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Loretta A. Williams, PhD, RN, MSN, BSN, BA

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Department of Symptom Research, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Adjunct Assistant Professor, The University of Texas School of Nursing, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Dr. Lori Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Symptom Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and is an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse. She has worked in oncology nursing for more than 30 years. She is especially interested in the measurement of symptoms, the use of qualitative research methods in the development of patient-reported outcomes measures, the biological mechanisms of symptom production, the effects of genetics on symptoms, and the effects of symptoms on family caregivers of cancer patients. She has studied the effects of serum cytokine levels on symptoms in patients with acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplantation and in patients with lung and gastrointestinal tract cancers undergoing concurrent chemoradiation. She studied the experience of cancer-related fatigue with a grant from Cephalon, Inc. With funding from the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation, she developed a symptom assessment tool for patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease. She has developed a symptom assessment tool for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia and is developing a symptom assessment tool for patients with gastointestinal stromal tumors, both with grants from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. She also is developing an assessment tool for the dermatological symptoms of cancer and cancer therapies.

Dr. Williams is actively involved in leadership with the national Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). She was recently elected to the Board of Directors of ONS as a Director at Large. She was the chairperson of the 2009-2010 ONS Foundation Fellowship and Small Grant Review Teams and is a regular reviewer for Oncology Nursing Forum. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Patient Advocate and National Patient Advocate Foundations. She was an NIH fellow in 2002 at the National Institute of Nursing Research Summer Genetics Institute. She was the recipient of an American Cancer Society Scholarship for doctoral study in oncology nursing.

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Symptom Research
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Unit Number: 1450
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: FCT11.5086
Phone: (713) 745-0844
Fax: (713) 745-3475

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2005 The University of Texas School of Nursing, Houston, TX, PhD, Nursing
1988 The University of Texas School of Nursing, Houston, TX, MSN, Oncology Nursing CNS
1980 St. Mary of the Plains College, Dodge City, KS, BSN, Nursing
1970 University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, BA, Psychology

Board Certifications

1996 Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse, Recertification Date: 2007


Academic Appointments

Instructor, Department of Symptom Research, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 8/2005-2/2010

Honors and Awards

1969 Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Kentucky Chapter

Professional Memberships

American Nurses' Association
Member, 1997-2007
American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Member, 1995-present
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Member, 2000-present
American Society of Hematology
Member, 2000-present
European Hematology Association
Member, Working Group on Quality of Life and Symptoms, 2006-2009
Oncology Nursing Society, Pittsburgh, PA
Member, 1982-present
Patient Advocate Foundation, Newport News, VA
Member, Scientific Advisory Board, 2003-2012
Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society
Member, 1988-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Wang XS, Shi Q, Shah ND, Heijnen CJ, Cohen EN, Reuben JM, Orlowski RZ, Qazilbash MH, Johnson VE, Williams LA, Mendoza TR, Cleeland CS. Inflammatory markers and development of symptom burden in patients with multiple myeloma during autologous stem cell transplantation. Clin Cancer Res 20(5):1366-74, 3/1/2014. e-Pub 1/14/2014. PMCID: PMC3947467.
2. Williams LA, Agarwal S, Bodurka DC, Saleeba AK, Sun CC, Cleeland CS. Capturing the patient's experience: using qualitative methods to develop a measure of patient-reported symptom burden: an example from ovarian cancer. J Pain Symptom Manage 46(6):837-45, 12/2013. e-Pub 4/22/2013. PMCID: PMC3775907.
3. Cleeland CS, Sloan JA, Cella D, Chen C, Dueck AC, Janjan NA, Liepa AM, Mallick R, O'Mara A, Pearson JD, Torigoe Y, Wang XS, Williams LA, Woodruff JF, CPRO (Assessing the Symptoms of Cancer Using Patient-Reported Outcomes) Multisymptom Task Force. Recommendations for including multiple symptoms as endpoints in cancer clinical trials : A report from the ASCPRO (Assessing the Symptoms of Cancer Using Patient-Reported Outcomes) Multisymptom Task Force. Cancer 119(2):411-20, 1/15/2013. e-Pub 8/28/2012. PMID: 22930243.
4. Wang XS, Shi Q, Williams LA, Mao L, Cleeland CS, Komaki RR, Mobley GM, Liao Z. Inflammatory cytokines are associated with the development of symptom burden in patients with NSCLC undergoing concurrent chemoradiation therapy. Brain Behav Immun 24(6):968-74, 8/2010. e-Pub 3/2010. PMCID: PMC2897921.
5. Wang XS, Williams LA, Eng C, Mendoza TR, Shah NA, Kirkendoll KJ, Shah PK, Trask PC, Palos GR, Cleeland CS. Validation and application of a module of the M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory for measuring multiple symptoms in patients with gastrointestinal cancer (the MDASI-GI). Cancer 116(8):2053-63, 4/15/2010. e-Pub 2/2010. PMID: 20166216.
6. Lee SJ, Williams LA. Patient-reported outcomes for acute graft-versus-host disease prevention and treatment trials. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 16(3):295-300, 3/2010. e-Pub 9/9/2009. PMID: 19747556.
7. Loberiza FR, Lee SJ, Freytes CO, Giralt SA, Van Besien K, Kurian S, del Cerro P, Toro JJ, Williams LA, Ketelsen SW, Navarro WH, Rizzo JD. Methodological and logistical considerations to study design and data collection in racial/ethnic minority populations evaluating outcome disparity in hematopoietic cell transplantation. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 15(8):903-9, 8/2009. PMCID: PMC2911964.
8. Wang XS, Shi Q, Williams LA, Cleeland CS, Mobley GM, Reuben JM, Lee BN, Giralt SA. Serum interleukin-6 predicts the development of multiple symptoms at nadir of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cancer 113(8):2102-9, 10/15/2008. PMCID: PMC2633777.
9. Krimmel T, Williams LA. Hepatic sinusoidal obstruction syndrome following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Oncol Nurs Forum 35(1):37-9, 1/2008. PMID: 18192151.
10. Williams LA. Whatever it takes: informal caregiving dynamics in blood and marrow transplantation. Oncol Nurs Forum 34(2):379-87, 3/2007. PMID: 17573302.
11. Cohen MZ, Williams L, Knight P, Snider J, Hanzik K, Fisch MJ. Symptom masquerade: understanding the meaning of symptoms. Support Care Cancer 12(3):184-90, 3/2004. e-Pub 1/20/2004. PMID: 14735337.
12. Williams LA. Informal caregiving dynamics with a case study in blood and marrow transplantation. Oncol Nurs Forum 30(4):679-86, Jul-Aug, 7/2003. PMID: 12861327.
13. Weiss RB, Rifkin RM, Stewart FM, Theriault RL, Williams LA, Herman AA, Beveridge RA. High-dose chemotherapy for high-risk primary breast cancer: an on-site review of the Bezwoda study. Lancet 355(9208):999-1003, 3/18/2000. PMID: 10768448.

