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Patricia A. Parker, Ph.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Adjunct Associate Professor, The Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences Division, The University of Texas, School of Public Health, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Dr. Patricia A. Parker is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the department of Behavioral Science.   Her research primarily focuses on healthcare provider-patient communication and quality of life among different cancer patient populations. She has conducted several studies examining aspects of physician-patient communication including how patients are told news of their diagnosis and the impact of the physician-patient encounter on patients’ psychosocial adjustment. She has a NCI-funded career development award that examines the influence of physician-patient communication and illness uncertainty on the psychosocial adjustment of individuals with metastatic cancer of unknown primary site (CUP). In addition, she is PI of a NCI-funded R03 application to further examine the audiotaped recordings between patients with CUP and their healthcare providers that are being collected as part of the K07 project.  Specifically, this project examines both qualitatively and quantitatively the nature of the medical interaction when more than one provider is involved in the consultation. She collaborates with faculty from the Departments of Urology and Genitourinary Medical Oncology on projects examining watchful waiting in patients with prostate cancer and renal cell carcinoma.  Dr. Parker recently received a M. D. Anderson Institutional Research Grant to examine the feasibility of a communication skills intervention for physician assistants who work in oncology. Dr. Parker is also PI of a NCI-funded Community Clinical Oncology Program study to examine an intervention designed to increase the frequency with which clinicians ask their patients about complementary and alternative medicine use. 

Research Interests

Healthcare Provider-Patient Communication

Quality of Life

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1998 San Diego State University/University of California, Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, CA, PHD, Clinical Psychology
1991 University of California, Los Angeles, CA, BA, Psychology

Postgraduate Training

9/1998-12/1999 Postdoctoral Fellowship, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Behavioral Science, Houston, Dr. Lorenzo Cohen


Academic Appointments

Adjunct Assistant Professor, The Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences Division, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX, 9/2009-8/2011
Assistant Professor, Tenure Track, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 9/2005-8/2011
Assistant Professor, Non-Tenure Track, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 7/2003-8/2005
Instructor, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2002-2003
Research Associate, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 1999-2002
Psychology Intern, Behavioral Medicine Specialization, Palo Alto VA Healthcare System, Palo Alto, CA, 1997-1998
Teaching Assistant, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, 1996-1997
Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, CA, 1992-1997

Other Appointments/Responsibilities

Co-Director, Patient-Reported Outcomes, Survey, and Population (PROSPR) CCSG Shared Resources Core Research, Houston, TX, 6/2010-6/2013

Institutional Committee Activities

Member, Psychosocial Council, 2011-present
Member, Psychosocial, Behavioral, and Health Services Research Committee, 2011-present
Associate Member, Institutional Review Board 4, 2008-2012
Chair, Psychosocial, Behavioral, and Health Services Research Committee, 2008-2011
Member, MD Anderson Interpersonal Communication and Relationship Enhancement (I*CARE) Advisory Committee, 2007-present
Member, Practitioner Peer Assistance Committee, 2007-present
Member, Patient-Reported Outcomes Survey and Population Research (PROSPR), Shared Resource Advisory Committee, 2006-2010
Member, MD Anderson Survivorship Task Force, Research Work Team, 2006-2007
Member, Department of Behavioral Science, Mental Health Emergency Procedures, 2005-present
Member, Faculty Senate Committee, 2005-2008
Co-Chair, Department of Behavioral Science, Psycho-oncology Seminar, 2004-2008
Member, Department of Behavioral Science, Junior Faculty Committee, 2003-present
Member, Psychosocial, Behavioral, and Health Services Research Committee, 2003-2008
Member, Department of Behavioral Science, Move Preparation Committee, 2001-2002
Member, Plastic Surgery Center Steering Committee, 2000-2005
Member, Space Organization Committee, 1999-2002

Honors and Awards

2011 Invited Member, Bladder Cancer Think Tank
2010 Invited Member, Bladder Cancer Think Tank
2008 Excellent Protocol Review, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2007 Excellent Protocol Review, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2003 Career Development Award, National Cancer Institute, NIH
2003 Fellow, Summer Training Institute on Randomized Clinical Trials Involving Behavioral Interventions, Sponsored by the Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research of the National Institutes of Health. July 20-August 1

