lab Coordinators (past): Alexandra Zaleta, Danielle Probst, Emily Porensky, Donald Marks
Research Assistants (present): Samantha Donermeyer, Patricia McCambridge, Allison Sigler
William Carson, MD
Uly Magalang, MD
Joseph DeCola, PhD
Don Marks, PhD
Jillian Gustin, MD
Lauren Goodman, MD
PhD: Clinical Psychology, Northwestern University Medical School
Clinical Psychology Internship: UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute
Postdoctoral Summer Fellowship: Psychodiagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute
Postdoctoral Fellowship: Biobehavioral Oncology and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University
- American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1999
- Health Psychology, 2000 - 2002
- Women's Health Conference, Washington DC, 2001
- Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 2001 - present
- Behavior Therapy, 2002
- Quality of Life Research, 2003 - present
- Cancer, 2007 - present
- Death Studies, 2008 - present
- Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2011 - present
- Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2015-present
- American Psychosocial Oncology Society
- American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine
- Ohio Pain Initiative
Honors and News
Phi Beta Kappa, 1993
Cincinnati Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Service. Cincinnati Psychological Association, 1993
Northwestern University Graduate School University Scholar. Northwestern University Graduate School, 1993-1996
American Psychological Association Dissertation Award. American Psychological Association, 1996
1st Place, Mid-American Congress on Aging Graduate Student Paper Competition. Mid-American Congress on Aging, 1997
Advocacy Honors, NCI Advocating for Clinical Excellence (ACE) Project. National Cancer Institute. Transdisciplinary Palliative Care Education Project (10/300 awarded), 2010-2009
American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Katherine Foley Research Scholar, 2010
American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine Annual Paper Award (AAHPM), 2010
American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine 1st Place Poster Award (AAHPM), 2010
Clinical Scientist Training Initiative Grant Award, Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology Award, 2012
Director, Psychosocial Oncology Research Program, 2005-present
Ethics Committee, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 2005-2012
Co-Facilitator, Pathways Grief Support Group, OSU Medical Center, 2007-2012
Director, Psychosocial Oncology Fellowship, 2008-present
Director, Division of Health Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, 2010-2013
Chair, Ohio Psychological Association Professional Practice Committee, 2011-2013
Board Member, Ohio Psychological Association, 2011-2013
American Psychosocial Oncology Society Professional Development Committee, 2014-present
Board Member, Ohio Pain Initiative, 2015