Invited Articles

1. Whitley E, Valverde P, Wells K, Williams L, Teschner T, Shih YC. Establishing common cost measures to evaluate the economic value of patient navigation programs. Cancer 117(15 Suppl):3618-25, 8/2011. PMCID: PMC3151018.
2. Williams LA. Clinical management of symptom clusters. Semin Oncol Nurs 23(2):113-20, 5/2007. PMID: 17512438.
3. Galbizo E, Williams LA. Chronic graft-versus-host disease. Oncol Nurs Forum 33(5):881-3, 9/2006. PMID: 16986223.
4. Williams L, Ostwald SK. Family caregivers: a vital resource. Nurse Investigator 6(30):56-65, 2005.


1. Williams LA, Giralt SA, Mendoza TR, Anderson KO, Gary M Mobley GM, Saliba RM, Qazilbash MH, Campagnaro EL, Cleeland CS. Larger stem cell dose is associated with decreased symptom severity after autologous stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma. European Hematology Association 13th Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark. Haematologica 93(S1):317-318, 7/2008.
2. Wang XS, Shi Q, Williams LA, Mobley GM, Reuben JM, Lee BN, Cleeland CC, Giralt SA. The role of serum cytokines in the development of acute-GVHD–related symptom burden after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. European Hematology Association 13th Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark. Haematologica 93(S1) (#1372), 6/2008.

Book Chapters

1. Giralt SA, Williams LA. High-dose therapy and posttransplantation symptom burden: striking a balance. In: Cancer Symptom Science: Measurement, Mechanisms, and Management. Ed(s) CS Cleeland, MJ Fisch, AJ Dunn. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 224-36, 2011.
2. Williams LA, Syrjala KL. Psychosocial issues in chronic graft versus host disease. In: Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease: Interdisciplinary Management. Ed(s) Vogelsang GB, Paveletic SZ. Cambridge University Press: New York, 314-25, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-521-88423-5.
3. Williams L. The theory of caregiving dynamics. In: Middle Range Theory for Nursing, 2nd. Ed(s) MJ Smith, PR Liehr. Springer Publishing Company: New York, 261-76, 2008. ISBN: 9780826119162.
4. McCarthy P, Williams L, Holmes M. Stem cell transplantation: past, present, and future. In: Stem Cell Transplantation: A Clinical Textbook. Ed(s) PC Buchsel, PM Kapustay. Oncology Nursing Press, Inc. Pittsburgh PA, 1.1-1.20, 2000. ISBN: 1890504157.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: An Adaptive Computer Interface to Improve Symptom Management Due to Treatment of Head/Neck Cancer
Funding Source: Patient Reported Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
Role: Investigator
Principal Investigator: Charles Cleeland
Duration: 5/1/2013 - 4/30/2016
Title: Symptom Burden in Patients with Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs)
Funding Source: Novartis Pharmaceutical, Inc
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 4/13/2010 - 12/31/2013
Title: Mechanisms of Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma and Its Therapy
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Investigator
Principal Investigator: Charles S. Cleeland
Duration: 9/1/2008 - 8/31/2014

Last updated: 7/29/2015