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Gilts CD, Parker PA, Pettaway CA, Cohen L. Psychosocial moderators of presurgical stress management for men undergoing radical prostatectomy. Health Psychol 32(12):1218-26, 12/2013. e-Pub 10/22/2012. PMCID: PMC3833972.
2. Brewster AM, Bedrosian I, Parker PA, Dong W, Peterson SK, Cantor SB, Crosby M, Shen Y. Association between contralateral prophylactic mastectomy and breast cancer outcomes by hormone receptor status. Cancer 118(22):5637-43, 11/15/2012. e-Pub 4/19/2012. PMCID: PMC3478501.
3. McHenry M, Parker PA, Baile WF, Lenzi R. Voice analysis during bad news discussion in oncology: reduced pitch, decreased speaking rate, and nonverbal communication of empathy. Support Care Cancer 20(5):1073-1078, 5/2012. e-Pub 5/15/2011. PMID: 21573770.
4. Parker PA, Swartz R, Fellman B, Urbauer D, Li Y, Pisters LL, Rosser CJ, Wood CG, Matin SF. Comprehensive assessment of quality of life and psychosocial adjustment in patients with renal tumors undergoing open, laparoscopic, and nephron-sparing surgery. J Urol 187(3):822-6, 3/2012. e-Pub 1/15/2012. PMCID: PMC3866893.
5. Biegler K, Cohen L, Scott S, Hitzhusen K, Parker PA, Gilts CD, Canada A, Pisters L. The role of religion and spirituality in psychological distress prior to surgery for urologic cancer. Integrative Cancer Therapies 11(3):212-220, 2012. e-Pub 9/2011.
6. Baile WF, Palmer JL, Bruera E, Parker PA. Assessment of palliative care cancer patients' most important concerns. Support Care Cancer 19(4):475, 4/2011. e-Pub 4/17/2010. PMID: 20401497.
7. Cohen L, Parker PA, Vence L, Savary C, Kentor D, Pettaway C, Babaian R, Pisters L, Miles B, Wei Q, Wiltz L, Patel T, Radvanyi L. Pre-surgical stress management improves post-operative immune function in men with prostate cancer undergoing radical prostatectomy. Psychosom Med 73(3):218-25, 4/2011. e-Pub 1/21/2011. PMID: 21257977.
8. Lenzi R, Baile WF, Costantini A, Grassi L, Parker PA. Communication training in oncology: Results of intensive communication workshops for Italian oncologists. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 20(2):196-203, 3/2011. e-Pub 5/2010. PMID: 20477861.
9. Brown VA, Parker PA, Furber L, Thomas AL. Patient preferences for the delivery of bad news - the experience of a UK cancer centre. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 20(1):56-61, 1/2011. e-Pub 2/2010. PMID: 20148936.
10. Brewster AM, Parker PA. Current knowledge on contralateral prophylactic mastectomy among women with sporadic breast cancer. Oncologist 16(7):935-41, 2011. e-Pub 6/14/2011. PMCID: PMC3228146.
11. Ross AC, Polansky MN, Parker PA, Palmer JL. Understanding the role of physician assistants in oncology. J Oncol Pract 6(1):5, 1/2010. e-Pub 12/2009. PMCID: PMC2805341.
12. Mauri E, Vegni E, Lozza E, Parker PA, Moja EA. An exploratory study of the Italian patients' preferences regarding how they would like to be told about their cancer. Support Care Cancer 17(12):1523-30, 12/2009. e-Pub 4/3/2009. PMID: 19343370.
13. Parker PA, Pettaway CA, Babaian RJ, Pisters LL, Miles B, Fortier A, Wei Q, Carr DD, Cohen L. The effects of a pre-surgical stress management intervention for Men with prostate cancer undergoing radical prostatectomy. J Clin Oncol 27(19):3169-3176, 7/1/2009. e-Pub 4/6/2009. PMCID: PMC2716938.
14. Parker PA, Aaron J, Baile WF. Breast cancer: Unique communication challenges and strategies to address them. Breast J 15(1):69-75, Jan-Feb, 1/2009. e-Pub 12/12/2008. PMID: 19120379.
15. Heller L, Parker PA, Youssef A, Miller MJ. Interactive digital education aid in breast reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg 122(3):717-24, 9/2008. PMID: 18766034.
16. Pruitt SL, Parker PA, Follen M, Basen-Engquist K. Communicating colposcopy results: What do patients and providers discuss? J Low Genit Tract Dis 12(2):95-102, 4/2008. PMID: 18369302.
17. Parker PA, Youssef A, Walker S, Basen-Engquist K, Cohen L, Gritz ER, Wei QX, Robb GL. Short-term and long-term psychosocial adjustment and quality of life in women undergoing different surgical procedures for breast cancer. Ann Surg Oncol 14(11):3078-3089, 11/2007. PMID: 17574501.
18. Fujimori M, Parker PA, Akechi T, Sakano Y, Baile WF, Uchitomi Y. Japanese cancer patients' communication style preferences when receiving bad news. Psychooncology 16(7):617-25, 7/2007. PMID: 17006968.
19. Chiu LQ, Lee WS, Gao F, Parker PA, Ng GY, Toh CK. Cancer patients' preferences for communication of unfavourable news: an Asian perspective. Support Care Cancer 14(8):818-24, 8/2006. PMID: 16482445.
20. Canada AL, Parker PA, de Moor JS, Basen-Engquist K, Ramondetta LM, Cohen L. Active coping mediates the association between religion/spirituality and quality of life in ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol 101(1):102-7, 4/2006. PMID: 16256181.
21. Parker PA, Cohen L, Bhadkamkar VA, Babaian RJ, Smith MA, Gritz ER, Basen-Engquist KM. Demographic and past screening behaviors of men attending a free community screening program for prostate cancer. Health Promot Pract 7(2):213-20, 4/2006. PMID: 16585144.
22. Parker PA, Kudelka A, Basen-Engquist K, Kavanagh J, de Moor J, Cohen L. The associations between knowledge, CA125 preoccupation, and distress in women with epithelial ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol 100(3):495-500, 3/2006. PMID: 16242759.
23. Parker PA, Davison BJ, Tishelman C, Brundage MD, SCRN Communication Team. What do we know about facilitating patient communication in the cancer care setting? Psychooncology 14(10):848-858, 10/2005. PMID: 16200511.
24. Parker PA. Breast reconstruction and psychosocial adjustment: What have we learned and where do we go from here? Semin Plast Surg 182(2):131-138, 5/2004. PMCID: PMC2884727.

Invited Articles

1. Kim J, Parker PA, Boyd DD. Strategies to increase participation in active surveillance in men (<56 years). Urology Today, 2011.

Book Chapters

1. Baile WF, Parker PA. Breaking Bad News. In: Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care. Ed(s) Kissane DW, Bultz BD, Butow P, Finlay I. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England, 2010.
2. Rao A, Baile W, Parker P. Conflict Resolution at an Academic Medical Center: The Ombuds Office. In: Faculty Health in Academic Medicine: Physicians, Scientists and the Pressures of Success. Ed(s) TR Cole, TJ Goodrich, ER Gritz. Human Press: Totowa, NJ, 2009.
3. Baile WF, Aaron J, Parker PA. Practitioner-Patient Communication in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment. In: Handbook of Cancer Control and Behavioral Science: A Resource for Researchers, Practitioners, and Policymakers. Ed(s) S Miller, D Bowen, R Croyle, J Rowland. American Psychological Association, 2008.
4. Lenzi R, Baile WF, Rodary C, Parker PA. Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer of Unknown Primary. In: Cancer of Unknown Primary Site. Ed(s) K Fizazi. Informa Healthcare, 2006. ISBN: 0824727991.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy and Breast Cancer: Clinical and Psychosocial Outcomes
Funding Source: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
Role: Principal Investigator (Multiple PI: Parker/Brewster)
Duration: 10/1/2013 - 9/30/2016
Title: NSABP CCOP Research Base - Supplement for Christine Holmberg Study
Funding Source: NSABP
Role: Co-Investigator
Principal Investigator: Christine Holmberg
Duration: 6/1/2012 - 5/31/2013
Title: Communication skills intervention to promote transition into survivorship
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Principal Investigator on Subcontract
Principal Investigator: Horwitz
Duration: 7/5/2011 - 4/30/2016
Title: Cancer Center Support Grant - Patient Report Outcome, Survey, and Population Resources Shared Resource
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Shared Resource Director
Principal Investigator: Mendelsohn
Duration: 9/14/1998 - 6/13/2018

Last updated: 12/11/2014